I can say with only a minimal amount of hyperbole that this may very well in fact be the worst year for music since the turn of the millennium. Worse than 2013, worse than 2007 even.
It’s hard to break from my regular talking points when contemporary artists refuse to move forward with their sound and abandon the reductive notion that analog/organic production sounds better, so here we are yet again with another few paragraphs about how bad modern music sounds.
In a rare bit of optimism I can definitively state that music – particularly alternative rock – had a good year. Even stalwarts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Liam Gallagher managed to successfully deliver memorable hits worthy of inclusion on future greatest hits compilations. More importantly, this was the first year in a very long time where I had to carefully parse the top 10 tracks and there was an actual deliberation process as to which song would take the top spot. Though it may not have been the absolute strongest year for music I’ve lived through (the second half was a little weak), it was absolutely better than 2021.
Harry Styles is not the king of pop. It’s pretty obvious that Rolling Stone only did this to fan the flames of controversy and reignite some interest in their failing magazine, but it’s still a very silly #HotTake. Styles may have the biggest song of 2022 with “As it Was” but how many others does he have to back it up? The bland and flavourless “Watermelon Sugar”? He may very well have a successful career in the future but right now he’s just the moppet of the moment, enjoying the same sort of fervour that surrounds his fellow countrymen The 1975. The only advantage he has over them is that he’s got a few recognizable hits around the beginning of his solo career, while the 1975 are well over a decade in and haven’t had one big single to date.
Oh, did you hear? That genre you like is back in style.
My reaction to the new Gorillaz singles:
My reaction to the new Arctic Monkeys record:
The former is a long, long delayed return to form. Gorillaz haven’t released a good song since 2010 and haven’t released a good radio single since 2005 – “Cracker Island” is both.
The latter is a petulant doubling-down on a bizarre fixation with 60s lounge music. I cannot stress enough how bad the new Arctic Monkeys album The Car is and genuinely cannot imagine how anyone can defend it. Two full records of audio molasses without one single memorable moment. I wonder how the rest of the band feels that Alex Turner has hijacked their group to resurrect his side project The Last Shadow Puppets?
The only thing worse than the new Arctic Monkeys record The Car is the new Weyes Blood record that wants to be the new Arctic Monkeys record. The sooner this reductive minimalist trend of analog recording is over the better.
What sort of simulation glitch nonsense is this?
10 years ago a band called The Neighbourhood released a dark but mellow single called “Sweater Weather”. Just a few weeks ago a band called Beach Weather released a song called “Sex, Drugs, Etc” that sounds almost identical to “Sweater Weather” in both style and lyric.