20 albums we can't wait to hear in 2022

Including releases from Tanya Tagaq, Feist and Jan Lisiecki.

Including releases from Tanya Tagaq, Feist and Jan Lisiecki

Expect to hear new music from Tanya Tagaq, Feist, the Weeknd and more in 2022. (Thomas Van Der Zaag, Getty Images, Getty Images; graphic by CBC)

December is the time to look back, to reflect on the best music that came out that year and perhaps catch up on songs or albums that you might've missed. (A good place to look would be CBC Music's own year-end coverage.) 

But December also marks the cusp of a beginning, when thoughts of a new year start popping up — resolutions, goals and even a brand new playlist. As 2021 nears its end, it's officially time to look forward. At CBC Music that means sharing the Canadian albums we can't wait to hear in 2022. 

Below, we've listed the 20 albums we're most excited for. Share your most anticipated releases with us at @CBCMusic

Artist: The Weeknd
Album: Dawn FM
Release date: Jan. 7

The Dawn is Coming. After much speculation, the Weeknd revealed on social media that Dawn FM is set to arrive on Friday, Jan. 7. A trailer for the album teased clips of new music and named several other artists involved in the project, including Canadian comedian Jim Carrey, record producer Quincy Jones, musician Tyler, the Creator and rapper Lil Wayne. Dawn FM marks the Toronto native's first album since his smash After Hours arrived in early 2020, spawning a series of hits including "Save Your Tears" and "Blinding Lights," the latter of which was recently declared to be the top Billboard Hot 100 song of all time. He has since headlined the 2021 Super Bowl Halftime show, collaborated on singles with several other artists, dropped a posthumous collaboration with Aaliyah, and released smash hit "Take my Breath," a Daft Punk-esque disco anthem that sounds right in step with the pop megastar's recent retro moves. — Jess Huddleston

Artist: Marc-André Hamelin
Album: C.P.E. Bach: Sonatas & Rondos
Release date: Jan. 7

The always interesting (and regularly surprising) Marc-André Hamelin adds to his massive catalogue with a double album of keyboard music by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the most famous and prolific of Johann Sebastian's composer sons. Emanuel's music looks ahead to the slower harmonic rhythm and emotive style of later composers while retaining the lavish ornamentation of his father's generation (especially Scarlatti). While the album's notes were written by a harpsichordist (Mahan Esfahani), there's no one better than Hamelin to show how this music should be played on the modern piano. (Also, he's now only one generation away from making the J.S. Bach album we're still anxiously awaiting.) — Robert Rowat

Hyperion Records will unveil Marc-André Hamelin's new C.P.E. Bach album on Jan. 7, 2022. (Hyperion Records)

Artists: Bernie Senensky Quintet
Album: Don't Look Back
Release date: Jan. 14

Fans of hard bop, prepare yourselves for this searing collection of previously unissued tunes from jazz pianist Bernie Senensky, who gathered a tremendous quintet for this 1989 session: Bob Mover (alto saxophone), Sam Noto (trumpet), Neil Swainson (bass) and Barry Elmes (drums). The set contains four standards (including a breakneck take on the Gershwins' "Who Cares?") and seven Senensky originals, of which "Together" is a nice vehicle for the interplay between Senensky's handsomely voiced chords and Noto's muted trumpet. On the title track, which opens the album, the band plays with the kind of freedom and intensity you don't often hear. — RR

Born in Winnipeg in 1944, pianist Bernie Senensky has been a stalwart of Canada's jazz scene for over 50 years. (Cellar Live)

Artist: Les Louanges
Album: Crash
Release date: Jan. 21

Les Louanges' debut album, 2018's La nuit est une panthère, took both the French and English music industries by storm, winning a Juno Award for francophone album of the year, getting shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize and garnering nine nominations and three wins at Quebec's ADISQ gala. Three years and one EP later, the sophomore slump is nowhere in sight as les Louanges, a.k.a. Vincent Roberge, gets set to release Crash, an album that continues to merge and build on Roberge's pop, jazz and hip-hop influences for 15 tracks that feel seamless while being pleasantly distinct. "Prologue," the album opener, sets an improvisational and collaborative tone, an inviting sax dipping in and out while a chorus of voices sings, "Malgré vents et marées/ on est toujours là." It slides into the previously released single "Chaussée," which is sparse and synth-based on the verses with an addictive groove on the chorus. Roberge and collaborator Felix Petit are really having some deceptive fun on Crash, and it feels like they're eager for us to join in, too. — Holly Gordon

