Music critic Joey Guerra picks 2022’s top 10 albums by Houston artists

Some of the Houston artist’s best albums of 2022 center around trauma and mental health.

Photo: Photo Collage

Houston has been through a lot in the last few years.

After dealing with everything from COVID-19 to severe freezes, it’s no wonder so many Houston music acts have released albums dealing with trauma and mental health this year. We all need liberation.

More on Joey Guerra’s greatest hits albums: Beyoncé, Bad Bunny, Megan Thee Stallion

“Take me to good times,” pleaded The Suffers.

It has become some fascinating art. And yes, there were light moments as well. It’s all part of what makes Houston’s music scene, and the city itself, so great.

1. “Faceless” Gila

“Faceless” Gila

Photo: album cover

Rapper Gila’s unique style occupies a singular place in Houston music. He’s inevitably a product of Houston’s rich hip-hop culture, but with influences ranging from Björk to Linkin’s Park. “Faceless” is his most accomplished work to date, a showcase of his skill and personal demonic flipside. He says he never listened to it all the way through and it was just a short hype. “I really put myself in this when we talk about mental health and deal with depression and substance abuse,” he says. I just want you to like it.” It also boasts one of the best lyrics of the year.

2. The Suffers, “It Starts With Love”

“It Starts With Love” The Suffers

Photo: Cover art

The album’s Miami Sound Machine-inspired opener, “Don’t Bother Me,” was good enough to make the list. One of the best singles of the year. The rest of the album is similarly attention-grabbing, containing sharp criticisms of the music industry and systemic racism. It features contributions from Oscar-nominated songwriter Diane Warren and features from local musicians Sugar Joico, Madeline Edwards and Zumaji. The heartfelt “It Starts with Love” is the sound of a band that continues to represent Houston, constantly pushing its own boundaries.

3. “It’s okay!” Marley Moon

“All is well!” Marley Moon

Photo: album cover

Moon’s debut is deceptive in both its title and its dreamy pop haze. His 11 tracks on the album are the often painful soundtrack to personal evolution. In other words, Moon’s musical growing pains. She details her struggles with mental health, family, and a painful breakup. It’s an emotional, exciting record that ultimately feels like the catharsis it needs. Once the album was released, Moon told the story behind each song in a series of detailed Instagram posts of hers. Chances are you’ll find at least one related to her.

4. East of Edo “Sonic Remedy”

“Sonic Remedy” East of Edo

Photo: album cover

East of Eado’s full-length debut is surprisingly polished. Impressive production and mixing, sounds like a band that’s been around for a long time. The guitar is heavy and confident. Drums punctuate all verses and choruses. But the real strength of this band is the melodious rock harmonies that underpin every song. This is the sound that can and should fill an arena.

5. “It’s Always Sunny in Houston” Calico the Beast

“It’s Always Sunny in Houston” Calico The Beast

Photo: album cover

“I always shine, I always polish,” raps Calico Tha Beast on their most ambitious album yet. His previous efforts have been the building blocks of this piece, a thrilling showcase of his flow, personality, and boundless charm. Time makes me feel like I need all the songs. Among the many standouts are the opener “Always Sunny” and the Steel Your Girl anthem “Pepper Jack.” Calico also ruminates on mental health (“Far From Here”) and gun control (“Gun Fever”).

6. “My Life So Far” Eva Bryant

“My Life So Far” Eva Bryant

Photo: album cover

Bryant moved to New York from Houston after high school. But her home is still in her heart. That’s evident in her opening line on her EP.I knew myself back in Houston/I knew I had a place/I knew the people around me/They all knew my name rice field…Bryant has a gorgeous voice, clear and precise, able to convey the emotion of the lyrics effortlessly.Recorded in less than 20 minutes, “My Life So Far” may be the sound a pop star is born to. not.

7. “Is that you?” Mind Shrine

“Is that you?” Mind Shrine

Photo: album cover

The song “Is it You?” by Mind Shrine. It moves gracefully and effortlessly between jazz and pop, soul and disco, unfolding in a dreamy genre haze. It’s clear these musicians are comfortable with each other. Every song has an easy chemistry. The sound is reminiscent of another Houston band, The Tontons. Vocalist Jess Howard also deserves a big kudos. Her work here lifts the moment.

8. “Love You, Bye” Supper Party

“I love you, goodbye” supper party

Photo: album cover

There’s something about the personally connected duo. Chemistry like no other. Shane Doyle and his wife Kayla Doyle, collectively known as Supper Her Party, show it off on “Love You, Bye.” The duo honed their sound in Walker County and Trinity County, learning how to blend their voices while making each other’s moments shine. A gentle and heartwarming album woven with folk songs and country songs, it is a love story of two people who love and respect each other.

9. “Award” Juan Treviño

“Award” Juan Trevino

Photo: album cover

Treviño is best known as a Tejano artist and songwriter. However, he regularly churns out his own music. “Preseas” is a slightly different sounding step up from his previous releases. His songs are always lyrical and melodic. But these have more bite and impact. Treviño was wise to build a framework with other sounds such as flamenco and cumbia flourishing.

10. “Tuggin'” by Emilio Coochie

“Tuggin'” by Emilio Coochie

Photo: album cover

Coochie is big and brash and puts it all into his debut album. It’s a fun collection of songs that builds on hip-hop as a base. It’s artful and explicit, sometimes reminiscent of Doja her Cat or Drake. It’s clear that Coochie, whose job it is to shoot photos and videos for Megan Thee Stallion, is comfortable with herself and knows who she is. A perfect example of infusing your personality into her work.

5 Additions Worth Hearing

“Man’s Reflection” Drastic

“No Place Like Home” Trash Cut

“The Station” goes to zero

“Harbor” by The Wheel Workers

“Migrant Child’s Journey, Chapter 1”, SaSa

  • Joey Guerra

    Joey Guerra is a music critic for the Houston Chronicle. He also covers various aspects of pop culture. He has reviewed hundreds of concerts and interviewed hundreds of celebrities, from Justin his Bieber to Dolly his Parton to Beyoncé. He has appeared as a regular correspondent on his Fox26 and Pride, where he was the head judge and director of the Superstar Singing Competition for 10 years. He has been named Journalist of the Year multiple times by both OutSmart Magazine and his FACE Awards. He also covers various aspects of his pop culture, including the local drag scene and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

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