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Best of the Arts

The 50 best albums of the year

Photos: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, Hollie Fernando, Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, MAGDALENA WOSINSKAA/NY, Scott Garfitt/ap, Ben Stas for The Boston Globe, Adam Hagy/Getty Images for ABA. Illustration: Ally Rzesa/Globe Staff

Every year offers up its treasures of artists creating something out of nothing that just might be the best thing you ever heard. It’s why we listen. In 2022, these were the 50 favorite albums of Globe music writers, spanning pop, R&B, jazz, folk, hip-hop, country, rock — and some stuff you can’t quite categorize.

Bad Bunny Kevin Winter/Photographer: Kevin Winter/Getty

“Un Verano Sin Ti,” Bad Bunny

2022′s biggest album is party-minded while being political, and it possesses a global pop appeal while taking an eyes-wide-open ride around the world. Bad Bunny’s booming voice serves as the link between its spectrum-spanning 23 tracks, which are rooted in reggaeton but bring Afrobeats, dembow, merengue, lo-fi indie, and other genres into its churning, sinking-sun-illuminated world. (Maura Johnston)

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“Good Morning, Gorgeous,” Mary J. Blige

The undisputable Queen of Hip-Hop Soul gave us a bountiful offering with her 14th studio album, “Good Morning, Gorgeous.” For the last three decades, Mary J. Blige has sonically encapsulated the wide range of emotions associated with heartbreak, adversity, and struggle. With tracks like “No Idea” and “Amazing” we finally hear the singer wholeheartedly indulge in her brilliance and remind fans and critics alike that she deserves her place on the throne. (Candace McDuffie)

Mary HalvorsonJames Wang

Amaryllis”/“Belladonna,” Mary Halvorson

Guitarist and composer Halvorson here focused her 360-degree avant-garde spin cycle with a matched pair of simultaneously released discs. The jazzier “Amaryllis” foregrounds solos (rippin’!) in graceful song forms with pulsing ensembles and tuneful themes. The more subdued but no less beguiling “Belladonna” sets Halvorson’s guitar improvisations with through-composed parts for the Mivos string quartet (also featured on a couple of tracks of “Amaryllis”). (Jon Garelick)

“Squeeze,” Sasami

Massive riffs, clear-eyed country-pop, a chugging nu-metal cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Sorry Entertainer” — SASAMI’s sophomore album knows no bounds, and it’s all the better for it. If you’re down for the adventure, it all works together: Think of a disgusting guitar tone as an emotion unto itself and hear the rest fall into place. (Karen Muller)

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“Rolling Golden Holy,” Bonny Light Horseman

With the release of their second record, what was a project has become a band. But what could that band do to top their fabulous 2020 debut? Could anything be as sublime as, say, “The Roving” from that album? Well, yes; consider the perfection of “Summer Dream,” or “Sweetbread,” which finds the band navigating new ways of bringing old and new together. Listening to the music of Bonny Light Horseman makes me glad to be alive. (Stuart Munro)

“Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?” Tyler Childers

It’s a weird idea — three discs, each with variations on the same eight original songs. But that just means three times the righteousness from one of country music’s finest contemporary craftsmen. The favorite son of Paintsville, Ky., calls these gospel songs; there’s the Hallelujah, Jubilee, and Joyful Noise version of each. Frankly, if my hounds can’t go, I’m not going either. (James Sullivan)

“It’s Time . . . to Rise From the Grave,” Undeath

Insofar as the world of extreme metal has next big things, Undeath are surely one. The Rochester five-piece’s sophomore record generated buzz beyond the oft-insular world of heavy music this year by balancing its maelstrom of riffs and pummeling drums with just a pinch of melodic accessibility. These growled tales of grave-robbing and zombie soldiers are pure B-movie camp; a vital reminder that for all its gory shock tactics, death metal can be a lot of fun. (Ben Stas)

“Palomino,” Miranda Lambert

If you’re comparing “Palomino” to Lambert’s track record, it doesn’t quite reach the heights of 2016′s “The Weight of These Wings” but surpasses 2019′s Grammy-winning “Wildcard.” If you’re comparing it to her peers on country radio, there’s no comparison. Her empathetic, sometimes winkingly snarky character studies reach out across a landscape that opens itself to her (and the B-52′s, just because), and the mainstream country artist of the century lets us in. (Marc Hirsh)

