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Presenting My Top 100 Songs of 2023

Why was this year so fucking weird?

Of course, it wasn't all bad by any stretch. I checked off new locations in my travelogue, and celebrated my first full year of marriage. But in between were some pretty low lows. Perhaps I can chalk it up to getting closer to the midpoint of my life, or the general shittiness of the world at the moment.

Fortunately, music is one of the constants in my life I can rely on for translating my emotions into something concrete and relatable. That someone out there gets what I'm thinking, even if they have no idea who I am. That's all you really want out of music, or any artform I suppose. I look forward every week to compiling my top 40 songs, and even more so to my top 100 at the end of the year. It's the best way I can think of to distill the essence of what the year meant to me. Also I get to use Excel functions and math. Don't blame me for being a nerd.

100. 26fix - "Stone Killer"

99. David Guetta feat. Bebe Rexha - "I'm Good (Blue)"

98. Sault - "Higher"

97. Daughter - "Be on Your Way"

96. Pierce the Veil - "Emergency Contact"

95. Arlo Parks - "Blades"

94. Cuco - "Best Disaster"

93. Neon Trees - "Favorite Daze"

92. BEL - "Forget Everything"

91. Momma - "Bang Bang"

90. Grouplove - "Hello"

89. Mitski - "Bug Like an Angel"

88. Doja Cat - "Agora Hills"

I didn't think I'd ever be writing this sentence, but my favorite concert that I went to this year is a toss-up between Bruce Springsteen and Doja Cat. The latter's show was just a delirious goth-rap spectacle.

87. Manchester Orchestra - "The Way"

86. I Dont Know How But They Found Me - "What Love?"

85. boygenius - "True Blue"

84. Dayglow - "Then It All Goes Away"

83. Windser - "Get Lost"

82. Vacations - "Next Exit"

81. M83 - "Amnesia"

80. Steve Lacy - "Bad Habit" (4 weeks at #1 in 2022)

79. Mitski - "Should've Been Me"

78. Little Image - "Out of My Mind"

77. Miley Cyrus - "Jaded"

76. Hozier - "Eat Your Young"

75. The Beths - "Expert in a Dying Field"

74. Tame Impala - "Wings of Time"

73. White Reapers - "Pages"

72. The Last Dinner Party - "Sinner"

71. Genesis Owusu - "Tied Up!"

70. Vagabon - "Lexicon"

69. The War on Drugs - "Oceans of Darkness"

68. Jungle - "Back on 74"

67. Beck featuring Phoenix - "Odyssey"

66. Harry Styles - "Satellite"

65. Claud - "A Good Thing"

64. LCD Soundsystem - "new body rhumba"

63. Jack Kays - "Caffeine"

62. lovelytheband - "Sail Away"

61. Arlo Parks - "Weightless"

60. Mike Shinoda - "In My Head"

59. Fall Out Boy - "Hold Me Like a Grudge"

58. Nicki Minaj - "Last Time I Saw You"

57. MisterWives - "Nosebleeds"

56. U2 - "Atomic City"

55. Lauren Mayberry - "Shame"

54. Depeche Mode - "Ghosts Again"

53. The National - "Deep End (Paul's in Pieces)"

The presence of someone who shall remain nameless led me to not even listen to First Two Pages of Frankenstein, even though two songs from the album appear later on in the countdown. But the band surprised everyone later in the year with Laugh Track, which captures the band at its essence. I bristle over the term "dad rock" being applied to them, only to realize that after over twenty years as a group, I'm sure there are plenty of fans playing the song in their cars for their kids to discover.

52. Aidan Bissett - "Tripping Over Air"

51. Luke Combs - "Fast Car"

For better or worse, 2023 might have been the most successful year for country music on the pop charts. This cover of Tracy Chapman's 1988 classic was easily my favorite country song I heard during the year. The song is so perfectly written that it doesn't matter who sings it or how it's performed. You feel like you're living in that character's shoes, trying to get out of a desperately impossible situation. It was also a cleansing antidote to the culture war bullshit that reared its head in country circles over the summer.

50. Billie Eilish - "What Was I Made For?"

49. Phoenix feat. Ezra Koenig - "Tonight" (1 week in 2022)

48. The Weeknd - "Die for You"

47. Foo Fighters - "Under You"

46. Alvvays - "Easy on Your Own?"

45. Pink - "Trustfall"

44. SZA - "Snooze"

43. Jenny Lewis - "Psychos"

42. Young the Giant - "The Walk Home"

41. Slowdive - "alife" (3 weeks)

40. The National - "Eucalyptus"

39. Death Cab for Cutie - "An Arrow in the Wall"

38. Alvvays - "Belinda Says"

37. Death Cab for Cutie - "Pepper"

36. Blondshell - "Joiner"

35. All Time Low - "Sleepwalking" (1 week)

34. Beach Fossils - "Don't Fade Away"

33. Deeper - "Build a Bridge"

32. Beyonce - "CUFF IT" (2 weeks)

31. blink-182 - "One More Time" (1 week)

30. Nation of Language - "From the Hill"

29. Vagabon - "Carpenter"

28. Alaska Reid - "Back to This" (3 weeks)

27. Foo Fighters - "Rescued" (2 weeks)

The death of drummer Taylor Hawkins in 2022 hit me hard, as I'm sure it must have for Dave Grohl and the rest of the Foos. That they were able to channel that grief into their best album in over a decade is no small accomplishment.

