My favourite albums of 2023

Like in 2022, I listened to a lot of new music in 2023. This is a list of some of my favourite albums from last year. It’s in alphabetical order, because actually ranking albums is very hard when they’re very different styles. I tried to write something about each album, but mostly it’s just that I like the music.

ANOHNI and the Johnsons - My Back Was a Bridge for You to Cross (Bandcamp)

Cover art of ANOHNI and the Johnsons' My Back Was a Bridge for You to Cross.
It's a portrait of Marsha P. Johnson.
Marsha is looking into the camera, and is wearing earrings and a ring on her ring finger.
The band name is written (stylized) at the top, the album name is written at the bottom.

I Am a Bird Now is literally my favourite album of all time, and it holds a lot of personal meaning to me. So when I heard that she was releasing a new album after all these years, I immediately pre-ordered it. It could never be as good and capturing as I Am a Bird Now was, but that doesn’t stop it from being great.

Another Michael - Wishes to Fulfill (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Another Michael's Wishes to Fulfill.
It's a drawing, primarily in purple, showing a chair at a table.
On the table is a candle, that has just gone out, which is producing a lot of smoke.
Behind the table there is an open (round) door, through which a falling star can be seen outside.

I saw Another Michael live last year, as the supporting act of Pinegrove. They really blew me away then, with their great instrumentation and funny insightful lyrics. I checked out their previous record, New Music and Big Pop, after that show, and I also really liked it. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that I also really liked this album. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to see them live again in the near future.

boygenius - the record (Bandcamp)

Cover art of boygenius' the record.
It depicts three raised hands.
Each arm is also tattooed with a tooth.
The left hand, belonging to Julien Baker, has a lot of other tattoos and shows the back of her hand.
The middle hand, belonging to Lucy Dacus, is showing the palm.
The right hand, belonging to Phoebe Bridgers, also shows the palm.
Phoebe also has a thin ring on her pink.

I mean, I said I wouldn’t rank them, but this is definitely number one. I love Julien, Lucy and Phoebe individually, and together they are just absolutely amazing. In August, I even went on a city trip to Berlin just to see them live. That concert was amazing as well (MUNA as the support act was also great).

boygenius - the rest (Bandcamp)

Cover art of boygenius' the rest.
It depicts Phoebe, Lucy and Julien standing on a windy beach.
They are standing next to each other and are facing the camera.
They are quite hard to see, due to the low light conditions when the photo was taken.

Yeah, yeah, another boygenius release, I know. But it’s also great. At first, I was not as impressed as I was with “the record”, but it really grew on me after a while.

Carly Rae Jepsen - The Loveliest Time (Discogs)

Cover art of Carly Rae Jepsen's The Loveliest Time.
Carly is facing the camera, but her head is tilted fully backwards.
She is wearing a grey skirt and a matching top.
Her hair is long and blonde.

Carly’s traditional companion album, this time for The Loneliest Time. I actually like this one more than The Loneliest Time. The tracks are just a bit more loose and experimental, which I can definitely appreciate. (Don’t expect something crazy though, a bit more experimental for Carly still puts her safely on the radio pop side of the spectrum.)

Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want to Turn into You (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Caroline Polachek's Desire, I Want to Turn into You.
It shows Caroline crawling on the floor of a subway car, into some sand.
Caroline is wearing headphones.
There are a number of people standing and sitting in the background, including a cameo by Danny L Harle, a frequent collaborator of Caroline's and this record's main producer.

Another great electro-pop album by Caroline. I discovered her through her PC Music collaborations, but her solo catalogue is good stuff. You have to be into it, though.

Charlotte Cardin - 99 Nights (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Charlotte Cardin's 99 Nights.
Charlotte is sitting naked at a table, looking at a phone.
Her hair is wet as if she just washed herself.
There is a can of beer, an ashtray, and a candle on the table.

A new discovery in 2023, but it got me immediately. To be honest, I prefer her 2021 debut album Phoenix, but this one is pretty good as well.

Claud - Supermodels (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Claud's Supermodels.
It shows Claud in a blue and white striped shirt.
They are looking through the lens of an old camera.

It’s just some good, fun pop music. Probably not for everybody, but I like it. (It’s not on this album, but they wrote the better “Wish You Were Gay” song. Instead of Billie Eilish’s version, theirs is actually about gay people.)

