First of all, I wanna say thank you to everyone who supported me in any way this year. I don't wanna get corny but I can't explain how much I appreciate y'all, it has been so much fun talking and discussing music with the kind and positive people on this site, and watching music fans express their incredible passion towards music in general. When it comes to music in 2023, it was a pretty damn good year. Maybe not the best year in the past few ones in my opinion, but it has been so much fun discovering new releases every single week, talking about these wonderful albums with the amazing people on the site and enjoying the warm community on AOTY.

This site served as an incredible place for me to meet new people and to express my love towards my favorite thing in the world, music. I listened to more than 150 albums this year, and this is my list of the best 50. Let's hope 2024 will be just as amazing and lovely as this stunning year. Side note: I will start talking about the albums briefly from the top 20 onwards.

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Protomartyr - Formal Growth in the Desert

Probably one of the most underrated albums of the year in my opinion. Protomartyr are sort of veterans in the modern post punk scene at this point, and they received plenty of praise throughout the years, but I feel like this project is slightly overlooked which is quite unfortunate.

This thing is extremely dark, raw and mesmerizing, with passionate and hard hitting performances from the band and especially from the incredible lead vocalist Joe Casey who is a great songwriter as well. Personally I can't deny the emotional potency of this project, how packed it is with raw feelings and engaging urgency that keeps you on the edge of the seat throughout the whole tracklist.

Favorite: We Know the Rats, Rain Garden, Polacrilex Kid
yeule - softscars

yeule created such a one of a kind experience, a futuristic trip into her soul. This was my first album from yeule and it's safe to say that it blew my expectations out of the damn water.

The Singaporean singer-songwriter and producer created such a cold and immersive atmosphere on this album, an atmosphere that captivates you until the very last minute of the project. The production is phenomenal, reaching these overwhelming noisy highs, filled with yeule's engaging performances, from frightening screams to delicately beautiful and soothing performances. Another one of the most creative and even inspiring albums I've heard this year.

Favorite: dazies, softscars, sulky baby
ANOHNI and the Johnsons - My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross

Oh man, this album is so gorgeous. This is one of the most intimate, honest and powerful albums I've heard all year, from an amazingly talented and brave artist who is not afraid of showing her true colors and being the voice of many people around the world.

I wasn't quite familiar with ANOHNI and the Johnsons' work before this album, but here, they delivered one of the best albums of the year due to the moving songwriting of Anohni about themes of self-acceptance, the struggles of a trans woman in our world and her experiences in fitting within the society. With her beautifully charismatic vocals and the lush production, I can guarantee that this album will find a way into your heart in one way or another. Fantastic album.

Favorite: Rest, Scapegoat, Sliver of Ice
underscores - Wallsocket

I honestly just listened to this recently because somehow it flew over my head upon its release, but god damn, this is one of the most creative albums I've heard in recent memory.

The mastermind behind underscores is April Harper Grey, and she killed it on this one. It's genuinely one of the most unique projects I've heard this year, with April blending hyperpop with multiple genres fantastically. From the ambitious concept of the album, the noisy and glitchy instrumentals, the diversity within the tracklist and April's stunning vocal performances, this album checks every possible box effortlessly. It's extremely fun, unhinged, emotional and heart wrenching simultaneously.

Favorite: Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Locals (Girls like us), Uncanny long arms
Squid - O Monolith

On yeah, the boys did it on this one. This was actually my introduction to Squid, and throughout my first couple of listens I loved it but it grew on me A LOT since then, to the point that I'm glad it found a respectable place in my top 20 albums of the year.

This album is quite odd and bizarre, blending plenty of genres such as art punk, noise rock, post-rock and krautrock, yet the talented band managed to blend these colorful soundscapes cohesively and make a uniquely specific sound that fits them perfectly. The tracklist is as tight as it gets with 8 songs that every single one of them bring something thrilling and new to the table.

Favorite: The Blades, Swing (In a Dream), Undergrowth
νŒŒλž€λ…Έμ„ [Parannoul] - After the Magic

So... my shoegaze album of the year? I guess so. Parannoul created some of the most immersive and beautiful music experiences you'll have the pleasure of sitting through this year.

