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Mark Redfern’s Favorite Albums, Songs, and TV Shows of 2023

Our Senior Editor/Co-Publisher Lists Some of his 2023 Favorites

Jan 08, 2024 By Mark Redfern
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As 2024 dawns, I’m giving a final look back on my favorite albums, songs, and TV shows of the last year. Below are lists for each.

First is my personal list of my 70 favorite albums released in 2023. This is different than Under the Radar’s Top 100 Albums of 2023 list we posted last month, which was voted on by over 20 of our contributors, although there is certainly a whole lot of crossover. My #1 and #2 are practically tied, I went back and forth on which one got the top spot. Seeing Jessie Ware’s amazing performance at the 9:30 Club in October probably gave her the edge. Outside of the Top 25, the ranking feels a bit more arbitrary. These are simply the 2023 albums I listened to the most and enjoyed the most, with no thought behind the albums some might say should be on any best of 2023 list. I’ve included embeds for the Top 15. Anyone who says 2023 wasn’t a good year for new music simply wasn’t paying attention!

Clockwise from top left: Jessie Ware, Ratboys, Black Belt Eagle Scout, The WAEVE
Clockwise from top left: Jessie Ware, Ratboys, Black Belt Eagle Scout, The WAEVE

1. Jessie Ware: That! Feels Good! (Interscope)

2. Ratboys: The Window (Top Shelf)

3. The WAEVE: The WAEVE (Transgressive)

4. Black Belt Eagle Scout: The Land, The Water, The Sky (Saddle Creek)

5. Strange Ranger: Pure Music (Fire Talk)

6. Caroline Rose: The Art of Forgetting (New West)

7. Alex Lahey: The Answer Is Always Yes (Liberation)

8. Sufjan Stevens: Javelin (Asthmatic Kitty)

9. Caroline Polachek: Desire, I Want to Turn Into You (Perpetual Novice)

10. Blonde Redhead: Sit Down for Dinner (section1)

11. Lael Neale: Star Eaters Delight (Sub Pop)

12. Art Feynman: Be Good the Crazy Boys (Western Vinyl)

13. Nation of Language: Strange Disciple ([PIAS])

14. Girl Ray: Prestige (Moshi Moshi)

15. Jamila Woods: Water Made Us (Jagjaguwar)

16. Olivia Rodrigo: GUTS (Geffen)
17. Mutual Benefit: Growing at the Edges (Transgressive)
18. Palehound: Eye on the Bat (Polyvinyl)
19. Mitski: The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We (Dead Oceans)
20. Emma Anderson: Pearlies (Sonic Cathedral)
21. Peter Gabriel: i/o (Real World)
22. Miss Grit: Follow the Cyborg (Mute)
23. Wild Nothing: Hold (Captured Tracks)
24. John Cale: MERCY (Double Six/Domino)
25. Wilco: Cousin (dBpm)
26. M83: Fantasy (Mute)
27. Jess Williamson: Time Ain’t Accidental (Mexican Summer)
28. Margaret Glaspy: Echo the Diamond (ATO)
29. Water From Your Eyes: Everyone’s Crushed (Matador)
30. boygenius: the record (Interscope)
31. IAN SWEET: Sucker (Polyvinyl)
32. A. Savage: Several Songs About Fire (Rough Trade)
33. Madeline Kenney: A New Reality Mind (Carpark)
34. Mega Bog: End of Everything (Mexican Summer)
35. H. Hawkline: Milk For Flowers (Heavenly)
36. Slowdive: everything is alive (Dead Oceans)
37. Murray A. Lightburn: Once Upon a Time in Montreal (Dangerbird)
38. This Is The Kit: Careful of Your Keepers (Rough Trade)
39. Metric: Formentera II (Metric Music International/Thirty Tigers)
40. Wings of Desire: Life is Infinite (WMD)
41. Braids: Euphoric Recall (Secret City)
42. Lightning Dust: Nostalgia Killer (Western Vinyl)
43. Decisive Pink: Ticket to Fame (Fire)
44. Blondshell: Blondshell (Partisan)
45. Geese: 3D Country (Partisan)
46. Jaako Eino Kalevi: Chaos Magic (Weird World/Domino)
47. M. Ward: Supernatural Thing (ANTI-)
48. Lanterns on the Lake: Versions of Us (Bella Union)
49. Belle and Sebastian: Late Developers (Matador)
50. Modern Nature: No Fixed Point in Space (Bella Union)
51. Little Dragon: Slugs of Love (Ninja Tune)
52. The Clientele: I Am Not There Anymore (Merge)
53. Baxter Dury: I Thought I Was Better Than You (Heavenly)
54. Yo La Tengo: This Stupid World (Matador)
55. Sen Morimoto: Diagnosis (City Slang)
56. Viji: So Vanilla (Speedy Wunderground)
57. U.S. Girls: Bless This Mess (4AD)
58. Jenny Lewis: Joy’All (Blue Note)
59. Death and Vanilla: Flicker (Fire)
60. Indigo De Souza: All of This Will End (Saddle Creek)
61. Heather Woods Broderick: Labyrinth (Western Vinyl)
62. Sleaford Mods: UK GRIM (Rough Trade)
63. Sparks: The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte (Island)
64. The Mountain Goats: Jenny From Thebes (Merge)
65. Silver Moth: Black Bay (Bella Union)
66. Coach Party: KILLJOY (Chess Club)
67. The GOLDEN DREGS: On Grace & Dignity (4AD)
68. James Yorkston, Nina Persson, and the Second Hand Orchestra: The Great White Sea Eagle (Domino)
69. Cherry Glazerr: I Don’t Want You Anymore (Secretly Canadian)
70. Lol Tolhurst x Budgie x Jacknife Lee: Los Angeles (Play It Again Sam)

