2022 has been one hell of a year for music, if you ask us. With the ’emo renaissance’ in full swing, as well as some absolutely lethal genre-blending at play, this year has been one for the books. From scene icons to fresh-faced debuts, this is a list that truly encapsulates a turbulent, genre-challenging year of music – so let’s dig in to our sweetest 22 albums of 2022!
Check out the playlist as you read!
22. Machine Gun Kelly – Mainstream Sellout
Make no mistake. Despite that heading, mainstream sellout was not one of Team Bittersweet’s albums of the year. After the tour de force that was Tickets To My Downfall, we were the MGK defense squad through and through, and we will stand by that, but mainstream sellout fell flat by comparison. With one exception. It’s… emo girl. Self aware, silly, just the right side of satire, and stupidly fun, Machine Gun Kelly’s WILLOW and Megan Fox-featuring ode to goth gfs everywhere warrants mainstream sellout it’s spot on our list, simply because we couldn’t write it up without acknowledging the masterpiece.
Listen to: emo girl
21. Drug Church – Hygiene
Hygiene is the kind of album that would spit right into your face – it’s a burst of nihilistic post-hardcore that is tired of pretending everything is fine. Nihilistic to the core, this grunge-infused release is wading through the offal that is humanity – it’s a nod of acknowledgement, a tip of the hat that says “it’s all pretty shitty right now, right?” Yet, somehow, we can’t deny that Drug Church manage to be unconventionally uplifting. There’s just something totally irresistible about belting out these rugged, disillusioned choruses and realising that you’re not alone in your feelings.
Listen to: Plucked, Piss & Quiet, Million Miles of Fun
20. Rolo Tomassi – Where Myth Becomes Memory
Where Myth Becomes Memory is spellbinding. Utterly gorgeous in every way, this is an album that continues to haunt you long after it has finished spinning. Rolo Tomassi continue to showcase the true sophistication of mathcore, pivoting between devastating brutality and ethereal grandeur at a moment’s notice. As always, vocalist Eva Korman is equally as fluid with her astounding vocal rage – bewitching nymph-like tones send chills up your spine, all before transforming into jagged, painfully exposed gutturals. Where Myth Becomes Memory is where darkness meets light, an ineffable thing of beauty and painful reflection.
Listen to: Almost Always, Mutual Ruin, Stumbling
19. Maggie Lindemann – SUCKERPUNCH
Pop-rock has long been a sort of veiled insult – dilute rock, rock lite, etc, etc. Rock elitists turn up their nose at the label, but 2022 has been a year of artists making pop-rock that broadens the boundaries of what rock is by drawing on sensibilities that make excellent pop music, and Maggie Lindemann’s SUCKERPUNCH alone is a fine representative for the genre. With her sparky vocals and arena-sized slick production, the versatility of pop-rock gets a proper light shone on it across SUCKERPUNCH.
Listen to: self sabotage, break me!, hear me out
18. L.S. Dunes – Past Lives
L.S. Dunes have nostalgia in a chokehold; melding post-hardcore with a distinctly emo edge, Past Lives is a raw, guttural reflection on live, death and everything inbetween. With minds from Circa Survive, My Chemical Romance, Thursday, Coheed and Cambria (and more) at the wheel, there’s no surprise this debut feels immediately familiar – the same emotional intensity that the scene was built upon, the very roots we grew up on. But that doesn’t mean this release feels like a ‘throwback’ – quite the opposite. This is a reconstruction of a genre from the very minds that constructed it in the first place. This is a release that oozes musical sophistication, one that only grows in magnitude with each spin
Listen to: Permanent Rebellion, Grey Veins, 2022
17. Ho99o9 – SKIN
Rammed full of visceral volume and unbridled energy, SKIN is the sound of Ho99o9 doing exactly what they do best: rattling the cage. With their howling combination of metal, rap, punk, the duo seem to have reached a boiling point in the time between now and their last full-length offering, and somehow manage to present us with both their slickest and their roughest in one delightful, brutal cacophony.
Listen to: NUGE SNIGHT, BATTERY NOT INCLUDED, THE WORLD, THE FLESH, THE DEVIL
16. Pinkshift – Love Me Forever
After breaking out over the last couple of years with some of the best and brightest new pop-punk had to offer, Pinkshift’s debut LP has been a hotly anticipated moment. But far from simply joining the halls of pop-punk royalty, the band decided instead to make a mission statement of versatility, tapping into every anthemic, addictive part of pop-punk music and blending it with a wider emo sound, delivered through bared-teeth vocals courtesy of Ashrita Kumar’s already-immense sonic command.
Listen to: i’m not crying youre crying, BURN THE WITCH, the kids aren’t alright
15. Petrol Girls – Baby
Baby contains some of the year’s most painful songs on some of the year’s most painful topics – femicide, abortion rights, protest rights, fighting to speak, all fuel what could be a devastatingly downbeat listen. But Petrol Girls don’t do it like that. In the face of everything that puts marginalised people down, Petrol Girls are incendiary, whether that’s a la Fight For Our Lives, which enlists ex-Dream Nails now-full-time-activist and full-time icon Janey Starling for a vicious answer to the epidemic of violence against women, or a la Baby I Had An Abortion, a dance party that rightfully, defiantly celebrates exercising the right to choose. It’s punk as it should be.