Ethereal is the name of the game over here, it sounds and feels exactly like the album cover suggests, so ethereal, heavenly and comforting. I didn't understand a word he was saying but of course that the music speaks for itself, with incredible atmosphere-building, of dreamy guitar lines mixed perfectly with elements of Indietronica and shimmering synths. Parannoul's soothing vocal performances are the cherry on top, and the result is truly otherworldly to say the least.

Favorite: 뢁극성 (Polaris), 뢈면증 (Insomnia), Parade
Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want To Turn Into You

Ladies and gentlemen, Caroline Polachek is my mother. I guess you can call this thing my pop album of the year, and I feared that it would be the case right after my first listen with the project. Caroline came back with her strongest effort to date, and it's immaculate.

Caroline truly created a world here, one of the most colorful ones you'll enter this year, with a wide variety of unique instrumentals, the production is as expensive and rich as it gets with Caroline's beautiful voice on top of everything. It's pretty insane how catchy this album is, how it managed to be adventurous and innovative while staying very accessible and infectious. It just keeps growing on me with more listens, I'm in love. Btw, Dang might be one of my favorite singles of the year, I would kill for a whole album in that style.

Favorite: Welcome To My Island, Billions, Butterfly Net
Geese - 3D Country

Be my warriorrrrrrrr! God damn this album is the definition of a BANGER. Another one of the albums I just listened to recently, kinda missed it upon release because I'm an idiot. But it turned out to be one of the most fun listening experiences I've had this year.

These unhinged motherfuckers took the country genre and flipped it upon its head, with a touch of craziness and more dynamic instrumentation and playing than the genre usually offers. Yet you'll still get some of the most memorable hooks and melodies of the year on this thing despite its off-the-wall nature. I also LOVE the lead vocalist Cameron Winter. The amount of energy he and the band are bringing to the mix is incredibly infectious. One of the most promising young bands out there.

Favorite: 3D Country, Cowboy Nudes, 2122
Liturgy - 93696

This was my first album from the American black metal band, and it blew my brains out throughout my first listen, and it keeps blowing me away every single time I listen to it.

I can't explain how grand, jarring and mind bending this project is. The vocals from Haela are extremely visceral and terrifying, alongside the production which is just as aggressively intense as Haela, but at times it's also strangely beautiful and even otherworldly. The arrangements of the album are genuinely hypnotic, it's simply so well made, with insane amounts of ambition, but it pulls everything off exceptionally.

Favorite: 93696, Djennaration, Antigone II
Mitski - The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We

Undoubtedly my favorite Mitski project so far, although I still need to listen to some of her older projects. Even though the album is quite short with only 32 minutes of music, it certainly one of the most impactful singer-songwriter albums I've heard this year.

Mitski blew my expectations out of the water with this one, with some of the best songwriting I've heard from her yet with beautiful song ideas, alongside passionate and touching vocal performances on every track. The production is stunningly lush, with beautiful strings, magnificent keys, choirs, acoustics and much more. The tracklist consists of plenty of sad indie bangers to sink your ears into. With some previous Mitski albums I felt like the short runtimes are a flaw, here I feel like it's all killer no filler.

Favorite: Heaven, The Deal, Star
Kara Jackson - Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love?

Talking about singer-songwriter albums, here is one of best debuts in the genre that I've heard in a while, and maybe THE most underrated album of the year.

When I heard Kara for the first time I knew there was something special about her. Some are saying that her deep tone voice isn't great, and that she isn't a very good singer. Well, I think that her deep tone voice and imperfections are the things that make her stand out in a way. She has such a distinct and recognizable voice, so charismatic and engaging. Of course, she is also one of the best new songwriters I've heard from the past few years, with impeccably grand and rich production backing her up. If there was an award for the best new artist of the year, she would win it for me (second place actually).

Favorite: dickhead blues, pawnshop, why does the earth give us people to love?
Black Country, New Road - Live at Bush Hall

This album made me so fucking happy. Black Country, New Road are one of my favorite new bands from the past couple years, with Ants From Up There being a top 5 album of the decade so far for me. And I'm happy to say, they proved that they are as strong as they've ever been on this one.