Artist: Tanya Tagaq
Album: Tongues
Release date: Jan. 21

A high-pitched creak fills the ear, bow pulling across strings like a threat. Percussion beats hollow and tinny, an empty heart as Tanya Tagaq's throat singing gasps a warning. "You can't have my tongue," Tagaq says. "Inuuvunga." This is the title track and first single from Tagaq's forthcoming album, which the press release describes as a "manual for inner and outer revolution." If the title track is the rallying call, then the second single, "Colonizer," feeds the frenzy. It's an unforgettable throat-singing-electro-punk tour-de-force that drones, pulses and crescendos in a primal scream. As Tagaq alternates between raging "You colonizer, you colonizer!" and a sing-song delivery of "Oh you're guilty, oh you're guilty," it's exhilarating. Tongues promises "a journey into a psychic place of healing, rebirth and artistic Power with a capital 'P' that will shake the world." Based on these two singles alone, consider us shook already. — Andrea Warner

Artist: Alice Glass
Album: Prey//IV
Release date: Jan. 28 

"Crystal Castles was. ALICE GLASS is." Back in 2017, Alice Glass — one-half of Toronto electro-punk duo Crystal Castles — released a statement explaining her departure from the group, accusing bandmate Ethan Kath of sexual, physical and mental abuse. In the almost five years since, Glass has released a number of singles and an EP, some of which explores the trauma she endured while in her former group, using a similar electronic-based experimental sound. Glass's solo project has been an important display of catharsis, of Glass reclaiming power. Next year, Glass will finally release her debut solo album, Prey//IV, likely her biggest statement yet as an artist. — Melody Lau

Artist: Julia MacLaine
Album: Preludes
Release date: Jan. 28

Julia MacLaine steps out from the National Arts Centre Orchestra, where she's been associate principal cellist since 2014, with her debut album, and it looks really promising. She plays the preludes from J.S. Bach's six suites for unaccompanied cello, and follows each of them with a newly composed "response." The six composers chosen for the project are Airat Ichmouratov, Gabriel Dharmoo, Carmen Braden, Nicole Lizée, Cris Derksen and Roy Johnstone. We never tire of old-meets-new concept albums, especially when they unite so many fabulous creatives. — RR

On her debut album, cellist Julia MacLaine pairs music by J.S. Bach with that of 6 contemporary composers. (Analekta)

Artist: Charbonneau / Amato
Album: Synth Works Vol. 2
Release date: Feb. 4

Montreal duo Mathieu Charbonneau and Pietro Amato didn't know it at the time, but as they composed the songs that made up Synth Works Vol. 2 in early March 2020, they created the exact kind of meditative and meandering music to guide us through the doubt-inducing times to come. Released almost two years into the pandemic, Synth Works Vol. 2 is an album of expansive songs that have an untethered lightness to them. The organs and synths blend natural and electronic sounds into a flurry of optimism on songs like "Light Memoir," with its effervescent rising scales. It's music to balance you out, to play at the end of a stressful day or to welcome a prosperous morning. — Kelsey Adams

Artist: Angela Hewitt
Album: Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Op. 106 & 111
Release date: Feb. 4

While pianist Angela Hewitt is most famous for playing the music of J.S. Bach, her repertoire is in fact vast, and a recent undertaking has been a survey of Ludwig van Beethoven's 35 sonatas. That project culminates with this album comprising two late ones: the expansive Op. 106 ("Hammerklavier") and the final sonata, Op. 111. In her wonderful album notes, she refers to the "incredible stamina and power" required to play the "Hammerklavier" and describes the Op. 111 sonata as "one of the most sublime compositions a pianist can play." Coming from a musician the Guardian lauds as "technically faultless, deeply intelligent and infectiously joyous," that's saying something. — RR

Angela Hewitt will complete her survey of Beethoven's 35 piano sonatas on Feb. 4, 2022. (Hyperion Records)

Artists: Lara Deutsch, Philip Chiu
Album: Night Light
Release date: Feb. 4

Flutist Lara Deutsch and pianist Philip Chiu are both past recipients of the prestigious Goyer Music Prize and they're good friends, so it was only a matter of time until they got together to make an album. On Night Light, they'll explore the world of dreams. "Dreamy music is often associated with relaxation and easy-listening, but don't be fooled," explains the promotional material, "this music has wickedly fast and thrilling sounds that capture the chaotic nature of dreams as well." Look forward to music by Takashi Yoshimatsu, Jocelyn Morlock, Frédéric Lacroix and Franz Schubert. — RR

