Wednesday 27 December 2023

2023 in Review: Top 10 Songs

According to Spotify and YouTube Music, I managed to rack up a combined total of over 80,000 minutes of music listening in 2023. Granted, most of that was during my daily workouts and 95% of what I listened to were songs from many years ago. It's crazy to think that most of what I listened to back then is now considered oldies by today's standards. Getting older sucks. Anyway, out of the handful of newer songs I did manage to listen to, these are the ones I had on heavy rotation.

10. Everything but the Girl - Nothing Left to Lose

A lot of the songs that get on my radar typically do so through YouTube recommendations. So when a new Everything but the Girl song showed up on my feed earlier this year, I had to do a double take because the duo hadn't really released anything new since the early 2000s. But sure enough, Nothing Left to Lose was pretty legit and it would herald the arrival of a new album to boot.

9. Falling in Reverse - Watch the World Burn

Say what you will about frontman Ronnie Radke and his various antics, but if there is one good thing Falling in Reverse is known for, it is for continually pushing the envelope for production values in their music videos. And Watch the World Burn is their most impressive one yet with a cinematic flair that would put a lot of Hollywood blockbusters to shame.

8. Tyla - Water

I have Instagram Reels to thank for this one as there was a point when I could hardly scroll through 10 videos without hearing Tyla's Water two times or more. And thus it would slowly sink its hooks into my subconscious where it continues to live rent-free even now. But it is the pairing of the South African singer's sultry vocals and the smoothness of its production that ultimately make it a standout song. 

7. Corpse - Code Mistake (ft. Bring Me the Horizon)

The man with the impossible voice took some time away from YouTube this year to join forces with Bring Me the Horizon and the result is anything but a mistake despite what the song's title might lead one to believe. On the contrary, the song immediately sounds like a match made in Heaven (or Hell in this case) as each artist plays to their strengths while still complimenting the other's vocal delivery.

6. Sleep Token - The Summoning

Many of us will forever remember 2023 as the year we discovered Sleep Token. And the song that helped them reach near-mainstream levels of success was The Summoning. Released in January, the track quickly amassed millions of Spotify listens as its blend of metal and soulful R&B proved too irresistible for most. It's the kind of mashup that shouldn't work on paper yet it is executed so flawlessly that you can't help but get lost in its multiple layers and sexy-time vocals.

5. Linkin Park - Lost

Linkin Park released its 20th Anniversary Edition of Meteora this year and as part of the re-release, fans were treated to this lost gem that didn't make the cut for the original album. And wow, just hearing a new song (well, at least new to us) from that era of the band with Chester on vocals was enough to hit me in the feels. I'd always hoped they'd release another nu metal record so I suppose getting this instead is the next best thing.

4. salute & Sammy Virji - Peach VIP

Another artist I discovered this past year is salute, an Austrian DJ currently based in Manchester. His track with Sammy Virji is all kinds of fire, harkening back to the heyday of club bangers with an earworm melody for the ages. This is actually a remixed version of the song, Peach, and while the changes made from the original might appear subtle at best, they still fundamentally improve it enough to be worthy of that VIP designation.

3. Le Castle Vania - Blood Code

Speaking of club bangers, one of the best ones I heard this past year was actually while I was watching John Wick: Chapter 4. I still get chills when I think about that club scene during which Blood Code by Le Castle Vania was blaring through massive theater speakers with face-melting intensity. I don't believe I've ever grinned as hard at a song in a film as I did then. LED Spirals was fire and all but this? This is on a whole nothee level and I'm here for it.

2. Sleep Token - Vore

If anyone had told me at the start of 2023 that I would get completely enamored by a song about lovers eating one another, I would have said you were off your rocker. But here we are and Vore by Sleep Token is quite possibly the most intensely beautiful song I've heard in ages. It is easily the best song on their Take Me Back to Eden album and one I've had on near-constant repeat for the better part of the year.

1. Disclosure - Looking for Love

Any year that Disclosure releases a new record is bound to be a great one. So when the duo announced the imminent release of their fourth album, Alchemy, I knew I was in for a treat. And the album hits the ground running with the stunning opening track, Looking for Love. The production of the song is just as exuberant as one would expect from the brothers, but it is actually the vocoded vocal that lends it that signature throwback feel, effectively setting the stage for what was overall an infectious and very back-to-basics record.

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