February 2023: RECAP

Hello! Welcome back to my 2023 monthly recaps hopefully you enjoy. :)

If this is the first of these recaps you're seeing (either you missed the January recap, or maybe you're viewing this way in the future), let me do a quick summary of what this list is trying to accomplish. Rather than putting together a list of my favorite albums of the month or the most reviewed albums of the month, the following 10 albums are the 10 that I believe best encapsulate the month of February. That could mean releases from major artists, underrated gems, absolute stinkers, etc.

The first recap is currently sitting at 118 likes, which blew my expectations out of the water. Thank you again for the support with that list <3

After the success of that list, I've had even more time to reflect on what my goals are for this little series, and I think I've come to my answer. I want to create a series of lists that fully encapsulate the year of 2023, where if you were to take all the future 120 albums that will be featured and listened to them, you would have a very extensive comprehension of what this year was like in music and what the atmosphere around music releases was like. I picture it as a bit of a time capsule. Imagine seeing a list like this that was written in the year 2000, or even earlier. Being able to look back on each notable release to try and contextualize the impact, read about the rise and fall of music stars in real time, and use current knowledge to see how those older releases may have started a new musical revolution. I certainly don't expect anyone in the future to view these lists in that way, but that's the perspective I'm writing from. That someday in the future, someone will be able to gain context to what music was like back in February of 2023.

I've rambled quite a bit (and reached the word limit), and I know you're not here to listen to my concepts and rationalizations. Let's dive straight into the essential moments of February.

Black Country, New Road - Live at Bush Hall
Release Date: February 20th
Genres: Art Rock, Chamber Music, Indie Rock, Chamber Pop

Not even starting off here with an album, but there's no way I can talk about February without mentioning this latest body of work from BCNR.

Beloved art rock band Black Country, New Road premiered a video on YouTube of them performing a set of unreleased material. It looks like these songs have been floating around the internet since at least August of last year, but this is the first time I'm hearing any of it.

This also is the first we've heard from BCNR since the departure of former lead vocalist Isaac Wood, who left the band shortly before the release of their previous album. There was certainly some speculation as to the direction this band would head next, and if they would continue at all, but this video puts all of those questions to rest. Black Country, New Road is here to stay.

What a guttural, emotional ride this set is. But that's nothing new for the band. BCNR is one of the most consistent yet versatile bands out there at the moment, and each song from this performance is a testament to their creativity and talent. May Kershaw is this biggest standout for me, especially with her heart-wrenching vocal performance on the song Turbines. There's no doubt that the band remains in good hands, even after the departure of Wood.

I beg of you, please... give us the album.
Release Date: February 24th
Genres: Dance Punk, Noise Rock, Post-Punk, No Wave, Industrial Rock

Model/Actriz was a band that was not even remotely on my radar entering this month. Now, they may have my AOTY spot locked up for the foreseeable future.

'Dogsbody' is the debut album from Brooklyn punk band Model/Actriz, which to this point has yet to make any noise in the mainstream sphere. Their overall body of work is pretty slim, yet they come out of the gates here with an intensely polished and sophisticated dance punk record.

This is the type of album that could emotionally break you. It's a noisy, anxiety inducing spiral into depression and suffering. Sound dark? Yeah, it's dark. Yet, has something so bleak ever sounded so damn SEXY? The meticulous detailing and horrid atmosphere of this album make it, so far, the most important listen of the year.
Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want To Turn Into You
Release Date: February 14th
Genres: Art Pop, Alt-Pop, Electronic

Happy Valentines Day! For all you lonely singles out there (a.k.a. me), at least you've got some absolute heat from Caroline Polachek to listen to!

'Desire, I Want To Turn Into You' doesn't roll off the tongue so easily, which is a shame since people will be talking about this album for a long time. It's the sophomore effort from Art Pop artist Caroline Polachek after the great success of her 2019 debut 'Pang'.

This is such an effortlessly crafted and catchy pop album while still maintaining beautiful creativity and unpredictable sonic landscapes that just work. 'Desire...' is flirty and provocative, sensual and entrancing. I found myself returning to this album more than anything else from this month, unable to shake the ethereal grasp she has on me. This was my first 90 of the year, and will likely go down as a top 10 record of the year.
Kelela - Raven
Release Date: February 10th
Genres: Alternative R&B, Breakbeat, Electronic, Ambient Pop

Kelela made us wait for 6 years for the follow-up from her debut 'Take Me Apart', but I think 'Raven' winds up being worth the wait.

There's an out-of-this-world feeling I get from hearing this album, like endlessly falling into a black hole, or getting lost in the dizzying lights of a dark and moody club. Simply, this album is like taking drugs and being transported to an alternate dimension for an hour, and your only reason of existence is to dance and get lost in the sound.

There's a balance between so much vulnerability and strength, ambience and groove throughout this album. It's balanced and textured beautifully, and is something that is best served as an experience rather than segmented.
Rebecca Black - Let Her Burn
Release Date: February 9th
Genres: Electropop, Dance Pop

Oh yeah, that's right. You read that name correctly. Everyone remembers Rebecca Black, right? Friday? Well, if you haven't been keeping up with her since then (me), this album may come as a shock.

How far she's come since those days. It's a shame that that one song will hover over her career for a long time, especially since what she captures here on 'Let Her Burn' is genuinely a great album.

This is an exciting and fast-paced debut that pulls from a lot of different genres and influences to create something that's catchy and really well produced. It's currently not receiving the highest user scores due to it not exactly stretching any boundaries and apparently feeling a little "dull" at times, but I can't help but be impressed by the diversity and production of this. A great redemption story!
Young Fathers - Heavy Heavy
Release Date: February 3rd
Genres: Art Pop, Neo-Psychedelia, Neo-Soul

The well-accomplished trio Young Fathers returns in 2023 with their fourth studio album, their first since 2018's 'Cocoa Sugar'. 'Heavy, Heavy' not only has one of the coolest covers of the year, but experiments with some of the grooviest music I can imagine.

This psychedelic album keeps on continuously moving. The uplifting chants and diverse profile of interesting percussions has me dancing in my seat for the entire 32 minute runtime.

This is probably the happiest, most uplifting album featured on this list. You'll be grinning ear-to-ear by the end of this one.
Skrillex - Quest for Fire
Maybe this is cheating a bit, but I'm using this spot to talk about both Skrillex projects released this month.

Quest for Fire
Release Date: February 17th
Genres: Trap [EDM], Hybrid Trap, Future Garage, Bass House, Electronic Dance Music, Dubstep

From Lil Yachty to Rebecca Black, this year has had it's share of unexpected resurgences from previously criticized artists, and Skrillex is no exception to that.

This is the first full body of work we've seen from Skrillex since 2014, and 'Quest for Fire' is a return to everything that was compelling about those older works. This is a crisply produced, hear-pumping EDM record that is assuredly going to be a hit in the club scene. What a comeback.

Don't Get Too Close
Release Date: February 18th
Genres: Pop Rap, Trap, Future Bass

Uh oh... did I speak too soon?

The momentum Skrillex gathered with 'Quest for Fire' quickly burns out into an unimpressive puff of smoke on 'Don't Get Too Close'. This is what I would consider the commercial side of this two-album release, and it underwhelms on all fronts, to say the least.
shame - Food for Worms
Release Date: February 24th
Genres: Art Punk, Indie Rock, Post-Punk, Art Rock

'Food for Worms' is the third studio album from post-punk group shame. Their previous two LP's have been really strongly received, and 'Food for Worms' is no exception to that trend.

I'm not blown away by any creativity or experimentation per se, but everything about this punk record just works really damn well. It's catchy, it's artsy, it's a total jam.

Again, not the punchiest or most creatively impressive record, but incredibly consistent in tone and overall quality.
Paramore - This Is Why
Release Date: February 10th
Genres: Post-Punk Revival, Dance Punk

2023 Community Moment #2 (1,000+ ratings in 24 hours)

'This Is Why' is not a bad album, in fact it's actually pretty good, but it's simply lacking the highlight moments that they're known for.

This is the sixth studio album from punk group Paramore, and their first since 2017. 'This Is Why' has been a long anticipated release for quite some time now. I actually really have enjoyed the singles and the rollout to this album, but I can't help but feel that the rest of the music doesn't quite reach that satisfying peak.

There's really solid takeaways, but much of the album leaves me unimpressed with it's simplicity.
Gorillaz - Cracker Island
Release Date: February 24th
Genres: Electropop, Synthpop

2023 Community Moment #3 (1,000+ ratings in 24 hours)

After quite the prolonged album rollout, we finally have a new Gorillaz album.

For me, this album barely meets the minimum expectation I had for it. That doesn't mean it's a bad album, it just simply gets a passing grade in comparison to what we know this band has done in the past.

For their eighth studio album, Gorillaz released half of the 10 track album as singles, which does not particularly inspire a whole lot of confidence. I really enjoyed 4/5 of those singles (not as much Skinny Ape), but most of the remaining album songs don't really get up to that same level. And even despite coming away from this album with a good handful of enjoyable tracks, there's nothing that will stand out as another iconic Gorillaz track that will stand up over time.

While there's not anything that really pushes any genre boundaries on Cracker Island, it does have enough well-produced enjoyable tracks to make listening worth your while.
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dogsbody is so good bro literally πŸ”₯πŸ’―πŸ˜ΉπŸ˜πŸ˜ΉπŸ‘‚πŸ’―πŸ‘‚πŸ’―πŸ˜πŸ”₯
Great list as usual. Love keeping up with this.
YES Dogsbody on top 3 is a huge W
This month's music is somehow better than last month's
great list!
Awesome recap, it's reminded me of a couple of albums I need to listen to
W list for sure, love seeing dogsbody get some love, but this is why bein one point away from cracker island is crazyyy
Thanks for the shout! Great list as always
Im gonna need to check out the Rebbeca Black album aren't I (P.S. good list :^)
February 2023 >>> January 2023
really loved the choices for ranks 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8. nice list btw
this month was amazing for me!
Ready to marathon all the albums here I haven't heard soon lol
W for Gorillaz
Seriously need to keep up with these new releases. Love the list keep it up
Nice list, march is going to be WILD
Awesome list :)
awesome list! have you checked out the new key glock album?
I had little interest in new music, but I'll give it a listen.
Wow, good recap here! Excited for March's releases (you better put 10k gecs at the very top)
That reminds me I need to listen to the new Skrillex thanks. WHERES YEAT
This recap is like a fun journal series. At least this month has been great.
Another really good list. This series is really amazing. Great job!
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March Playlist