The Top Fifty Albums Of 2022: 9-6

Published on 24 December 2022 at 15:02

By Paul Laird

Author of "The Birth And Impact Of Britpop: Mis-Shapes, Scenesters And Insatiable Ones"


  1. Dirt Femme (Pretty Swede) - Tove Lo 

Oh God. 

How do I explain this. 

Let’s try this. 

Morrissey once said something about wanting to be Victoria Wood. Maybe he was asked about  reincarnation? That seems right. It’s difficult to know for sure. I mean, I could know for sure if I  just got up from the desk and went to check the book of Morrissey quotes on the shelf. It’s too  late for getting up. 

Anyway, it doesn’t actually matter if he said it or not. What matters is that it sounds like the sort  of thing he would say. And that it is difficult to imagine the sort of person who wouldn’t want to  be Victoria Wood. 

I’d love to be Victoria Wood. 

Tove Lo has a similar hold on my heart. 

Like Wood she is clever, articulate, generous with her gifts, skilful and exactly the sort of person all  these years of evolution and civilis-fucking-ation should have turned us all into. But something  went wrong and so we have just one Tove Lo and the memory of Victoria to keep us going. Just  listen to “2 Die 4” (fun fact for Britpop fans, this was the name of the band Thurman, before they  became Thurman…this might make Tove a Britpop act, she’s more deserving of the label than  fucking Cast). 

You understand, right? 

Of course you do. 

You don’t…yes, you. 

And I am utterly unsurprised, you dreadful bore. 

You see, people who care about, and who understand, pop music, hear people like Tove Lo and  fall to their knees, heads bowed, hands clasped, offering up prayers of gratitude to a God they  know doesn’t exist. 

She is the resurrection. 

D’yer know what I mean? 

She is incapable of writing something as turgid as, say, “Wonderwall”. Her heart is filled with Kurt  and Courtney, genuine rock stars, poets, broken souls, doll parts. Her mind is tumbling with  melodies and lyrical flourishes that make the circle jerk that breaks out whenever someone tweets  about The Lathums seem like a crime against the arts, and maybe humanity itself. Just listen to  “True Romance”, feel it. The pain, the hurt, the longing, the desire, the emotion of it. Really listen.  Now you tell me you don’t think she deserves the time you are giving to yet another bloke rock  band with as much talent as a bin bag filled with used condoms. 

I’m not sorry. 

I’m furious. 

Furious that something as achingly wonderful as this will be dismissed, never listened to, while  any four lads with a season ticket for Yeovil, a Pretty Green polo shirt, some trainers, and a pair of 

jeans that I wouldn’t wear to put the bins out, will be hailed as the saviours of music. Fuck. 



  1. Crash (Asylum Records) - Charli XCX 

Britain's greatest living pop star? 

I’m joking, there is no need for the question mark. 

Britain’s greatest living pop star delivers the final album of her major label contract, and it is  everything anyone could have wanted. Aitchison is one of the rarest of beasts, an auteur in the  world of pop. Everything she does, no matter how wildly different it may be from anything else  she has done, has her signature on it…you always know you are listening to a Charli XCX album,  just as you always know when you are watching a Hitchcock or Ozu film. 

It’s not hyperbole when you are being factual. 

She is one of the few artists who could deliver albums like “Pop 2” and “Vroom Vroom” and then  decide to return to the territory of chart ready bangers, and manage it successfully. She can  switch from avant garde, to top of the pops, without blinking, or losing control. 

“Crash” is quite the farewell statement…or it is a calling card for what is coming next. I can’t wait.


7. Stop That Girl (Last Night From Glasgow) - Monica Queen 


“Often a review will take you through each track, opining about the tiny moments, the musical flourishes, the credits and the craft…you can find somewhere else to read about all of that, music is about feeling, impact, spirit, soul and beauty, or it is when it is done well. Listening to Monica Queen’s voice on “I Want You To Stop, You’re Killing Me”, with the gentle roll of the music swirling under and around her, I felt tears roll gently down my cheeks, a smile as wide as the Clyde stretching over my miserable face. “In my lonely nights, your words I hear, I want you to stop, you’re killing me…your candles burned, I killed your flame”. Oh God, what have I done to deserve this? Truthfully, I don’t deserve something this beautiful. It doesn’t matter if she is singing her words, or words written by someone else, it’s the voice. Effortless, graceful, a whisper, a yell, floating, soaring, diving into your heart, leaving you breathless on the floor.”  

(Our Sound Music, 13/08/2022) 


  1. I Love You Jennifer B (Rough Trade) - Jockstrap 

“Blue Velvet” presented a familiar world of family, young love, adventure and mystery…but absolutely everything about it was entirely unfamiliar. I couldn’t settle in my seat, I didn’t get any answers to any of the myriad questions bubbling in my gut, and at times, I felt frightened. It was  just perfect. The antidote to the banal life I was “living”. 

I bet Jockstrap have seen “Blue Velvet”. 

I bet they love it. 

“I Love You Jennifer B” is the aural equivalent of those opening scenes…clear blue skies, picket fences, sunshine, flowers, smiling faces, but at every turn something else is happening, something designed to expose the ridiculousness of the ordinary. Breaking every rule of the language English. 

Georgia Ellery sounds like…sweetness and light, an innocent, the voice of an angel. But is it too sweet? Is the light fading? What is innocence? Angels fall, no? Perhaps it is the contrast between 

that voice and the dizzying array of sounds, effects, tricks and slips of the music that gives rise to  the feeling that you are not in Kansas anymore. 

“I feel sick, my organs bob about in the dark, in a mustard mist, in my stomach vase” “Your arms  and legs, covered in little white hairs, like a carpet…no like a mohair sweater” “Hurting is one  thing, but waiting’s another” 

By the time we reach the end of this affair, my head is spinning… 

I’m grasping for the one thing this reminds me of, the one band or artist I can say “Oh, this is a bit like…”, so that the people who get cross with me for never actually writing about the music in these “reviews” will have to stay in their box. But I can’t…ideas, inspirations, come flying from here and there, but never stay long enough to tether themselves in your mind, or your heart, or your stomach vase.”  

(Our Sound Music, 24/09/2022)