CJRU’s Top 10s

10 January 2023 / by Sarah Tomlinson
CJRU's top 10

As 2022 comes to an end, CJRU would like to highlight some of this year’s most riveting trends. Some of our staff have compiled lists of their top 10 favourites of this year, whether that be music, podcasts, TV shows or films. Without further ado, here are our top 10s and a playlist of songs from them!


Quinton’s top 10 cultural list: 

As CJRU’s podcast coordinator, my cultural enthusiasms spanned a wide variety of platforms, so I have decided to not limit myself to one type of thing, and instead present to you my Top 10 2022 Culture Essentials. The criteria for this list requires that each item be new as of 2022 or, at the very least, have a tangible connection to 2022. Note: This is actually an unranked list. I love all my culture children equally.

  • Normal Gossip (podcast)  •  Prepare to be entertained, shocked, scandalized with this podcast—just a perfect fun, dishy antidote to all the downright dour news out there!
  • Severance (series)  •  It’s the darkest, strangest, funniest take on work life balance I have ever seen in a TV show, with an impeccable cast! The season finale left me simply agog.
  • Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (book)  •  I found the video game-focused parts of this book very fun and engaging, despite the fact that I enjoy playing exactly one video game (Mario Kart) in real life. This book made me sob on the train!
  • From 2 to 3 by Peach Pit (album) •  Something really nice to groove to.
  • Top Gun: Maverick (film)  •  I could easily watch Top Gun: Maverick over and over, and, in fact, the friend who I saw it with was on his FOURTH in-cinema screening.
  • Survivor, Season 42 (series)  •  The excellent season 42 cast transcended production hijinx to deliver an exemplary season of gameplay, and delivered us one of the most simply iconic winners of recent memory. There’s also a lot of excellent GTA representation happening in this cast!
  • Trickster Trilogy by Eden Robinson (books)  •  These books are so good: funny, dark, moving, magical. I read the whole thing over the course of one frenzied week in the depth of winter and felt completely adrift when I finished, because I just loved the whole thing so much and couldn’t imagine a next read that could possibly compare.
  • Don’t Worry Darling (specifically, the film press cycle)  •  For those of us who love niche media drama, this was the gift that kept on giving. (And this was all even before the salad dressing entered the chat!)
  • Shameless Acquisition Target (podcast)  •  This is such a smart, funny, and unorthodox inside look at the business of making audio, unfolding in real time. I find Laura’s approach and voice super inspiring, and I’m waiting with bated breath for the season finale, in which Laura will announce if she has, in fact, been acquired! 
  • Trash Pandas at Pauper’s Pub on November 12th (concert)  •  The most fun I had at any concert this year was at this show played by Toronto’s finest cover band, the Trash Pandas.


Eunice’s Top 10 Albums of 2022: 

Hey! I’m Eunice and I host the new CJRU show freaks and geeks. I haven’t been on air long so I’m sharing my personal Top 10 Albums of 2022 list for the sake of transparency.

  • Hellfire by black midi  •  I listened to this album every day for a week straight when it dropped back in July. If you want to know why, read my album review! Favourite track: “The Defence”
  • God Save the Animals by Alex G  •  My favourite artist of all time and favourite concert of 2022!!! I played “Runner” on the very first episode of freaks and geeks. Favourite track: “Miracles”
  • Natural Brown Prom Queen by Sudan Archives  •  I went from seeing her live for the first time in June to interviewing her within the span of a few months. That’s wild! (Thanks CJRU) Favourite track: “OMG BRITT”
  • RENAISSANCE by Beyoncé  •  This was my first Beyoncé album and I absolutely loved it! Favourite track: “ENERGY” (feat. Beam)
  • Ants From Up There by Black Country, New Road  •  Bummer that Isaac left the band. Favourite track: “Concorde”
  • The Linden Trees Are Still In Blossom by Jens Lekman  •  This is actually my favourite album of all time, but they reissued it and wiped the original off the internet. One of the major reasons I collect physical media… Favourite track: “Sipping On The Sweet Nectar”
  • Diaspora Problems by Soul Glo  •  CJRU’s Program Director Sean recommended a lot of great music, but this album was the most hardcore (haha). Favourite track: “Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!)((by the future))”
  • God’s Country by Chat Pile  •  Yelling “hammers and grease” is fun! Favourite track: “Why”
  • Aethiopes by billy woods  •  The production and bars on this album are so good. 10/10!! Favourite track: “Heavy Water”
  • Hiding in Plain Sight by Drugdealer  •  Apparently one of my top genres is “mellow gold” and I think this album perfectly encapsulates that sound and feeling. Favourite track: “Pictures of You”


Sarah’s Top 10 cities 

After having studied in Europe on exchange for six months, I got a chance to travel a bit and discover which cities I loved the best across the ocean. This is a ranked list. 

