With the end of another year comes yet another round-up. This was a big year for music, bringing something for everyone — from die-hard music fans to casual listeners. We got albums that elicited deep introspection and albums that had us breaking our souls at the discotheque. The Gauntlet staff took some time to reminisce about all the music that came out this year and pick our personal favourites.
MOTOMAMI + — Rosalía
The MOTOMAMI+ album came out a couple of months ago after MOTOMAMI came out in March — a day after my birthday. So it was basically, in my opinion, a personal gift. This album is so good and so unique, as she combines different genres of music like flamenco, bachata, and mambo. Rosalía always gives 100 per cent to her music along with her choreography. I’ve been a huge fan since she released her first album El Mal Querer in 2018, and this album really satisfied my new-music craving.
Sophia Lopez, Editor-in-Chief
INFINITE DREAM — Bazzi
To be honest with you, I’ve been waiting for a new album from Bazzi since Cosmic in 2018. I could listen to the entire Cosmic tracklist without skipping any of them (“Beautiful” and “BRB” on repeat, if you know, you know). Needless to say, I highly anticipated Bazzi’s comeback after that four-year hiatus — it’s been way too long. He’s also one of the few people I’d actually pay to listen to live aside from Taylor Swift. I’m not a big concert girl but if he were to do a tour in the country, I’d definitely be down for it.
Eula Mengullo, News Editor
Harry’s House — Harry Styles
To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Harry Styles’s 2019 album Fine Line — and maybe it’s because “Watermelon Sugar” wouldn’t stop getting stuck in my head and I got annoyed so take that with a grain of salt. There are not a lot of albums that I can play on repeat without losing my mind, but his new album has all-around good vibes and fun beats with the type of songs that I wouldn’t mind having stuck in my head 24/7.
Julieanne Acosta, News Editor
Supernova — Nova Twins
These two women understand what makes punk music punk. Black punk duo Nova Twins released their second album this year and it was everything I could have wanted and more. They’re boisterous with their music — bordering on a kind of arrogance that you can’t help but watch. Each song is an experiment within the world of Nova Twins, incorporating elements of punk, hip hop and grime to create an album that transcends any genre. They show that not all female punk rockers are riot grrrl.
Sheroog Kubur, Arts & Science Editor
Mr. Morales & The Big Stepper — Kendrick Lamar
The world-renowned American rapper Kendrick Lamar returned this year after a five-year hiatus with the double album Mr. Morales & The Big Stepper. An ambitious self-portrait of the rapper amidst a larger portrait of the society he lives in. It’s conveyed not only by introspective monologues with frantic mid-song beat switches but also by a story or a performance duet. By no surprise, however, the self-portrait by the end of the album is left no more complete than the beginning as the parts of his personal life that the rapper shares like his trauma only leaves him more complex — more human.
Nimra Amir, Arts & Science Assistant
Laurel Hell — Mitski
This album marked the reflective sad girl era of Mitski’s career. I was going through a pretty rough time early in 2022. When I first listened to the album, I was healing and reflecting on everything that had happened and all the feelings that I had, so this album was the perfect soundtrack to my 2022. Every song on Laurel Hell goes hard. Mitski’s lyrics are so raw and powerful and the instrumentation of the music just surrounds and immerses you into an experience that surpasses the song. This album was such a perfect comeback.
Ava Zardynezhad, Opinions & Humour Editor
Midnights — Taylor Swift
Midnights was life-changing — truly a visceral experience staying up and waiting for the album to drop and listening to all of the songs. Every single track was a different yet equally relatable experience and proof of Taylor Swift’s lyrical mastery. She’s on thin ice, however, because of the TicketMaster fiasco.
Aymen Sherwani, Voices Editor
Dance Fever — Florence + the Machine
Well, it’s Florence Welch — you can’t really go wrong. This album in particular, though, reflects on the pandemic. Coming out on the other side of COVID-19, this album reminds us about the tough battle we’ve all been through over the past two years. Aside from the pandemic, Welch has some pretty moving lyrics, and the songs have a magical, Florence + the Machine-esque tone about them that I just love.
Megan Koch, Visuals Editor
Sidelines — Wild Rivers
This year has been one of solitude, anxiety, not knowing what I’m doing and working on me, myself and I. To help with all this soul searching I’ve been listening to calm acoustic folk music that embodies hygge — coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. This album is my hygge.
Valery Perez, Visuals Editor
RENAISSANCE — Beyoncé
The disco vibes and the album’s storytelling captivated me with every song. I will admit there is a lull in the middle of the album after “BREAK MY SOUL” and it’s intentional but gets picked up again with “VIRGO’S GROOVE” with six minutes of just vibes which I am all for. I chose “SUMMER RENAISSANCE” because it’s Beyoncé’s own vibe mixed with a bit of the iconic “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer. I have other faves on this album, but the two songs I chose capture the vibe that overtook my most played this year.
Ramiro Bustamante Torres, Layout Editor
Chrome Bull — Duckwrth
As an avid fan of the post-apocalyptic and Blade Runner aesthetic, I cannot help but listen to this album obsessively. Now that Calgary has entered its ugly winter stage, escape is but a pair of headphones away.
Namratha Badwawadagi, Volunteer Coordinator
The Car — Arctic Monkeys
The most mainstream indie rock band of all time came back with another adventurous album about how, sometimes, it’s good to be a little lost. The Artic Monkeys have been transforming the new-millennium rock scenery for a while now. This album reflects that a lot, as it works in the new direction the band wants to take and creates this lost-in-nowhere-type album. A great listen for the homesick who just want to ease their minds for a second and enjoy an incredible musical experience.
Rodrigo Verney, Sports & Lifestyle Editor