Best and worst albums of Summer ’22

Jett Birsner and Cayden Osborn


Many of the albums reviewed on this list contain explicit lyrics.


Harry StylesHarry’s House 

Harry Styles is one of my top artists because of his music style, his willingness to take risks and his overall talent. While waiting for the release of the album, I was excited to see what Harry would do next, and Harry’s House gave me all I was hoping for and even exceeded my expectations. Styles makes connections to previous works throughout the album, which I especially appreciate as a long-time fan. Styles brings catchy hooks as usual, but he also includes tracks with deep and emotional lyricism such as “Matilda”. Matilda by Roald Dahl inspired this song and emphasizes a safe space for people in poor living situations and people with parental issues. The summer hit, “As it was”, gives off an inviting vibe with upbeat and poppy synths, but the lyrics focus on the rancorous feelings associated with loneliness. 

This album has range, and no matter the mood, there will always be a song for you.

Favorite tracks – Matilda, As it Was, Cinema 

Least favorite tracks. – Music For a Sushi Restaurant 

8/10 -C.O.


Minions: The Rise Gru 

As an average American, I love two things: the Universal Pictures movie franchise Minions and the music featured in those movies. After the 2013 movie Despicable Me 2, I realized that the producers had a talent for picking musical artists to feature in their movies. It’s been nine years since that time, and I still don’t get tired of hearing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. The Minions: Rise of Gru takes place in the 70s, a time of disco balls and bell bottoms. The soundtrack for the movie displays the era adequately. This is a compilation album that features artists like Tame Impala, Diana Ross, BROCKHAMPTON, Kali Uchis, and H.E.R.Hollywood Swinging” by BROCKHAMPTON gives off funky vibes that consist throughout most of the tracklist. 

A low point on this album comes via Phoebe Bridgers’ songGoodbye To Love”. It is so dark and gloomy, and it completely throws off the tone of the album. While the song isn’t terrible, it has no place in what should be a fun and bubbly soundtrack. The best song on the Album has to be “Turn Up The Sunshine” by Diana Ross and Impala. I feel as if it summarizes the movie and all of the tracks into one great song.

Favorite tracks- Turn Up The Sunshine, Hollywood Swinging

Least favorite track – Goodbye To Love 

7/10 -C.O.



Kendrick Lamar- Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers

This album was my most anticipated of the year. After five long years, we were finally getting another record by the great Kendrick Lamar. But was it worth the wait?

Lamar opens up about topics of childhood trauma, grief, toxic masculinity and healing in what feels like his most vulnerable album to date. Unfortunately, Lamar delivers his message using flows and production that pales in comparison to some of his previous work. Songs such as “Mother I Sober” and “Worldwide Steppers” offer insightful lyrics, but they do so in a boring manner.

On the other hand, songs like “We Cry Together” and “Father Time” are thoroughly entertaining to listen to whilst also delivering powerful messages.

I’m happy with the overall product, but I wish it were more sonically consistent.

Favorite tracks- We Cry Together, Father time, Savior-Interlude

Least favorite tracks- Worldwide Steppers, Rich Spirit, Purple Hearts

6/10 -J.B.


Brent Faiyaz- Wasteland

After delaying the album past its initial release date of Dec. 3, 2021, Brent Faiyaz released his third studio album with much anticipation and hype. When I initially listened to this project back in July, I had mixed feelings. I didn’t think there were any bad tracks, but nothing blew me away. Since then, the record has grown on me quite a bit, and it gets better with every re-listen. I love the energy brought on songs like “FYTB”, “ROLE MODEL” and “GRAVITY”. The skits, which reflect on the consequences of toxic behavior, are phenomenal with “WAKE UP CALL” being an absolutely jaw-dropping conclusion to their story. The song “ANGEL” is an especially high point on the album. It’s arguably Brent’s best song to date and is what all outro tracks should strive to be.

That being said, this album is not perfect. Certain songs can feel like they are dragging along such as “WASTING TIME” and “PRICE OF FAME”. Other songs feel like they just barely miss the mark due to a lack of effort coming from Brent and his team. “GHETTO GATSBY (FEAT. ALICIA KEYS)” is a great example of this. Nothing cool or interesting is done with this track, and that should not be the case when working with a legend like Alicia Keys.

Just a few minor things hold this project back, but it leaves me wanting more and I can’t wait for Brent’s next project.



8/10 -J.B.


Post Malone- Twelve Carat Toothache

Post Malone’s fourth studio album is easily his worst to date. In this record, Malone opens up about his relationship with people and substance abuse, but I honestly couldn’t care less because it sounds atrocious. The album starts off strong with the beautiful yet heartbreaking ballad, “Reputation”, where he battles with the expectations of superstardom while struggling to be a good person. 