  • Lisbon, Portugal  •  It could be the fact that I’m Portuguese that I loved this city, but Lisbon is truly worth seeing if you love rainbow coloured houses, arts and culture museums and amazing seafood.
  • Barcelona, Spain  •  The atmosphere in this city is unmatched. My highlights were seeing a Flamenco show, walking through La Rambla and seeing the Sagrada Familia.
  • Florence, Italy  •  This was by far my favourite Italian city. Florence has such an exquisiteness about it. I loved admiring the Uffizi while eating copious amounts of gelato.
  • Ghent, Belgium  •  This is the city I lived in for five months. It’s truly a hidden gem filled with gorgeous canals, impressive gothic architecture and a bustling ambiance that will get you hooked immediately. I miss the waffles and frituurs so dearly.
  • Kolasin, Montenegro  •  This beautiful nordic town in the small balkan country is breathtaking. The countryside feels like you’re in the Lord of The Rings with all the gorgeous mountains surrounding you.
  • Mont Saint-Michel, France  •  This place was straight out of a fairytale book. I enjoyed walking up the steps into the monastery, getting beautiful views of the quicksand surrounding the mystical medieval city.
  • Étretat, France  •  I travelled here on a 6-day road trip with my dad from Gent to Bordeaux. The views from this coastal town are outstanding. The water is so clear against the rocky shoreline.
  • London, England  •  How could I not love London? There were so many cool neighbourhoods to checkout, but my favourite was Camden, which offered a variety of food and live music. London also had the coolest people who were down for a fun night every night.
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands  •  Seeing Amsterdam after Ghent made its canal look less impressive to me, but the city is still worth seeing. I saw the biggest tulip festival in the world on one of the rainiest days ever, but it was still impressive to admire. I would recommend this city to weed consumers.
  • Copenhagen, Denmark  •  I thought I would like this Nordic city more. I wasn’t a fan of the weather and nothing really stood out to me. The people were pretty friendly and the city offered a lot of unique shopping stores, but the city itself wasn’t a feast for the eyes.


Amber’s Top 10 live shows of 2022:

Hey! My name is Amber, and I am the Music Director at CJRU. Here are the top 10 live shows I saw this year: 

  • The Garden  •  at Brooklyn Steel, NYC on October 2, 2022
  • Tyler the Creator & Kali Uchis  •  at Scotiabank Arena, Toronto on March 11, 2022
  • Kaytranada  •  at PNE Pavilion, Vancouver on May 13, 2022
  • Alex G  •  at History, Toronto on November 5, 2022
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers & The Strokes  •  at Rogers Centre, Toronto on August 21, 2022
  • Circle Jerks  •  at The Phoenix, Toronto on April 1, 2022
  • Domi & JD Beck  •  at The Velvet Underground, Toronto on October 26, 2022
  • Pavement  •  at Massey Hall, Toronto on September 26, 2022
  • Larnell Louis  •  at Supermarket, Toronto on February 5, 2022
  • Machine Girl & LustSickPuppy  •  at Lee’s Palace, Toronto on December 15, 2022


Sean’s Top 10 albums of 2022:

I’m Sean, Program Director at CJRU and host of Signal.bin on Thursdays and Sundays at 9pm. I take my annual list of top 10 albums very seriously! Here’s the list in alphabetical order:

  • Spirit Exit by Caterina Barbieri  •  The Italian composer’s typical space age synths enhanced with more vocals than any album previous.
  • Conduit by Coby Sey  •  London hip-hop that feels as much a spoken word art project as rap album.
  • Mmaso by Ecko Bazz  •  Title track is one of the best songs of the year, a full album of dark afro-grime from Uganda.
  • Most Normal by Gilla Band  •  Catchy percussive noise rock with blisteringly distorted production by Irish band.
  • Niineta by Joe Rainey  •  Ojibwe singer pushes beautifully rich voiced traditional powwow song into ambient and industrial genres.
  • Metal Zone by Kakuhan  •  Cello and electronics sampling traditional Japanese drums for one of the more dynamic electronic releases this year.
  • Limen by KMRU & Aho Ssan  •  Nairobi meets Paris for a rumbling dark ambient that erupts into heavily distorted ambient techno.
  • Once Upon a Time by Romance  •  Celine Dion lands on my radar as reworked and stripped back by the London minimal/vapourwave producer.
  • Diaspora Problems by Soul Glo  •  Philadelphia hardcore band use this raucous album to put hip-hop lyricism directly in the spotlight.
  • Loggerhead by Wu-Lu  •  Blending London’s storied history of electronica, hip-hop, alternative rock, and more for a wildly fun album.