Fenne Lily - Big Picture

Cover art of Fenne Lily's Big Picture.
It depicts a snowglobe (though without the snow).
In the snowglobe there is a house half-swallowed up by the ground, with a person outside the house looking at it.
There are also some trees.

After On Hold and BREACH, I was pretty sure this would be a great album. My expectations were absolutely met. Not much more to say; it’s great.

Forest Swords - Bolted (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Forest Swords' Bolted.
There is a grey bust in a cage, on a pedestal.

Good beats.

illuminati hotties - Truck (Bandcamp)

Cover art of illuminati hotties' Truck.
It's a drawing of the front of a red truck.
The hood ornament is a figurine of a dog head, the grill has "TRUCK" written on it.
The license plate is IH.

I was really hoping this would be the first single of a new album, but no such luck. However, it’s still a really fun and cute track. Heaven really is a truck.

Jonah Yano - portrait of a dog (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Jonah Yano's Portrait of a dog.
It is a minimalist drawing of a dog on a leash.

I find it hard to describe, but it’s good. Some kind of jazz.

Lost Girls - Selvutsletter (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Lost Girls' Selvutsletter.
It is an abstract painting in yellow, orange and purple.

A worthy follow-up to 2021’s Menneskekollektivet. Jenny Hval’s lyrics are always great. She has an inimitable way with words that I can definitely appreciate.

Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Five: In the garden… (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Matana Roberts' Coin Coin Chapter Five: In the garden....
It's a collage of pictures of eyes, with some pages from a book and maps in the background.
There are also a number of torn up pieces of paper.

Matana Roberts keeps putting out great music in the Coin Coin album series. It never gets boring and it’s always bringing new ideas.

Pinegrove - Montclair (Live at the Wellmont Theater) (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Pinegrove's Montclair (Live at the Wellmont Theater).
I'ts a painting of a house, with blue roofs and red walls.
There is a short walkway up to the porch, and the house is surrounded by trees and bushes.

Lots of live versions of the Pinegrove catalogue. I’d almost call it a best-of, since every song on it is great, but they also have a lot of great songs that are not on it. The special guests coming on stage on the last few tracks are a fun surprise.

Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter - SAVED! (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter's SAVED!.
On the cover there is a black and white picture of a woman in a white, stained dress.
She is holding up a book in a preacher-like way.

New music by Kristin Hayter, the person behind Lingua Ignota. It’s definitely a stylistic break from her previous work. I hope the “SAVED!” refers to herself, given the story behind her previous work.

Sigur Rós - ÁTTA (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Sigur Rós' ÁTTA.
It depicts a large rainbow beach flag that is on fire.
The fire was started from the bottom.

Kjartan rejoined Jónsi and Georg for this album, and it’s a great comeback. While far less punchy than 2013’s Kveikur (a style change that I definitely appreciated), it’s still a beautiful Sigur Rós album.

Sofia Kourtesis - Madres (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Sofia Kourtesis' Madres.
It shows Sofia sitting by a cliff. The sea can be seen in the background.

I don’t understand the lyrics, but the music is great.

Sufjan Stevens - Javelin (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Sufjan Stevens' Javelin.
It's a collage of all kinds of pictures and drawings on a brown background.
A number of the pictures are of Sufjan himself.
The title of the album, Javelin, is written at the top with a glossy effect, almost as if it was made by paint drips.

Sufjan is a great artist who has proven himself time and time again. This time is no different; it’s a lovely album. The personal story behind it is also very gripping. It was funny to see that the music media treated that story as his “coming out”, even though anyone with half an ear who had listened to his music could have known that he was at least some kind of queer.

Tate McRae - Think Later (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Tate McRae's Think Later.
Tate McRae is pictured, wearing a black tank top, Tanga panties and big ice hockey pads (typically worn by goalies).
The words Think Later are written on the pads.

Canada seems to be good at churning out underrated pop stars with “Rae” in their name. Lots of fresh fun tracks on this (but you have to like the genre).

Tirzah - trip9love…??? (Bandcamp)

Cover art of Tirzah's trip9love...???.
It depicts a woman standing in front of a microphone.
The background is foggy and unclear, as if taken during a concert with a lot of smoke machines.
The woman has her hair in a ponytail and is wearing a brown flannel on top of a white shirt.

Fun, glitchy album. The entire thing is based around one beat with some piano loops on top. The vocals are great as well.

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