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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Last year felt like a long one, and taking a look back at all of the albums I listened to during 2022 made it feel even longer. Albums such as Harry’s House, while released in May of 2022, felt a lot older, showcasing how the past dozen months have stretched out. Thankfully, all of the new music that had been released provided me with a release from the drawn-out days and cemented my 2022. It only felt right to review my favorite albums, which provided me comfort and excitement in a year that was full of many events: graduating, attending college as a freshman, and starting a whole new life away from home.

Ivory by Omar Apollo

“Evergreen (You Didn’t Deserve Me at All)” went viral on TikTok last year, and for good reason. The song, with Apollo’s heart-wrenching lyrics and singing to match, is one to turn to when needing a good cry. To make it even better, the song perfectly reflects the majority of its album, and I often found myself turning to it. Of course, Apollo effectively portrays a range of emotions throughout the songs as he journeys through the experience of what seems like a very tumultuous relationship, where he depends on the other person for love and understanding, and I appreciate how accurately he highlights all of the things that one feels when it comes to being in a relationship. The album is relatable and it is accompanied by Apollo’s smooth voice.

Fave song: “Go Away”

Renaissance by Beyoncé

I fell in love with this album at the very end of the year, and haven’t been able to get enough of it. It’s a well-known fact that Beyoncé has a gorgeous voice, but this album really showcases how angelic it is. More so, I absolutely love, love, love how dance-y and energetic it is, and find myself listening to it when I need a confidence and dopamine boost.

Fave song: “Alien Superstar”

Stick Season by Noah Kahan

Again, “Stick Season” went viral on TikTok last year, and the song was only a hint to how great the rest of the album would be. He quickly moved to my third most-listened-to artist from the release of this album – I adore the indie/folk aspects of his singing and music, as well as the feelings of home, loss, and heartache he presents in his writing. To make it even better, I was also born in New England, so it’s a fun ode to the area that I’ve grown up in.

Fave song: “Homesick”

Surrender by Maggie Rogers

Overall, I just think that this is an exciting and loving album. It’s one that speaks of being free in love, of being free in independence, and of finding yourself. It defines adulthood, and I love to sing the songs in the car or dance to them.

Fave song: “Shatter”

Harry’s House By Harry Styles

As one of my most anticipated albums of the year, Harry Styles lived up to my expectations. The pop album stayed consistent with his single “As It Was,” maintaining an upbeat and groovy vibe, and serving as a reminder of past music from the 70s. I find that I’m always a sucker for a good pop album.

Fave song: “Matilda”

Hold The Girl by Rina Sawayama

I’ve been obsessed with Rina Sawayama since the release of Sawayama, and I loved her new album just as much as the last. I feel as if she’s always bringing something new to the table, at least for me. There’s a range of variety among her songs, and her voice holds such a powerful and enriching voice. I find that this pop-punk album is a good one to listen to while power walking around campus, despite the seriousness within the lyrics.

Fave song: “Send My Love to John”

Superache by Conan Gray

Superache was definitely my most listened-to album of the year. Each and every song I found super catchy and relatable. Conan Gray sings a lot of family, heartbreak, and longing, and uses his voice perfectly to express all of it.

Fave song: “Summer Child”

Preacher’s Daughter by Ethel Cain

If anyone’s watched the movie Bones and All, then they’ll understand the vibe that Preacher’s Daughter provides. A gloomy, haunting production of songs makes up the album, along with lyrics that carry a lot of religious undertones and reflect Americana. What I appreciate the most about the album is how much emotion Cain holds in her voice. This is something I listen to when looking for inspiration to write because the feelings that the album provides are so powerful.

Fave song: “A House in Nebraska”

Gemini Rights by Steve Lacy

While this album is the one I relate to the least on the list, the production of the songs and Lacy’s voice keep me hooked. I found myself listening to the songs over and over again due to their catchiness, and using the laid-back feeling most of them offer when wanting to relax.

Fave song: “Mercury”

Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You by Big Thief

Last but not least, there’s Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You by Big Thief. Each song in this album feels like its own little story, which goes to show how well Big Thief’s songwriting is. Like Stick Season, this album also has a homey vibe to it, like it’s meant to be played at a campfire with your loved ones. I find it very comforting, and enjoy the harmony among the artists and the strings in the background.

Fave song: “Wake Me Up To Drive”

Music has helped me journey both mentally, whether through emotions or the stories told in songs, and physically, in car rides and walking around campus. I’m grateful that each of these albums has aided me in those journeys, and I’m excited for what albums are to come in the new year.

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Aili Byron

U Mass Amherst '26

Hi, everyone! My name is Aili. I am an English and Communication major at UMass Amherst, and a few of my favorite things include hiking, reading, and (as you can imagine) writing. If you are ever struggling to find me on campus, just listen for Taylor Swift, and I'm sure I'll be there ;)