Like many others, I was very worried when the former lead vocalist Isaac left the band, how can you replace someone so important and crucial in the band? Not a problem at all! Because there is so much god damn talent within this phenomenal band, that May Kershaw, Lewis Evans and Tyler Hyde killed it on the vocal performances effortlessly. Some of the best songs the band has ever made are on this tracklist, with flawless arrangements, ambitious song structures and incredible songwriting, this is another great album from one of the best bands working today.

Favorite: I Won’t Always Love You, Dancers, Turbines/Pigs
PJ Harvey - I Inside the Old Year Dying

Listen, the fact that I really love Pj Harvey doesn't mean that this album is not one of the most underrated ones of the year. I've been enjoying her work for a very long time, and this has been one of my most anticipated projects of the year, and oh boy, it didn't disappoint.

Maybe it's not the most grand, expensive and impressive album you will hear this year, but the gentle beauty of this album is something so powerful to me. Everything here is very soft and fragile, from Harvey's angelic vocals to the soothing and ethereal instrumentals. The lyrics are based on Harvey's latest poetry book "Orlam", which tells the story of a young girl going through a metaphorical forest that represents her life in a way. And this is what the album feels like, going through some sort of a majestic forest inside of a forgotten fairy tale. The album is slow, but if you let it captivate you, it's a wonderful experience.

favorite: I Inside the Old I Dying, Prayer at the Gate, A Noiseless Noise
Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter - SAVED!

What else can you say about Kristin Hayter? One of the most groundbreaking and adventurous artists of our generation, who just added another impeccable project to her already legendary discography, even though she technically changed her artist name from LINGUA IGNOTA.

If you are familiar with her work under LINGUA IGNOTA, you will recognize that SAVED! is less bombastic and jarring, but make no mistake, it's just as potent and powerful as her other masterpieces. It's certainly slower, more minimalistic, the lo-fi recordings throughout the tracklist are fantastic, offering one of the most intriguing aesthetics I've heard this entire year. Kristin's vocals are just as chilling and spin-tingling as ever, while she is facing her demons once and for all on this spiritual experience. I'm just glad I live in the time when I can listen to her music and watch her evolve, she is brilliant.

billy woods & Kenny Segal - Maps

It's honestly quite unfair how constantly great billy woods is, coming out with amazing albums every single year with no "misses" whatsoever. On maps he teams up with the incredibly talented producer Kenny Segal, just to prove once again that he is one of the undeniable kings of underground hip hop.

The production by Kenny is outstanding, with shady jazz samples and dirty beats the atmosphere of the album is melancholically gloomy, fitting billy's unconventional style perfectly. billy's performances are extremely engaging with his intricate lyricism and unorthodox flows, diving into some personal themes alongside socially aware ones throughout the project such as fatherhood, crime, his characteristics, drug use and more. The album also contains a great feature list from Aesop Rock to Danny Brown and E L U C I D. Maps is simply one of the most creative, emotional and consistent rap albums of the year.

Favorite: Babylon By Bus, Year Zero, FaceTime
Sufjan Stevens - Javelin

Sufjan obviously needs no introduction at this point, one of the most acclaimed and beloved singer-songwriters of the past 20 years, with an undeniably tremendous discography behind him. But this is truly one of his most stunning and intimate records to date

Dedicated to his late partner Evans Richardson who died at the beginning of the year, and being released while Sufjan is battling a Guillain-Barre Syndrome in the hospital, losing his ability to walk, the album is representing a tough period in Sufjan's life. Sufjan explores themes of grief, loss, spirituality and human relationships, to create one of his most personal albums ever. Sufjan's eerie and fragile vocals are floating fantastically over the rich compositions and heavenly vocal harmonies throughout the album. The album is sad and bittersweet as it is inexplicably beautiful and at times uplifting.

Honestly, when I first listened to the record I loved it but I wasn't too crazy about it, and I had a handful of grips. I thought that the songs can be a little too formulaic and the song's progressions are just too similar to each other. I still think it's a little formulaic, but the formula is genuinely so damn strong to the point that I don't care anymore. I find myself coming back to the album very often, even more than I come back to some of his masterpieces lately. It might be the album that grew on me the most throughout the year.

Favorite: Goodbye Evergreen, So You Are Tired, Shit Talk

Yeah yeah yeah, we all knew it would be here, the "music nerd album of the year". Peggy and Danny are among my favorite rappers of all time, so of course a collab album seemed like a dream, until it wasn't. And it surpassed my expectations?? No way!!

Danny and Peggy are truly the definition of a match made in heaven. Two rappers with the same attitude, the same artistic visions and the same unconventional and adventurous personalities, oh, and both of them are fucking insane. It's like it was really meant to be, and it finally happened. The album showcases their unhinged personalities and what they represent as artists accurately, the chemistry between them is so electric and mesmerizing, and the result is... FUN.

This is one of the most fun albums of the year, and we are going through times when fun has never been so important. With wild beats and jaw dropping sampling, Peggy offers some of his most creative and engaging production styles ever. The duo is flowing over these off-the-wall beats with so much energy, hyping each other and the listener on every single track. It's one of the most enthralling, energetic and unique hip hop albums of the decade. We need more.

Favorite: SCARING THE HOES, Garbage Pale Kids, God Loves You
Swans - The Beggar

Swans are one of my favorite bands of all time, so of course this project was one of my most anticipated ones of the year. The fact that these guys just came out with another masterpiece 30 years into their career is why they are one of the best rock bands I've ever heard.

Now listen, this album is not as bombastic and grand as some of their masterpieces or their legendary trilogy from the last decade. This album is a little slower, it's more creepy and dare I say seductive at times, a bit more gentle in a way. But it's appropriate with the overall theme of the album, with what the band tried to achieve with this project in the grand scheme of things.

This album might be the most personal album that the band has ever created. We witness Michael Gira faces his mortality and his own death within the chilling post rock songs throughout the tracklist. It features some of the best songwriting on any Swans album, due to how intimate and unsettling Gira's journey of accepting his death is. Even though the album is a bit more stripped back for the most part, the band are still capable of creating some overwhelming climaxes and complex song structures, and the 43 minute track "The Beggar Lover (Three)" is a living proof for that. Swans prove that they are still at their peak, with one of the best albums of the year and their most human album to date.

Favorite: Paradise is Mine, The Beggar, The Beggar Lover (Three)

This was honestly my favorite album of the year for a very long time, and although it's not anymore, Dogsbody might be one of the best debut albums I've heard in the last decade, by one of the most intriguing and addictive bands I've heard all year, the phenomenal Model/Actriz.

Since my first listen I knew this album would've been special for me, actually, I knew I would love it since the very first singles for the album, which dropped at the beginning of the year. Combining some of my favorite genres in music to create this hypnotically infectious blend of industrial rock, noise rock, post rock and... dance punk! The album's production is merciless, extremely noisy and dirty, but the band took these abrasive industrial elements and paired them with addictive grooves and danceable rhythms, so you will dance uncontrollably while having an anxiety attack.

But the album is also packing plenty of overwhelming emotions, a loose concept album of a man battling his sexual traumas, fighting his most enormous fears while drowning in depression and confusion. The lead vocalist Cole Haden is immaculate to say the least, whispering, shouting, crying and singing, dragging you into his tortured mindset with his expressive vocals. Songs like Divers, Sleepless and Sun In are also showing how versatile the band is, their ability to create uniquely emotional songs and not just dance punk/noise rock bangers, even though they are not very fun if you pay attention to the lyrics. Dogsbody is the best debut album of the year for me, from the best new artist of the year.

Favorite: Donkey Show, Sleepless, Sun In
Sprain - The Lamb as Effigy

Yup, it just had to be this one, this is my album of the year. When I thought about what is the best album of the year, what was the most engaging listening experience I've had with music this entire year, what is the most deserving album for the number one spot, nothing felt right, nothing but Sprain's The Lamb as Effigy.

Sprain's sophomore album is not quite inviting, it's jarring, loud and chaotic. For me, no album represents our chaotic times like The Lamb as Effigy. It has been a pretty tough year for me, full of wars and death, and this album... sounds like my year, which might sound bad in a way. However, there is something oddly comforting in finding music that expresses what you are going through in your life, and sometimes listening to chaos is what I needed in order to face my feelings and give them their place.

The Lamb as Effigy is much more than just chaos though, in my opinion it's some of the best post-rock since Swans' legendary trilogy from the last decade. With their mind blowing guitar work, intricate and ambitious song structures and overwhelming arrangements, the album is the most bombastic and impressive thing I've heard all year. Not very surprisingly, it's as impressive lyrically and conceptually as much as it is production-wise. The vocalist and songwriter Alex Kent is delivering songs about religion, nihilism and the shallowness and emptiness in existence and in mankind. There is a narrative of a relationship between man and a god-like figure in the last songs of the album that ties its themes perfectly. The album is apocalyptic and hopeless, but there is some sort of an optimistic ending to it all.

Sadly, this is also the final album of the band, who broke up shortly after the release of this album. Although it's quite tragic and disappointing, I'm happy they managed to give up this masterpiece right before they called it a day, and I hope they will be remembered for it.
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Just catching this list. Nice to see that the gt. album stuck with you so well and almost cracked your top 25. I still can't decide if Quaranta or that is my AOTY for last year lol
@A Megalomaniac Well, we have pretty much the same taste so of course I love itπŸ˜‚
didn't see this till now and damn, I didn't realise you loved the sprain album too! It was my album of the year, so nuts in the most awesome way :)
@David_CasillasZ Yeah its definitely very hard, but I also think that we don't HAVE to listen to everything out there, it's ok to let yourself rest from time to time, and it's fine if you miss some albums.
Very good list! I agree that it is difficult to listen to so many albums a year, without a doubt some are relegated and we have to listen to them at the last minute, basically I continue listening to acclaimed albums that I did not listen to at the time.
@surrealepiphany @MegaDavsan

Thank y'all! Happy new yearsπŸŽ‰
Loved the list, happy new years
@lankmachine Yup, it's just too captivating and mesmerizing.

@apinchofsalt Thank you, happy new year!!
Can't argue too hard with Sprain at number one. That album was heavy as hell
Really good list! Have a happy new year!
@Korenr Χ›Χ€Χ¨Χ” Χ’ΧœΧ™Χ”ΧπŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯
πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ ΧΧ—ΧœΧ” ΧžΧ•Χ“Χœ אקריצ
@purpleclouds Great albums, I just thought there were some more interesting ones

@Fertvlol The two final tracks on that Foo Fighters album are incredible, the reason why it's in my top 50 for the most part tbh πŸ˜‚
Fire list but Lahai and Quaranta should be higher
Respectable #1 pick bro, that album was one of my favorites of the year, very dark, gritty, uncomfortable and powerful at the same time, and didn’t expect Foo Fighters to make it on the list xd (it’s my AOTY)
@Missing_Lyriks I don't know man I found it very engaging and powerfulπŸ˜‚ and thank you dude!!!

@Alius9 Thank you🀍
@Kaoru_Izzy @Grave

Sprain at the topπŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

@Jonah Thanks!! <3
sprain at #1 we love to see it
Love the list. Especially the Javelin love!
I’m digging the β€˜Wallsocket’ and β€˜Javelin’ placement, but β€˜Dogsbody’ at #2?

I don’t know dude…

Love the list though; great job at making yet another wonderful addition to the AOTY Community!
W sprain #1
Great list! There are a few on here I have yet to listen, but I might give them a try!
@Ideal I believe that that album is just too good to be true, therefore it's not on the list (and thanks man).

@ToastedGio The album is actually kinda funny tho xd. And thank you dude!!

@TJ_King Thanks, I appreciate it!
No dream album? I sleep 😴
No but good list tho
Awesome list but no sexxy red so 0/10 😞
nice list well done
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February Playlist