Sunday, November 5, 2023

Handicapping 2023's Album Of The Year Race

There's eight weeks left in the calendar year, but Rough Trade and Decibel will likely release their best albums of 2023 lists sometime in the next week, officially kicking off the year-end aggregate tallies.

Which albums will finish in 2023's top ten when all the various worldwide publications have had their say?  

Here are my official guesses. 

•••Update 01/13/24 - Actual Album Of The Year aggregate rankings included in parentheses at the end of each description - Was pretty close on a lot these guesses, though totally underestimated Lana Del Rey's year end grower appeal after the first wave of reviews were unspectacular, and overvalued Foo Fighter's dad rock appeal to a critical pool that now mostly skews much younger than the band.•••

The Shoe Ins

Desire, I Want To Turn Into You - Caroline Polachek: The year's most acclaimed art-pop record is almost guaranteed to finish top-five, something I would fully support. (AOTY #2)

The Record - Boygenius: Personally not as high on this one as their earlier EP, but another album I can't imagine landing outside the top five for this year. (AOTY #1)

Guts - Olivia Rodrigo: Dad rockers around the world prefer Olivia Rodrigo to Taylor Swift, which is just enough to land Guts ahead of 1989 (Taylor's Version) when all is said and done. (AOTY #5)

Javelin - Sufjan Stevens: One of the indie world's biggest darlings of last 20 years + an album focused on real life death of a romantic partner = 2023's likely album of the year. (AOTY #4)

Rat Saw God - Wednesday: Greater number of indie-oriented and foreign press fans boosts Wednesday's breakout album over Foo Fighter's But Here We Are for title of 2023's highest ranking straight-up rock release. (AOTY #7)

Very Likely

That! Feels! Good! - Jessie Ware: Hands down the best pure disco release of 2023 is almost as good as her masterful 2020 release For Your Pleasure and even more fun. (AOTY #16)

My Back Was A Bridge For Your To Cross - Anohni & The Johnson: My personal favorite each year usually lands somewhere in the 11-15 spot, but I'm hoping this super soulful What's Goin' On crossed with In Rainbows-like effort by and for the Trans community ends up with a top-ten finish. It's my favorite album of last two years. (AOTY #12)

But Here We Are - Foo Fighters: Like I said, Wednesday gets all the Indie and Euro-rocker votes, Foos dominate the mainstream American and hard rock oriented pubs, and deservedly so - the bands best album in a long, long while. (AOTY #51)

Fountain Baby - Amaarae: Though a lesser known artist, I'm guessing the chipmunk-voiced New Yorker, whose album presently sits number one on Metacritic, dominates the year-end neo-soul vote along with my last very likely 2023 pick... (AOTY #19)

SOS - SZA: Which though a late December 2022 release I feel has enough fervent champions to break into the 2023 ranks. (AOTY #18)

Twenty Most Likely Spoilers

The Greater Wings - Julie Byrne - Singer-Songwriter (AOTY #32)

Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die (world war) - Jamie Branch - Jazz (AOTY #56)

Black Rainbows - Corrine Bailey Rae - R&B, Punk, Pop (AOTY #43)

1989 (Taylor's Version) - Taylor Swift - pop (AOTY - Did not rank)

Maps - Billy Woods: A year-end top ten without a single genuine hip-hop title? Has yet to happen this century - but I think it's very likely this year, unless Travis Scott's Utopia gets huge mainstream press support (cause it won't get votes elsewhere), or one of a quartet of underground hip-hop releases, starting with this title here, manages to slip in. (AOTY #8)

False Lankum - Lankum - Folk (AOTY #9)

Sanguivore - Creeper - Glam-Rock (AOTY #61)

I Am Not There Anymore - The Clientele: Jangly Brit-pop comeback sure to score high in the UK pubs, will it be enough? (AOTY #91)

Everything Is Alive  - Slowdive: Shoegaze instead of jangle-pop but otherwise see above. (AOTY #21)

Sundial - Noname - Hip Hop (AOTY #22)

The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We - Mitski: Probably the most likely top-ten spoiler - singer-songwriter. (AOTY #6)

Wait Til I Get Over - Durand Jones - Soul (AOTY - Did not rank)

Lahai - Sampha - Neo Soul (AOTY #24)

Everything Harmony - The Lemon Twigs - Beatlesque Pop (AOTY #89)

We Buy Diabetic Test Strips - Armand Hammer - Underground Hip Hop (AOTY #37)

Heavy Heavy - Young Fathers - Psychedelic Soul/Rap (AOTY #11)

With A Hammer - Yaeji - Art Pop (AOTY #44)

Scaring The Hoes - JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown - Underground Hip Hop (AOTY #10)

This Is Why - Paramore - rock. (AOTY #15)

12 - Ryuichi Sakamoto: Legendary electronic music pioneer's final release (AOTY - Did not rank)

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