Artist: Jean-Michel Blais
Album: aubades 
Release date: Feb. 4

On Jean-Michel Blais' third album, aubades, the Montreal pianist is taking on an even bigger role: composer. Written and recorded during the pandemic — which also coincided with a breakup Blais was going through — aubades finds Blais conducting a 12-person ensemble, filling in his beautiful piano melodies with lush instrumentation that brings his music to new heights. (On the compositional side, Blais enlisted the help of Alex Weston, Philip Glass's former music assistant.) This fuller sound is best exemplified on tracks like "passepied" or the string flourishes on "murmures." On this album, Blais is also leaning toward trends in modern classical piano such as using more major tonalities, as Blais said in a statement: "The fact that the solo piano tends to sound melancholic, that's good, but I've done that already. I wanted to go beyond that." — ML

Artist: Jan Lisiecki
Album: Night Music
Release date: Feb. 18

On the heels of 2021's Chopin: Complete Nocturnes (an evocation of night) comes Jan Lisiecki's Night Music, comprising highlights from a recital he gave at Mozartfest Würzburg in June 2018. "To me a recital program ... has to have a concept and has to have some force that is holding it together," Lisiecki explained. "I love taking the audience on that journey with me. It's so much more meaningful than just playing works that I love. I still love these pieces, but I love how they go together as well. And that's how Night Music was born." Night is his through-line for pieces by Ravel, Mozart, Schumann and Paderewski. — RR

Artist: Lisa LeBlanc
Album: Chiac Disco
Release date: March 18

Six years after releasing her Polaris Prize shortlisted album, Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen, Lisa LeBlanc is back, this time with an Acadian disco release that shimmers with her trademark wit, 10 tracks packed with highly danceable moments and sharp social commentary. We heard LeBlanc toy with disco when she released the June 2020 EP It's not a game, it's a lifestyle as her kitschy bingo queen alter ego Belinda, an album that her press release called "part-joke, part-tribute" but that also set the scene for this next full-length release. Chiac Disco was recorded in her New Brunswick home with bandmates Mico Roy, Benoît Morier and Léandre Bourgeois, and is a tribute to disco and funk that's unmistakably rooted in LeBlanc's Acadian roots and current rural life. On the track "Dans l'jus," LeBlanc sings about how busy she is over an addictive bassline, breaking into English on the breakdown: "Wheels turning but the hamster's dead (chu busy, ben busy)." LeBlanc also zeroed in on our obsession with productivity on the most recent single "Entre toi pi moi pi la corde de bois," another banger. In the midst of our second pandemic winter, when we're all working from home again (or trying to live at work?), Chiac Disco will be the perfect spring album to help us break out of that pattern. — HG

Artist: Katie Tupper
Album: Towards the End EP 
Release date: early 2022

While Katie Tupper only has two singles to her name so far — "Live Inside" and "How Can I Get Your Love?" — her name should be familiar to those who follow Saskatoon's Soul Collective and producer vbnd. Tupper's smooth, neo-soul delivery is paired with a minimalist sound, often letting her honest songwriting shine in the forefront; definitely recommended for fans of Charlotte Day Wilson or Loony. Next year, Tupper will release her debut EP and we can't wait to hear how she'll continue to grow and expand her sound. — ML

Artist: Boyfrn
Album: Kissing Mirrors EP
Release date: spring 

After a string of really solid singles over the past two years, we're finally getting a full project from this emerging Toronto artist in the spring. So far what we've heard from Boyfrn has been a genre-bending blend of pop and hip hop, with a sprinkling of rock and dance music elements, and Kissing Mirrors follows the same sonic patterns. Narratively, it's a dive into a personal search for meaning and self-love. As he struggled with his own understanding of how love manifests and how to share the more vulnerable aspects of himself, Boyfrn wanted to create a project for "people who feel alone, unrepresented and are on a similar journey of self-discovery," as he said via email. He's joined by frequent collaborators Bobby Love, Terrell Morris and DillanPonders, as well as Young Clancy and Jeremy Rose.  — KA

