With 2023 now in the history books, a few of our writers have gathered to share their thoughts on the best the music world has had to offer over the last twelve months. The Beatles, Blur, or boygenius. Pop, Paramore, or punk rock, it has been an exceptional year.
Here are our picks for the songs of the year 2023:
10 - Tony Soprano 2 - Nines
9 - Off Wid Za Heads - Nia Archives
8 - Windrush Baby - Hak Baker
7 - Now and then - The Beatles
6 - Ethel - The Murder Capital
5 - The Narcissist - Blur
4 - Fiesta - Sofy
3 - The Up Song - Black Country, New Road
Even after the departure of charismatic frontman Isaac Wood, Black Country, New Road have continued to produce a blend of music like no one else. The Up Song, taken from the live album “Live at Bush Hall” earlier this year, is emblematic of this truly unique sound. Poignant and vivacious, it will be exciting as ever to see what BCNR will produce this year.
2 - (It goes like) Nanana - Peggy Gou
Every summer needs its anthem to soundtrack festivals, house parties and slo-mo Love Island montages. But, whilst that responsibility is usually bestowed to Calvin Harris or whichever blond twenty-something is cool at that particular time, 2023 was the summer where the nation championed a genuine electronic music hero. Sampling 1990s rave classic “9pm (Till I Come” and house piano in the bridge, the track has a woozy nostalgia about it. But, above all, it is simply a great song. And you only really need to know about ten lyrics to join in.
1 - On a Monday Morning - Lankum
Perhaps the natural response to an evening dancing and singing to Peggy Gou, Lankum are the soft and intimate soundtrack to your Sunday morning hangover. The Irish folk group have had a fantastic 2023, nominated for the Mercury Prize and have a regular presence on “Best of 2023” lists, although perhaps none as illustrious as the “OSM Songs of the Year 2023”. “On a Monday Morning” is a beautifully melancholic description of hangover and regret, capturing images and feelings that we’ve all felt after one too many the night before. The whole album is heart-wrenching at times, uplifting at other moments, but consistently some of the best songwriting and musicianship you will ever hear.
10 - Begin Again - Freddie + The Scenarios
9 - Not Strong Enough - boygenius
8 - Thank You - Willie J Healey ft Jamie T
7 - A&W - Lana Del Rey
6 - Running Out of Time - Paramore
5 - Dancer - Idles ft LCD Soundsystem
4 - Modern Girl - Bleachers
3 - Bad Idea Right? - Olivia Rodrigo:
Releasing quite possibly the best pop album of the year, Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album is full-to-the-brim with some of the best songs the genre has seen in years. Bad Idea Right? is just one song in a sea of pop excellence. It’s masterfully infectious and a truly brilliant song.
2 - L-Plates - SOFY:
Following the theme of the majority of SOFY’s discography, L-Plates is an energetic anthem designed to get you moving. Only now entering her third year as a musician, the level of polish and quality on the track is miles ahead of anyone else this early into their career. Her ability alongside her band and producers to release high-quality indie-pop music . In a bumper year for SOFY where she released two EPs, L-Plates stands at the top of the mountain as the finest hour of her career so far.
1 - The Narcissist - Blur:
In a genre where it can be all too easy to release an album just for the sake of having a reason to tour, Blur’s comeback album after eight years was a truly special return. With thirty years of history under their belt, the sheer scope of Blur’s accomplishments are hard to really appreciate. The four men that took to the stage the first time the band played as Blur, were the same four that took to Wembley Stadium for two sold out nights in 2023. Despite their history, on The Narcissist the band refused to take the easy route, instead rising to the challenge of matching their past glories. The second single off the band’s ninth studio album The Ballad of Darren, The Narcissist is a song that stands amongst the best of the band’s discography. It is a song that deserved two sold-out nights at Wembley Stadium. It is a song that deserved a world tour. It is a song that will be remembered, from a band who remain one of the country’s best ever.
- One for Sorrow, Two for Joni Jones- The Japanese House
- Lipstick Lover- Janelle Monáe
- Borrow Trouble- Feist
- Kiss Ur Face Forever- Orla Gartland
- River- Miley Cyrus
- You’re Losing Me (From the Vault)- Taylor Swift
- Not Strong Enough- boygenius
- Stay for Something- CMAT
The final single from an astounding second album, ‘Stay for Something’ is a breakup track that’s made to be shouted from the top of your lungs. CMAT sings about desperately clinging to a relationship that is slowly ruining her, deeply emotional and energetic. This song concludes the encore at her live show, and as I was jumping up and down with the rest of Shepherd’s Bush Empire in November, it was abundantly clear why.
- Got Me Started- Troye Sivan
Hear me out now: interpolated ‘Shooting Stars’ sample over a track about finding someone who brings you out of your post-breakup slump. This is the first time Bag Raiders have allowed their iconic track to be sampled, and at first I (and the entire internet) was sceptical, but this is without doubt one of the best tracks on Sivan’s third full-length offering, Something to Give Each Other (perhaps the best pop record of the year). With strong UK garage influences, this track is absolutely made for the gay club, and epitomises the feeling of queer joy that Sivan cultivated with the record’s first single, ‘Rush’, which earned him his first Grammy nominations this year. And the music video is an absolute must-see; what more could you want?
- One That Got Away- MUNA
The first single after the end of an album cycle is always a tricky moment, but it is unsurprising that MUNA nailed it with their first and only track of 2023. Janet Jackson-inspired production on lyrics about the end of a situationship, accompanied by a music video in which the band commit murder when a mob boss looks at one of their girlfriends wrong. First performed at their Coachella set, which was a masterclass in live performance by a group with ten years of experience under their belts, this is my song of the year- a sentiment backed up by my Spotify stats which claim I have listened to it over 300 times since it came out in April.