The best country albums of 2022 have something in common: they were made with little regard for commercial success or record sales.
In some cases that's because the artist didn't have the infrastructure to run a song up to No. 1 on radio airplay charts. Three independent artists make this Top 10 list and a fourth album is the kind of album you'd expect from an indy. Only one artist found below notched a solo No. 1 country airplay hit this year.
Honorable mentions go to full length albums by Luke Combs and Thomas Rhett (EPs were not considered) but artists that valued creativity and a cohesive vision across nine, 11 or even 17 songs were rewarded with recognition. Lainey Wilson and Miranda Lambert are two hitmakers who did just that. Muscadine Bloodline and American Aquarium are two you may not have heard of that shaped country music in a big way this year.
The lesson is country fans need to look deeper for the most daring, creative music of 2022. Taste of Country's list of the Best Country Albums of 2022 features 10 critically acclaimed albums, with only the slightest consideration given to sales success. A team of staff writers worked together to shape the list.
Best Country Albums of 2022 - Critic's Picks
This list of country music's best albums from 2022 separates artists who aim to make great albums from those simply looking to record great songs. Only one artist found below notched a solo No. 1 country airplay hit this year. Popularity doesn't always equal quality.
It’s not that albums from country music’s most notable hitmakers aren’t any good. Count Luke Combs
and Thomas Rhett
as strong honorable mentions for this list but both were edged out by a group that in some ways didn’t have to worry about the confines of commercial success. Randy Houser
and Muscadine Bloodline
are independant artists. American Aquarium
is too and Ashley McBryde
released the sort of album you’d expect from an indy act.
The lesson is country fans need to look deeper for the most daring, creative music of 2022.
Top 22 Country Songs of 2022, Ranked
There are plenty of feel-good country jams on this list of the top country songs of 2022
, but the No. 1 song is one of the best love songs of the decade. These 22 songs are ranked by critical acclaim, radio and sales success, and importance to the genre.
Seven of the 22 artists made our Top Country Songs list from 2021
, as well, but there are no song repeats. If a song made a previous list (or didn't spend most of its time on the charts in 2022), it's not eligible. So, before you ask where your favorite song is (i.e. Cody Johnson, "'Til You Can't"), be sure the miss isn't just a technicality.