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The most important Associated Press albums of 2022: “Renaissance,” “Motwami,” and “Bad Bunny.”


Ten of the year’s best albums, selected by entertainment journalists for the Associated Press.


It might shock few that Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” would top our No. 1 albums chart, but just because it’s low-hanging fruit doesn’t cancel out how delicious it is. After dropping her first album in six years, Queen Bey has once again proven why it was worth the wait. Led by the multi-formatted dance track “Break My Soul” and TikTok’s insanely infused “Cuff It” which both reached #1 on several Billboard charts including “Soul” which peaked at the top of the Hot 100, “Renaissance” boasted plenty of favorites. has fans including “Cozy,” “Alien Superstar,” “Church Girl,” Plastic off the Sofa,” and “Virgo’s Groove.” But beyond the two-step and body-rolling, the messages within the music were championing black women and reminding the LBGTQ community that they have a An ally in. Whether it was meticulously planned or pure coincidence, HH released the album eponymously Corona Virus The pandemic is moving behind us, if its goal is to get us out of our homes and dancing again, mission accomplished. – Gary Gerrard Hamilton

of the week, “DAWN FM”

With a low-key entry this past January, “Dawn FM” is a concept album that The Weeknd likened to listening to a radio station in purgatory, and then mixed styles and influences from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s with modern production. A lot of it is downright bizarre: the faux British accent, the interlude of spoken words by Quincy Jones, the hilarious radio commercials, the Jim Carrey narration and the singer digitally on the cover. It’s also great, a dance record with lyrics of desperation, with nods to Michael Jackson, New Wave, Neo Soul, Prince & Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. If this is the sound of purgatory, heaven is overrated. – Mark Kennedy

Spanish singer Rosalía turned three years of domestic pain and illness into her hugely successful third studio album “Motomami” (“biker”). Perhaps it would have been impossible not to make lemonade out of lemons for such a bold artist whose ease of play with genres and words is her greatest strength. Described as an alternative reggatone record, “Motomami” offers something for everyone and every mood. From the stripped-down reggaeton hit “Candies,” to the playfulness of “Teriyaki Chicken” and the experimental sound of “Diablo,” the “hentai” piano ballad, or the classic Latin beats of “La Fama,” Rosalía shows off her prowess as a singer. Four Latin Grammy Awards for the album were just the beginning. Next stop: the world. Christina Gallero

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In the age of streaming, music doors are wide open as artists release multiple projects in one year: EPs, double albums, deluxe albums and beyond. Country artist Zac Bryan has upped the ante by dropping the 34-track album “American Heartbreak” to make his debut in 2022. The Navy veteran’s stories cover the vast landscape of his Oklahoma upbringing with coming-of-age musicians like “Heavy Eyes,” “Wanderlust in “Highway Boys” and odes to cities he has transcended such as “Oklahoma City”. Its stripped-down lyrics, acknowledgment and narrative have earned it comparisons to Jason Isbell and Taylor Swift alike (it’s Swifty). , “Something in Orange”, while dwelling in lonely heartbreak. Brian proves to deliver quality over quantity. Christine M Hall

Larry John, “Space on the Razor”

Drake. Kendrick Lamar. People. These heavyweights released some of the best albums of the year. Some might think Earl Sweatshirt’s “Sick” was just top notch. But the musician who stood above them was rapper Larry John with his “Spaceships on the Blade.” It’s the San Francisco-based rapper’s tenth solo studio album and his most impressive work since his 2018 debut. With his relaxed demeanor and infectious “Aye, Aye, Aye,” June thrives throughout songs like “Extra of Um” featuring Babyface Ray and “Extra of Um” featuring Babyface Ray and “Aye, Aye, Aye.” Don’t Check Me”, “Another Day, Pt. 2”, and “Breakfast in Monaco”. On well-produced tracks, taking listeners on a journey of a successful prankster who makes driving fancy cars, living in high-rises and spending $50,000 while on vacation sounds like an easy feat. But it also shows a deeper side of his rap personality. In “Appreciate It All”, he talks about his son’s hard grinding, learning to love his mother, and acquiring real estate in hopes of making a generational fortune. Throughout the “spaceships” universe, Jun is a force to be reckoned with. – Jonathan Landrum Jr

