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2022: A Year in Review

Posted at — Jan 17, 2023

We’re nearly three weeks into 2023 and I am finally ready to review various things that I enjoyed about 2022. If you needed to ever ask “Well, how are things going Justis?” that is about the current status. Let’s see how many of these I get through before I totally lose steam. Or drink too much of this wine I just opened. Or both.

The lists

Well, everything is in multiples of five so I have decided to only produce four lists to really make this uncomfortable in my brain.

There were more than five good ska albums in 2022. That is pretty crazy. Here are five in a list based on what I think is good.

There were many more not ska albums I liked in 2022. It was easier for me to separate all of this out.

I read about six books that actually came out in 2022 in 2022. That is the best I have done in years. That being said, we are just gonna cover five books that I read in 2022, regardless of publishing year.

I still think it is critical that I do this and I did not even play that many video games in 2022.

The Five Best Ska Albums of 2022

These all vary in the amount and type of ska they are so this list is representative of ska and ska-adjacent music. I haven’t thought about what order I would put these in until this very moment. Even I am stressed out about what I might do. Please, lend me your strength.

5. Devon Kay & The Solutions - Grieving Expectations

Apparently I saw Devon Kay & The Solutions at Riotfest in 2021 and could never remember their name until I heard them again with this album release. That’s not because I didn’t enjoy them. It was just a long day. They are really fun and bring a great energy to their live show.

4. The Slackers - Don’t Let the Sunlight Fool Ya

The Slackers put out another album. It is good. They still got it. I will still see them every single time I can.

3. Bruce Lee Band - One Step Forward. Two Steps Back.

Bruce Lee Band is now a super group and it is flexed hard on this EP. Rosenstock, Jer, everyone is here. Each track is an absolute delight.

2. The Anchorage - Wild Stories

The Anchorage put out one of the most fun, catchy, and impactful ska albums of the year. These hooks in here? That’s the good shit. These were perfect bops leading up to and through a summer of great ska.

1. Westbound Train - Dedication

If you were to put a gun to my head right now, I would flip the top two albums every other week. In the end of November of 2022 I was in Las Vegas for a second time that year, the first time being for a cancelled music festival. I really don’t like that town and I was there by myself, hungover, and miserable. I popped my headphones on for a walk up the strip for my next work meeting and hit play on this album and transcended time and space. Walking down the disgusting strip, surrounded by places designed to bring out the worst in humans, and hearing that first chorus while wishing I was back near Cleveland was an experience that I would describe as “life altering.” I needed it then like the sports drink I was drinking for my hangover. My experience aside, this album hits hard with tracks like “Mercy, Wash Over Me,” and “Hang my Head,” while having some of the cleverest writing this year on “Gunfight,” and “Stranded.”

The Ten Not Ska Albums I Liked This Year

I am not sure that I have the capability to actually order this list? Let’s find out.

10. No Trigger - Dr. Album

An emo album that really straddles the line between emo-parody and a good emo album.

9. Belmont - Aftermath

It’s midwest emo and it’s fun. Some tracks have a little too much hip-hop-rock style influences but I still find myself humming along to the choruses even with the fake backing drums.

8. Dissidente - The War on Two Fronts

I know that this is ska-core. Go away. I made the rules and I can break them.

7. Hot Water Music - Feel the Void / The Flatliners - New Ruin

Now that these are now the same band, I never have to think about which one is better than the other one. Congratulations!

6. A Wilhelm Scream - Lose Your Delusion

A Wilhelm Scream had no right putting out an album this good. None. I am very happy they did.

5. Blood Command - Praise Armageddonism

Welcome to the “Justis needs to get pumped before pinball - the album.” I don’t know how I stumbled across a Norwegian Deathpop band as it really doesn’t sound like anything else that I listen to but, I love it.

4. Mom Jeans. - Sweet Tooth

I like Mom Jeans. I don’t really have anything to add to that.

3. Pool Kids - Pool Kids

I just think this Pool Kids album rules.

2. Action/Adventure - Imposter Syndrome

Chicago midwest smart and catchy as hell emo. This album is bangers top to bottom.

1. Carly Cosgrove - See You in Chemistry

“See You in Chemistry” just hit at the perfect really smart emo. The guitar riffs on this album are so gosh darn good that I think about them all the time. Even right now. Yes, even now.

The Five Six Best Books I read in 2022

Just add me on goodreads and keep up to date with what I am reading. I’m good for it. I read sixty-one books in 2022. Here are five. Er, six.

Ursula K. Le Guin - A Wizard of Earthsea

This is cheating because it will be one of the best books I read any year I read it.

R. F. Kuang - The Burning God (The Poppy War Book 3)

Susanna Clarke - Piranesi

Sofia Samatar - A Stranger in Olondria

Andrea Stewart - The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire Book 1)

Lynn Flewelling - The Oracle’s Queen (The Tamir Triad Book 3)

The Top Five Video Games of 2022

Have you met video games? I really had some stuff to turn the ol’ thought box off this year. Nearly everything was very simple and easy. Am I old now? I bought a steam deck and didn’t play any of these games on it. What is wrong with me?

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

4. Vampire Survivors

3. Slice & Dice

If you have an android phone and don’t buy Slice & Dice, you are committing a crime against yourself. Take yourself to jail.

2. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

1. Elden Ring

Elden Ring might be one of my favorite video games ever or, it is one of the worst sequels ever designed depending on when you ask me. I actually played through Bloodborne again this year and I think I still like it over Elden Ring. My mind is fickle though and I could be convinced Elden Ring is better with a cup of coffee. I will feel this way for years until the one day I tell you Elden Ring is obviously better.