Listen to: Baby, I Had An Abortion, Sick & Tired, Feed My Fire
14. Nova Twins – Supernova
Alt rock duo Nova Twins aren’t here to make friends – they’re here to antagonise, to snarl in the face of anyone who questions their authority. Their sharp-tongued bravado is electric, the entirety of Supernova fizzling with an air of ferocity. From their brutal breakdowns to their slick, rap-infused flow, Nova Twins are undeniably cool. It serves as a mighty follow up to 2020’s Who Are The Girls? – as well as, yet again, providing us with an answer. Now, sit yourself down and listen – ‘the girls’ are speaking.
Listen to: Antagonist, Fire & Ice, Choose Your Fighter
13. Ithaca – They Fear Us
They Fear Us was, indeed, a fitting title for Ithaca to storm the barricades of the metal scene with total confidence that yes, they’re here to overturn it. Universally awe-inspiring and devilishly talented, their follow-up to their debut, 2019’s The Language of Injury, is a fearsome step up. Where their first outing seemed to speak a more forceful sort of musical language, relentlessly powerful but aggressively driven, They Fear Us takes a more restrained but somehow more flagrant route, Ithaca laughing in the face of those who aren’t fully convinced they’ve made one of the best records of the year.
Listen to: Fluorescent, Cremation, They Fear Us
12. The Chats – Get Fucked
The Chats are the sonic embodiment of your scrappy, weed smoking little brother – and if you don’t believe us, take a look at the album name. These pub-punks have mastered the art of making rough-around-the-edges anthems, tailor made for lobbing pint at a music festival. The album is whiplash-quick – truly a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it whirlwind of chaos. From complaining about being Paid Late, to the ever-increasing Price of Smokes, to the goddamn villain that is the Ticket Inspector, The Chats are truly speaking on behalf of us all. It’s everyman tunes delivered in a glorious, down-yer-drinks package. Now, come on – knock that Stella back, we’re on to the next pub…
Listen to: 6L GTR, I’ve Been Drunk In Every Pub In Brisbane, Struck By Lightning
11. Witch Fever – Congregation
Witch Fever released their debut record Congregation to no shortage of hype – and delivered. With it, they established the vice grip that their doom-punk sound looks set to hold over the alternative scene going forwards. Congregation was certainly one of the most intense listens of the year, and Amy Walpole’s introspections and reflections on religion are utterly compelling: Witch Fever are setting the bar with her evocative, seething performance, and it is as tangible on record as it is at their live shows (also some of 22’s best).
Listen to: Blessed Be Thy, Bloom, Bloodlust
10. Boston Manor – Datura
Part one of two, Datura laid the groundwork for a lighter dawn, but not before confronting the night. Boston Manor’s follow-up to the grounding DESPERATE TIMES, DESPERATE PLEASURES EP of last year, Datura sees the band liberated by leaning into the darkest they’ve gone – all the grisly cinematicism of Welcome To The Neighbourhood, all the bite and experimentalism of GLUE, and all the boldness of everything Boston Manor have ever put out.
Listen to: Passenger, Foxglove, Inertia
9. MOTHICA – Nocturnal
MOTHICA created another world on Nocturnal, and it’s a world we’d like to inhabit. Punctuating her pop-tinged grandeur with postmodern interludes, her little moth explores nighttime worlds from the moody swagger of LAST CIGARETTE or SLEEPWALK to the dark grooves of SENSITIVE to the downright sweet closing notes of TEARS. It’s a set of bangers, but it’s also an immersive feature film of an album that enchants on every level.
Listen to: SLEEPWALK, BEDTIME STORIES, III
8. Modern Error – Victim of a Modern Age
Victim of a Modern Age is liminality refined; existing in a middle-ground of tender instrumentation and synthetic brutality, Modern Error’s debut epitomises the potential of true, unrestrained sonic duality. The Pinchin twins have shed the skin of their post-hardcore roots, and unveiled an undeniable level of musical prowess. As industrial whirring clashes with soaring, hazy distortion, you can’t help but feel overcome with a sense of violent euphoria. Masterfully crafted and creatively enrapturing, Victim of a Modern Age is an album that only matures with each listen. Definitely one to listen to and absolutely lose yourself in the depths of.
Listen to: It’s Just A Feeling, The Truest Blue, A Vital Sign
7. Stand Atlantic – f.e.a.r
Who can resist a little bit of pop punk, eh? Stand Atlantic’s f.e.a.r. is undeniably the Aussie collective’s most on-brand release to date; kick-ass anthems are presented with a defiant middle finger and a cackle of brazen laughter. It’s an album that refuses to bow down to pop punk conventions of ‘I hate this town/myself/everything’, instead focusing on overcoming those feelings in a relentless slew of upbeat, confident bangers. f.e.a.r. is exactly what pop punk should be – quick, sharp and riotously fun. What’s not to love?
