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My Ten Favourite Albums of 2023

This took me a lot longer to put together than I thought because there were a LOT of albums I seemed to really enjoy this year! Not a bad problem to have...

Just like last year, this list is in no particular order!


Chronicles of a Diamond

by The Black Pumas


Since exploding onto the music scene with their last album, The Black Pumas have never ceased to disappoint and amaze me with their musicality. If you haven't heard the Song Exploder podcast episode featuring their break out track, "Colours," do yourself a favour and check it out! Not only does it increase your appreciation of the duo, but it increases your appreciation for music in general.


Favourite Track:

 

DU4LI7Y: Redux

by EZ Mil


I've known about EZ Mil for a few years now and particularly enjoyed his Filipino hip-hop anthem, "Panalo," since it came out a few years back. 2023 was definitely his year, though, as he signed with Shady Records/Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records back in July. He even teamed up with Eminem on the track that is famously known as the track where Em responds to his beef with Melle Mel of the Furious Five.


Favourite Track:

 

No Thank You

by Little Simz


I gotta give a shout out to my homie, Chelsea Coulter - who's a writer in The Zone's Creative Department. I was getting into a lot of British hip-hop acts over the past several months (still love GreenTea Peng's album that was on my list last year, Greenzone 108) and I heard a bit about Little Simz at the time, but Chelsea got me to hit play on her latest album and I don't think I've since gone a day without pulling up at least one track from that album.


Favourite Track:

 

World Music Radio

by Jon Batiste


An album containing what is likely my favourite song of the year! I was pretty late in the game when it comes to appreciating Jon Batiste's music. It actually wasn't until AFTER he won a Grammy for Album of the Year for his album, We Are, that I started seeing him as more than just the former band leader for Stephen Colbert's "Late Show."


Favourite Track:

 

Cracker Island

by Gorillaz


I don't think I own all, but I do own many Gorillaz albums on vinyl and this one is definitely an album I plan on seeking out for my collection. The collaborations in this record likely is what makes this my favourite Gorillaz album.


Favourite Track:

 

Michael

by Killer Mike


Favourite live music moment (and this is 100% a humble brag) was at Rifflandia's Electric Avenue during Run The Jewels' set. I was lucky enough to watch that entire show from side stage and was getting a kick out of Killer Mike's dancing. He caught me smiling between songs and smiled back yelling over to me, "you like that?!"


Favourite Track:

 

But Here We Are

by Foo Fighters


The first album since the tragic loss of Foo Fighters' drummer, Taylor Hawkins, was quite an emotional listening experience. While the musical tone of Dave Grohl and the Foos doesn't really change in comparison to previous albums, the lyrics display the pain and grieving the band went through in the months following Hawkins' death and leading up to the album's release. On top of this, there's really no bad track on this album.


Favourite Track:

 

Mono

by K.Flay


K.Flay has become an artist of whom I have the most respect for. She's had a year of rising to challenges after going deaf in one ear late last year. Her album signifies the rebirth of her music career. I also can't get enough of watching various interviews with K.Flay. She never fails to drop a knowledge bomb of wisdom that I end up taking away and/or quoting to myself and others later. One of my favourite clips was of an interview between her and Spotify's Alli Hagendorf, where she talks about the importance of dealing with pain head on and how she describes suffering as the avoidance of pain.


Favourite Track:

 

Back to the Water Below

by Royal Blood


Royal Blood are definitely one of the most consistent rock duos going today. I never seem to be disappointed by their albums and single releases. This album was no different!


Favourite Track:

 

99 Nights

by Charlotte Cardin


The first song that I heard off this album spoke directly to my socially-awkward tendencies (why do you think I choose to be the DJ at most parties, haha). Then once I dove into the rest of her album, Charlotte Cardin instantly became one of my faves! Her show at Capital Ballroom also showed me the power of her vocal talent. The venue can sometimes be pretty boomy as far as the bass coming out of the speakers and that can sometimes have an affect on the overall sound quality of shows. But Charlotte's powerful vocals managed to cut through a lot of that boom and standout to me as one of the best vocal performances I've ever seen in that venue!


Favourite Track:

 

Honourable mention goes to...


Guts

by Olivia Rodrigo


Pop music is definitely having its shining moments with me this year. LOVING some of these new songs coming from pop artists this year. And I'm SUCH a fan of Olivia Rodrigo. Her voice and poetic songwriting is definitely top notch in my books!


Favourite Track:


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