The 10 Best Albums of November 2022

Featuring Weyes Blood, BROCKHAMPTON, Okay Kaya and more

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The 10 Best Albums of November 2022

As we start to prepare for winter and holiday hibernation mode, Paste has some humble suggestions for music to keep you company. In the winter hours that can somehow seem longer, you’ll find a mix of music below to keep you dreaming or dancing well into the later hours. From BROCKHAMPTON’s emotional last releases to Nadine Khouri’s imaginative gentleness, the biting groove of Ezra Collective to the highly anticipated new Weyes Blood LP, November provided us with some gems to feast on as the rest of the world around us quiets for a bit.


BROCKHAMPTON gonna BROCKHAMPTON, even to the very end. Ahead of their “indefinite hiatus,” Kevin Abstract and company released their much-anticipated “final” album, The Family, and in the same breath announced another, a surprise “parting gift to their supporters” titled TM, out now. In fairness, TM does predate The Family—Kevin Abstract, Bearface and Romil Hemnani recorded the latter’s 17 tracks (including singles “Big Pussy” and “The Ending”) in the spring of 2022, with boylife and Bearface as executive producers. TM, on the other hand, is “made up of songs that were started by the group during a two-week stint in Ojai, California in 2021, but were never fully completed during those sessions,” per a press release. BROCKHAMPTON’s Matt Champion stepped in as executive producer to complete the album. Founder and de facto leader Kevin Abstract was the sole member of the boyband to appear on The Family, but TM is a full-band affair, offering listeners one last glimpse of BROCKHAMPTON as we knew it. —Scott Russell

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Fousheé: softCORE

The title of softCORE is a helpful shorthand for what to expect from it. The second album from Fousheé is lowercase one minute and ALL CAPS the next, as if the rising-star singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer is focused, first and foremost, on confounding expectations. It makes for a thrilling listen: On “i’m fine,” Fousheé croons the titular assurance over delicate acoustic finger-picking one second, then hoarsely screams it over crushing metalcore the next, highlighting the range of emotions such defense mechanisms can mask. Her voice is a dance-punk shout over the industrial “die,” a teasing murmur on “simulation” as she insists on the unreality of everything, and a feathery falsetto on the avant-R&B of “unexplainable.” The sunny radio-pop fare of “smile” is followed by the aggro noise-rock of “stupid bitch,” and eventually, the album closes on the romantic reconciliation ballad “let u back in.” softCORE is a statement album from Fousheé, an assertion of independence that demonstrates the breadth of her elastic artistry. —Scott Russell

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Nadine Khouri: Another Life

In a glimmering, soft darkness, Nadine Khouri’s new album Another Life beckons to you. It truly seems to have its hands outstretched in a strange sort of welcome, with Khouri’s gorgeously deep and velvet-lined voice being the first inviting impression about the album. The LP works well as a whole, with the minimalist instrumental arrangements never sounding too much the same across the spread of the project. Songs like the bubbling “Briefly Here” provide lovely, unexpected texture to the collection, while “The Broken Light” and “Lo-Fi Moon” see Khouri compassionately breaking your heart. “On the whole, I wanted this record to sound more direct than the previous one,” Khouri comments, “Though there is a lot on there about being in a liminal place, between past and present, presence and absence.” The in-between spaces are reveled in here; you don’t feel at all pinned down by the music, but instead given a lot of space to listen and connect to it. It is an album for breathing. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

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Weyes Blood: And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow

Natalie Mering’s (Weyes Blood) newest LP, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, picks up right where Titanic Rising left us in 2019. Even the album covers bear similar imagery. On the latter’s, Mering is underwater in a bedroom, suspended in an oceanic ether above a wine-red carpet. Light pours in through the bellowing, jellyfish-translucent curtains. It’s as if she’s stranded and the shipwreck has not yet sunken down to the seabed. On the cover of Hearts Aglow, Mering appears to still be below the surface, her hair drifting through the water like a slow-motion wave, her chest, quite literally, bursting with a sun-red gleam. There’s a stillness afoot, a rubble above ready to be pieced back together. And Mering is standing atop the debris. —Matt Mitchell

Dumb: Pray 4 Tomorrow

“If I had to do it low-key,” Vancouver’s Dumb consider, “then what good would living do me?” That’s on Pray 4 Tomorrow single “Excuse Me?,” titled in a nod to the band’s friends and peers in San Francisco’s Pardoner, with whom they share a textured and irreverent DIY guitar-rock sound. The quartet comprising Franco Rossino, Shelby Vredik, Pipe Morelli and Nick Short continue to do things their own way on their self-recorded third album, the follow-up to 2019’s Club Nites. Equal parts garage-punk noise and throwback pop melody, Dumb’s music wears its tattered edges like a badge of honor, and it’s high-key fun to follow along with them. —Scott Russell

