I’ve always used music as a way to relate to others. Say we just met and I have a favorite album that is coincidentally also one of your favorite albums, there’s a spark of connection and conversations to be had. On the flip side, if you hate the album I love, we still have something to talk about! And if neither of us has heard about what the other is talking about, there’s room for sharing and discovery. In the past where conversations found their lulls, music has always filled the silence with connection.
I could go on about how music let me process childhood emotions and allowed me to build friendships constantly through my life, but you’re here to discover new music and share your hot takes. So let’s get into it!
Here are my top eight queer albums of 2022.
A few honorable mentions:
8. MUNA by Muna
MUNA queers, I see you. This self-titled album is fun fun fun. I’m sure many of you remember “Silk Chiffonwp_postsfeaturing Phoebe Bridgers blowing up as a TikTok audio, but MUNA offers more than just that hot single. Lead vocalist Katie Gavin’s voice has range — going from deep and sultry to bright depending on the track. I’m a big fan of “No Idea,wp_postspop banger “What I Want,wp_postsand more experimental “Runner’s High.wp_postsIf you like pop bangers and perfect hooks, MUNA is for you.
7. CLEARING by Hyd
Ethereal hyperpop is the first thing that comes to mind when listening to Hyd’s CLEARING. Their impressive vocals and textured production — including, A.G. Cook, Easyfun, and late hyperpop pioneer SOPHIE — create an album I want fizzing in my brain at all times. The album feels sensory, visceral — almost as if they’re right in my ear, calling to me like a siren. Tracks like “Afar,wp_posts“Trust,wp_posts“Oil + Honey,wp_postsand “Fallen Angelwp_postsspeak to me deeply and are my favorite on the album right now.
6. Big Time by Angel Olsen
Angel Olsen gets it. Big Time is an emotional, grief-ridden symphony of contemplative long drives and inevitable life changes. To me, it envelopes like a goodbye hug and stings like the airing out of an open wound. Stripped back from her popular All Mirrors, Olsen puts her heart on open display, waiting for us to also find meaning within her songs. Besides the popular tracks “All The Good Timeswp_postsand “Big Time,wp_postsstandout tracks for me were “Right Now,wp_posts“Go Home,wp_postsand the bittersweet heartbreak of “Chasing The Sunwp_poststhat closes out the alternative queer country album of my 2022.
5. Black Girl Magic by Honey Dijon
Come together and dance to one of my favorite house albums of this year. Legendary producer and DJ Honey Dijon goes hard — in terms of talent and true expertise of electronic/techno music production and craft. You may know Honey Dijon from “COZYwp_postsand “ALIEN SUPERSTAR,wp_poststracks she co-produced for Beyoncé, and Black Girl Magic feels just as good. “It’s Quiet Now,wp_posts“Drama,wp_postsand “La Femme Fantastiquewp_postswere by far my favorite tracks. You could listen to this album front to back and have a different experience every time. Black Girl Magic is hypnotizing, celebratory, and should be played in every club near you.
4. Preacher’s Daughter by Ethel Cain
Organized religion, cannibalism, and the American Dream — that’s Preacher’s Daughter for you. Ethel Cain is one of the best new artists I started listening to this year. If Preacher’s Daughter had come out while I was a teenager in Catholic school, I would have been the most annoying lesbian on the internet. Cain weaves a narrative so vividly in her album, I’d go to church if this is what the youth group was signing. “American Teenager,wp_posts“Ptolemaea,wp_postsand “Sun Bleached Flieswp_postsare my standout tracks on Preacher’s Daughter.
3. Dragon New Warm I Believe In You by Big Thief
Dragon New Warm I Believe In You has frequently come up in conversations with friends about beloved albums of this year. And it’s deserved. It took me a few songs to warm up to it, but when it got me, it really got me. It felt like coming home — like returning to what I really love about music. Adrienne Lenker, the lead vocalist and guitarist, is a lyrical genius. I’d urge you to just listen to the album and see what songs resonate with you. You really don’t know what you’re getting beforehand and every track is its own pocket of genius songwriting and narrative comfort. I especially love the segue from “Flower of Bloodwp_poststo “Blurred View,wp_postswith the latter being one of my favorite tracks on the entire album.
2. Nymph by Shygirl
Nymph is hot and intimate, and Shygirl’s music makes my knees weak. As Shygirl’s debut album — though her EP ALIAS felt like an album to me — Nymph feels like awakening and release. The production is delicious and the lyrics capture the desire to fulfill and satisfy one’s own needs. “Woewp_postssets the tone for the entire album, “Shlut” does make me wake up feeling like a slut, and “Wildfirewp_postscloses us out beautifully. Nymph is the hookup I’d let stay the night.
1. Ugly Season by Perfume Genius
I love everything that Perfume Genius is letting us have in Ugly Season. It feels haunting, deeply emotional, both a deeply physically grounding record and an out of body experience. Originally, Ugly Season was composed to accompany a contemporary dance piece — now we have it seeping into our ears and grating on our skin so seductively. Seven minute long “Herem,wp_postsaptly named “Pop Song,wp_postsfrenetic “Eye in the Wall,wp_postsand eponymous “Ugly Seasonwp_postsare standout tracks for me. Each song feels cinematic and significant. Mike Hadreas knows the inner workings of my quiet desires for music and it scares me. Ugly Season took me to so many different places emotionally. No skips. One of my favorite releases of 2022.