TOP TEN: Albums we disagreed on in 2022

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Dry Cleaning – Stumpwork

This album made this list before it was even released. And we split along entirely predictable lines. Me and Tom loved it and continue to enjoy an ongoing exchange of Florence Shaw’s often bizarre lyrics (‘my shoe organising thing arrived, thank God’, ‘they can fucking provide blank’, ‘Hmmm?’). Nobody else gets it and Stumpwork did nothing to change that. Once again they’re missing out. James Spearing

Nova Twins – Supernova

Who wants to listen to an irritating nu-metal derivative in 2022? Who? Well, Matt Paul apparently, and no surprises there from Linkin Park boy. Me and Fran hated it. Sam was impressed by their energy and to be fair their performance was the saving grace of the Mercury Prize show with flat showing after flat showing from most other artists on the night. But do I want to listen to it while sat at home? No. I like having a nice time and so do my ears. Strongly not for me. James Spearing

Gwenno – Tresor

As James expressed in our Top 10 disappointments, I also thought the Mercury Prize list was very underwhelming this year. I was initially excited by the number of albums I hadn’t previously heard, and then I listened to them. One that was a pleasant discovery was Gwenno’s Tresor – an alt-psych rock record sung in Cornish. I was impressed by how catchy I found these songs that I couldn’t comprehend. I was further surprised by how vehemently some of my fellow Bastards took against it on the podcast. Fran’s verdict? “Shite album”. Sam and Matt weren’t much more enthused. James stuck up for it though. Respect Cornwall. Tom Burrows

The Weeknd – Dawn FM

My album of the year came from one of the world’s biggest pop acts, and so I wasn’t that surprised that my enthusiasm came up against some of our editors’ innate miserables tendencies. James and Fran considered themselves “totally baffled” by my praise. Resident pop expert Sam placed it in his year-end top five though. If it’s good enough for the experts, it’s good full stop in my opinion. Just enjoy it, lads. Tom Burrows

Cheekface – Too Much To Ask

This album was fun, superficial and purposely absurd. Fran joined me in saying it was “genuinely funny”, but also “quite sweet at times”. Meanwhile Sam was aghast as it was ‘barely music’. Apparently, ‘I love this kind of shit’.
Not everything has to be so serious, Sam! Matt Paul

Wet Leg – Wet Leg

Well what more can we say about one of the most hyped bands? We have covered them twice on the podcast and heard James Spearing and Lisa Whiteman dismantle them as “one-hit wonders that should not have made a full album“, or “I’m glad they’re having fun because they’re going to need a job soon”. Sam and I thought it was a pretty solid debut though. It’s fun and silly, but with a little more depth across the album than the singles would have you think. Maybe they’re just too old now to enjoy some straightforward indie pop. Matt Paul

Danger Mouse and Black Thought – Cheat Codes

I gave this album a pretty positive review on this site, but soon after settled somewhere less favourable. I’ve not listened to it all since and it came nowhere near being in my top 20 albums of the year. On the podcast, I guess you could say the response was mixed. Consensus was that it sounded a bit dated, but not in a good way. Sam “really enjoyed” it and Matt “really, really enjoyed it” before Fran came along can called it “flat”, “samey” and “boring”. Tom summed the whole thing up in one word: “meh”. James Spearing

Arctic Monkeys – The Car

Look. Me and fellow editor Tom B can be trusted on this one, okay. Arctic Monkeys have created a masterpiece here, a thing of beauty – a work of near genius from back to front. In the arrangements, the lyrics, the stories, and the style we are looking at a true evolution. So when James failed to make it through a first listen because he found it so boring, when Matt called it ‘trash’, or when Sam said it wasn’t as bad as he feared but nowhere near as good as he hoped, we know they were all talking bullshit. It’s one of the top ten albums of the year. You can hear more words on this one in our most recent Picky Bastards Mini Podcast. Fran Slater

Beyonce – Renaissance

This is such a huge comedown from the marvellous Lemonade. When Picky Bastards writer and huge Beyonce fan Fliss Clarke texted me to say she felt the same, I assumed that everyone would agree that this was a boring, throwback mess. But no. Sam and Tom both have it in their Top 10 of the year and even James likes it. Not sure what Matt thinks, but even if I’m on my own in the editing I stand by my correct opinion. Bullshit on toast. Fran Slater

Yard Act – The Overload

It’s hard to look past Yard Act when thinking about albums we disagreed upon this year. Tom had it picked out in last year’s list of 2022 albums he was looking forward to but ultimately felt let down, Sam got angry at us for making him listen to it on the podcast, and James has moaned about it and every opportunity this year. They’re wrong. Me and Matt got a lot of joy out of it, saw the humour for what it was, and admired the wit. Fran Slater

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