The best of JRock in 2022

The JRock Roundup header

The end of the year is upon us and thus it is time for my annual JRock round-up, where I delve into all the releases of the year and offer you the best of the best from the year in Japanese music. Live music was out in force here in the UK, with long-awaited shows delighting fans like myself. We also got to speak to some of our favourite bands from Japan.

For a small primer on this year’s choices, be sure to check out the list of my favourite songs and albums from the past year. If you’re looking for even more JRock recommendations, check our monthly round-up of the best the genre has to offer.

Album of the Year: Aegis of Athene by Bridear

JRock 2022 album of the year - Aegis of Athene by Bridear

When I spoke to Bridear back in September, I was already hooked on this album. Each song melds beautifully with the next, weaving a narrative of rebellion and strength throughout. Determination is a particular stand-out for me and could easily have been my song of the year as well, but there isn’t a track on this album that is worth skipping. Bridear is a band poised to do big things in the metal scene and this album should be their big push to worldwide success.

Honourable Mention: Super Champon by Otokebe Beaver

This album is an injection of old-school punk energy with modern JRock artistry behind it. It is as close as you’ll get to being at a punk show without diving into the mosh pit and getting yourself a couple of bumps and bruises, which I plan to do when they tour the UK in 2023.

Music Video of the Year: Frisbee by Bradio

Bradio put out some of the best music every year, but this music video stuck out to me the whole time. It is their first fully animated video and feels like an homage to anime like Cowboy Bebop without missing out on the sense of fun that Bradio is known for. There is a great narrative being told that you can follow without even listening to the lyrics, but the song certainly elevates the music video into one of the best parts of JRock in 2022. It is just another example of Bradio being incapable of missing.

Honourable Mention: Unleash!!!! by BAND-MAID

Another animated effort by one of my favourite bands, this music video casts the members of BAND-MAID as a squad of heavy metal magical girls, which is something the world has always needed.

Song of the Year: She by Oreskaband

I’m a little nervous about declaring my Song of the Year since my choices for both 2020 and 2021 broke up within six months. Still, if this is the last we get from Oreskaband I will count myself lucky. She is smooth, cool, and undeniably catchy. Like the rest of the album it is from, I had this track on repeat throughout the year. There is an uplifting vibe to the song that won’t let me listen to it without giving it a little dance.

Seriously though, if we could break the curse of my Song of the Year that would be great. I don’t know if I could take being the reason one of my favourite ska bands in the world broke up.

Honourable Mention: We Got Each Other by FEMM

I adore FEMM’s energy and message and this song feels like a great celebration of both those things. Girls looking out for each other and lifting each other up like they’ve just stumbled onto each other in the women’s restroom at the club will never get old.

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