Michael Kivell’s top albums of 2022.  Host of B-Siide Radio.

As CJRU’s host of B-Siide Radio, here are my top albums for 2022, not ranked in any particular order but this is what I had in heavy rotation this year. 

  • District 5 by N.R.M.N  •  Rising hip-hop artist based out of Mississauga, with the follow up to the 2020 debut, ‘Book of Norman’, and proving to be his most exciting release to date. Flowing over an array of dynamic instrumentals, flexing his pen game as he depicts his come up, his struggles, triumphs and ‘Sauga city living.
  • Everything is Right Here by EverythingOShauN  •  Blending a mix of afro beats, R&B and hip-hop influences, EverythingOshauN rolled out the perfect summer soundtrack for 2022. Working exclusively with his brother, DJ XP, for production, it’s got the vibe for every social setting you can think of.
  • RISEXFALL by RunxGun  •  Hip-hop purists, this Mississauga duo, Gudini and J.O. Maris, are seasoned emcees who came up in an era where content, lyrical skill and delivery were the prized attributes of rap music. This is a shining example of just how prolific authentic hip-hop can sound when executed correctly.
  • 2022 the EP by DijahSB  •  Toronto-based rapper/producer has made big waves in the Canadian hip-hop scene, flowing effortlessly over booming synth loops, heavy bass, and smooth dance floor ready drum tracks. This 2022 EP is a five-track sonic experience that finds them teaming up with fellow Toronto crew Keys N Krates alongside frequent collaborator Terrell Morris and production from Cheap Limousine.
  • L.O.V.E (Loss Of Valuable Energy) by Luna Elle  •  Rising Mississauga artist, Luna Elle, highlights her affinity for old school R&B throughout her 2022 debut EP, ‘L.O.V.E (Loss Of Valuable Energy).’ At 17 years old, Luna has already received exposure from global outlets and influencers, Complex, BBC Radio, CBC Radio, Funkmaster Flex, and many more. Front to back, this album has been handcrafted for all the classic R&B fans out there.
  • Year of Redemption by Die-Rek  •  Following the success of 2019 Illects Records debut, The Dying Ones, Toronto emcee/producer Die-Rek celebrates a triumphant return on the mic with second full-length release. Throughout the 10 self-produced tracks T.Y.O.R finds its author examining the past three years and serves as a celebratory reflection of growth, faith, resilience and family.


Ryan Plax’s top 10 albums 

My name is Ryan and I’m a volunteer who hosts some episodes of CJRU 30. I’ve narrowed down my top 10 favorite albums from this year, which was no easy feat.

  • Ants From Up There by Black Country, New Road  •  Definitely felt like a timeless piece of music even after the first listen. If I had to choose a definitive album of 2022, it definitely would be this.
  • Cheat Codes by Danger Mouse & Black Thought  •  This was my favorite rap album of the year, which is definitely significant since 2022 has had some of the best rap projects to come out in awhile.
  • Hellfire by black midi  •  This feels like Black Midi at their absolute best and most refined, making it one of the  most interesting albums to be released this year.
  • The Forever Story by JID  •  I never really paid much attention to JID’s career, but after this, I’m anticipating every release and this solidifies him as one of the premier rappers of right now.
  • Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar  •  Definitely grew on me after a couple listens and feels more like a really good piece of performance art.
  • Melt My Eyez See My Future by Denzel Curry  •  Another rapper that I didn’t really pay too much attention to, but this album is packed with hits, making him one of my favorite rappers right now.
  • And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow by Weyes Blood  •  There was a lot of pressure to exceed her last album, she really pulled it off. The album feels like a 70s singer-songwriter classic, but set in 2022.
  • Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You by Big Thief  •  This album really takes the phrase ‘less is more’ to a whole new artistic level for me.
  • Diaspora Problems by Soul Glo  •  The newest and most exciting punk band to put material out this entire year.
  • Motomami by Rosalía  •  This is pop music done right and makes her the top pop star of the year by a good  margin.

JID – The Forever Story

Karen Young’s top 10 Season 2s

I’m the Technical Director at CJRU, and I realized that there were a number of second seasons that dropped in 2022. Here’s ten that I watched.

