"I think this is a beautiful album. Probably the best"
The competition for the most popular albums of 2022 (so far) has seen the biggest musicians in the world go head to head.
From Drake to The Weeknd to Beyonce, these music moguls have put out tremendous bodies of work.
They all span across different genres as well with perhaps the most surprising album coming from Drake.
His surprise release of Honestly, Nevermind was an entire house album.
However, other artists such as Mabel’s About Last Night and Kendrick Lamar’s Mr Morale & The Big Steppers have hit the hip hop, pop and urban interests of fans worldwide.
In a 2022 DESIblitz poll, we asked the public about their favourite albums of 2022. Here are the albums that have taken over their playlists.
Drake – ‘Honestly, Nevermind’
With 57% of the vote, the most popular album of the bunch is Drake’s Honestly, Nevermind.
It was a surprise release with the hip hop legend taking to Instagram to announce the project a few hours before it dropped.
Whilst the news was a shock, the direction of the album was also surprising.
Each track barring ‘Jimmy Crooks’ featuring rapper 21 Savage had a house vibe. Superfan, Matthew Schmid, declared his love for the album, saying:
“He does make a detour from the trap dominant sound his last records carried and leaves us with a satisfying dance album.”
With catchy vocals, club-type instrumentals and summer-fuelled melodies, it caught fans off guard.
Some loved it, others thought Drake stepped too far out of the box. However, it has been featured everywhere as the tracks started to grow among his avid listeners.
Anthems like ‘Sticky’ and ‘Falling Back’ have been ringing around the radio and many people now call Honestly, Nevermind a “classic album”.
Mabel – ‘About Last Night’
British singer and songwriter, Mabel, released About Last Night which took a new direction from previous projects.
Mixing in her traditional RnB vocals, the artist intertwined different inspirations in the form of disco and synth-pop beats that engages your ears.
Songs like ‘Let Love Go’ featuring rapper Lil Tecca and ‘Crying on the Dance Floor’ provide a unique look into Mabel’s versatility.
Her harmonies speak for themselves but the enhanced production resonates with listeners across the globe.
About Last Night debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, making it the musician’s highest charting album so far.
Metacritic scored the album a 72/100 whilst it was also well received by NME and The Guardian who both gave the album 4/5 stars.
It was also the second highest voted for album on DESIblit’s poll making it one of the most popular albums of 2022.
Chris Brown – ‘Breezy’
One of the most anticipated albums of 2022 was Chris Brown’s tenth studio album, Breezy.
It has a staggering 23 tracks but goes all the way up to 33 on the deluxe version. It features iconic artists such as Ella Mai, Jack Harlow, Bryson Tiller and Lil Wayne.
Whilst many thought the long tracklist would hinder the album’s impact, fans went crazy for the project.
The standout single is ‘Call Me Every Day’ where Brown teamed up with Nigerian megastar, Wizkid.
Many listeners declared it the “summer anthem of 2022”.
This comes as no surprise seeing as how it has already surpassed 19 million Spotify streams.
Brown and Wizkid’s vocals compliment each other beautifully and the soulful nature of the collaboration exemplifies how gorgeous the album is itself.
It’s a mixture of what the musician does best – singing, rapping, high production quality and beats that make you want to get up out of your seat.
Kanye West – ‘Donda 2’
Perhaps the most controversial yet popular figure in music, Kanye West, released his follow-up to Donda (2021) with Donda 2 in early 2022.
The hip hop project brought in the experimental nature of West as he loves to break the boundaries of the type of sounds he wants to create.
Whilst the nature of the music is engaging and expertly constructed, the themes are much more emotional.
West refers back to his high-profile divorce with ex-wife Kim Kardashian and also explains his insecurities and family concerns.
One review by a fan, Asanda Africander, explained:
“I think this is a beautiful album. Probably the best I’ve heard in a while.
“Literally something new. The idea behind it is to literally revolutionise the music industry. I think it did.”
Some listeners were concerned about West’s mental state given that some of the songs highlight his lack of happiness and empathy.
But, for the musician to bring this transparency in such an artistic way makes Donda 2 one of the most popular albums of 2022.
Charlie XCX – ‘Crash’
A highly voted-for album from our DESIblitz poll was Charlie XCX’s Crash.
It’s the fifth studio album from the British singer and features conventional pop and dance sounds.
It draws influence from the 80s and 90s, providing a real retro flavour to standout tracks like ‘Good Ones’ and ‘New Shapes’.
Charlie announced that she drew inspiration from the likes of Janet Jackson.
This emphasised how the musician wanted to test her versatility whilst deviating away from her traditional hyper-pop production.
Owen Myers from Pitchfork reviewed the album, stating:
“It sets a bar for creative mainstream pop.”
“The ruthless, intoxicating dream factory that can chew you up and spit you out and leave you coming back for more.”
Crash topped the charts in the UK and Australia and featured in the top 10 album charts in New Zealand and the USA.
The album is very mythical yet imaginative and very theatrical, creating a unique listening experience.
These popular albums of 2022 show the diversity of music listened to by audiences.
From pop to dance to hip hop, these albums have set the bar high for the rest of the music to release in the year.
Honourary mentions like The Weeknd’s Dawn FM and Beyonce’s Renaissance have also seen major success but didn’t quite make the cut.
Whilst this may change towards the end of 2022, there are still major albums set to release which could see a shift in popularity.