#1 070 Shake: You Can’t Kill Me (Greatest Album of 2022)

OK, let’s try and put this in some sort of perspective: I have always considered my three favourite artists of all time to be Prince, Manic Street Preachers and Nick Cave. Between all three of them they have all had a combined thirty records make the Necessary Evil end of year list and out of those thirty, two have been named the year’s best. If I wanted to throw in some faves – both problematic and less so – from the last 15-20 years I might throw in the names of Janelle Monae, The Hotelier, Kanye West, Let’s Eat Grandma, CHVRCHES or Yeasayer. Twenty three entries between them. One winner. Oh, and Radiohead have never finished first, but

Can we get this meme a medal or something?

Thirteen different artists have won Necessary Evil since it first started in 2007. Maybe fourteen, depending on your take on 2013’s infamous Arctic Monkeys/Hjaltalín controversy. No artist has ever finished first twice. Until now. 070 Shake’s ‘Modus Vivendi’ was the greatest album of 2020, and the 2022 follow-up is unquestionably the greatest album released this year, with its only viable contender being a 1982 masterpiece widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time. These are the only two albums she has released.


#38 Mitski: Laurel Hell

Sometimes I think I am free
Until I find I’m back in line again


Ma dudes, Mitski’s sixth record is really fucking depressing. We’ve already seen plenty of records on this year’s list that deal with weighty and emotionally devastating subjects. But ‘Laurel Hell’ is different. It doesn’t just contain sad lyrics, but it’s very sound is beaten, dejected, empty. Like, total bummer, you get me?

It might just be me. I am, as you might have noticed, a total bummer merchant. I’m sure most people would still find it depressing just knowing the general story behind it. Mitski had sacrificed everything in order to do music for a living (“I will neglect everything else, including me as a person, just to get to keep making music”), and with the wider acclaim and success of ‘Be the Cowboy‘ she seemed to have lived her dream to the extent that she no longer needed to do it. And, having realised the sacrifices such success entails, she decided to chuck it all in. She wrote one of her greatest ever songs Working for the Knife in late 2019 as a spectacular and self-explanatory goodbye to the business (“I always thought the choice was mine/And I was right, but I just chose wrong”). Whereupon her label said, erm, no, you’re still contracted for one more album. Get back out there and dance for us. ‘Laurel Hell’ is that album. I’m sure Mitski was overwhelmingly happy to make it