Clockwise from top left: Ratboys, Jessie Ware, Strange Ranger, Olivia Rodrigo, Murray A. Lightburn, Margaret Glaspy, Jamila Woods, Black Belt Eagle Scout
Clockwise from top left: Ratboys, Jessie Ware, Strange Ranger, Olivia Rodrigo, Murray A. Lightburn, Margaret Glaspy, Jamila Woods, Black Belt Eagle Scout

Secondly, here’s a list of my favorite songs first released in 2023. These were simply the songs I listened to the most in the last year. There are 134 of them in all. Some artists have multiple songs on the list, many others just one entry. They had to be new songs first released in 2023, meaning if there was a song on a 2023 album I liked, but it was first released as a single in 2022 or earlier, it was ineligible. Conversely, there are some 2023 singles on this list that will appear on 2024 albums.

Below the list, there is a Spotify playlist featuring all the songs in order. (Spotify embeds only allow 100 tracks, check out all 134 tracks on Spotify here.)

1. Ratboys: “Black Earth, WI”
2. Black Belt Eagle Scout: “Spaces”
3. Jessie Ware: “Begin Again”
4. Strange Ranger: “Wide Awake”
5. Olivia Rodrigo: “bad idea right?”
6. Jessie Ware: “That! Feels Good!”
7. The WAEVE: “Undine”
8. Ratboys: “The Window”
9. Alex Lahey: “They Wouldn’t Let Me In”
10. Margaret Glaspy: “Get Back”
11. Sufjan Stevens: “A Running Start”
12. Caroline Polachek: “Blood and Butter”
13. Faye Webster: “But Not Kiss”
14. Blondshell: “Salad”
15. Yumi Zouma: “KPR”
16. Wilco: “Ten Dead”
17. Carly Rae Jepsen: “Shy Boy”
18. Blonde Redhead: “Snowman”
19. Hand Habits: “The Bust of Nefertiti”
20. John Cale: “NOISE OF YOU”
21. Murray A. Lightburn: “Once Upon a Time In Montréal”
22. Mitski: “Bug Like An Angel”
23. Nation of Language: “Too Much, Enough”
24. Black Belt Eagle Scout: “Nobody”
25. Water From Your Eyes: “Barley”
26. Ratboys: “No Way”
27. M. Ward: “Too Young to Die” (Feat. First Aid Kit)
28. The New Pornographers: “Pontius Pilate’s Home Movies”
29. U.S. Girls: “Tux (Your Body Fills Me, Boo)”
30. Lael Neale: “In Verona”
31. Jessie Ware: “These Lips”
32. Caroline Rose: “Miami”
33. Palehound: “Independence Day”
34. Sufjan Stevens: “Goodbye Evergreen”
35. Jamila Woods: “Boomerang”
36. Girl Ray: “Everybody’s Saying That”
37. Viji: “Sedative”
38. Wild Nothing: “Headlights On” (Feat. Hatchie)
39. Hannah Jadagu: “Warning Sign”
40. IAN SWEET: “Emergency Contact”
41. Nation of Language: “Weak In Your Light”
42. Alex Lahey: “Good Time”
43. Olivia Rodrigo: “vampire”
44. Jessie Ware: “Pearls”
45. Alison Goldfrapp: “NeverStop”
46. Art Feynman: “Therapy at 3pm”
47. Gruff Rhys: “Silver Lining Lead Balloons”
48. Yard Act: “Dream Job”
49. The Smile: “Bending Hectic”
50. Sufjan Stevens: “So You Are Tired”
51. Mega Bog: “All and Everything”
52. Strange Ranger: “She’s on Fire”
53. Caroline Rose: “The Doldrums”
54. Ratboys: “It’s Alive”
55. Decisive Pink: “Dopamine”
56. Madeline Kenney: “I Drew a Line”