26. The Last Dinner Party - "Nothing Matters"

25. The Beaches - "Blame Brett"

24. Gorillaz feat. Tame Impala and Bootie Brown - "New Gold"

23. Gus Dapperton - "Horizons"

22. Linkin Park - "Lost"

21. Caroline Polachek - "Welcome to My Island"

20. Castlebeat - "Looking for Something" (4 weeks in 2022)

Even though it topped my chart in 2022, this song set the stage for shoegaze's amazing revival in 2023. Reminiscent of Joy Division or early Siouxsie and the Banshees, I can't express enough admiration for this song. Easily should be one of my favorites of the 2020s when it's all said and done.

19. The Revivalists - "Kid"

18. Momma - "Medicine"

17. Nothing But Thieves - "Overcome"

16. Thirty Seconds to Mars - "Stuck" (2 weeks)

15. Silversun Pickups - "Empty Nest"

14. The National - "Tropic Morning News"

13. Arlo Parks - "Devotion"

12. Beach House - "Holiday House"

11. The Killers - "Your Side of Town" (2 weeks)

10. Paramore - "Running Out of Time" (2 weeks)

If any song summed up what it's like to be a millennial in 2023, it's this one. Hayley Williams captures every moment when you're rushing to finish a project, or trying to get to work, or any of a hundred other bullshit tasks that don't seem particularly demanding until someone else decides that it is.

09. Phoenix feat. Clairo - "After Midnight"

This song appeared on Phoenix's album Alpha Zulu without Clairo, but the Clairo version powered the song to a #3 peak this year.

08. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Wolf"

Cool It Down may have been released in 2022, but its impact carried on well into 2023. The song is one of the highlights from the record, with a spooky, psychotic sound that is effortlessly appealing.

07. Big Thief - "Vampire Empire" (4 weeks)

Originally debuted on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in February, the song didn't see a studio version until later in the year. Some of their fans say they prefer the live version, but I don't care either way. A great song is a great song whether it's live or on tape. Adrienne Lenker sounds like she's breaking every bone in her body singing this song, and it's just glorious.

06. Paramore - "This Is Why" (7 weeks)

As with "Running Out of Time", Paramore captured the dyspeptic feeling of living in 2023 America with this song. This Is Why - the band's first album since 2017 - was my favorite album of the year for this reason. I've loved Paramore ever since Riot!, but this might be the band's best album to date.

05. Slowdive - "kisses" (7 weeks)

Is it possible for an artist to release their best album 30 years into their career? I think Slowdive might have done just that. everything is alive is a shoegaze masterpiece, and this song, the lead single from the album really set the pace. So dominant was the group in my mind that they became only the second artist to replace themselves at #1 on my top 40, with "alife" taking the top spot on December 9, after this song's seven-week run.

04. Cannons - "Loving You" (1 week)

Michelle Joy is easily one of my favorite vocalists of the moment. Her sultry and beckoning voice draws me into every song they've released. Their 2023 album Heartbeat Highway came out late in the year, so I'm still getting a feel for it, but with two #1's under their belt on my chart already, it's not improbable to think there won't be more great things for the band in the future.

03. Nation of Language - "Sole Obsession"

My favorite discovery of 2023 had to be this Brooklyn-based group. This song and "From the Hill" (back at #30), opened my eyes to the band, and I really hope I can get to see them live in the coming year.

02. CHVRCHES - "Over" (9 weeks)

It was a remarkably close race for the #1 song of the year, but despite spending more weeks at the top than any other song, "Over" fell just short of the honor this year. A one-off single from the group after their brilliant 2021 album Screen Violence, it was an excellent way to send the group into their break whilst Lauren Mayberry pursues a solo project.

01. boygenius - "Not Strong Enough" (2 weeks)

After releasing an EP in 2018, Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus reunited to insane fanfare in 2023, creating one of the best albums of the year in the record. This song was the highlight of the album, showcasing the boys' equal talents for raw songwriting and performing. I certainly encountered my fair share of moments during the year where I felt my mental strength wasn't equal to the moment. That line "always an angel, never a god" really hits home for me sometimes.

So there you have it. Another year in the books, and another top 100 done and dusted. Check out the playlist below if you want to listen to the whole thing, or just want to familiarize yourself with some of the more obscure tracks on the list.

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