listening to Your Favorite Songs 2023, Part 1

listening to Your Favorite Songs 2023, Part 1

Every year inevitably ends, and I realize that, as much music I listened to, there was so much more that I just totally missed out on. So for this blog, rather than share my own "top" music or "best" albums of 2023, I thought I would listen to other peoples' Number One Favorite Songs Of The Year. Because music is social. Virality is dead. And it's never a bad time to tell a friend, family member, loved one or acquaintance about something you liked.

I asked Twitter for song recs (in the spirit of Music Moots™) and have pared the results to a clean 100 (💯) and will write about them as I see fit. Thank you to all who sent me these songs. I listened to these first 10 songs on a long walk in unseasonably warm weather.

U.S. Girls - "So Typically Now" (from @whatscharlotte)

Starting with a bibbety bobbety BOP. A synthy gospel-y stomper that is, rather unexpectedly, about moving upstate to shirk responsibility for past transgressions: "Brooklyn's dead / And Kingston's booming / Ripping out my roots / What the hell am I doing?" Deliciously brutal to experience, especially as an ex-NYCer who literally just had a "omg so-and-so just moved up the Hudson"-style conversation last weekend. Love the commitment to the contemporary amid the slightly retro instrumentation — is there a more so-typically-now diss than sending an image and receiving a thumbs down in return?

Laszlo and the Hidden Strength - "The Awareness" (from @LeaderGrev)

I have a huge soft spot for falsetto vocals, so this is nice. Reminds me of a misplaced time of pure quirky indie folk goodness when I was wearing out my .mp3s of Andrew Bird Armchair Apocrypha. Pastoral realness.

Flasyd - "Shit Goes" (from @AEWeisgerber)

Oh yehhh. I had the privilege of seeing Flasyd at least once, maybe twice, back in pre-pandemic Noo York; I remember lead singer Syd Suuux being wildly compelling live vocalist, even while standing almost perfectly still, as if any extraneous motion would dilute the power of her hollering. Writing a song with the lyrics "this shit goes / this shit slaps," there's a lot of pressure to make a song that lives up to the promise of going and/or slapping, and this buncha crunch punk song does indeed slap and go. Damn this blog practically writes itself!

Troye Sivan - "One of Your Girls" (from @bippburger)

Don't freak out but Troye Sivan might be the next big pop thing. Obsessed with the mutated alt-R&B meets Tame Impala production, the occasional Aussie accented sing-talking that reminds me of Brigitte Bardot on the Serge Gainsbourg "Bonnie and Clyde" song, the smooth vocal delivery that manages to almost disguise the melancholy sexual premise (aka hooking up with closeted dudes when they "get desperate"). Like Adam Driver before him, this The Idol cast member may just emerge from his HBO show as the girl with the most cake.

Bully - "How Will I Know" (from @listenupnerds)

You know what I love? ALT ROCK. There's this great thing that happens when Bully's Alicia Bognanno hops up to the high notes in the chorus — "Will you be there when I make it home?" — and her voice thins out with the strain of it in a way that completely clinches the yearning. ALT ROCK.

Jolee Gordon - "God Dog" (from @sunraykin)

Smooth, self-improvement-themed indie pop that is melodic as hell. What sells me on this one is Jolee Gordon's blunt and gymnastic vocal delivery, which meets somewhere in the middle of Kacey Musgraves and Greta Kline. Also, nice trumpet.

smiling broadly - "patterns of behavior" (from @NataliesNotInIt)

What a weird and delightful mishmash — mega-distorted grunge slamming abruptly in and out of a cheery chiptune composition, with the vocals pitched up and filtered so that they almost sound like a theremin. I love music that surprises me!! First it's sweet, then it's sour, then it's gone, baby.

Frankie Rose - "Anything" (from @terminalbldgs)

You know, as a fan of Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls, Beverly...I'm embarrassed to have never delved into the Frankie Rose catalog. Because this is totally fabulous. There's a certain caliber of songs that I think of as the song you should play at the end of a John Hughes movie. Spiritual cousins to "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds. Straightforward, synth-driven, dramatic. This fits the bill. We should call up Molly Ringwald and see what she's up to.

Bly Wallentine - "Gingerly, Tenderly" (from @daisandconfused)

Daisy sold this to me as a "random discovery that [she] can’t get out of [her] head" and if I had found this song as a random discovery, I'm sure I'd feel the same way. The chimes, warbling vibrato, increasingly crowded musical arrangement, nature sounds (?) and general aquatic melodrama are all strangely addictive when brought together. The imaginary scenario I have for this one is Bly Wallentine at some red-lit dive bar, performing a lounge act for an audience too lost in their emotional sauces and double Jamesons to realize the magic that's happening in front of them. Also, the lyrical reference to losing a little ladybug might be metaphorical, but it reminds me of my mom, who loves ladybugs (gingerly, tenderly) and will sometimes text me photos of ladybugs she has found in the home.

Geese - "3D Country" (from @BenjaminBirdie)

This one had me hooting and hollering. I focused my waterfowl-based listening on Goose this year, and completely missed Geese. Honestly? At first listen? My paranoid mind, which peers around every corner in anticipation of art that seems sincere but is actually ironic, questioned the earnestness of this smooth rock tune. Surely such a dense compression of cowboy clichés — Cassidy's gun, the devil's moonshine, "what I saw could make a dead man die" — from a Brooklyn band on the wrong side of manifest destiny would be somewhat of a joke? But I don't think it is! Maybe it's just the wiggly expressiveness of singer Cameron Winter's rich, deep voice that threw me off. Anyway, these folks sound like they know how to get loose. Real Coen Brothers vibes. I have been getting on my knees next to my bed each night, praying for someone to be brave enough to try out a next-gen approach to Bowie's Young Americans...Thank God, and Geese, for this.

Thanks for reading. Tune in soon — tomorrow — for the next batch of songs. And if you like I Enjoy Music? Tell a friend about it.