57. Midlake and John Grant: “You Don’t Get To”
58. Blonde Redhead: “Before”
59. Django Django: “Complete Me” (Feat. Self Esteem)
60. The Last Dinner Party: “Nothing Matters”
61. Miss Grit: “Lain (Phone Clone)”
62. Olivia Rodrigo: “get him back!”
63. Nation of Language: “Sole Obsession”
64. Girl Ray: “Hold Tight”
65. The Smile: “Wall of Eyes”
66. Yo La Tengo: “Sinatra Drive Breakdown”
67. Yard Act: “The Trench Coat Museum”
68. Strange Ranger: “Way Out”
69. Emma Anderson: “Clusters”
70. Slowdive: “the slab”
71. Gruff Rhys: “Celestial Candyfloss”
72. The WAEVE: “Over and Over”
73. The Beatles: “Now and Then”
74. Indigo De Souza: “Young & Dumber”
75. Lael Neale: “I Am the River”
76. Sleaford Mods: “Force 10 From Navarone” (Feat. Dry Cleaning’s Florence Shaw)
77. The Clientele: “Blue Over Blue”
78. Caroline Rose: “Where Do I Go From Here?”
79. Marika Hackman: “No Caffeine”
80. Wings of Desire: “Runnin’”
81. Kieran Hebden and William Tyler: “Darkness, Darkness”
82. Mutual Benefit: “Wasteland Companions”
83. Modern Nature: “Cascade”
84. Wild Nothing: “Suburban Solutions”
85. Braids: “Evolution”
86. H. Hawkline: “Plastic Man”
87. Alex Lahey: “The Answer Is Always Yes”
88. This Is the Kit: “Stuck in a Room”
89. Olivia Rodrigo: “teenage dream”
90. Jamila Woods: “Tiny Garden” (Feat. duendita)
91. Ratboys: “Morning Zoo”
92. A. Savage: “David’s Dead”
93. Baxter Dury: “Aylesbury Boy”
94. The Golden Dregs: “Vista”
95. M83: “Oceans Niagara”
96. Metric: “Just the Once”
97. Sen Morimoto: “Diagnosis”
98. Wings of Desire: “Be Here Now”
99. Emma Anderson: “Bend the Round”
100. Mega Bog: “Love Is” (Feat. Westerman)
101. Grandaddy: “Watercooler”
102. Death Cab for Cutie: “An Arrow In the Wall”
103. Sufjan Stevens: “Will Anybody Ever Love Me?”
104. Magdalena Bay: “Wandering Eyes”
105. Little Dragon: “Slugs of Love”
106. Laura Groves: “D 4 N” (Feat. Sampha)
107. Mannequin Pussy: “I Don’t Know You”
108. William Doyle: “Relentless Melt”
109. Sparks: “Nothing Is As Good As They Say It Is”
110. Jess Williamson: “Hunter”
111. Palehound: “My Evil”
112. Jenny Lewis: “Psychos”
113. Lanterns on the Lake: “String Theory”
114. Peter Gabriel: “And Still”
115. Pip Blom: “Is This Love?” (Feat. Alex Kapranos)
116. The Last Dinner Party: “Sinner”
117. Cherry Glazerr: “Golden”
118. Grandaddy: “Cabin in My Mind”
119. Dawn Richard: “Babe Ruth”
120. Jamila Woods: “Practice” (Feat. Saba)
121. Slaughter Beach, Dog: “Engine”
122. Future Islands: “The Tower”
123. Mega Bog: “The Clown”
124. Jaakko Eino Kalevi: “I Forget”
125. Sparks: “The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte”
126. Kirin J Callinan: “Young Drunk Driver” (Feat. Hubert Lenoir)
127. MGMT: “Mother Nature”
128. Peter Gabriel: “Road to Joy”
129. Melenas: “K2”
130. Viji: “Karaoke”
131. This Is the Kit: “Inside Outside”
132. Snõõper: “Running”
133. Decisive Pink: “Ode to Boy”
134. Geese: “3D Country”

