Kings9ja: Best artists to listen to in 2022

The music industry is brimming with beautiful and talented voices that have taken the world by storm—from Elvis Presley, The Beatles to South Korea’s BTS. Each of their albums tackles different stories, experiments with different genres of music and challenges the very definition of music itself. They have never been afraid to embrace their musicality, paving the way for the entire music industry to thrive.

Thanks to Spotify and other music streaming platforms, you can get ahold of these artists in just a couple of clicks. Whether you like indie rock, pop or punk music, you’ll find someone who can make you fall in love with the world of music even more. Others can even inspire you to pursue your dreams of being a world-known musician, or write your own music and release albums!

So, to get you started, here are some of the best artists you need to give a listen to in 2022:

Mitski

The first time you listen to Mitski, you may assume that she invented the concept of longing and ache, her painfully written songs paired with a haunting voice. Mitski Miyawaki, a Japanese-American singer-songwriter, is known for having an enigmatic personality. Although she has been a part of the music industry ever since for a long time now, she has managed to keep her life private, away from the gawking eyes of outsiders.

While studying at Purchase College’s Conservatory of Music, Mitski released her first two albums on her own—Lush and Retired from Sad, New Career in Business. The first album’s first track, Liquid Smooth, sounds like you’re living in the Victorian era, with Mitski’s lonely vocals accompanying you. Some of her tracks also seem like pieces of a puzzle you need to complete, telling a story that only Mitski could ever pull off. 

Top tracks:

  • Class of 2013 (Retired from Sad, New Career in Business)
  • Texas Reznikoff (Bury Me At Makeout Creek)
  • Francis Forever (Bury Me At Makeout Creek)
  • Your Best American Girl (Puberty 2)

Turnover

Turnover was once labelled as a pop-punk band after they released their first studio album, Magnolia. But after they released Peripheral Vision, Good Nature and Altogether, they proved that their sound is ever-changing, not meant to be boxed in one category. 

Formed in  Virginia Beach in the year 2009, the band is popularly known for releasing Peripheral Vision, a dream-pop record that made them even more famous in the music scene. This is the point where the band finally got over their pop-punk roots and moved to make wistful indie rock music.

Let’s start with Cutting My Fingers Off—the album’s opening track. Its beautiful beginning feels like you’re falling into a dream, getting you hooked for the rest of the album. It revolves around the aftermath of a breakup: the grief, what-ifs and apologies disguised as regrets. You know, that feeling that you get when you know someone has already slipped between your fingers, forever out of reach.

Top tracks:

  • Cutting My Fingers Off (Peripheral Vision)
  • Pure Devotion (Good Nature)
  • Dizzy on the Comedown (Peripheral Vision)
  • Diazepam (Peripheral Vision)

Taylor Swift

At this point, meeting someone who has never heard of Taylor Swift gives you the impression they’re living under a rock. And if you’re ever one of these people, then it’s time to jump on the Swift train as well and enjoy world-class music right at your fingertips!

Born in Pennsylvania, Taylor Swift is known for her narrative songwriting, helping her gain multiple awards throughout her career. She took the world by storm when he released two albums unannounced—Folklore and Evermore. These albums both received critical acclaim, special thanks to Swift’s talent in storytelling.

She surprised the music industry once again when she released a re-recording of one of her best-selling albums—Red (Taylor’s Version). This is where she proved again and again how versatile her songwriting is. Every song is filled with vivid imagery, stories of romance, tender vocals and that slow, persistent ache of going through losses. 

Of course, the highlight of the album is the most-awaited 10-minute version of All Too Well. The song got a bit longer, and more vulnerable in every sense. It showed the moments of a relationship—how they fell in love, the in-betweens and how everything fell apart in just a snap. The song showed scenes of raw anger, arguments and above all else, foolishness.

Top tracks:

  • Champagne Problems (Evermore)
  • Exile (Folklore)
  • Enchanted (Speak Now)
  • All Too Well (Red)
  • Happiness (Evermore)

Olivia Rodrigo

If Adele is the go-to singer for people going through a divorce, Olivia Rodrigo is the go-to artist if you want to remember your teenage heartbreaks. Rodrigo started her music career in 2020 after signing with Interscope Records and Geffen Records. The following year, she wrote and released her debut single Drivers License which broke records in the music industry. With this, Olivia Rodrigo is hailed as one of the most versatile artists of her generation.

Things got even better for the 18-year-old singer when she released her debut album, Sour. Most of the songs revolve around teenage relationships that went sour, like a bottle of milk that was left abandoned on the kitchen counter. For instance, in Deja Vu, Rodrigo sings about the pain of watching your ex-partner replaces you with someone else, doing exactly the things they did with you. 

She also wrote about how when you’re young, you try so hard to transform yourself into something you’re not just to fit in. Oftentimes, you do it just so someone could fall in love with you. You start wearing makeup, tweaking your fashion sense and changing your persona in the hopes of being loved. But when all is said and done, you realize that everything is futile, and you’d do everything in your power to gain yourself back. 

Top tracks:

  • Drivers License (Sour)
  • Good 4 U (Sour)
  • Deja Vu (Sour)
  • Happier (Sour)

Radiohead

It’s impossible to not fall in love with Radiohead’s music, each of their albums has beautifully written lyrics and melody that could cut straight through your heart. It feels like you’re peacefully walking on a street somewhere in New York, then the next thing you know, you’re sobbing your heart out on the pavement.

Considered to be an English rock band, the band is popularly known for releasing Creep, a track that is a part of their debut album Pablo Honey. It shortly became a worldwide hit, establishing Radiohead as one of the most influential bands of the century. The band is also known for mixing different genres, incorporating jazz, rock and classical music in one song.

Top tracks:

  • Creep (Pablo Honey)
  • Fake Plastic Trees (The Bends)
  • I Promise (OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017).

How to discover new music

You’ve been there before. It’s been months since you’ve listened to a new artist and delved into their albums. You’re stuck playing the same playlists every time you go to work, wash the dishes or drive for hours. So, how can you start discovering new music now that new artists are emerging, giving you endless options? Here’s how:

Explore music streaming platforms

One of the best things about living in this era is that you won’t have to buy CDs, cassette tapes and vinyl records anymore just to play your favourite songs. Now, you have Spotify, YouTube Music and iTunes, making music more accessible than ever before. 

If you’re stuck in a music rut, this is the best place to start! Use your accounts to search for newly released albums and up-and-coming artists. You can even sign up for a Soundcloud or Bandcamp account where you can support independent musicians and buy their merch.

Read reviews

Another option is to read music reviews posted online. You can visit Vulture and Pitchfork, or just read your friend’s Facebook posts about the albums they’re listening to. What’s good about reading reviews is that they give you an outline or a sketch of what to expect. This is especially helpful when you’ve never tried listening to a certain musician but want to explore their art.

Listen to the radio

Listening to the radio seems like something that’s already obsolete. Now that you already have the Internet, why waste your time waiting for hours before a radio station plays something you’d like? 

However, before the rise of music streaming services, radio was known to be the best way of discovering new artists. When you don’t have enough energy to read reviews or scroll through playlists, you can just turn on the radio and let the stations do the work! 

Attend local events

During your free time, try attending local music shows and festivals near your area. This is where bands and artists get together to play some of their tracks and expand their fanbase. You never know, you might meet your next favourite band at these events, so don’t miss out on them!

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