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“The top 5 contenders for album of the year?”

  1. “Bad Bunny’s ‘Un Verano Sin Ti’”

There is a reason that Bad Bunny’s “Un Verano Sin Ti” spent 13 weeks as the top selling album in 2022. Since its release back in May, the Puerto Rican pop star’s project has become the only album to accomplish this feat since Drake’s “Views” back in 2016. The Latin and trap infused 808’s and high hats on tracks like “Me Porto Bonito” are staples to the album, transporting listeners to a time and place where the vibes are good and the weather is warmer. Other tracks, like the opener, “Moscow Rule”, serve almost as a melodic discourse about heartache, joy, and summer love. Bad Bunny is the charismatic center to this summer soundtrack, and it is clear to see why “Un verano Sin Ti” has dominated the charts in 2022. 

  1. “Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Mr Morale & The Big Steppers’”

On May 13th, 2022, Compton based rapper Kendrick Lamar released his fifth studio album. With “Mr Morale & The Big Steppers,” Lamar picked up right where he left off with “Damn” in 2017. However, the album shows a much more vulnerable and introspective side to the rapper. Similarly to “Good Kid Maad City,” Lamar explores themes surrounding fatherhood, childhood, and the pressures of living in the limelight throughout the project. The album does not shy away from touching on controversial topics; themes of gender identity, cancel-culture, and American politics are threaded throughout the two-part album. “Mr Morale & The Big Steppers” is Lamar’s fourth album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart, and became the first hip-hop album of 2022 to reach 1 billion streams on Spotify.

  1. “Harry Styles’ ‘Harry’s House’”

At third comes Harry Styles and his melodious third studio album, “Harry’s House.” The U.K. born popstar saw his biggest debut week ever in the United States, receiving high acclaim for Styles’ heartfelt vocals and personally intimate lyrics. Styles also received an award for album of the year at the Music Television (MTV) Music Video Awards. Songs like “Love of My Life” and “Keep Driving” are tracks that most listeners can relate to on a deep, emotional level. The critically acclaimed, clear number one song off the album, “As It Was” is a melodic, poppy mood booster that will be sure to have any one dancing. “Harry’s House” is another strong display of Styles’ artistic creativity and initiative since going solo in 2016. 

  1. “Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’”

Just when people thought Beyoncé could not get any better, she came along and surprised fans with another classic. Since the Queen of R&B returned with her seventh studio album on July 29th, she has caused quite the stir in the music community. The Houston natives album, “Renaissance” was met with high praise and acclaim by critics and fans alike. The eclectic and exotic production of the album gives fans a chance to experience a different side to Beyoncé’s discography. The sometimes unique and futuristic tracks that the album provides have been subject to much debate over whether the album should be included in the dance/electronica category at the upcoming Grammys. A testament to the versatility of the 28-time-Grammy award winning artist!

  1. “Denzel Curry’s ‘Melt My Eyez See Your Future’”

Coming in at No. 5, is Denzel Curry’s “Melt My Eyez See Your Future”, released March 25th, 2022. The Florida rapper’s fifth studio released album is undeniably his most ambitious project to date, with symbolic imagery of Cowboys and Samurais. Curry displays his incredible lyrical dexterity through each track, and flexes his ability to immerse the listener into a deeply introspective and mindful world by sharing his thoughts and experiences on being a black man in America. Curry also plays with themes of perseverance and righteousness, exploring the gravity of mental health on tracks like “Walkin” and “John Wayne”. The overt, yet subtle fusion of trap drums over the somber and melodic jazz beats call back to the boom-bap era of rap; however, Curry still crafts a playlist unique to the genre. 

Honorable Mentions:

Taylor Swift – Midnights 

Joey Bada$$ – 2000

Wet Leg – Wet Leg

Earl Sweatshirt – SICK!

Freddie Gibbs – $ould $old $eparately