  • Inside Job, Season 2  •  The second season of this satirical animated workplace sitcom set in the shadow organization running the government, did a great job of developing its main characters.
  • The White Lotus, Season 2  •  The black comedy series with everyone’s favourite theme music, moves to focus its attention on the Italian location of the White Lotus resorts, uncovering the mystery behind the deaths of a number of guests. Jennifer Coolidge returns to shine!
  • Euphoria, Season 2  •  Returning after a 3-year wait, the cinematic teen soap drama highlights some messy storylines on actual film stock. Fantastic cinematography and music.
  • Only Murders in the Building, Season 2  •  Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez solve yet another murder in their Upper Westside New York apartment building, poking fun at true crime podcasts along the way.
  • Dead End: Paranormal Park, Season 2  •  Animated horror comedy about the teen employees of a local theme park. This season’s revelations come in the backstory of one main character, while the show as a whole touches on various LGBTQ+ issues.
  • Bridgerton, Season 2  •  This regency-era romantic historical drama focuses on romance tropes, and in this season, it was specifically the one where enemies become “friends”.
  • Upload, Season 2  •  This series presents a look into what the virtual afterlife might offer. In season 2, we uncover the main character’s past, and the dark side of the Lakeview digital afterlife realm.
  • Russian Doll, Season 2  •  In season 1, two people keep returning to life, à la Groundhog Day. Season 2 delves into the family history of these main protagonists.
  • Bling Empire, Season 2  •  Reality TV finally sheds some light on your average Asian American socialite’s dating life, elaborate parties, and petty group infighting. One new character prepares to make the move to New York for the January 2023 spin-off series.
  • Gossip Girl 2021, Season 2  •  There’s a new blogger in town in this extension of the 2007 classic, introducing Manhattan’s Gen Z to the screen, and utilizing instagram as the new social media platform on which to share the contemporary issues everyone deals with. Cameos from the original cast!


Kinza’s top 10 movies

I’m Kinza Zafar, CJRU’s Volunteer Coordinator and an anti-snob movie buff, presenting to you my top 10 favourite films of 2022.

  • The Batman  •  Matt Reeves’ film is surprisingly my favourite superhero movie of the year. Its thrilling action sequences, immersive world building and effective comedic relief (shoutout Colin Farrell and Paul Dano) make for an entertaining watch.
  • Kimi  •  Many in pandemic lockdowns connected with Steven Soderbergh’s film and its housebound thriller narrative focused on technology, paranoia, and isolation. The protagonist, Angela Childs (Zoe Kravitz), investigates a conspiracy-turned-crime.
  • The Menu  •  The twisted culinary psychological thriller isn’t really concerned with food, but more with greed, class and revenge– which is best served garnished, according to director Mark Mylod. Its comedic twists and shocking turns make the movie equally pitch-dark and tensely satirical.
  • Banshees of Inisherin  •  Set in the Irish Civil War, The Banshees of Inisherin, is a small-scale dark-humoured flick about two friends who break up in an island pub. Martin McDonagh’s wonderfully colour-graded comedy, along with Colin Farrel’s third performance of the year,  is sure to make you cackle in awe.
  • X  •  Influenced by Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Ti West’s A24 slasher flick X takes place in Texas in the 1970’s and stars a group of adult filmmakers visiting a barn owned by a creepy old couple. West revitalizes the usual tropes, packing the horror film chock full of surprising satire and graphic yet stunning visuals.
  • Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio  •  Guillermo del Toro is one of my most loved directors, creating hauntingly beautiful films like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water. His rendition of the children’s classic pushes the envelope by incorporating dark themes around Italian Fascism and war, while hitting home a familiar message of love and gratitude.
  • Prey  •  The suspenseful period-set Predator prequel follows a young Indigenous Comanche woman’s journey of survival in the wilderness and her fight against patriarchal traditions and a human-hunting alien.
  • Pearl  •  Ti West’s spellbinding follow-up prequel to X engaged me from the first frame to the last (yes, I watched all the way through the end credits). Expanding the transcendental horror of the farmland set of X, Pearl, depicts a farmer’s frustrated daughter (brilliantly played by Mia Goth) as a murderous monster in the making.
  • Nope  •   If you say yes to watching Nope, you’re in for a ride at a Wild West theme park with cowboys and aliens. Jordan Peele’s original take on a UFO thriller is fresh, exciting and hilarious with dynamic performances and breathtaking visual storytelling.
  • Everything Everywhere All At Once  •  The instant classic Everything Everywhere All At Once, by the Daniels, is all-at-once, an innovative high-concept drama, sci-fi, comedy, and martial arts movie. Manipulating time and space, the multi-dimensional film is unexpectedly heart-wrenching and unlike anything else you’ve ever seen.