Top 10 Singles of 2023

Maybe it’s clear by this point but I have no actual criteria for what counts as a “single”. It’s just the ten songs I’ve enjoyed most this year and I think are worthy of further reflection. I’ve limited this list to one per artist because… well… boygenius truly dominated my listening history this year. Hope you enjoy!

10. “adore u” – Fred again.. & Obongjayar

Photo taken from Spotify

An addicting dance pop banger. I am absolutely floored by Fred’s ability to mix electronic euphoria with interpersonal longings and “adore u”‘s soulful hook and gritty vocal loops demonstrate his best effort yet.

9. “bad idea right?”- Olivia Rodrigo

Photo taken from Genius

“bad idea right?” is perhaps the most unabashedly fun pop anthem of the year. Rodrigo plays up the camp in its melodramatic premise while still wholly committing to her performance in the vein of the best popstars.

8. “SCARING THE H***” – JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown

Photo taken from Genius

Of course, this track is absolutely jarring, boasting a near-deafening sax beat that never relents. But it’s the centrepiece (and title track) of the record for a reason. Peggy and Danny are tired of creating art for the sake of sales alone and, in their opposition, are creating some of their most innovative music as a result.

7. “My Love Mine All Mine” – Mitski

Photo taken from Genius

I guess this is the part where I say I found it before TikTok (booooo tomato tomato tomato). But seriously this deserves all the hype it’s received; it’s a gorgeous, dreamy cut that just oozes self-love in way that somehow manages to avoid feeling superficial.

6. “Got Me Started” – Troye Sivan

Photo taken from Genius

Troye Sivan’s latest record had some of the best pure pop music I’ve heard in quite some time and “Got Me Started” stayed on loop long after it dropped as a single. It’s flooring in an irresistible way that so many artists try to attain but never quite nail the execution.

5. “When Emma Falls In Love” – Taylor Swift

Photo taken from Genius

It would be an understatement to say Taylor had a big year. And although there are still some important ethical concerns surrounding the singer’s preferred method of transportation, “When Emma Falls In Love” and the entire Speak Now re-record reminded us all of what made her a star in the first place. At her core, she is a pop scientist, knowing exactly how to dispel a catchy rhythm and make the tried and true songwriting formula feel as if there’s still merit in turning the radio dial up another notch.

4. “Chosen to Deserve” – Wednesday

Photo taken from Genius

In a year that boasted fantastic mainstream country releases (which still feels like a shock to say), it was alt-rock group Wednesday who delivered the twangy banger of the year. “Chosen to Deserve” captures their record’s sense of evangelical suburban devastation. There’s a carelessness to the delivery that feels perfectly youthful but almost undercuts the severity of the statement. How could one be so cavalier about predestined love? It’s a brilliant contrast, illustrating the strange disparity that I can only assume Southern small towns hold for those who’ve grown up surrounded by a prosperity gospel and nothing to show for it.

3. “Born For Loving You” – Big Thief

Photo taken from Genius

Perhaps Big Thief’s most tender track and once more an ode to a predestined love. Many have claimed their reason for existence to be love but Adrienne stretches the sentiment to its very limits, connecting the very origins of life on earth to her desire. It’s purposefully loose and warm, mimicking the feeling its attempting to capture in its swoony, but never schmatlzy, little tune.

2. “Radiant Reason” – Kings Kaleidoscope

Photo taken from Genius

One of the highlights of Kings’ catalogue for sure. “Radiant Reason”‘s anthemic chorus evolves each time it arrives and, in doing so, hammers home the simplicity and evolution of one’s faith journey. And yet, it never forsakes the genre-hopping, mathematical precision that makes Kings the chameleonic force they are.

1. “Not Strong Enough” – boygenius

Photo taken from Genius

Much of the record floored me. “True Blue” or “Emily, I’m Sorry” could’ve easily taken this spot but boygenius’ “breakout” single seemed to encapsulate what made their debut album so special. They’re unapologetically paradoxical: both strong and weak, genius and self-loathing, boy and man, angel and never a god. One moment they feel caught in the false sense of confidence, the other they’re drag racing through the canyon. This shifting sense of self often feels scary and unpredictable but songs like this make it easier to admit sometimes we’re truly not strong enough, and others we’re just made to feel like it.

Thanks for reading!

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