Listen to: molotov [OK], pity party, deathwish
6. Camp Cope – Running With The Hurricane
With Running With The Hurricane, Camp Cope took every bit of love that had been thrown at them over previous albums Camp Cope and How To Socialise and Make Friends, and turned it Running With The Hurricane. With a spectrum of emotions and a deftness of naturalistic, warm songwriting, Camp Cope have created a rich, uplifting, cathartic experience of a record that manages to be at once heartbreaking and encouraging. Two sides of a coin often found together, but rarely as well done as Camp Cope.
Listen to: Running With The Hurricane, Sing Your Heart Out, The Screaming Planet
5. The Callous Daoboys – Celebrity Therapist
I want my Callous Daoboys!!! And, boy, we don’t blame you – Celebrity Therapist is an acid-reflux of a record, truly the epitome of whiplash song-structuring and venomous sarcasm. These loveable rogues serve up a masterclass in defying expectations; shifting between cheeky sasscore, post-hardcore and gruelling metalcore, The Callous Daoboys have undeniably outdone themselves this time round. If you’re looking for a new-age Dillinger Escape Plan with an extra injection of barbershop crooning and contemporary socio-political discourse, then look no further – you sure are in for a treat
Listen to: Star Baby, What Is Delicious? Who Swarms?, Violent Astrology
4. Static Dress – Rouge Carpet Disaster
Roll out the red carpet – here come the pioneers of the ‘emo renaissance’. Pairing visceral breakdowns and gut-wrenching lyrics, Static Dress are renovating and redefining what ‘emo’ truly has the potential to be; with sprinkles of rousing punk and raw metalgaze inflections, Rouge Carpet Disaster is a multi-faceted whirlwind of a debut. Doused in rich imagery and an overwhelming attention to detail, this is a release that only ripens with each listen – so get ready to delve in.
Listen to: fleahouse, Unexplainabletitlesleavingyouwonderingwhy (Welcome In), Courtney, Just Relax
3. Bob Vylan – Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life
When Bob Vylan released Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life back in April, it was a damning indictment of every step of the institution of Great Britain. Devastatingly, as we round out the year it is a fiercer listen, more essential, and more sharp commentary on a situation that’s not begun to be fixed but has, in fact, worsened. But with Bob Vylan’s wicked, impolite punk, it is clear at least that someone cares, and someone is willing to make noise where other people won’t.
Listen to: Pretty Songs, Health Is Wealth, Whatchugunnado?
2. Scene Queen – Bimbocore Vols I and II
For exceptional cases, we will make exceptions. Scene Queen didn’t release an album this year, technically. But across Bimbocore Volume I and Bimbocore Volume II, she released two separate cuts of perfection that come together to form a hot-pink, searing slice of the year’s best genre-bending metalcore. Taking aim at everyone from creepy men to genre elitists to pop-punk pervs in a discography where everything is pink, Scene Queen claimed her crown as indubitable, vibrant, bubbly ruler of the girlies. Stomping in pink demonias all over everyone who takes metal too seriously, Bimbocore’s energy is infectious and irresistible.
Listen to: Pink Rover, Pink G-String, Pink Barbie Bandaid
And finally, in the only possible close to 2022, our best album of the year… is two albums. They defined our year, they gave us immense joy, they were dizzyingly brilliant live and on record, they came together and made us choose more times than we care to count and broke our hearts by doing so… NO MORE! In Bittersweet’s Best of 2022, finally, we bring them together <3
Pup – The Unravelling of Puptheband
The tone of this release can be understood simply by listening to opening track Four Chords; as singer Stefan Babcock fumbles the end of the track, slipping up while playing the literal four chords featured on track, the deeply sarcastic and self-critical nature of The Unravelling of Puptheband is cemented. A multi-layered howl of nihilism, punk rockers PUP deliver every lyric with a glint in the eye and a shit-eating grin. If you’ve found yourself in the horrifying limbo of being “too old for teen angst, too young to be washed,” then this burst of offbeat euphoria might be just the album for you. Tongue-in-cheek at its finest.
Listen to: Totally Fine, Matilda, PUPTHEBAND Inc. Is Filing For Bankruptcy
Vukovi – NULA
With its frazzled electronics and synth-rock grandeur, NULA is nothing short of a triumph. Combining Vukovi’s penchant for punchy breakdowns and sparkling choruses, this release is a glorious cocktail of snarling catharsis. Battling with themes of empowerment, self-worth and sexual freedom, this concept album manages to deliver sharp-tongued reflections on our own reality, while still serving as a blissful burst of escapism. Though it may be tempting to knock out a space-adjacent pun about how “out-of-this-world” NULA truly is, we honestly feel like the music speaks for itself. It’s an album fierce enough to turn your stomach, while also solidifying Janine Shilstone as a bone fide popstar. A total delight.
Listen to: LASSO, KILL IT, I EXIST