Another year of going to many live concerts [I went to 18 as of this writing] With 3 of the bands/artists I saw live twice – two of their albums made this years’ list.
All of these albums on this year’s list are from my iTunes library. While I did stream some of these albums via YouTube Music, I have all of the albums in digital format that I can sync to my phone or iPods [yes, I still use these classic devices for the car and portable speakers not of the Google Nest variety].
This year was particularly challenging in picking an album for spot number 10. I had a least 3 to choose from. As for the albums in the top 4 spots? They definitely earned their place into those spots.
And with that intro, here are my top 10 albums released in 2023.
Smashing Pumpkins “ATUM”
– This 3 album set is a rock opera of sorts, at least according to Billy Corgan. The first album came out in 2022, but albums 2 and 3 came out this year. Out of 33 songs, there are some good ones that have that Smashing Pumpkins sound. “Empires” “Steps In Time” and “That Which Animates the Spirit” are standouts. I listened to all 3 albums in a row this year and they all meld together well.
Buckcherry “Vol. 10”
– Josh Todd is the only original member. Their line up has changed often the last few years. But their sound is still great. With songs like “This And That” to open the album and “Good Time” being the first single, their hard rock sound is one I will continue to listen to every time they release a new album. A nice bonus is their cover of Bryan Adams “Summer Of 69′”
Rolling Stones “Hackney Diamonds”
– When your last album of original songs was released in 2005 and two of your members turned 80 this year, the last thing anyone expected was a new album. This is their first release without Charlie Watts, which carries a bit of sadness. “Angry” was the first single. Next up is “Sweet Sounds Of Heaven” with Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder. The rest of the albums tracks are good and overall it’s a fun album to listen to.
Grouplove “I Want It All Right Now”
– I’ve been listening to this band for the better part of 12 years. I’ve seen them live several times and they always have been so good. This year’s latest album is really good, but not as energetic as the first few albums. Still songs like “Cheese” “Well” and “Hello” were listened to often. Shout out to Kapgar for the letting me know they had a new album.
Metric “Formentera II”
– I wouldn’t call these leftover songs from last year’s “Formentera” album. They are more like studio outtakes that a second album grew out of. These songs are so good. “Just The Once” was the first song I had heard in the lead up to the album release. “Nothing Is Perfect” opening guitar strum slowly draws you in to Emily Haine’s sultry vocals. And then there is “Stone Window” which is that Metric sound that us long time fans have grown to love.
OMD “Bauhaus Staircase”
– Consistency is the musical definition of the last 4 OMD albums. Their sound has evolved but stayed very close to the alternative and electronic formula that is distinctly OMD. Songs like “Look At You Now” and “Slow Train” are easily to listen to over and over. To be honest, I long for the classics like “Locomotion” and “Secret” but as a long time fan, I always find their new music to be just as creative.
Metallica “72 Seasons”
– Now I call this latest album a return to their thrash sound. They have made attempts since 1991 Black Album, but there was always something not quite there. Songs like the album opener “72 Seasons” “Lux Aeterna” and “If Darkness Had A Son” just grab you and make you want to head bang with the best of them.
Mammoth WVH “II”
– No longer should we see Wolfgang as just Eddie Van Halen’s son or as the last bass player of Van Halen. Wolfie has taken a page from Dave Grohl on how to create his own sound by performing all of the music himself on this sophomore album, just like he did on his debut album. “Another Celebration At The End Of The World” was the first single out of the gate and it rocks so well. “Take A Bow” has a Tool-like sound construction and has him strapping on the EVH Frankenstrat on the guitar solo. And then there is “Right?” my favorite song on the album. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to that song. I saw them live twice this year – March and November – and I can proclaim their brilliance with Wolfie at the helm.
Depeche Mode “Memento Mori”
– After the May 2022 death of Andrew “Fletch” Fletcher, I and many long time fans of this band thought they were officially done. But then there was the announcement of a new album and a tour. And we were all happily shown they were not done. And not only were they not done, this album ended up being one of their best in years. Songs like the first single “Ghosts Again” “Before We Drown” “Wagging Tongue” and “My Favourite Stranger” were strong and solid and great to sing along to. I saw them live twice this year – March and November – and they were at the top of their game. Great performances. While no Alan Wilder surprise return, this band remains one of my all time favorites.
Foo Fighters “But Here We Are”
– Back at the end of July, I reviewed this album. I stated “This album is all about grieving the loss of Taylor” but I have to correct that with the song “The Glass” which is Dave grieving his mom Virginia, who he also lost in 2022.
– This album was so great. 10 songs that told a story of grief. I imagine this album was not easy to make nor was it easy to write. But as a long time fan, I am glad they did. And having hearing songs like “Rescued” “Under You” and “Nothing At All” performed live this year, the band has brought these new songs to their fans as new anthems to sing along to.
And now, for my top choice of album that came out in 2023….
Sometimes my album choices don’t always match what my readers like (I’m lucky to get a couple of matches), so if you have something to add, speak up below in the comments below. Give me a shout out on anything you like on my list. What I might have missed this year, I can always go listen to see if it would have made my list.