The pop culture forecast for 2022 is looking mighty fine, and we’re previewing everything we’re excited about this year with a series of lists. Just so you have it all in one place, we’ve also published our Most Anticipated Metal + Hard Rock Albums, Most Anticipated Films, Most Anticipated TV Shows and Rising Artists to Watch roundups.
2022 is just barely underway, and already, this year is looking to be a legendary one for music. There are dozens of acts both big and small making a grand return in 2022; whether it be indie icons like Mitski and Animal Collective, legends of the ’80s and ’90s like Tears For Fears, Spiritualized and Eddie Vedder, or pop phenoms like Charli XCX and Cardi B, there will be plenty of marquee album releases.
Not only that, we’re in a new era of releases entirely. During the initial lockdowns of 2020, many artists hunkered down and used that time to create — meanwhile, many others let themselves off the hook and waited until the pandemic began to wane to even record new music. Since then, genres and traditional labels have blurred even further, TikTok became the one of the most dominant music platforms in the world, and even vinyl sales reached a peak that many couldn’t have predicted (thanks, Taylor Swift!).
All that is to say that with restrictions loosening, live music returning, and a general sense of optimism in the music world, the time for high-profile reunions, supergroups, and one-of-a-kind albums is now. While the first half of 2022 is loaded with anticipated releases, it’s the unknown projects that will certainly get us talking. Will 2022 finally be the year that SZA delivers the follow-up to Ctrl? After their brief hiatus, will we get another outstanding statement piece from BTS? And, perhaps the biggest question: with Kendrick Lamar set to leave his longtime label TDE, is a new album finally on the way?
Only time will tell, but what we do know is that some of the biggest and widely-discussed artists are gearing up to release some outstanding music. Here is our list of the most anticipated albums of the year, with a few LPs and release dates still up-in-the-air.
— Paolo Ragusa
Editor’s note: Check out our upcoming release calendar to see more albums arriving this year.