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Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

“Cool It Down,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs

It’s the first new album in nine years. It would have been so easy for them to ride the cresting wave of indie sleaze nostalgia. Instead, they unleashed a filler-free record that speaks firmly to the present reality. Guitarist/synths player Nick Zinner and percussionist Brian Chase carve out canyons, and Karen O’s voice prowls through them with an urgency that will be familiar to anyone who’s screamed along with “Gold Lion” or “Date with the Night,” but the source of the feeling is different. The album was partially recorded in Los Angeles (now home to Karen O and sometimes Zinner) shortly after record-setting wildfires descended on the city; tracks like “Spitting off the Edge of the World” and “Burning” channel the seething uncertainty of parenthood in the face of environmental ruin, and “Wolf” howls a haunted answer to M83′s “Midnight City,” colossal instrumental chorus and all. (A.Z. Madonna)

“The Forever Story,” JID

Rapping almost comes too easily for JID. There isn’t a word he can’t twist around his fingers, a scheme he can’t stretch to its limits, a story his imagination can’t breathe life into. He’s been Dreamville Records’ golden child for a while, but “Forever Story” harnesses the soul and skill, the wit and the wisdom, the Southern charm and the millennial recklessness into an album that feels like both an introduction and a victory lap. (Julian Benbow)

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Beyoncé Associated Press

“Renaissance,” Beyoncé

A celebration of dance music that blends the club-commanding with the personal, “Rennaisance” collects effervescent roller-skating jams, brain-rattling Miami bass lines, joyous gospel, and deep house — as well as a slew of other genres — and constructs a glittery portal through which Beyoncé escaped the doldrums of lockdown. Rich with references to pop superstars and underground heroes, it’s Beyoncé's invite to a club where the only requirement for broaching the velvet rope is a willing set of ears. (Maura Johnston)

“Broken Hearts Club,” Syd

The frontwoman for The Internet relishes in vulnerability on her sophomore solo album, “Broken Hearts Club.” Syd is the protagonist cautiously navigating her way through a devastating break-up. On the Lucky Daye-assisted “CYBAH (Can You Break a Heart?),” we hear the vocalist approach love with nervous trepidation. On the album’s lead single, “Fast Car,” Syd envelops herself in the intoxicating lust of that same relationship. And quite frankly, passion looks good on her. (Candace McDuffie)

Vadim NeselovskyiHandout

“Odesa: A Musical Walk Through a Legendary City,” Vadim Neselovskyi

This solo piano disc has had the distinction of being reviewed (positively) as both jazz and classical in The New York Times. So yes, imagine long stretches of improvisation by Chopin, Schubert, Schumann, or Mussorgsky, whose “Pictures at an Exhibition” was the template for this suite by Ukrainian émigré (and Berklee College associate professor) Neselovskyi. By turns furious, lyrical, and celebratory — and thoroughly engaging throughout. (Jon Garelick)

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“Endure,” Special Interest

Three albums in, the New Orleans four-piece serves up a Molotov cocktail of glam punk, house, disco, and no-wave, led by the commanding and elastic voice of bandleader Alli Logout. Bass lines veer from funky to menacing as songs catalog injustices with burn-it-all-down intensity, but elsewhere brightness breaks through, calling to a packed dancefloor and affirming pleasure as a tool for survival. (Karen Muller)

“The Sea Drift,” The Delines

The third collection from this Portland, Ore., band draws inspiration from Tony Joe White and is loosely situated on the Gulf Coast. As ever, it offers novelist and songwriter Willy Vlautin’s cinematic snapshots of desperation (“Drowning in Plain Sight”) and resilience (“This Ain’t No Getaway”), all of them brought to life by Amy Boone’s world-worn vocals and carried along by the band’s spectacular country-soul iteration. Three albums in, the Delines can seemingly do no wrong. (Stuart Munro)

Makaya McCravenSULYIMAN

“In These Times,” Makaya McCraven

Is it the best soundtrack you heard this year, minus the movie? Is it folk music for the hip-hop era? Spiritual jazz for Radiohead fans? Forget the language and just listen. Born in Paris and raised in the Northampton area, the 39-year-old McCraven has come into his own with this endlessly alluring album, which features harp, flute, and his own complex rhythms, what he calls his “beat science.” Nothing beat about it. (James Sullivan)

