Sweet Pill, the Midwest-style emo/pop punk quintet hailing from New Jersey, signed to Topshelf Records back in March and released their debut full length Where The Heart Is two months later. It's garnered year-end praise from Holy Fawn and Pool Kids, and now the members of Sweet Pill--drummer Chris Kearney, guitarists Jayce Williams and Sean McCall, bassist Ryan Cullen, and vocalist Zayna Youssef--have told us about their favorite albums of the year. It spans from Chat Pile to Pool Kids to Their / They're / There to Charli XCX to Kendrick Lamar to the recently-released SZA album, and they provided intriguing commentary on each one. Read on for the list...

Sweet Pill's Favorite Albums of 2022

Chris:

Momma - Household Name

One day I was listening to Sweet Pill on Spotify (yes, I listen to my own band sometimes) and then a song called “Medicine” played and I was like, “woah this is super cool.” So I checked out the rest of the album and it was equally as cool. Every song on the album is super well-crafted and satisfying. I love the thick, grungy guitars and the catchy vocal melodies. I really hope we get to play a show or 30 with Momma one day!

BENEE - Lychee

Sometimes I just like to indulge in super feel-good pop music and escape the day-to-day reality of being a rock star LOL (just kidding).. more like escape the monotonous routine of working my full-time job when we are not touring - but I do have a fondness for early 2000s pop and I’ve been obsessed with BENEE’s music ever since I found it because it gives me that same comforting nostalgic feeling. It’s definitely a change of pace from the music I listen to most (QOTSA, The Fall of Troy, Beck, Tera Melos), but I seriously can’t stop listening. BENEE is an earworm and all of Lychee is on my 2022 Spotify Wrapped.

Jayce:

Chat Pile - God’s Country

I’m a big fan of heavy music but am usually turned off by the tropes of hardcore. That being said, there is something so chilling and discomforting about Chat Pile that keeps pulling me back to their music. This record oozed pain and suffering with riffs that match the intensity of the lyrical content. No joke, I will sometimes think to myself “why?” in the singer’s voice when I see something I can’t change or comprehend. This is a very powerful record and I’m excited to see where the band goes next.

Options - Swimming Feeling

Where do I begin - Seth Engel is a genius and has perfected his craft. Everything he touches either as a writer, musician, or producer turns to gold. His most recent record for his solo project, Options, lives up to his past work. The song “Toast” was one of my most listened to songs of the year! There’s something incredibly special about Options that I can’t quite place my finger on. The rhythm and melody choices are hooked immediately - I’m always hit with a huge sense of nostalgia whenever I revisit this record. Not only has Seth inspired me in my songwriting, he has welcomed Sweet Pill countless times in our second home, Chicago. Endless love for this guy and his music.

Sean:

Their / They’re / There - Their / They’re / Three

I think a decent amount of people have been waiting patiently for this release, myself included obviously! The last few T/T/T releases were flawless EPs, but it’s really nice to hear a whole body of work from this project. Evan Weiss has always been a South Jersey (now Chicago) local legend, and he and the Storm Chasers crew have welcomed us to Chicago a number of times with a number of projects. T/T/T is actually one of the last projects we need to play with! I really love what they did with one - through and through. It’s a beautiful, catchy, and tensioned record. Makes you bop your head when it hits, makes you scratch your head at times, and forces you to listen through again to really pick up what they’re putting down. Big inspiration and big love to the Storm Chasers crew!

Charli XCX - CRASH

This is self explanatory - I’m a sucker for some good pop music. I love the production of it, and this album reminds me of a combination between how i’m feeling now and Pop 2 which absolutely rocks. I know it’s pop, but it’s really smart and draws emotion so well. Although it’ll never beat how i’m feeling now, CRASH is a runner-up simply because it’s damn catchy. “Yuck” really reminds me of “Slide” by Calvin Harris and Frank Ocean which is a pop blueprint. It’s almost the exact same beat, but it’s still so good. Love me some British ear candy baby.

Ryan:

Pool Kids - S/T

"Conscious Uncoupling" is my favorite song off of the new Pool Kids record. The first few times I went to listen to the album in full I ended up just replaying that song over and over again. Once I finally got through the whole record and realized it’s all just as incredibly crafted as the first track I knew nothing else released this year could possibly be my top AOTY.

Into It. Over It. / Hikes - Reciprocity

This split introduced me to the band Hikes and also has some of my favorite IIOI songs ever released. I spent a lot of time this year listening to both of these artists but I find myself coming back to listen to this release the most. These songs are each unique and unpredictable in different ways and that’s exactly what i’m looking for when I want to feel inspired.

Zayna:

Kendrick Lamar - Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

Kendrick is one of my favorite rappers and one of my favorite pop artists. He definitely is in a class of his own, I can’t really compare his sounds with others. Mr Morale has the perfect balance of pop, samples, jazz, trap, creating a great musical contrast. I was listening to “United in Grief” and the song made so many cuts and turns that I had to check if I’m still listening to the same song. It has a cool element of surprise in that way. This album highlights some orchestral instruments like pianos and violins. It is such a cool meeting of genres. Mr Morale is definitely heavier than DAMN. and is very human. Some tracks that I love are “Count me Out” and “Crown” and “N95.” Also, in “Auntie Diaries”, it was incredible to hear an established rapper share positive words about lgbtq community and trans family members. It goes for miles, certain folks will hear that and will feel loved and validated. I totally feel it. “…aint no room for contradictions, to truly understand love, switch positions”

SZA - SOS

The world has been waiting for this. SZA delivered. This is my album of the year for plenty of reasons. An overwhelming 23 tracks and all are bangers. SZA explores a new genre with every track. Clever lyricism and droning melodies. Her vocal runs cut me like a knife. She has a clever flow where she’ll rhyme words in the middle of sentences instead of the ends which we’re all so used to. I’m just on my toes whenever I am listening. Especially as a woman hearing her talk about the way she feels in her body. Our lives couldn't be any more different yet her words got me feeling like, “yes girl, I know, me too.” Some stand out tracks I find myself repeating are "SOS," "Smoking on my Ex Pack," and YES "Ghost in the Machine" with Phoebe Bridgers. That one is probably my favorite. I was wondering how a Phoebe x SZA mash up would go and DAMN it went right through my heart.

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Catch Sweet Pill this weekend at The Front Bottoms' annual Champagne Jam in Philadelphia. Tickets and more info here.

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