Best of 2022: staff picks

The cast of Ticketmaster UK highlight their personal favourites from the year that was

2022 gave us one new king, three prime ministers and a winter World Cup, but it’ll also be remembered for the gigs we went to, the albums we kept on repeat and the songs we couldn’t stop singing. Here we round up our own personal picks from the last 12 months.

Thanks to everyone who read, wrote, shared, listened and moshed with us this year – here’s to a 2023 that has even half as a great a soundtrack.


Album of the year: The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field
Most of the best bands in the world are from New Zealand and the best band from New Zealand is The Beths and the best album by The Beths is this one.

Gig of the year: LCD Soundsystem at O2 Academy Brixton
Despite what people say, gigs are not religious experiences. No religious experience has ever been this pure, this joyful, this perfect. Precise to the point of madness but still filled with a wild abandon.

Song of the year: Good Looks – ‘Almost Automatic’
When I die, my gravestone will read “What about that guitar tone on ‘Almost Automatic’? That’s really something else.” Life after death is only justifiable if I keep telling people to listen to this song.


Album of the year: Gang Of Youths – angel in realtime
The Australian rockers’ third album is their best yet, balancing the poetic and the stadium-filling to spectacular effect. It’s tender, personal and genuinely moving, but there are also plenty of moments that will get you dancing. What more could you ask for?

Gig of the year: Holly Humberstone at Newcastle’s Nx
Humberstone seemed to emerge blinking from the safety of lockdown only to be pushed straight onto festival stages. As her discography has grown, so has her confidence as a performer, and seeing her backed by a band and playing to a loud, appreciative crowd at Newcastle’s Nx was something to remember.

Song of the year: Rina Sawayama – ‘Hold The Girl’ 
The title track from Sawayama’s second studio album is a fantastic piece of pop, catchy and emotive with wonderful storytelling. It sees the singer-songwriter apologising to her inner child in style, with dramatic strings and gospel backing vocals over a dance-pop beat.


Album of the year: The Beatles – Revolver Special Edition
Giles Martin continues his restoration and re-invigoration of the Beatles’ later-period albums. New stereo mixes sound like John, Paul, George and Ringo were recorded yesterday and are FINALLY an enjoyable listen through headphones, now that instruments are no longer hard-panned left or right.

Gig of the year: Crowded House at Scarborough Open Air Theatre
Neil Finn bought the sunshine to the wonderful Scarborough Open Air Theatre back in June as part of the bands’ first UK tour in 12 years. The band has a near endless catalogue of hits and fan favourites which were all in there, as well a couple of Split Enz classics. I’ve rarely witnessed a crowed shuffle out of a venue as happy.  

Song of the year: Liam Gallagher – ‘Too Good for Giving Up’
The mercurial LG teamed up with men’s mental health charity Talk Club and released a brilliant accompanying video on this years’ World Mental Health Day. As well as being one of his best recent vocals on record, the song offers comfort, hope and a positive affirmation.


Album of the year: Loyle Carner – Hugo
Contrary to what Spotify Wrapped revealed in the year of Harry Styles, the third album from the south-London rapper has been on repeat since late October. An honest, melancholic reflection on fatherhood, identity and race; the highly anticipated follow-up to 2019’s Not Waving, But Drowning is a lyrical and melodic masterpiece.

Gig of the year: Spud Cannon at The Sebright Arms
On a whistle-stop tour of the UK, the small New York indie-pop band headed to East London’s Sebright Arms in matching all-white outfits. A few months later the band announced their split, making the gig seem all that more special as my first and last chance to see them perform.

Song of the year: Wet Leg – ‘Being in Love’ 
A song fit for a Sofia Coppola coming-of-age film, with a whimsical chorus that practically pours you a beer and brings the great British summertime.


Album of the year: Sharon Van Etten – We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong
There’s something comfortingly lonely about everything Van Etten ever does – no matter how loud and raw those swirling synths get. An album to keep to yourself, right between the earbuds.

Gig of the year: Iron Maiden at Download festival
Why don’t all gigs come with flamethrowers, life-sized Spitfires and giant inflatable Satan heads? Maiden’s mad headline opera was more than anyone could have hoped for, and then some. Iron Maiden killed again.

Song of the year: Parquet Courts – ‘Walking At A Downtown Pace’
Yeah there’s plenty of nods to Talking Heads and Primal Scream, but the real touchpoint here was life before lockdown – crowded, messy, rough-edged New York punk, circa 2019. I miss it.


Album of the year: Yeat – 2 Alivë
A popular choice thanks to TikTok but there are three ways to tell if an album is good (at least in my circle): 1. How many times you can play the album outside the release week; 2. How confidently you press play when on AUX; 3. How good the AMVs (anime music videos) are. This album hits all three.

Gig of the year: Drain Gang at O2 Form Kentish Town
This gig was like a homecoming. Drainers dressed in the finest y2k meets archive, avant-garde garms. Varg2tm’s prepped the crowd with hard-hitting techno then, after a moment of silence, WhiteArmour’s inimitable synths trickled in and away we go. Bladee, Thaiboy Digital, and Ecco2k gave us an hour of tears, rage and autotuned euphoria.

Song of the year: Lei – ‘Abandoned’
One for when you’re deep in your feels. Lei’s an underground artist that’s super underrated (shoutout to Kmoe for the suggestion). Abandoned highlights his talent in genre blending, mixing indie with hyperpop for the beat and layering it with delicate yet raw vocals.


Album of the year: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – When the Lights Go
I’m ashamed to admit I hadn’t given TEED much thought since the heady, halcyon days of dancing to ‘Garden’ late into the night at university parties over a decade ago. But 10 years on from his debut album, I’m so glad that Orlando Higginbottom has re-emerged to show us how far he’s developed as an artist with this sweeping album that’s as emotionally purging as it is utterly danceable.

Gig of the year: Riley Walker at End of the Road Festival
Bedraggled and barely awake, I turned up to EOTR’s Garden Stage on Sunday expecting the soothing and textural acoustic jazz of Ryley Walker’s records. Instead, I was hit with amped-up, visceral math rock madness with all the former lurking beneath. Spectacular.

Song of the year: Hazel English – ‘Summer Nights’
This year saw Hazel English turn from the gentle psych-rock of 2020’s Wake UP! back to the sulkier, emo-tinged dream pop she cut her teeth with. It’s an irresistible emotive realm, as ‘Summer Nights’ proved perfectly. There’s just something both brooding and stirring about it, with its scratchy and familiar guitar riff, motorik drums and cathartic chorus gusts.


Album of the year: Lizzo – Special
I don’t know if it was my favourite album of the year but it was definitely the one I replayed the most. I think that says so much about the energy I’ve tried to manifest in 2022.

Gig of the year: Adele at BST Hyde Park
My partner and I went to see Adele in Hyde Park this summer, before she was going viral on TikTok for her Vegas residency performances and giving me FOMO. To say it was an emotional experience is an understatement. It really is wonderfully freeing to weep publicly in a park with thousands of strangers – who knew?

Song of the year: MUNA, Phoebe Bridgers – ‘Silk Chiffon’
It was my most-played song of the year on Spotify Wrapped and for good reason. MUNA and Bridgers’ queer anthem was required listening for me nearly daily this year and will likely remain so into 2023.