My Top Albums of 2023

Monica Moser
6 min readDec 20, 2023

The annual, enormously anticipated top 10 albums of the year list from Monica Moser!!!!

10. Overcoats, Winner

With titles like “Horsegirl” and “New Suede Shoes” (but mostly “Horsegirl”) I was instantly intrigued by the third full-length effort from pop duo, Overcoats.

I just love these gals. This album is fresh but nostalgic and their effortless vocal synchronicity is better than ever.

#tbt to watching them sitting criss cross apple sauce in the literal front row of The Basement in Nashville circa 2018.

Best Tracks: New Suede Shoes, Never Let You Go, Don’t You Wanna, Horsegirl

9. The Japanese House, In The End It Always Does

The song “Boyhood” will always make me think about walking around airports in 2023 with my super kewl green AirPods Max feeling like the insufferable main character in an indie film.

Whether it was landing in Los Angeles in January to see my favorite football team get absolutely annihilated by the Georgia Bulldogs or traveling to South America solo for the first time in my life, that song in particular got me from place to place this year.

I’ve loved this band for a long time, and while 2019’s Good At Falling is still my fav, this is a really solid album.

Best Tracks: Sad To Breathe, Boyhood, Sunshine Baby

8. Hazlett, Bloom Mountain

Did I know who Hazlett was in 2022? I did not. Do I know what a Hazlett is in 2023? Idk, do you?

I believe a friend from Colorado sent me “Please Don’t Be” and I ended up listening to the whole album and was like… I like… all of these?

Bloom Mountain is beautiful, calming and atmospheric, and came out of nowhere.

Best Tracks: Hesitate, Please Don’t Be, Even If It’s Lonely

7. Daughter, Stereo Mind Game

Ashamed none of my IG followers submitted this album as their top of the year — where are my Parisian rockers??

Daughter creates an atmosphere I’ve always been attracted to: it’s intense yet soft and always feels cinematic. Don’t sleep on it!

Best Tracks: Be On Your Way, Dandelion, Swim Back

6. Kelsea Ballerini, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat (For Good)

It was cute when I first heard “can’t believe I’m just a few months out from 29” cuz saaaame girly.

Now I’m just a few months out from 30! Help!

When the EP first came out (which I honestly prefer over the album but I’m sticking to my own rules here) it punched me in the gut. It’s just such solid songwriting and I’d play it top to bottom over and over again.

Best Tracks: Mountain With A View, Just Married, Blindsided

5. JOSEPH, The Sun

Embarrassed to say I was this year old when I learned two of the Joseph sisters were twins…I just thought they looked a lottttt alike….anywho!

I was lucky enough to see this trio live this year at the Paramount Theater. I loved hearing the backstory behind “The Sun” in particular, and while I love me some produced pop music, it’s refreshing to just hear great songs through great voices with real instrumentation.

Best Tracks: The Sun, Slow Dance, Nervous System

4. Paramore, This Is Why

Favorite artwork of the year by far^

I also finally saw Paramore for the very first time this year!

While this album is stronger live — Hayley Williams is one of the best vocalist and performers of our generation (she was actually named the 13th best rock lead singer of all time by Billboard this year) — I loved that it leaned harder into their earlier, more grungy days, but reflected the maturity level of where the band is at right now.

Just so cool to see a band of the early 00’s emo era continuing to be fresh and relevant but still true to themselves each decade.

Best Tracks: This Is Why, Running Out Of Time, You First, Crave

3. Reneé Rapp, Snow Angel

Gorgina George’s debut album is here!!

Reneé Rapp has had a circuitous route to pop artist fandom (from the Broadway stage, to HBO, to the big screen, to now increasingly sold out tour dates). It’s exciting to see her lean into what she does best: singing her a** off and being acutely vulnerable yet wildly confident.

She put out a fantastic EP toward the end of the year (called Everything To Everyone) which would introduce her style well: a mixture of uptempo pop-rock songs and jazz-influenced ballads. I love this album and excited to keep watching her grow!

Best Tracks: Talk Too Much, Poison Poison, Snow Angel, The Wedding Song, Willow

2. boygenius, The Record

Is titling your album ‘The Record’ arrogant or brilliant? Sound off in the comments!!

Supergroup boygenius’ full-length debut moved a bit-more-on-the-fringes indie rock group into a much brighter spotlight this year. This album received critical acclaim, is nominated for Album of the Year for the 2024 Grammy’s, and boygenius was featured on The Eras Tour, Saturday Night Live and more.

Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker have found something really special (I’m also a big fan of their solo careers, particularly the first two), and while we love the Taylors and Beyoncés of the world, it’s cool to see three female rockers getting the praise they deserve.

Incredible lyrics like: “Always an angel, never a God” — c’monnnn

Best Tracks: Emily I’m Sorry, True Blue, Not Strong Enough, Revolution 0

1. Olivia Rodrigo, GUTS

No Sophomore Slumpin’ for Olivia Rodrigo.

Appropriately titled GUTS, Rodrigo’s sophomore record pushes the boundaries of and improves upon the sound, style, and personality we were introduced to in 2021 with her debut, SOUR.

She and her executive producer Daniel Nigro somehow make chaos catchy and I just love the self-effacing humor and brutal honesty that shines in every song. I’ve listened to this album top to bottom more than any other album this year.

Rodrigo is now 2 for 2 for top album of the year for me. Let’s keep it going!

Best Tracks: All of ‘em

CLOSE CALLS

Joy Oladokun, Proof of Life
Arlo Parks, My Soft Machine
Troye Sivan, Something To Give Each Other
Chappell Roan, The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess
Ryan Beatty, Calico
ELEVATION RHYTHM, This Is the Gospel
Dominic Fike, Sunburn
Chris Renzema, Manna Pt. 1
Blessing Offor, My Tribe
Abbie Gamboa, UPPERROOM, pure

Top EP of the Year

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Miley Cyrus, Endless Summer Vacation
Nickel Creek, Celebrants
Sampha, Lahai
Gracie Abrams, Good Riddance
Wilder Woods, FEVER / SKY
NF, HOPE
A R I Z O N A, A R I Z O N A
Jonas Brothers, The Album
Fall Out Boy, So Much (For) Stardust
Sam Smith, Gloria
The Used, Toxic Positivity
Kelly Clarkson, chemistry
Jon Guerra, Ordinary Ways
Janelle Monae, The Age of Pleasure
Local Natives, Time Will Wait For No One
Skrillex, Quest For Fire
Jon Batiste, World Music Radio
Hozier, Unreal Unearth
Cody Fry, The End
Colbie Caillat, Along The Way
Patrick Droney, Subtitles for Feelings
NEEDTOBREATHE, CAVES
Noah Gundersen, If This Is The End
Briston Maroney, Ultrapure
Explosions in the Sky, End
LANY, a beautiful blur
Tori Kelly, tori
Sufjan Stevens, Javelin
Jorja Smith, falling or flying
Caroline Polachek, Desire, I Want To Turn Into You
The Rolling Stones, Hackney Diamonds
Gorillaz, Cracker Island
Ben Howard, Is It?
Olivia Dean, Messy

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Monica Moser

Monica Moser is an Austin-based singer/songwriter, podcaster, & freelance writer working in digital marketing in the music industry. TW/IG: @monicamoser