Catherine Tate and David Tennant in Doctor Who
Catherine Tate and David Tennant in Doctor Who

And here are my 20 favorite 2023 TV shows that I watched a full season of (or close to a full season of in some cases).

1. Doctor Who (60th Anniversary Specials and Christmas Special) (BBC/Disney+)
2. Star Trek: Picard (Season 3) (Paramount+)
3. The Bear (Season 2) (Hulu)
4. Poker Face (Season 1) (Peacock)
5. Only Murders in the Building (Season 3) (Hulu)
6. Starstruck (Season 3) (BBC/Max)
7. My Adventures with Superman (Season 1) (Adult Swim/Max)
8. Superman & Lois (Season 3) (CW)
9. Blue Eye Samurai (Season 1) (Netflix)
10. The Diplomat (Season 1) (Netflix)
11. Justified: City Primeval (Season 1) (FX/Hulu)
12. Telemarketers (Season 1) (Max)
13. Gen V (Season 1) (Amazon Prime)
14. Good Omens (Season 2) (Amazon Prime)
15. Ted Lasso (Season 3) (Apple TV+)
16. Invincible (Season 2) (Amazon Prime)
17. Somebody Somewhere (Season 2) (Max)
18. Black Mirror (Season 6) (Netflix)
19. Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (Season 1) (Netflix)
20. The Last of Us (Season 1) (Max)

Doctor Who is my all-time favorite TV show and the returns of David Tennant and Catherine Tate, alongside writer/producer/showrunner Russell T. Davies, for the three special 60th anniversary episodes, didn’t disappoint, nor did the debut of Ncuti Gatwa as the new Doctor in the Christmas special.

I very much disliked season 2 of Star Trek: Picard, so I was as surprised as anyone when season 3 turned out to be such a delight, which was in part because the entire main cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation returned. It was the conclusion The Next Generation deserved.

I also watched one or two episodes of the first seasons of Beef, Mrs. Davis, Cunk on Earth, Jury Duty, Scavengers Reign, and Shrinking, and the second season of Loki, but not enough episodes yet to justify including them on my list. I also enjoyed the final seasons of the DC Comics shows The Flash, Titans, and Doom Patrol.

Finally, I’ve liked previous seasons of the following shows, but alas aren’t caught up on the new seasons yet, but if I was up to date then there’s a good chance they’d make my list: Barry, Fargo, For All Mankind, The Mandalorian, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Sex Education, Shadow and Bone, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Yellowjackets, and What We Do in the Shadows.

I also watched a lot of movies in 2023, but I’ll be posting about that separately soon.

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