Underneath our number 1 pick, you’ll find some vocab activities – read them through and then have a go at sprinkling magic dust on your creative writing!

  • MUSIC FOCUS: The best rock/pop artists of 2022 inc. Machine Gun Kelly, Years & Years, Tate McRae and Bush.
  • ACTIVITY FOCUS: The aim is to add to your toolbox of creative vocabulary. You will write short reviews of your favourite songs/artists/albums/live shows. At least one word in each review will be a word you wouldn’t usually use.

We loved SO many albums this year. Our favourite 20 are listed below, and there’s a playlist right here!

20. Pretty Sick: Makes Me Sick Makes Me Smile

Ethereal and evocative, Pretty Sick’s 90s-inspired first full album is a fuzzy masterpiece.

19. Rina Sawayama: ‘Hold The Girl’

Listening to Rina Sawayama’s ‘Hold The Girl’ is like eating sunshine. Power-pop at its most rhapsodic.

18. Deaf Havana: ‘The Present Is A Foreign Land’

It’s proving pretty impossible for James Veck-Gilodi to tackle his ineffable feelings of agony. Thankfully, his struggles have at least provided fuel for yet another emotion-soaked Deaf Havana album!


The calescent VUKOVI have absolutely found their own voice. Not an easy thing in a world where everyone has the habit of talking at the same time. ‘NULA’ is a detonation as much as it is an album.

16. Goalkeeper: ‘I Wish I Met You Sooner’

The best authentic pop-punk album of the year, ‘I Wish I Met You Sooner’ is a wistful and warm-hearted reminder that sadness and happiness don’t always have to be archenemies!

15. Machine Head: ‘Of Kingdom And Crown’

Machine Head’s leaden ‘Of Kingdom And Crown’ proved that – nearly 30 years on from ‘Burn My Eyes’ – Rob Flynn remains both a pioneer and an absolute powerhouse. Absolute respect is due.

14. Boston Manor: Datura

Not quite a full album, but still we had to find a place for ‘Datura’ on this end-of-year list: a bleak yet balletic record that somehow manages to bottle urban life. Mesmerising.

13. Dayseeker: ‘Dark Sun’

The empyrean ‘Dark Sun’ is a dazzling achievement. If you could hear the light breaking through the clouds, this is what it would sound like.

12. Taylor Swift: ‘Midnights’

There’s a murmurous quality to ‘Midnights’ that fits the title of Taylor Swift’s latest album so perfectly. Definitely best listened to in the blurry small hours.

11. Wet Leg: ‘Wet Leg’

The anomalous Wet Leg gifted us 2022’s most endearing record. Listening to it is a truly liberating experience.

10. Brutus: ‘Unison Life’

Listening to the illimitable ‘Unison Life’ is like being swallowed by a black hole being swallowed by a black hole being swallowed by a black hole. Unimaginably gorgeous/terrifying.

9. Pale Waves: ‘Jealousy’

No band in 2022 left less space between their heart and your ears than Pale Waves. The resolute ‘Unwanted’ knocked us off our feet with its unapologetic honesty.

8. Charli XCX: ‘CRASH’

In tense times, Charli XCX’s focus on life’s more ephemeral moments is appreciated. Our no.8 album, the ecstatic ‘Crash’, pulsates with the energy of living joyfully in the here and now!


The most fevered record of the year. Which is, of course, exactly what you’d expect from the pup-like YUNGBLUD. Impossible not to love.

6. Bush: ‘The Art Of Survival’

Sonorous in every way a record can be sonorous, ‘The Art Of Survival’ underlines the oft overlooked truth that Bush are one of the UK’s most important ever rock acts.

5. Maggie Lindemann: ‘SUCKERPUNCH’

The indomitable Maggie Lindemann’s first full album is as raw as it is resplendent. Awkward, alternative and all-consuming.

4. Tate McRae: ‘i used to think i could fly’

If the teenage experience is one of holding your breath and hoping for the best, Tate McRae’s metamorphic debut captures that feeling of at last being able to exhale. A magical, multi-layered pop record.

3. Dashboard Confessional: ‘All The Truth That I Can Tell’

Dashboard Confessional’s ‘All The Truth That I can Tell’ is equal parts sentimental songwriting and poignant picture-painting. A spine-tingling monument to emo.

2. Machine Gun Kelly: ‘mainstream sellout’

Another kaleidoscopic record from the relentlessly brilliant MGK, ‘mainstream sellout’ exploded hearts and minds alike.

1. Years & Years: ‘Night Call’

As luminescent as a midsummer dawn, the third album from Years & Years kept us smiling – and dancing – all year long.


Create your own list of favourites (e.g. 10 favourite songs of 2022 OR 5 favourite bands of all-time OR 20 favourite rock anthems OR anything!).


Write a short review of each of the picks you’ve included in your ‘favourites’ list. Aim to use a piece of new, ambitious (but appropriate) of vocabulary in each review. There is a list of the words used in our own list below. You may wish to have a go at using those same words.


Imagine you are at a rock concert OR that you are sitting on a hill, watching a sunset, listening to your favourite music on your headphones. Write a description of the moment, using lots of vocab from the list below!

  1. luminescent (glowing)
  2. kaleidoscopic (multicoloured)
  3. poignant (bringing to mind a sense of sadness or regret)
  4. metamorphic (changed into a new form by great heat and pressure)
  5. sonorous (deep and full)
  6. indomitable (impossible to defeat)
  7. fevered (excessive nervous energy)
  8. ephemeral (lasting for a very short time)
  9. resolute (determined)
  10. illimitable (endless)
  11. balletic (graceful)
  12. anomalous (different to normal)
  13. murmurous (low, indistinct)
  14. empyrean (heavenly)
  15. leaden (heavy; of the colour of grey)
  16. wistful (sad about something past)
  17. calescent (growing warm; increasing in heat)
  18. ineffable (too great for words)
  19. rhapsodic (extravagantly emotional)
  20. ethereal (extremely delicate and light in a way that seems not to be of this world)

Once you’re done, please do send your lists/writing in! We want to publish the most exciting ideas!

Have a look back at our favourite EPs/abums of 2021 and the songs we loved most in 2020!