But after the opener, the album takes an immediate nose dive into mediocrity. Every other track feels uninspired with bland production. This issue is especially apparent on the track “Cooped Up (with Roddy Rich).” The vocal performances on this album are not great either with tracks like “Lemon Tree” bringing out the worst aspects in Malone’s voice. Another issue with the vocals is the overabundance of reverb layered on top of Malone’s voice. It sounds like you’re listening to the album in a train tunnel.

This project is just a really disappointing showing from Malone with not a lot of good to take away from it. I can’t believe these songs were made by the same guy that made “Stay”.

Favorite tracks- Reputation, Lemon Tree, Euthanasia

Least favorite tracks- Insane, Cooped Up (with Roddy Rich), I Cannot Be (A Sadder Song) (with Gunna)

2/10 -J.B.


070 Shake- You Can’t Kill Me

You Can’t Kill Me is the sophomore project from 070 Shake, an artist who came to prominence in 2018 after featuring on “Ghost Town” and “Violent Crimes” from Kanye West’s Ye.

This record is chocked full of luscious production and powerful vocals that touch on themes of love and longing. The production of this album is the main draw as almost all of the tracks feature expansive and beautiful production that refuses to stagnate. This results in an album that holds your attention for the entirety of its 48-minute run time. Each track flows seamlessly into the next, resulting in a cohesive project through and through.

This project has very few things holding it back. The biggest issue with this album is that it’s almost too cohesive and many of the tracks sound very similar to one another. My only other complaint is that tracks can sometimes lose focus in order to switch things up. This issue is most severe in the song “Blue Velvet” where the peaceful atmosphere of the track is interrupted by a much more abrasive sound, and I think this only hurts the track’s flow.

Many artists go into a sophomore slump while putting out their second project, but 070 Shake soars on You Can’t Kill Me.

Favorite tracks- History, Purple Walls, Se Fue La Luz

Least favorite tracks- Invited, Cocoon, vibrations 

8/10 -J.B.


Drake- Honestly, Nevermind

Drake’s seventh studio album was a surprise release in the middle of June. The last time he did this, he released arguably his best work to date with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Unfortunately, this project comes nowhere close to his last surprise release. Drake abandons his usual style in favor of a dance-oriented sound that tries to recapture the feeling of his 2017 hit, “Passion Fruit.” Regrettably, his attempt at this style falls flat on its face as Drake delivers half-baked vocal performances over boring and repetitive instrumentals. His lyricism on this album is also underwhelming with “Sticky” being a key example of this and an absolute monstrosity of a song.

It’s not all bad though. The last two tracks on the album are easily the best here as they abandon the dance-oriented sound used on the rest of the album. “Liability” plays to Drake’s Strengths both lyrically and sonically, and the outro “Jimmy Cooks” is an absolute banger that can hang with some of the best songs in Drake’s discography. But It is too little too late, and these tracks aren’t enough to save the project.

It feels like Drake put a lack of effort into this project as he delivers an album that is easily the most forgettable in his discography.

Favorite tracks- Jimmy Cooks, Liability

Least favorite tracks- Falling Back, Sticky, Currents.

3/10 -J.B.


Steve Lacy- Gemini Rights

Steve Lacy first hit the scene in 2015 with the group The Internet, but he has garnered much more attention in recent years due to his success on the social media app, TikTok. Songs such as “Dark Red”, “Infrunami” and

“N side” have trended on the app, building hype and anticipation for his second studio album Gemini Rights. 

In this record, Steve Lacy touches on feelings of infatuation, loss of love and longing for the past over the course of 10 beautiful tracks. The record has incredibly tight production as Lacy Navigates through different feelings and sounds. The album features slow and beautiful pop songs like “Static” and “Give You the World”, but it also features tracks like “Helmet” and “Bad Habit” which switch up the flow of the album and offer a much more upbeat and indie feel. Although the album features multiple types of songs, it manages to stay both thematically and sonically consistent. The vocal performances throughout this record feel so sincere, and they meld wonderfully with the production.

The album is not perfect though. Towards the middle of the record, we get some low points via the tracks “Buttons,” “2Gether(Enterlude)” and “Cody Freestyle.” These songs have less focused production and structure when compared to the rest of the album. They kind of linger around, and this results in a lull in the tracklist.

Steve Lacy has something for everyone on what is probably my favorite album of the year.

Favorite tracks- Static, Sunshine, Give You the World.

Least Favorite tracks- Buttons, Cody Freestyle, 2Gether (Enterlude)