Top 10 Albums of 2023 – Patrick Mendoza’s Picks

This year (2023) was one of the greatest calendar years of live music I’ve ever enjoyed. I saw the legendary Roots crew for the first time. I watched Cypress Hill celebrate the 30th Anniversary of ‘Black Sunday’ with the Colorado Symphony. I was there for The Yeah Yeah Yeahs return to Red Rocks after nearly 15 years since their last performance at the storied venue.

With that, my list for 2023 is largely informed by the live shows I attended. More than half of my list, six to be exact, are albums of material I saw performed in concert this year. I owe a wealth of thanks to KGNU’s Promotions Department for allowing me so many great opportunities, but it’s also a testament to the prolific nature of live music in Colorado. We are incredibly lucky to have such a rich, vibrant live music scene across the Rocky Mountain Front Range. Let’s get to it.

! – artists with 2023 material I saw performed live
* – released in 2022, but after critics submitted their AOTY lists

Artist Album Label
1 Say She She ! Silver Karma Chief
2 MELONYX Soul Glow Tru Thoughts
3 Ab-Soul * ! Herbert
Top Dawg Entertainment
4 billy woods & Kenny Segal Maps
Backwoodz Studioz
5 Meshell Ndegeocello ! (!) The Omnichord Real Book Blue Note
6 Janelle Monáe ! The Age Of Pleasure Wondaland
7 Jamila Woods ! Water Made Us Jagjaguwar
8 El Michels Affair & Black Thought Glorious Game Big Crown
9 Arlo Parks My Soft Machine
Transgressive Records
10 The War and Treaty ! Lover’s Game
Mercury Nashville
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