Jackson Wang, “MAGIC MAN”

Former pop star Jackson Wang turned solo artist turned Magic Man on his sophomore album. With a piercing, cohesive sound harkening back to ’90s rock mixed with ’80s synths, Wang’s record shows he’s ready for a lead role; The character he plays in “Magic Man” is a seductive and suave stranger who loves the pleasures of life. The singer rises to the challenge of delivering some soulful vocals from behind the classic guitar riffs on “Blow,” “Cruel,” and “Champagne Cool.” But where it all begins is the pop hit “Drive It Like You Stole It,” which lights up the hard drive’s section of the amygdala. Some really magical stuff. Christina Gallero

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Soccer Mom, “Sometimes, Forever”

Sophie Allison and her band’s third album, Soccer Mommy, is a great mix, from the industrial harshness of “Unholy Affliction” to the eerie “After Eyes” to “With U.” The title “Sometimes, Forever”, suggests the push and pull of light and dark, happiness and sadness, both of which jump from song to song but also within songs. One connection with another album on this list is its lead producer Oneohtrix Point Never, who helped shape The Weeknd’s “Dawn FM.” He gave Soccer Mommy a darker layered blues. A highlight is “Shotgun”, a ballad full of sincerity, with “Cold beer and ice cream is all we’ve got / The only things we really need”. – Mark Kennedy

BLXST, “Before You Go”

Blxst is considered the preeminent voice in Los Angeles R&B after the release of his mixtape album “No Love Lost” in 2020. But the rapper has expanded his reach with his flawless “Before You Go” along with his recent Grammy nominations for his featured work on the song Kendrick Lamar’s single “Die Hard”. On “Before You Go”, he delivers a variety of catchy hooks and smooth melodies that have garnered praise from critics and fans alike. He cleverly works through relationship issues in “About You” and “Still Omw,” and is a fan favorite. He talks about experiencing ocean views and driving on the Pacific Coast Highway while escaping the phantom element of his hometown in “Fake Love in LA,” featuring Arin Ray. He reminds him that he carries the torch of delivering quality music after the loss of Nipsey Hussle, thinks big and has a strong support system on Can’t Wait for It with Rick Ross. Overall, Blxst has put together a complete collection of songs that are infectious from start to finish. – Jonathan Landrum Jr

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Charlie Crockett, “The Man From Waco”

Americana virtuoso Charlie Crockett set the scene in his cinematic “The Man From Waco,” an album that bridges Western filmmaking with the myth-making of cowboy culture, R&B, and Bay country soul. The Texas born singer is a prolific independent musician with a solid hustle formed in his early years as a street musician. The album’s title track focuses on a lone gunman who accidentally kills his lover in a jealous rage, with a beautiful horn section over a dangling acoustic guitar. Crockett punches deep into a Stax-inspired ’70s groove on “I’m Just a Clown,” and swinging piano and wind horns on “Trinity River.” Crockett even takes a shot to complete Bob Dylan’s unfinished track from snippets of songs written for the “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” soundtrack, which Crockett turned into “Tom Turkey.” Crockett’s old-fashioned spirit isn’t just a nostalgic ploy, as this postmodern rambler creates new connections to classic themes. – Christine M Hall


Bad Bunny is a superstar, international superstar, and if you weren’t in the know before, “Un Verano Sin Ti” made you a reality. Spending 13 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the Puerto Rican artist expertly blends reggaeton, pop, and EDM, effortlessly transporting you to a beach on his home island for a temporary break from the stresses of the real world. Party-ready songs like “Tití Me Preguntó” and “Me Porto Bonito” featuring Chencho Corleone have garnered half a billion views on YouTube, arguably ranking as the biggest tour of the year. Despite his rise to the status of one of the biggest artists in the world, he has also used his music to criticize issues on the island such as gentrification and frequent power outages. Do I care that “Un Verano Sin Ti” is written mainly in Spanish? not at all. While dancing, his music motivates you to be curious and learn more, which is what great art does. – Gary Gerrard Hamilton

See more of this year’s AP coverage in entertainment: https://apnews.com/hub/year-in-review-entertainment