Albums to look forward to in 2022 include January’s release of Years & Years’s Night call. This marks the resumption of singer Olly Alexander’s pop career after his starring role It is a sin, Russell T Davies’ hit television drama about gay Londoners during the onset of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Work on the program encouraged Alexander to rumble an album’s songs and, in his words, make “very upbeat, euphoric dance tunes”. The third Years & Years album, Night call is the first to appear after the group’s transition to a solo project for the singer: his two former bandmates are no longer members.
Also out in January, the new release of Earl Sweatshirt, formerly a member of California shock-rap collective Odd Future, is now one of the most distinctive voices in hip-hop. Like Years & Years, he canned an album’s material before making his new one, Sick!, which was inspired by the pandemic. In a statement, he said: “These songs are what happened when I came up for air.”
February brings the fast-paced sequel to Black Country, New Road’s debut. The London rock band’s second album, Ants from up there, is due a year after their first, a pace of production typical of their inventive, busy songs. Welsh writer Cate Le Bon returns in the same month with Pompeii, the sixth album by an unpredictable but consistently high quality singer-songwriter.
Next month comes the first of two albums by Jack White. Fear of the Dawn was haunted by the controlled mania of the main single “Taking Me Back”, with its heavy drumming and precisely delivered guitar weapons. Meanwhile, his companion album Enter living heaven, which comes out in July, was teased with the track “Taking Me Back (Gently)”, a soft old-fashioned country number, a distinctive act of stylistic juxtaposition.
After seeing his 2019 hit “Blinding Lights” dethroned Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” last year as officially the biggest single in US Billboard chart history, The Weeknd has a new album for 2022. According to the Canadian, it will be a be companion around 2020s Na-ure. “If the last record is the after-hours of the night,” he told Variety earlier this year, “then dawn comes.”
“Last month we had a group recording an album,” the owners of a Suffolk farmhouse announced on Instagram in August. They glorified the sound of double bass, piano and drums blowing at open double doors: “Thank you Arctic Monkeys.” The results of the Sheffield Group’s rural retreat will be announced in the coming year.
It was Adele who wasted the beans on an upcoming album by Kendrick Lamar. The singer told Rolling Stone magazine in November that she had heard new songs from the rapper, the same month he played his first performance in two years. Co-superstar Beyoncé also reportedly has an album on the way. She spoke to Harper’s Bazaar last August and said she had spent the past 18 months in the studio. “Sometimes it takes a year for me to personally search through thousands of sounds just to find the right kick or snare,” she added. At that steady pace of progress, a surprising decline in 2032 is perhaps more likely.