The Best Music Albums of 2023

The Year 2023’s Best Music Albums

2023 is over and of course it’s time to come up the list of the top albums from last year. There were a lot of releases last year and perhaps it wasn’t as strong as that pandemic surge of creativity from prior years but narrowing down the list towards the end things did get a bit tighter. Enough of this blah blah and on to the list!

Special Award

Could This Count Award?


I dove deeper into Hirasawa’s discography last year more than ever before. I was always into his anime soundtracks but I really wanted to hear his actual albums. Turns out they are somehow better than the soundtracks. RUBEDO​/​ALBEDO… is a live album he performed at Fuji Rock Festival back in 2019 / 2021. This might as well be a greatest hits album since it’s a bunch of his best songs but slightly different. He has a backing band with him (which is what Ejin apparently refers to). In any case it is good but I couldn’t really include it as a “2023” album but it is worth mentioning in some capacity.

Honorable Mentions

Katatonia – Sky Void of Stars

Katatonia has been doing this for a while and I’ve been following them since at least their 2001 album Last Fair Deal Gone Down. Compared to 22 years ago their sound has changed a fair amount but the songwriting has improved. Despite darker lyrics this album does seem a bit more upbeat than previous efforts. Overall a solid album that seems to have been built up over the course of the previous couple of albums.

LE SSERAFIM – Unforgiven

LE SSERAFIM is a new K-Pop group that seemed to blow up in a big way somehow. One minute you’ve never heard of them and the next minute they are doing a song for Overwatch 2. It seems they are a super group of sorts with two of the five members being from other groups previously. What was so enjoyable about this album? Hard to say. It’s got a good amount of variety to the songs, well produced, catchy. Good stuff.



Ad Infinitum – Chapter 3: Downfall

Ad Infinitum - Chapter 3 album cover

If you’re unfamiliar with Ad Infinitum they are a Swiss metal band originally formed around the lead singer Melissa Bonny. So obviously the songs will be centered around her vocals. As someone who hasn’t actually heard all of their albums this one did catch my attention (obviously since it made the list). Whoever is doing the Photoshop work on their albums has been doing a great job. As of the 3rd album it also appears that the rest of the band’s faces have been uncovered on the cover art.

Ad Infinitum – Chapter 3: Downfall


KEN Mode – Void

KEN Mode - Void album cover

I will always lend KEN Mode my ear because they always create some unique noise. Not everything they do clicks with me but when it does I make sure to point it out. Void is the follow up to 2022’s Null. Personally I couldn’t get into Null but I ended up enjoying Void a lot more. It starts off strong and tapers off just a bit but still remains engaging enough.

KEN Mode – Void


Dødheimsgard – Black Medium Current

Dødheimsgard - Black Medium Current album cover

Dødheimsgard is an interesting band with a unique sound. Unfortunately they seem to be on an eight year release schedule, maybe due to their rotating band lineup. Previous Dødheimsgard albums are more chaotic than this one, not that it’s a bad thing. This kind of reminds me of like a space black metal album with Pink Floyd influences or something. As always hard to describe the sound, it’s just something you’ll have to hear for yourself.

Dødheimsgard – Black Medium Current


Karol G – Mañana será bonito

Karol G - Mañana será bonito album cover

This is possibly the album I listened to the most without giving it top album of the year honors. Karol G is a Colombian singer and her music is considered reggaeton which feels like an unexpected place for reggaeton to emerge from. In any case it feels very genuine. It’s got some fun and some sorrow and anger. Ovy on the Drums production is top notch, hypnotic. It’s just kind of addictive to listen to.

Karol G – Mañana será bonito


Dessa – Bury the Lede

Dessa - Bury the Lede album cover

It’s no secret I enjoy Dessa a great deal. I like Chime immensely and Ides, the follow up EP, was alright. I don’t think this is better than Chime but it is still very good. It seems that Dessa has found love and fun over heartbreak. Great lyrics as always that you’ll be spending time deciphering. On top of everything she released a version of the album that came with items that correspond to lyrics from the songs. Talk about next level!

Dessa – Bury the Lede


VNV Nation – Electric Sun

VNV Nation - Electric Sun album cover

A friend mentioned this band to me a while ago and when I first heard them I thought, “this is it?” I expected something else I suppose. But I think Electric Sun resonated with me, could this be the album that made me “get” VNV Nation? I suppose it is. The songs are a basically electronic empowerment anthems, very positive stuff. I think it’s important to keep in mind that the singer / songwriter Ronan doesn’t exactly “sing” which was what put me off of the band initially, but something you just get used to.

VNV Nation – Electric Sun


Peter Gabriel – I/O

Peter Gabriel - I/O album cover

I’ve mentioned previously that if you listen beyond his singles, Peter Gabriel is a sound experimenter. This album is probably the biggest indicator of that. Not only is it auditorily diverse the album has THREE different mixes, the light side, dark side and in-side (Dolby Atmos) mix. The most interesting thing about these is there is a noticeable sound difference between the three (I’ve only heard two but there are youtube videos out there that also highlight the third). It’s hard to describe the difference. I think the dark side mix has a bit more bite to it, but you’ll just have to listen for yourself to see which one you prefer.

Peter Gabriel – I/O


Solence – Hope is a Cult

Solence - Hope is a Cult album cover

Solence is a Swedish metal band that isn’t melodeath for a change. They’re like a electronic rock / metal band, sounding like something that I shouldn’t enjoy but the music is just so wild and catchy that I just can’t hate it. This is what good pop metal should sound like and it seems that this band understands you can have musicianship along with catchy songs.

Solence – Hope is a Cult


김세정 [Kim Se-jeong] – 문(門) [Door]

김세정 - 문(門) album cover

I first discovered Kim Sejeong not from her music but from her acting. She is on the Netflix show The Uncanny Counter. It was only after I found out she was from a few different groups that have broken up but never heard her (here is a nicely written Forbes article about her). Until 2023 when she dropped her solo album. This isn’t like other K-Pop albums to me. A lot of ballads and somewhat lighter melodies. A lot of songs that showcase her voice which is actually incredible, something you wouldn’t pick up from seeing her bad ass character on The Uncanny Counter. But she put out a music video that shows she can be a bad ass in her own music videos as well so maybe she’s just really cool.

Kim Sejong – 모르고 그려도 서로를 그리다 (Destiny)

김세정 – 문(門)


TesseracT – War of Being

TesseracT - War of Being album cover

When singles were dropping for this album I wasn’t super into it, but based on their previous efforts I knew I wanted to get it. They take a bit off the djent influence on this one and the songs are a bit more focused. This is fine with me because they proved they can shred but can they make a compelling album? Yes they can. I find it to be of a high quality consistently from beginning to end, hard to find a flaw in what is a great experience.

TesseracT – War of Being

That puts a lid on 2023. Those were the best albums I had listened to last year. As always it took a while to narrow it down but I think this list has something for everyone. 2024 is already sounding promising so look forward to see if those albums live up to expectations at the end of this year.

In case you forgot, last year’s list: The Best Albums of 2022

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