“Ants From Up There,” Black Country, New Road

On their astonishing second record, UK collective Black Country, New Road harness chamber pop and post-rock dynamics in service of widescreen ambition. The septet’s now-erstwhile singer Isaac Wood spins hyper-specific lyrical snapshots and metaphorical motifs into a tangle of emotions across an alternately hushed and cathartic soundscape. It all culminates in nearly 13-minute closer “Basketball Shoes,” a piece so bursting with feeling that you can practically hear the band collapse in exhaustion after its crashing finale. (Ben Stas)

HorsegirlCheryl Dunn

“Versions Of Modern Performance,” Horsegirl

Somehow both light and churning, Horsegirl’s debut makes it possible to hear just how excited three Chicago teenagers can be to come into their power by swimming around in the music they love. In this case, that means the ‘90s indie rock of New York (Sonic Youth), New Jersey (Yo La Tengo), and New Zealand (the Clean, Tall Dwarfs), transmitted into the current era through a pandemic and the death of rock ‘n’ roll. (Marc Hirsh)

“Preacher’s Daughter,” Ethel Cain

If the protagonist of a Karen Russell short story started making music, it would probably sound something like “Preacher’s Daughter,” the debut full-length album by Ethel Cain, who is the alter-ego of singer-songwriter Hayden Anhedönia. Raised in a religious Southern Baptist home with a deacon father, Anhedönia came out as a trans woman at 20 and started writing songs from the perspective of Cain: a fictional wayward all-American girl that Anhedönia calls her “cautionary tale.” A dusty shoebox of love letters, each scented with heady, poisonous perfume. (A.Z. Madonna)

“King’s Disease III,” Nas

Asking how a rapper can tap back into infinite talent at almost 50 years old would be missing the point. The late-career run that Nas has put together since 2020 — with Hit-Boy as his pilot light — is proof that time is truly a flat circle. Nas’s first language is rhyme, but the weapon he’s wielding now is the perspective that comes with all those years — plus Hit-Boy beats that fit him perfectly. (Julian Benbow)

RosalíaChris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

“Motomami,” Rosalía

Barcelona-born Rosalía came out of the Spanish tradition of flamenco, studying ways to update it for the 21st century with college theses that doubled as cult-conjuring albums. On her third full-length, she takes on the equally terrifying concepts of the immediate future and her worldwide fame, balancing moments of traditional musical “beauty” (there are multiple showcases for her impressive soprano) with blasts of blown-out noise, chaotic beats, and world-weary lyrics. (Maura Johnston)

“Spaceships on the Blade,” Larry June

The precocious emcee masterfully blends his more relaxed flow with R&B melodies on “Spaceships on the Blade.” The San Francisco rapper knows the importance of duality. On tracks like “I’m Him,” we see how effortlessly he displays his bravado. Then on “Things You Do,” June’s romanticism gets the best of him. On the closing track, “Appreciate it All,” he puts his life on a screen of panoramic proportions to simply declare: “The game’s been good to me.” (Candace McDuffie)

Samara Joy

“Linger Awhile,” Samara Joy

Joy’s second album (and major label debut) has been Grammy-nominated as best jazz vocal album, and Joy herself has been nominated as best new artist. The 23-year-old singer — who was winner at 19 of the prestigious Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition — is clearly an artist for the long haul: warm, inquisitive, learned, inventive, and with a commanding vocal instrument and technique to spare. (Jon Garelick)

“Heaven Come Crashing,” Rachika Nayar

Soundscapes of processed guitar and synth reach staggering heights at the hands of Brooklyn composer Rachika Nayar, whose second album meanders from ambient haze to stirring electronic beats and post-rock textures. The climb is only half the fun: The title track reaches a precipice only to freefall into a crush of drum and bass, propelling the rest of the record into euphoria and catharsis. (Karen Muller)

