Sonic Worlds: Best records of this year

The year 2022 has brought new music for rap, pop and rock

Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers 

“You entertaining old friends when they toxic” are the words of Kendrick Lamar in his single N95 from his latest release Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.

These lyrics serve as a wake-up call in a time where an excess of sensationalism and consumerism seems to be at an all-time high. It also is a juxtaposition to the braggadocious nature of hip-hop.  

Released 5 years after his last studio album, the anticipation for how Lamar would proceed was very high. 

The album follows a thematic storyline of a therapy session, with songs referencing grief and the way he has learned to deal with it based on his environment.

This can be seen in the song Father Time where he repeats the refrain “grown men with daddy issues.” 

The Song Auntie Diaries explores sexuality, We Cry Together highlights dysfunctional relationships. The tracks Savior and Crown have Lamar express his sense of responsibility for the height of his fame. 

Crown specifically sees Lamar step out of normal musical grounds, with his euphonious voice easily pulling off an R&B song with “I can’t please everybody” being dramatically chanted at the acme of the composition.

Where the album soars in lyricism and content, it also performs well with its vocal deliveries, flow, and music.

The opening track United In Grief sets the precedent for the rest of the album as the refrain “I grieve different” is shouted over lush strings and piano.

One issue with this album is its inconsistency, however, the variation also adds diversity to the tracklisting. 

Overall, this latest release from Lamar is a retrospective masterpiece encapsulating the mindset of the most influential artist of our time.

Rating: 8.5/10 

Harry Styles: Harry’s House 

Watermelon sugar and that summer feeling, however, it’s not the same as it was. 

Harry’s House is the third studio album by former One Direction member Harry Styles. 

The opening track of the album Music for a Sushi Restaurant is a theatrical and bombastic sonic exploration of nu-disco. While the following track and second single that follows Late Night Talking is a catchy synth-pop sing-along. 

After the flash of the first two songs, the cogitating tone of this effort becomes apparent in comparison to his previous two projects. 

The first thing anyone listening to the album will notice is the background harmonies that Styles provides throughout the album that transfixes you. 

It isn’t until Matilda where the album really slows down while still holding on to its enjoyable pop attributes expected of a superstar such as Harry Styles. The song starts off as an acoustic ballad before switching to a calming and beautiful piano piece

There are many themes of alcoholism, drug addiction and struggling relationships throughout. The song Grape Juice is a highlight of this recurring theme.

“A bottle of rouge. Just me and you.” while on Boyfriends he sings “He starts secretly drinking. It gets hard to know what he’s thinking,” Both of these songs tackle the strain of alcoholism in a mature and respectable way. 

The song Daylight has a memorizing chorus while atmospheric guitar rings out in the left pan and the verse features an addictive synth. 

Towards the second side of the album, the synth sensibilities are much more subtle but still blends well with the texture. 

Cinema is a nice musical shift in the album featuring an entrancing funk guitar and is overall the highlight track of the album. As the song progresses different musical elements from the overall project can be found and it climaxes in Styles providing some impressive guttural vocals, juxtaposing his feminine crossdressing image. 

The aspect in which this album lacks is by track ten it begins to become a sleeper. Satellites, while featuring acceptable singing, is repetitive, features corny vocal effects, and generally feels uninspired.

 While Styles provides great singing on Boyfriends, something seems missing and it would have benefited as an intimate track having more stripped-down vocals.

However, although the production and vocals can feel overwhelming and too glossy, this album sees Styles in a reflective mood while also moving forward and exploring new territories of sound.


Jack White: Entering Heaven Alive 

Believe it or not, the guy who made the song Seven Nation Army has continued to make music since it’s inception nearly 20 years ago.

The man’s name is Jack White and this year he has released two albums. The first, Fear Of The Dawn is an antipode to the album Entering Heaven Alive released this July. 

In a spiritual sense, to enter heaven alive is considered an act or recognition under diety for a person’s piety, which is maybe what the rock revival musician feels he deserves, considering he single-handedly saved Rock N’ Roll from death. 

The opening track A Tip from You to Me is a Folk jazz rocker containing enthralling piano licks whizzing left and right. 

All Along the Way, is a track which begins as a somber love song before igniting into a reggae rager and featuring some of White’s best lyrics.

“We met in the rain, in a field of burning sugar cane. And when the smoke had cleared. We found ourselves all alone in the world again,”


Help Me Along is a stark contrast from the former with it being one of White’s most upbeat songs ever recorded, featuring a chirpy organ and warm strings. 

I’ve Got You Surrounded With My Love is easily the album’s weak spot, with the refrain and guitar rift being far too monotonous, its electricity also doesn’t fit the timbres traversed in the album. 

 This song however is made up for with the steady moving and infectious Queen of the Bees.

Although A Tree on Fire from Within is a decent track, it never makes much headway leaving the listener wanting more, and is outshined by the following single If I Die Tomorrow. 

Please God, Don’t Tell Anyone has some of White’s most passionate vocals and has an excellent buildup as he howls during the ending. 

The tune A Madman from Manhattan is extremely groovy and features White’s normal prodigious vocal delivery. 

Altogether, White certainly is not his most ambitious on this record, however, he provides some of his most simple yet effective music in years. 

Rating: 7/10