Artist: Jasmyn
Album: TBA
Release date: spring

When newly mononymous artist Jasmyn (former frontperson for the indie-rock band Weaves) announced her first solo album for spring 2022, it was easy to be hopeful. After all, Weaves was great, surely this would be great, too, right? Turns out, it's even better. Jasmyn's solo record is one of the most exciting and enthralling debuts of the last 10 years. Her distinctive voice — which recalls the great Karen O — is the perfect centrepiece for this art-rock-electro-pop-punk-funk concoction. The first single, "Find the Light," is urgent and synth-heavy, awash in an electronic distortion that conveys the frenetic oppressiveness of a blackout. Another standout track, "Cruel Moon," bounces across influences, beats, eras and genres like a possessed jukebox. It is utterly unique and indicative of what Jasmyn has crafted with this new album — something weird and wonderful and wholly original. — AW

Artist: Moneyphone
Album: TBA
Release date: summer 

Toronto duo Moneyphone, a.k.a. Enoch Ncube and David May, is veering away from the sound it first shared with us on Season 1 of CBC Music's The Intro, and into the world of dance music. While there are elements of drum and bass, jungle, IDM and house, the new tracks still maintain the propensity for eclecticism that was all over Moneyphone's 2020 release, Faith Mixtape. Ncube and May haven't worked in dance music before but they have an avid curiosity for it, so they took on the voyeuristic endeavour of creating a dance-music record as outsiders looking in. In an email to CBC Music, they shared that they used a 2012 the Wire interview with Burial (one of the definitive forefathers of the underground) as a reference point during their writing process, "where he speaks on the context of his music, viewing it as about the club rather than for the club." The duo handled the majority of the songwriting and production, with a little help and background vocals from friends Bad Child (Isaiah Steinberg) and Monsune (Scott Zhang). It was written between Toronto, Montreal, New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City and Paxanax, Guatemala, giving the album a rootless and explorative sound, not tied to any particular place. — KA

Artist: Luna Li
Album: TBA
Release date: TBA

Toronto musician Luna Li became a viral star during the pandemic, with her layered solo jams garnering lots of attention in a time when we were all stuck at home with nothing but screens to stare at. But this year, Li (born Hannah Kim) was finally able to take her pop-rock tunes on the road, opening for an artist she's always looked up to: Japanese Breakfast. (In an interview with CBC Music this year, Kim described seeing Japanese Breakfast live as "the first time that I'm seeing someone who looks like me onstage," noting the lack of Asian representation she'd seen growing up.) That exposure touring in the U.S., not to mention the stellar EPs she's released in that time, have made us extremely excited for a proper full-length debut, which is scheduled to come out early next year. If 2020 made Luna Li an artist to watch, and 2021 helped elevate her profile even more, 2022 is primed to be the year Kim finally breaks through. — ML

Artist: Feist
Album: TBA
Release date: TBA 

Feist spent most of 2021 testing out new material on the road. Hosting residencies in Hamburg, Germany, then Ottawa and Toronto, the now Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter channelled MTV's Unplugged by performing intimate shows for approximately 200 people per night. (Feist's own title for these concerts was Multitudes, though it's unclear if that'll stick as the album name.) The songs, mostly stripped down with a couple of accompanying musicians, gave fans a peek inside how Feist spent her time in quarantine: caring for a newly adopted daughter and processing the grief of losing her father. These shows have both helped Feist reconnect with her audience on a smaller scale — her true comfort zone, as she's noted in interviews — and helped her shape and refine the songs with each performance. The final versions will be recorded this winter with a release date, presumably scheduled in 2022.  — ML

Artist: Avril Lavigne 
Album: TBA
Release date: TBA

Avril Lavigne is gearing up for a big year ahead. Not only does 2022 mark the 20-year anniversary of her debut album, Let Go, but Lavigne has also revealed that she's working on new music and even a film inspired by her 2002 hit "Sk8er Boi." There's not a lot of information around a new album yet, but in November, the singer put out "Bite Me," a return to pop-punk after Lavigne's detour into Christian rock. (It was also her debut single on Travis Barker's DTA Records.) "Back to live drums, electric distorted guitars," Lavigne told Entertainment Weekly recently, of her upcoming album. "It's fast. It's fun. It's just pure rock and roll from front to back." With pop-punk making a comeback in recent years, it'll be nice to see Lavigne make her own long-awaited return. — ML


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