“Heartfall,” Miles Hewitt

“What’s next?,” you may start to wonder, as you listen to Miles Hewitt’s debut record, which holds together beautifully even as it defies easy categorization. Now the sound of stately piano and strings, now an ominous, driving martial beat, now pastoral folk; a jazzy mediation on, seemingly, the biblical story of the ark (“and it rained and it rained”) gives way to the dreamy psychedelica of “Reporter,” the sweeping pedal-steel arc of the title track, and the piano balladry of “Song for Sam.” “Heartfall” is truly unlike any other record these ears heard all year. (Stuart Munro)

Steve Lacy Ben Stas for The Boston Globe

“Gemini Rights,” Steve Lacy

You get the feeling this guy is going to be churning out his sweet-natured funk for a long time to come. It all sounds so effortless, like he can coo a gorgeous new melody or strum a sticky new chord progression every morning before he rolls out of bed. “Bad Habits” is the song that took off, but the whole album is like a cosmic daydream. Shuggie Otis should have been so lucky. (James Sullivan)

“The Car,” Arctic Monkeys

Once purveyors of jittery, arena-packing rockers, Arctic Monkeys continue their evolution into a suave, mysterious new beast on “The Car.” Frontman Alex Turner follows up 2018′s divisive moon-bound concept record by returning to Earth to sketch an enigmatic array of characters whose back stories and true intentions linger just out of frame. The group still grooves, but with a tasteful restraint and the company of orchestral arrangements whose retro flair casts them as a band outside of time. (Ben Stas)

Wet Leg Theo Wargo/Getty

“Wet Leg,” Wet Leg

An advance single as delightful as last year’s deadpan postpunk jam “Chaise Longue” can cut both ways for a band yet to prove it has a second song in them, let alone a whole album. But from dissociative kick-off track “Being in Love” to the questioning and genuinely open-hearted closer “Too Late Now,” Wet Leg never steps wrong, both reiterating and expanding on the ideas that drew attention their way in just the right proportions. (Marc Hirsh)

“Classic Objects,” Jenny Hval

I thought I was burned out on confessional songwriting for at least a few years. I hadn’t yet heard the Norwegian singer-songwriter’s “Year of Sky,” which creates an immersive landscape out of spare details and gradually thickening electronic textures as deftly as Monet created water lilies out of dabs of paint. Or “American Coffee”: Imagine Stereolab but slowed down and passed through a shimmer filter, as Hval in the same breath references metaphysical philosophy and having a UTI at the movie theater. In theory, this should be insufferable. It isn’t. (A.Z. Madonna)

Kendrick LamarScott Garfitt/Associated Press

“Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers,” Kendrick Lamar

Is this album a daring exercise in therapy as art? Yes. Can you listen to it more than once in a single sitting? Only if you enjoy drowning in pain. Kendrick Lamar’s last album on Top Dawg Entertainment sounds like it was as hard to make as it is to listen to, but it’s mesmerizing all the same. (Julian Benbow)

“Faster Than I Can Take,” Jane Inc.

On “Faster Than I Can Take,” Toronto-based musician and artist Carlyn Bezic grapples with the post-human world through smartly urgent pop. Bezic is particularly adept at electro: “2120″ is one of the year’s most immediate dance cuts, melding mashed synths, squalling guitars, and her desperate vocal into an apocalyptic anthem, while “Dancing with You” brings a warped guided meditation into its heady mix, brightly underlying the idea of finding nirvana on the dancefloor. But the psych-power-pop closer, “Pummeled into Sand,” is a different kind of groovy delight. (Maura Johnston)

“We,” Arcade Fire

The Canadian crooners have always probed the underbelly of the cultural zeitgeist. We heard it when they addressed the pervasiveness of religion on “Neon Bible” and rejected the proverbial rat race on “The Suburbs.” With their sixth full-length, their grandiose ambitions are fully realized. From the sprawling depth of “Age of Anxiety I” to the acoustic softness of the title track, “We” shows a band leaning into greatness. (Candace McDuffie)

“Ghost Song,” Cécile McLorin Salvant

Singer and composer McLorin Salvant says that with this pandemic album she was shooting for the “casual intimacy” of a diary. Her intuition and insight led to a profoundly unified emotional statement, both death-obsessed and hopeful, that leapt from Irish folk to field holler to modern musical theater and jazz, with composers as varied as Kate Bush, Kurt Weill, and Sting, plus a healthy handful of her own world-wise originals. (Jon Garelick)

