Thursday, December 21, 2023

Music Is To Blame's Albums Of The Year

After a year jam-packed with incredible new releases, and some questionable musical collaborations, the Music Is To Blame team reflect on 2023, and nominate the records they loved most for album of the year.

SOFY - 'Chaos & Commotion'

Released at the back-end of 2023, SOFY's debut record quickly became top contender for my album of the year. Featuring tongue-in-cheek witty lyricism, insatiable pop energy and jabs at societal norms, 'Chaos & Commotion' is an impressive first offering from the Leicester singer.

- Lana Williams

Young Fathers - 'Heavy Heavy'

The hype this album generated was most likely enough to send it straight to the top of these end-of-year lists before it was even released - after a nearly half-decade wait, experimental Scottish trio Young Fathers returned at the beginning of the year with 'Heavy Heavy'. The Scottish Album of the Year Award winning record mixes the groups trademark barnstorming hip-pop sound on tracks such as 'I Saw' and 'Drum' with a beautifully bittersweet, nostalgic nature on 'Tell Somebody' and 'Geronimo', resulting in a release which was and is continuing to live up to the hype.

- David Harrold

HMLTD - 'The Worm'

This second album from one of the most experimental bands in London is a visionary, political rock opera with a dissonant voice and plenty of subversive ideas. Incorporating all sorts of things from prog rock to jazz fusion to an echo of Bowie's 'Diamond Dogs', it is a post-apocalyptic delight that sounds like nothing else this year - and a huge leap forwards from the band's debut.

- Chiara Strazulla

Raye - 'My 21st Century Blues'

Debuting her first album as an independent artist, RAYE released the pop/RnB infused ‘My 21st Century Blues’ back in February this year. After departing from Polydor records, the stunning body of work allowed the pop-sensation to express everything she was once forced to restrain; previously known for dance tracks ‘BED’ and ‘You Don’t Know Me’, the new album discusses RAYE’s struggle with addiction, sexual assault, and power-hungry men in the music industry. ‘My 21st Century Blues’ was a huge success, reaching number 2 spot on the UK Top 10 album chart, and lead single ‘Escapism’ reaching number 1 on the UK Top 10 singles chart. 

- Rachel Feehan

Troye Sivan - 'Something To Give Eachother'

In his self-proclaimed love letter to pop, Troye Sivan gave proof to the YouTube sensation, turned actor, turned global pop star trajectory. With award-winning visuals to enjoy alongside bangers like ‘Rush’ and ‘Got Me Started’, Sivan had truly outdone himself with ‘Something to Give Each Other’.

- Maddie Bridger

Creeper - 'Sanguivore'

My choice for album of the year is definitely ‘Sanguivore’ by Creeper. It is an intoxicating, beautiful album that is fuelled by 80’s rock opera, emotional depth and the playful charm found in the Vampire puppet musical from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. A must listen.

- Ana Joy King

Young Fathers - 'Heavy Heavy'

My Album of the year nomination is ‘Heavy Heavy’ by Young Fathers. With a mixture of multiple different genres the whole of ‘Heavy Heavy’ is unlike any other album out there. It’s impossible not to feel the urge to get up and dance whilst listening to, the whole album is a masterpiece. 

- Jodie Marshall

'Peter Gabriel - 'i/o'

You know when your favourite legendary genre-defying rock god / human rights activist / visionary futurist / peerless vocalist releases his first studio album in over 20 years, but, like, one track at a time over the course of a whole year, with each new track being released on a full moon in three different mixes together with a video diary update and a newly commissioned artwork from the likes of Ai Weiwei and Nick Cave? Yeah, Peter Gabriel did that in 2023. This is the guy whose dedication to that new sound has seen him sampling himself breaking TV screens in a junkyard, as well as reforming Genesis to help get Womad off the ground. 'i/o' has lots to gawp at sonically, as well as a wealth of labour-of-lovingly crafted lyrics. The stone-cold stand-out track is the expansive 'Playing For Time', which starts with a variataion on Chopin's 'Funeral March', meditates on the scope of life, mortality and the cosmos, before finally sucker-punching you with a masterful rock bridge outro heavy with its composer's 73 years.

- John Weston

Dominic Fike - 'Sunburn'

A solid second album which creatively builds on his debut, introducing a newer, more crafted musical identity, exploring more adult and mature themes.

- Dan Jones

Queens Of The Stone Age - 'In Times New Roman'

This new album was great and I listened to it non-stop which allowed me to appreciate the band's unique blend of alternative rock, heavy riffs, and catchy melodies. It's dark introspective themes, along with its dynamic and atmospheric sound were amazing. It's definitely on the blow your mind scale.
- Ciara Fearn

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