Best Albums of 2023: Top 10 Vinyl Albums of the Year So Far
Best Albums of 2023: Top 10 Vinyl Albums of the Year So Far
As a wave of critically acclaimed albums sweeps hearts and minds worldwide, the best albums of 2023 so far have proven that it's already shaping up to be an awe-inspiring year of music. From the limitless creativity of Miley Cyrus and Gorillaz to the irresistible brilliance of avant-garde dynamos like Caroline Polachek and Yves Tumour, these remarkable LPs span genres and styles, leaving an everlasting impact long after they've left the turntable. Prepare to embark on an unforgettable musical odyssey as we reveal the top 10 best albums of 2023 so far...
10: Miley Cyrus - Endless Summer Vacation
From whimsical tributes to her homeland to emotionally cathartic power ballads, Miley Cyrus's eighth album 'Endless Summer Vacation' sees her venture into synth-infused pop, art-rock, psychedelic textures, and country-tinged relatability. Defying expectations, Cyrus forges her own unique path, taking us on a grand summation of her career in music so far that skips, hops and jumps through genres in a way that'll leave you spellbound. If you haven't cottoned on to Cyrus's extraordinary metamorphosis yet, prepare to be dazzled by her creative spirit and enchanting harmonies.
9: Gorillaz - Cracker Island
Gorillaz's eighth album, Cracker Island, never fails to impress. Produced by Greg Kurstin, the album features collaborations with Kevin Parker from Tame Impala and The Pharcyde rapper Bootie Brown, resulting in psychedelic marvels like 'New Gold', while the piano-led ballad 'Silent Running', featuring Adeleye Omotayo, evokes 80s synth-pop nostalgia. With a concept exploring a fictional island ruled by a sinister cult, Cracker Island blends Albarn's impeccably-crafted pop melodies with clever social critique. Without a doubt, Cracker Island solidifies its place as one of the best albums of 2023 so far.
8: Arlo Parks - My Soft Machine
Still only just 22 years old, Arlo Parks's second album 'My Soft Machine' perfectly builds on her acclaimed debut LP. Exploring the depths of early adulthood, Parks confronts unrequited love, relationship struggles, and ultimately, self-acceptance. Excelling at crafting serene soundscapes, blending ethereal synths, rhythmic beats, and captivating vocals, tracks like 'Weightless' and 'Blades' see Arlo boldly venture down new avenues, while 'Purple Phase' and 'Pegasus' showcase her undeniable artistry. Possessing an indelible potency, 'My Soft Machine' reaffirms Parks' ability for evoking strong emotions with her soothing voice, fully establishing her reputation as an innovative artist with one of the best albums of 2023 so far.
7: Boygenius - The Record
To be quite honest, Boygenius is more than just a supergroup. Comprising three remarkable singer-songwriters - Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus - their guitar-driven self-titled debut LP sees them emerge as a force of unparalleled brilliance, each bringing their distinct styles to the ensemble. In essence, Boygenius's true magic lies in the inexplicable, unpredictable, and subtly daring alchemy that occurs when unique musical talents converge with the single-minded desire to create something new. Together, Boygenius have not only gifted us one of the best albums of 2023 so far, but they have forged a sonic path unlike anything heard before.
6: Young Fathers - Heavy Heavy
The innovative Scottish rap trio, Young Fathers, have long been carving a unique path for themselves in music, and their latest offering, Heavy Heavy, is a genre-defying, convention-busting spectacle. Blending neo-psychedelia with gospel influences and an unwavering focus on hip-hop's intricate wordplay, Young Fathers never shy away from embracing catchy hooks and infectious choruses while pushing boundaries with eccentric panache. From the tribal campfire singalong of I Saw to the otherworldly folk harmonies of Rice, 'Heavy Heavy' showcases Young Fathers' audacious breed of UK hip-hop better than ever before. A standout release among the best albums of 2023 so far, Young Fathers prove as captivating as ever with their adventurous and distinctive sound.
5: Lana Del Rey - Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd
At the heart of 'Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd' lies Lana Del Rey's quest for self-examination, as she uses her ninth studio album to subvert the familiar narratives we think we know about her. Through personal anecdotes about her family, her romantic failings, and her conflicting desire for visibility and anonymity, Del Rey not only gives us a glimpse into her hopes but also her neuroses. Tracks like the remarkable 'A&W' and 'Fingertips' encapsulate different facets of the LA-based songwriter's life story, exploring themes of sexual awakening, a rising maternal instinct, and the lingering impact of past trauma as the singer goes about navigating adult life. Embracing grandiosity, 'Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd' stands tall among the best albums of 2023 so far, showcasing Lana Del Rey's undeniable artistry and profound storytelling.
4: Paramore - This Is Why
Paramore's sixth album, 'This Is Why' invites songwriter Hayley Williams to give us a lyrical masterclass sparked by the introspection imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fearlessly exposing her vulnerabilities in an unexpectedly uplifting manner, Hayley's witty self-deprecation as she embraces the allure of social detachment, confronts the decline of her social life and playfully addresses her chronic tardiness result in some of the best Paramore songs yet. Produced by Grammy Award-winning Carlos De La Garza in Los Angeles, 'This Is Why' once again sees them combine 80s new-wave pop with angular guitar riffs reminiscent of Bloc Party, seamlessly merging Williams' acute observations with riveting pop-rock prowess, undeniably deserving of recognition among the best albums of 2023.
3: Kelela - Raven
After a six-year hiatus, Kelela truly dazzles listeners on her second studio album, 'Raven', a celestial voyage through progressive R&B that seemingly defies gravity with its experimental nature. In just an hour's running time, on 'Missed Call Kelela's soulful voice explores cavernous realms of pulsating breakbeats while 'Holier' sees her journey even deeper into ethereal ambient soundscapes. The songs on 'Raven' prove that her R&B evolution holds no bounds: erupting with volcanic intensity throughout, Kelela's artistic freedom is boundless and appears to know no limits, leaving us eagerly anticipating what she will create next. For now, of course, let's just cherish 'Raven' for what it is - one of the year's best albums that, needless to say, is best heard on vinyl.
2: Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want to Turn Into You
Unveiling her remarkable vocal prowess, Caroline Polachek's latest offering, 'Desire, I Want To Turn Into You', showcases her captivating and ever-evolving indie-pop sound. Seamlessly blending electronic, pop, and experimental elements, Polachek creates a trailblazing sonic landscape from the infectious, Haim-inspired pop explosion of 'Welcome To My Island' to the disorienting and rhythmic finale of 'Billions'. With unguarded vulnerability, the album delves into introspection and intimate narratives, exploring love, loss, and self-discovery. Destined to be remembered as one of the best albums of 2023, 'Desire, I Want To Turn Into You' proves that Polachek is one of the most thrilling and inventive indie-pop artists working today.
1: Yves Tumor - Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)
Conjuring a palpable air of mystery, Yves Tumor's fifth studio album 'Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)' is just as baffling and brilliant as its title. Wearing introspection on his sleeve on 'God Is A Circle' to reveal uncharted territories within himself, Tumor's music defies easy categorisation as simplistic labels do not do him justice. Furthering his out-of-leftfield takes on power pop, trip-hop, and glam metal, Yves goes so far as to embrace Americana on 'Meteora Blues' and even dabbles in post-punk influences on 'Operator'. His lyrics, now more lucid, yield poignant, raw love songs amid the dance-pop and industrial chaos. Forging an innovative path by fusing visceral punk with avant-garde pop stylings, Yves Tumor's 'Praise a Lord...' amounts to a sonic awakening that we should all open our eyes to.
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