Matty Healy of The 1975Scott Garfitt/Scott Garfitt/Invision/AP

“Being Funny in a Foreign Language,” The 1975

“The feeling of the internet” looms over The 1975′s latest record, but this time around, frontman Matty Healy fights through it in pursuit of total earnestness. Backed by fluttering keys and swooning saxophones, it’s a restrained effort by 1975 standards — the sound of an artist attempting to outsmart his own ego. It all caves to his inner googly-eyed romantic, and though Healy can’t quite tamp down his outrageous streak, there’s an honesty to that, too. (Karen Muller)

“Single Wide Dreamer,” Aaron Raitiere

This Nashville songwriter-singer (Raitiere’s preferred order of the terms) might be the closest thing yet to a modern-day Roger Miller. That’s not a claim to be made lightly, but listen to “You’re Crazy” with its riffs on that titular condition (“you’re a few sandwiches short of a picnic” . . . ”you’re a few clowns short of a circus”) and see if you aren’t persuaded. The manic wordplay, the sheer delight in the goofy, and the way in which the deadly serious is snuck in among both of those propensities are all here in spades. (Stuart Munro)

“Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You,” Big Thief

Yes, they went to Berklee, but please don’t chalk this up to hometown provincialism. Once upon a time the double album suggested a band that was en fuego — at a point in their evolution when every spark of an idea could warm a big old drafty room in minutes. There are 80 of them — minutes, that is — on this unfailingly fetching collection, which gives Adrianne Lenker’s (mostly) melancholy melodies a “Basement Tapes” can-do spirit. (James Sullivan)

“Skinty Fia,” Fontaines D.C.

The brooding third album from Dubliners Fontaines D.C. broadens and complicates the canvas of their taut, tense songwriting. Mournful balladry and a gothic atmosphere intertwine with the urgent bass lines and cutting guitars of the band’s post–punk foundations, while singer Grian Chatten serves as their beating heart. His world-weary lyrics and distinctive brogue — all rooted in the group’s proudly Irish identity — captivate like a bleak but beautiful novel. (Ben Stas)

Tears for Fears Ben Stas for The Boston Globe

“The Tipping Point,” Tears for Fears

Tears for Fears could coast for the rest of their lives, licensing out their hits to TV shows, movies, and commercials, and then trotting them out for a lucrative nostalgia tour every few years. But Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith are restless and they’ve been listening, and “The Tipping Point” updates their sound without chasing trends or losing the fundamental core of their band. It sounds like 2022 and it sounds like Tears for Fears. (Marc Hirsh)

“Traveler: A Journey Symphony,” Austin Wintory & London Symphony Orchestra

Ten years ago, a relatively unknown composer named Austin Wintory sent shockwaves through the world of video game music with his soundtrack to the atmospheric video game “Journey,” a cello concerto in all but name. “Traveler,” a re-imagination of the score for full symphony orchestra, features original cellist Tina Guo in front of the London Symphony Orchestra. Wintory strips the filler, adds more dimension and contrast, and what’s left is an even better version of an already excellent piece of music. (A.Z. Madonna)

“Before [Expletive] Got Weird,” The Cool Kids

In the world Chuck Inglish and Sir Michael Rocks grew up in, being cool meant wearing the freshest clothes and making the flyest music. You knew it when you saw it. Then . . . things got weird. Cool became a viral, trending, trolling, attention-seeking mess that people can’t take their eyes off of. Their triple album isn’t so much a stance against how cool works now, but a display of how it looks to them — songs for the trunks, the clubs, the bedroom, the beach, people who want to have fun minus the drama. (Julian Benbow)

“<COPINGMECHANISM>,” Willow

Over the last few years, Willow Smith’s wanderings around pop’s edges have zeroed in on alt-rock, specifically the super-hooky type with massive guitars, wailed vocals, and wounded lyrics. On her fifth full-length, her formidable voice leads the charge of big riffs and galloping drums; the opening track, “<maybe> it’s my fault,” uses bludgeoning guitars and Willow’s world-swallowing caterwaul to depict the crushing emotions that accompany a ruptured relationship, while “hover like a GODDESS” gains momentum on knotty verses before exploding into catharsis on its chorus. (Maura Johnston)