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Nas: King’s Disease III

Living hip-hop legend Nas just keeps making King’s Disease records, and at this point, we’ll take as many as we can get. Today’s (Nov. 11) is his third in as many years—2020’s first installment won the New York rapper his first-ever Grammy, and the 2021 second was nominated, as well. Nas’ ongoing partnership with sought-after producer Hit-Boy, a giant in his own right, has constituted a late-career renaissance for the former, and a mid-career coup for the latter. With each new album the duo collaborate on, the message gets louder: “We’re not going anywhere.” “Rappers wanna shoot up the studio, they tired of us,” Nas observes matter-of-factly on the bouncy “Hood2Hood,” while on the smooth, soulful “I’m on Fire,” he raps, “I’m scorchin’ and I never forced it / Even when forces and powers that be went against me.” But underneath all the braggadocio is gratitude: “If you lucky, you get old,” Nas remarks in the opening moments of “Once a Man, Twice a Child,” a sobering reminder that not every rapper with talents like his have lived long enough to realize their potential. —Scott Russell

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Smut: How the Light Felt

Smut’s new album, How the Light Felt is aptly named—it seems to glitter, suspended in ’90s influences, but is an investigation of what light feels like, rather than looks like. The influences of shoegaze are clearly present, with highlighted, glistening guitar parts. Although there is a distinctive shimmer, the album combs the depths of grief, as it was written by vocalist Tay Roebuck after the passing of her little sister in 2017. “A couple weeks after the funeral we played a show and I couldn’t keep it together,” Roebuck recalls, “but we just kept playing and started writing because it was truly all I felt I had, it was all I could do to feel any sense of purpose. For the past five years now I’ve been chipping my way through grief and loss and I think the album itself is just the story of a person working through living with a new weight on top of it all.” On “Supersolar,” her grief is palpable, as she “tear[s] [her] chest out,” singing, “My stars have died.” There is the weight of what happens when appearances are stripped away, and the empty gray of what twists underneath is revealed. It is not an album that resolves any questions—it doesn’t even try to answer, “How does one go on existing after loss?” It just puts one musical foot delicately in front of the other and keeps moving. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

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Ezra Collective: Where I’m Meant To Be

There is no other way to put it: On Ezra Collective’s latest album, they are cooking. The band brings a frenzied ecstasy to dense jazz, letting in listeners who are already acquainted with the ins and outs of the genre, but also—perhaps more importantly—those who aren’t. This is something central to the group’s ethos—they have blown past the suit-and-tie version of jazz in which you sit in a small cramped room, nodding along and making faces of appreciation at specific, complex melodic choices, ones that are often hard to appreciate without a thorough background in music theory. Instead, this group practically pulls you by the hand into their material, begging you to bop and move along in a way that you can’t seem to help. One of the singles, “Victory Dance,” is an instant recognition of this, moving with a joy that could be dissected into the astounding technical talents of each band member, but is better appreciated as something that emerges from the group as a whole. Of course, like many records lately, it has roots in adversity: “There was always beauty in sitting down and playing, but there is also something nice in realizing that we need not rush every process,” says Femi Koleoso, the drummer and bandleader. “Where I’m Meant To Be is a journey, it’s not just a destination. I might be in this dark and difficult place now, but I know where I’m meant to be is better than this place, and that’s the motivation to keep going.” —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

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First Aid Kit: Palomino

The brightness of Swedish indie-folk duo First Aid Kit is back for their forthcoming album Palomino, even when they’re singing their way through disappointment. It is the way their songs always feel balanced, in harmonies and instrumentals, that makes one return to their releases again and again. They have a feeling of steady assurance, no matter the volatility of the lyrics. Songs like “Turning Onto You” will lodge themselves in some sweet, sunlit spot in your brain, while “Out of My Head” somersaults over itself to keep the pace going. Their latest single, “A Feeling That Never Came,” finds the duo at their strongest, as they manage to imbue each strum of the guitar with hope. It makes sense that the record feels like a homecoming, as the band comments, “This is the first record we’ve recorded in Sweden since we made our debut album The Big Black & The Blue 12 years ago! We worked with Swedish producer Daniel Bengtson at his lovely studio Studio Rymden in Stockholm. It was such a fun experience. We really let the recording take time, we didn’t want to rush it.” And indeed, an intuitive pace links the project, as the duo move naturally. They embrace the ground covered in their music with grace. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

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Okay Kaya: SAP


Okay Kaya, aka Kaya Wilkins, soothes you in her own way on her forthcoming record SAP, with each single serving as a healing of sorts. “Inside of a Plum” uses lush, full harmonies to guide you through the artist’s experience of ketamine therapy—it demystifies the somewhat stigmatized practice, reaching out with empathy and patience towards the listener. The spareness of the arrangement makes you focus on the warm vocals and lyrics, pulling you into the story by virtue of what’s left to the imagination. Meanwhile, “Jolene From Her Own Perspective” gives a cheeky, homoerotic response to Dolly Parton’s well-loved classic “Jolene.” The lyrics focus on repairing the bonds between Dolly and Jolene, sung with patience and care, with special attention given to when blame is placed unfairly on women in situations such as these. “Spinal Tap,” meanwhile, serves as a feverish dream, in which the singer seems to search for something that will truly cleanse her. She searches for what is wrong at the root, with bubbly, cushioning production underneath serving to give the song movement. With lyrics like, “Even my subconscious is self-conscious,” this album is a deeply personal one, a symbol of trust from Okay Kaya to you. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski