Stereogum’s 50 Favorite Songs Of 2023

Stereogum’s 50 Favorite Songs Of 2023

Songs just feel more personal. Every December, after the Stereogum staff votes on the year’s best albums, we each submit a list of our favorite tracks from these past 12 months. Think of these lists as little mixtapes, customized guides to our most obsessive listening of 2023. The only parameters we set are that (1) a song cannot repeat on multiple people’s lists and (2) all songs chosen must either have been released in 2023 or, in the case of rollouts that stem back to last year, appear on an album released in 2023.

The goal here is not to present a comprehensive portrait of the best or most significant songs of the year. The following playlists compile the tracks we couldn’t stop coming back to, the ones that enthralled and inspired us most. Amidst a deluge of new music, these songs were our absolute favorites. We hope you find something you enjoy. —Chris DeVille

Scott Lapatine

Thank you to all the Members who supported Stereogum in 2023! Because of you we got to fill our days with new music, and I tried to make the most of it by listening to everything — even the Ed Sheeran albums. My favorite tracks include deranged chamber-pop, internet-addled avant-rap, black ‘n’ roll, and Water From Your Eyes. The only thing nagging me about my list is that I didn’t have room for “bad idea right?” but one of my astute coworkers included it, so fuck it it’s fine. (I didn’t really listen to the Ed Sheeran albums.)

1. ANOHNI And The Johnsons – “It Must Change”
2. JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown – “Kingdom Hearts Key” (Feat. redveil)
3. Allegra Krieger – “Nothing In This World Ever Stays Still”
4. Andy Shauf – “Halloween Store”
5. Water From Your Eyes – “Everyone’s Crushed”
6. Loma Prieta – “Glare”
7. Another Michael – “Angel”
9. Superviolet – “Big Songbirds Don’t Cry”
10. Kvelertak – “Krøterveg Te Helvete”

Tom Breihan

I’m really just in it for bangers. “Banger” is a nebulous concept, a term that doesn’t depend on genres or borders or boundaries. Anything can be a banger, but almost nothing can be a banger. When I hear a banger, my internal chemistry needs to shift. I need to feel like I could casually toss a Toyota Yaris over my shoulder, like I could slap Godzilla right in his face. Beyond that, a banger could be anything. It could come from Santa Cruz, from Seoul, from Santo Domingo. Bangers are usually the dominion of the young, but 58-year-old Tim Armstrong can make a banger, and so can 55-year-old Kylie Minogue or 42-year-old Paul Wall. What follows is simply the bangers that, for me, banged hardest this year. All other considerations are secondary.

1. Olivia Rodrigo – “bad idea right?”
2. Kylie Minogue – “Padam Padam”
3. NewJeans – “Super Shy”
4. Scowl – “Opening Night”
5. Rancid – “Tomorrow Never Comes”
6. Peggy Gou – “(It Goes Like) Nanana”
7. Zach Bryan – “Sarah’s Place” (Feat. Noah Kahan)
8. That Mexican OT – “Johnny Dang” (Feat. Paul Wall & Drodi)
9. Gunna – “fukumean”
10. El Alfa & Peso Pluma – “Plebada”

Chris DeVille

A lot of long ones in there, yeah? I easily could have built a whole playlist out of epics that sprawled beyond the sonic horizon line. Historically I prefer pop songs, a category that could have taken over this whole list if I’d felt like it. But just as often this year, in place of tight, dynamic bursts of expert songcraft, I gravitated toward jammy guitar solos, droning grooves, and overwhelming tidal waves of distortion. My #1 pick takes up a whole side of an LP and isn’t really a song by most conventional definitions, but it lifted me through so many late nights writing in front of the laptop screen. I can only imagine how far past the ceiling I’ll ascend when I see it performed live someday.

1. Water Damage – “Reel 11”
2. Fireworks – “I Want To Start A Religion With You”
3. Ratboys – “The Window”
4. Olivia Rodrigo – “get him back!”
5. The National – “Space Invader”
6. Margo Cilker – “Crazy Or Died”
7. Parannoul – “Polaris”
8. Blake Mills – “Skeleton Is Walking”
9. Cory Hanson – “Housefly”
10. Lankum – “Go Dig My Grave”

James Rettig

For five years now — half the time I’ve been putting together a favorite songs list for this here site — I’ve opted to choose tracks from artists that didn’t appear on our consensus album list, as a way to spotlight as wide a breadth of music as possible and also to demonstrate how much better and more interesting I am than everyone else. (Just kidding!) This year was the first year I really considered not doing that, mainly because I so dearly love so many songs on albums that made it onto Stereogum’s final list. But I’m a creature of habit, and once I started thinking about songs that got left by the wayside I started getting excited about how the first ones that came to mind all seemed to tie together. With a couple exceptions, they had a lot of words or barely any words at all, two circuitous routes to abstraction. They helped to overload my thoughts in a year that was, personally, not so great. So it was nice to have music to fall back on that drowned out the anxious hum of anxiety, welcoming deeper contemplation or allowing me to forget about it all.

1. Mary Jane Dunphe – “Stage Of Love”
2. Sun June – “Easy Violence”
3. Laurel Halo – “Belleville”
4. Gia Margaret – “Hinoki Wood”
5. Evian Christ – “Nobody Else”
6. Mandy, Indiana – “Pinking Shears”
7. Katie Dey – “Dawn Service”
8. Lael Neale – “In Verona”
9. Ruth Garbus – “Mono No Aware”
10. Prewn – “But I Want More”

Danielle Chelosky

I don’t think I listened to anything nearly as much as I listened to Wednesday’s Rat Saw God and Hotline TNT’s Cartwheel. However, I had to be the first Stereogum writer to acknowledge The Story So Far (aside from when we wrote up Parker Cannon’s notorious dropkick of a fan; they have riffs, I don’t care) and I had to spread the word about Siobhán Winifred’s breezy indie pop earworm “Killers” and semiwestern’s “i never mean what i say,” which sounds like if Elliott Smith made shoegaze. Plus, MJ Lenderman… how does he do it? “Deleted scene of Lightning McQueen/ Blacked out at full speed” is the “Jackass is funny/ Like the earth is round” of 2023. Lastly, Microwave, if you see this, please release a new album soon; “Straw Hat” is amazing.

1. Wednesday – “Bath County”
2. Hotline TNT – “Spot Me 100”
3. MJ Lenderman – “Rudolph”
4. Squirrel Flower – “Full Time Job”
5. Militarie Gun – “Do It Faster”
6. Microwave – “Straw Hat”
7. Dirt Buyer – “On & On”
8. The Story So Far – “Big Blind”
9. Siobhán Winifred – “Killers”
10. semiwestern – “i never mean what i say”

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