“We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong,” Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten knows how to write brilliant songs that contain the wisdom of a woman twice her age (i.e. 2019′s powerhouse anthem “Seventeen”). However, her sixth studio album shows how deeply nestled the songstress can become in her own thoughts — and the result is mesmerizing. From the cerebral intensity of “Headspace” to the dancefloor fodder of “Mistakes,” Van Etten gallantly breaks out of her comfort zone. (Candace McDuffie)

“Jump,” Julieta Eugenio

On her debut as a leader, Argentina-to-New York transplanted saxophonist Eugenio has tone, technique, and . . . tunes! That can mean a simple hook like the six-note riff that anchors opener “Efes” or the lovely closing “Tres,” which sits comfortably with the standards (“Flamingo,” “Crazy He Calls Me”), and inventive arrangements throughout. The dance-like support from bassist Matt Dwonszyk and drummer Jonathan Barber encourages Eugenio’s fresh discoveries in every phrase. (Jon Garelick)

“Two Ribbons,” Let’s Eat Grandma

Let’s Eat Grandma’s early work tapped into the world-building magic of formative-years friendship: pop experimentalists Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingsworth met at the age of 4 and started writing songs together in their early teens. “Two Ribbons,” the duo’s second album, confronts change and grief to ask what becomes of that magic in the real world. Glimmering tones and soaring melodies brighten a portrait of growth that doesn’t spare the confusion, pain, or beauty. (Karen Muller)

Eli "Paperboy" Reed Roberto Chamorro

“Down Every Road,” Eli “Paperboy” Reed

There is a long history of cross-pollination between the country and soul music worlds, and Eli Reed has added a new chapter to that history with his takes on 12 classic Merle Haggard songs, among them “Mama Tried,” “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive,” and “Today I Started Loving You Again” (a thrilling duet treatment with Sabine McCalla). Barroom ballads and honky-tonk shuffles are transformed into deep soul laments and pulsating shouters to marvelous effect. (Stuart Munro)

“And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow,” Weyes Blood

“God turn me into a flower,” sings Natalie Mering, accompanied only by a spectral organ, on her fifth album. Achingly beautiful, the song dissolves with the sound of birds in a garden, as the singer floats off wordlessly. She continues to refine her restrained take on classic chamber pop, in which every arrangement is just so, and every melody sounds like the slow drift of a cloud against a deep blue sky. (James Sullivan)

“40 Oz. to Fresno,” Joyce Manor

At a brisk 17 minutes, one might question if Joyce Manor’s 2022 long-player even qualifies as such. It’s familiar territory for the SoCal band however, who’ve made a career of fusing punk’s brevity and fervor with an open-hearted power-pop sensibility. “Fresno” finds them in their sweet spot, rattling off nine instantly catchy, endlessly re-playable gems packed with quotable lines and the warmth of a summer day distilled. (Ben Stas)

Orville Peck Amy Harris/Amy Harris/Invision/AP

“Bronco,” Orville Peck

In both production and songwriting, the sophomore LP from masked country crooner Orville Peck rhinestones more than the rawhide of 2019′s “Pony.” Here’s proof that he can pull off both looks: “The Curse of the Blackened Eye,” Peck singing to his demons through ‘60s tropical sunshine-pop. The lush “Kalahari Down,” which gracefully spins on the edge of poignant and campy. My personal favorite is “City of Gold,” a witty and unfussy paean to moving on by going home. (A.Z. Madonna)

“Zhigeist,” Elzhi & Georgia Ann Muldrow

A younger Elzhi was compared to Nas for his lyrical ability. Years later, the parallels are still there. He’s sharp and focused later in his career, rejuvenated by new inspirations like Khrysis when they formed the group Jericho Jackson three years ago, and now Mello Music Group labelmate Georgia Ann Muldrow, whose enchanting hook “Don’t forget you are loved by someone” on “Amnesia” serves as this album’s mission statement. (Julian Benbow)

“All These [Expletive] Feelings,” Too Much Joy

An album-length midlife crisis, but instead of being disappointed in the way their lives have turned out, Too Much Joy is disappointed in the world that was promised to them. So the grown-up pop-punkers rail against absurdity, push back against injustice and clownery, hold on to their loved ones for dear life, and try not to stand in the way of becoming better people. It’s hard work. And they’re contrarian enough to do it. (Marc Hirsh)