Top 10 Albums of 2023 – Jessica Numbers’ Picks

Picking my top three for 2023 was quick, easy, definitive. No questions asked – just a knowing – these are THE three. There is MØAA – the absolute epitome of emotional, confessional, dreamy darkwave. Then, Melenas – with their triumphant, joyful synth heaven that is somehow both extraordinarily exuberant and deeply introspective all at once. Theirs is an album I fell in love with in a very specific unforgettable moment, but the fall was deep and forever. And then Caroline Rose – the one who laid her entire heart out on the table, bleeding and raw and vulnerable for the world to see, and then packaged it all up in art so good that the cover has been nominated for a Grammy. The Art of Forgetting is an album that makes me weep in recognition of its honesty and realness, and Caroline herself weeps when playing songs from it live.

However, completing a top ten list in 2023, picking only seven (!!!) more albums, is a challenge in a year of so many incredible, stellar releases. The world is increasingly chaotic and increasingly hard to live in, and art is so often a life raft. The outpouring of astonishingly good releases in 2023 reflects the times. That said, the rest of my list could be a hundred long, or even longer had I the time to listen to everything I didn’t get to! So, like I always do with music, I went with my heart, not my head. What really struck me, moved me deeply, caught me off guard with astonishing sound and soul? What albums will I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard them first? What albums will I remember how many tears I shed or how high my heart soared in the listening? With all that in mind, I could temporarily set aside the many albums I love from 2023 to focus on what really stood out for me, and what I will always remember as being a big part of this year. Music is life, and this is my list of 2023 life rafts.

(since I am the type of person who needs both life rafts and flotation devices to survive, I am sneaking onto the boat my top-three-almost-made-it-into-the-top-ten floatation devices: En Attendant Ana – Principia -Trouble In Mind Records, Laura Misch – Sample the Sky – One Little Independent Records, and Nation of Language – Strange Disciple – Play it Again Sam).

Artist Album Label
1 MØAA Jaywalker
We Were Never Being Boring Collective
2 Melenas Ahora
Trouble in Mind Records
3 Caroline Rose The Art of Forgetting
New West Records
4 Grian Chatten Chaos for the Fly
Partisan Records
5 The Clientele I Am Not There Anymore Merge Records
6 The New Pornographers Continue as A Guest Merge Records
7 Fever Ray Radical Romantics Rabid / Mute
8 Samia Honey
Grand Jury Music
9 Someone / Tessa Rose Jackson Owls
Tiny Tiger Records
10 La Force XO SKELETON
Secret City Records
KGNU Music

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