RSU Radio’s Best of 2022

As another year in music comes to a close, RSU Radio DJs took some time to look back at their favorite releases of 2022. Each DJ brings a unique perspective to RSU Radio, so it should be no surprise that there was no consensus top album of the year. Take a look at some of our favorite albums of 2022.

The Reverend Dr. Ray – HiFi Heresy host

1. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Super Deluxe Edition 
I remember hearing rumblings about Wilco’s new album never seeing the light of day back in 2000. I was extremely disappointed as I was curious to see how they would follow up the underwhelming, to me at the time, Summerteeth. Fast forward a few months later to 2001, and the band stunned the world when they began streaming, for free, the album on their website. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot had been rejected by their label Reprise. So, the band bought the album from the label and did what they did. In the end, Wilco wound up selling the album to Nonesuch Records, itself a subsidiary of Warner Brothers (just like Reprise). YHF was given a proper release in 2002. The band was paid twice by the same company to make the album! Truth is truly stranger than fiction. All that background is needed to illuminate why this is my top pick for 2022. This comprehensive set contains 8 CDs’ worth of music – early demos, rough sketches, live versions, and, finally, finished songs. To hear this release is to experience the band during their most creative and tumultuous period. This set is a true gift to Wilco fans, and I’d argue to true music fans in general. Not only is this my pick for the best release of 2022, it now takes a spot in my top 10 list of all time.
2. The Beatles – Revolver Deluxe Box Set
3. The Sadies – Colder Streams
4. The Darts – Love Tsunami single
5. King Cornelius & The Silverbacks – Monkey or a Man single
6. Alvvays – Blue Rev
7. Old 97s – One More Ride EP (Johnny Cash covers) 
8. The Monkees – Headquarters Super Deluxe Reissue 
9. Jack White – The Supply Chain Issues Tour 
10. The Surfrajettes – Roller Fink 

Maria – The Lounge host

1. Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Texas Moon

If you have spoken to me about music in the past 3 years, odds are I have mentioned Khruangbin. When asked what is one artist I need to see live before I die? It is always Khruangbin. I would say the same about Leon Bridges but I was lucky enough to catch him live during his Gold Diggers Sound Tour in April. Despite my enduring fanfare for both of these acts, I promise they have climbed to the top of this list for their songwriting and panache alone.

Texas Moon is an answer to 2020’s Texas Sun, the first official collaboration between the two. Texas Sun was a masterpiece– blending both acts to create something much bigger than the sum of its parts. They essentially created a new band with Bridges’ fine-tuned voice coasting over noodly melodies. As naturally as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, they followed it up with Texas Moon. It’s calmer, moodier, and better with every listen. It incorporates new sounds, from the slow neo-funk stylings of “Doris” to the more fast-faced lead single “B-Side.” Combined, the two EPs make a warm, well-rounded listen with two distinct moods. Even better, both Bridges and Khruangbin say they played to continue the collaboration. Let us hope their foray into night and day evolves into a full-length album soon.
2. Sudan Archives – Natural Brown Prom Queen
3. SASAMI – Squeeze 
4. Beach House – Once Twice Melody
5. Ezra Collective – Where I’m Meant to Be
6. Makaya McCraven – In These Times
7. Dry Cleaning – Stumpwork
8. Yard Act – The Overload
9. Nulifer Yanya – PAINLESS
10. The Comet is Coming – Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam

DJ Sweet JT – Otacore host

1. SiM – “The Rumbling” (Attack on Titan: The Final Season)
For as much as I like Linked Horizon’s Wings of Liberty, The Rumbling is the best Attack on Titan Opening. It has been a constant on Otakore this year, with it’s hard instrumentals, epic scope and dramatic theming. It’s the perfect set dressing for a grimdark story like Attack on Titan’s Final Story Arc (even though it’s not the final season they’re doing the harry potter thing).
2. Millenium Parade – “U” (Belle)
Mamoru Hosoda, like many anime directors, takes a lot of inspiration from Disney. But his latest film, Belle, is very explicitly a Disney princess movie. Specifically, a modernized retelling of Beauty and the Beast with musical numbers to boot. The film opens with a bombastic showcase of its digital world set to the main character singing for an audience of hundreds of thousands of avatars. It immediately captures your imagination of an infinite digital community, and serves as the perfect opening to the final chapter of Mamoru Hosoda’s Internet Trilogy.
3. The Armed – “Night City Aliens” (Cyberpunk Edgerunners)
This song technically released in 2020, but it didn’t enter anime fandom until the release of Cyberpunk Edgerunners. After the video game had a rough launch in 2020, this year’s anime prequel managed to completely 180 the series’ reputation with stellar writing and production by Studio Trigger (Little Witch Academia)  and directing by Hiroyuki Imaishi (Gurren Laggan). This is one of the best shows Trigger has done in nearly a decade, and it’s playlist of songs from the game lends itself to a distinct, streetwise edge. The highlight being Night City Aliens by The Armed which plays during the show’s 7th episode.
4. Dawid Podsiadło – “Let You Down” (Cyberpunk Edgerunners)
This song acts as the ending theme for Cyberpunk Edgerunners, and it’s down beat feel serves as a welcome reprieve from the otherwise loud and intense feel of the show itself. It’s ending scroll features Lucy as she explores the city. Being the rock that main character David Martinez leans on throughout the show, she serves as the contrasting visual against the hopeless lyrics depicting the neon soaked future of Night City.
5. Yoasobi – “Just a Little Step” (E Side 2)
I’ve been a fan of Yoasobi since Into the Night got really big on TikTok. This pop duo has exploded in the otaku space over the past few years, and especially in English speaking countries. To follow through with this newfound popularity, the pair began the E-Side series. This is a collection of their previous songs where Ikura (lead vocals) performs all of their biggest hits in surprisingly good English! Just a little step is my personal favorite, but “The Blessing” is the ending theme for Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury!
6. Porter Robinson – “Everything Goes On” (League of Legends: Star Guardian)
Porter Robinson was the head of the biggest anime music video of the last decade with Shelter, and he returns to Otaku Culture in his latest collaboration with Riot Games (League of Legends) and Red Dog Culture House (Voltron Legendary Defender). There are hits of magical girl aesthetics in Shelter, but Everything Goes On goes full on Mahou Shoujo in this homage to classic magical girl shows like Sailor Moon.
7. Lil Nas X – “Star Walkin’” (League of Legends World Championship)
I may not be big into League of Legends, but I really wish I was because the audio visual talent is off the charts. Arcane blew Netflix viewers away with rich characterization for it’s cast, KDA brings a K-Pop flavor to the world of Runeterra, and the upcoming Project L is appealing to fighting game fans such as myself. But this year’s World Championship had a main theme by Grammy award winning pop artist Lil Nas X. Fans of MONTERO will be pleased to hear the same smooth, hiphop-y sound that the album had returned in full force with this new single.
8. OneOkRock – “Vandalize” (Luxury Disease)
I’ve been a fan of OneOKRock since High School. They were popular in J-Rock circles, but never branched very far into the proper Otaku community. So imagine my shock when Sega announced that they had partnered with one of my favorite bands from my youth in the next installment of the Sonic series! The day it was announced, so many people on my feed were asking what OneOkRock was and I had a field day posting all of my favorites from over the years, and Vandalize is another strong addition to their lineup. (PS, “Fight the pain away” is a better hook than “F**k the pain away”.)
9. Deco*27 – “Mozaik Role – Reloaded” (Mannequin)
Deco*27 continues to be one of the best Vocaloid artists working today. And Imagine my shock when the final track of Mannequin, their latest album, is a remix of Mozaik Role, released 12 years after the original version. This version has better guitar work, a brighter tone, and his nearly perfected spin on Hatsune Miku. I could imagine this new version annoying fans of the harder feel and the replacement of Gumi, but I welcome it as an excellent remix of the original. It really brings Deco*27’s discography full circle.
10. Tomoya Ohtani & Kellin Quinn – “Undefeatable” (Sonic Frontiers)
Featuring underground acts is nothing new for Sonic the Hedgehog. Even as early as 1994, the series has featured performers like Brad Buxter, Evett Bradley, All Ends, and Madeline Wood. 2022’s Sonic Frontiers continues this tradition with the boss themes being epic, metalcore performances by Sleeping with Sirens frontman Kellin Quinn. Find your Flame and Break Through It All are both great, even Vandalize by J-Rock group OneOkRock is featured on this list. However, the absolute standout is Undefeatable with its gigantic scope, soaring highs, and guttural lows. This is absolutely my favorite piece of Otaku music in 2022.

Tip Toasty – Riot Radio/Rude Boy Radio host

1. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms, and Lava
2022 was another year of the Gizzard: Five studio releases, one remix album, two bootleg live albums, two full releases of demos, a collaborative EP with TFS, and a full world tour. The one release that stands out of all of the band’s chaos this year is Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms, and Lava, a jammy, jazzy, diverse album which really signals a return to form for the band. The album plays on the concept of the seven Greek modes with each song title corresponding with the first letter of each mode, hence the overwhelmingly long album title. Beyond the ties to music theory, the album is undeniably a concept album, telling the story of death and rebirth on a cosmic scale. IDPLMaL is impressively diverse, not just from song to song, but even in the stylistic changes that exist within songs. As a longtime King Gizz fan who has been a little disappointed in recent years, this album is a breath of fresh air and by far my top album of 2022.
2. Guerilla Toss –  Famously Alive
3. OFF! – Free LSD
4. Warthog – Warthog EP

5. Chat Pile – God’s Country
6. Willi Carslile – Peculiar, Missouri
7. Kikagaku Moyo – Kumoyo Island
9. Plains – I Walked With You A Ways
10. High Vis – Blending

Lacie – Traffic Director and Music Director

1. Arctic Monkeys – The Car

If you know me, you know this pick is no surprise. My favorite band of 9 years has released yet another mind-boggling album after 4 years of waiting. Arctic Monkeys’ The Car is a heavily orchestrated album punctuated with falsetto throughout. The album has hints of baroque pop, funk, lounge, glam rock, and lyrics you cannot comprehend in the first go-round. The aesthetic of the sounds and looks via music videos of this album scream 60s French film soundtrack. Alex Turner (lead singer, main songwriter, and occasional guitarist) delves into the abstract lyricism he is well-known for and moves further from the alternative, indie rock sound the band is known for. Some criticize the band for not sticking to their roots, but my only criticism is that they take too long to release new music! Here’s to me (hopefully) seeing the cold primates themselves in September.

2. Babehoven – Light Moving Time

3. Pinkshift – Love Me Forever

4. Frankie Cosmos – Inner World Peace

5. Vundabar – Good Old

6. Suki Waterhouse – Milk Teeth EP

7. Sobs – Air Guitar

8. kelz – 5am and I Can’t Sleep

9. Mitski – Laurel Hell

10. Alex G – God Save The Animals