New Albums of 2023: A Year in Review
As the year comes to an end, I’ve found myself reflecting on what the soundtrack of 2023 has been. This year, artists have pushed their own boundaries and new artists have truly been pushed into the spotlight. These are a few that captured the attention of many and have evolved into some of the most interesting and thought provoking albums of the year.
Lil Yachty - Let’s Start Here.
Lil Yachty is a familiar name in the rap game. However, this year he became a new name in alternative/psychedelic rock. Let’s Start Here. is a foray into the world of Pink Floyd and Tame Impala. Yachty combines swirling, psychedelic production with samples from Bob Ross and Radiohead to create an album that is far outside the contents of his previous discography, while adhering to the elements that make Lil Yachty’s personality his own.
Lana Del Rey - Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd
After a year and a half since the release of Blue Banisters, Del Rey released Ocean Blvd. An album that taps into sounds of folk, alternative, and hip hop, Ocean Blvd encapsulates the elements that make Del Rey’s work so influential. Songs such as “Candy Necklace” and “The Grants” feature production that places listeners in Del Rey’s own fantasy land of silk ribbons, cloud-scraping mountains, and freshwater pearls. Ocean Blvd proves that Del Rey has truly solidified her place in the music industry as an influential storyteller and songwriter.
Daniel Caesar - NEVER ENOUGH
Daniel Caesar has constantly garnered comparisons to the infamous Frank Ocean since the release of his 2017 album Freudian. Caesar has an affinity for self-reflection, psychology, and the ins and outs of human nature. These topics only grow in his April project titled NEVER ENOUGH. His songwriting, infamous ballads, and peculiar storytelling only expand on this album with standouts such as “Always,” “ Shot My Baby,” and “Toronto 2014.” Between songs about heartbreak and nostalgia, Caesar sneaks in lines such as “Used to be ugly/Now I’m a handsome Charlie Manson wrapped in a Snuggie” that almost forces listeners to skip back and listen to the whole verse over again to make sure they heard him right. NEVER ENOUGH proves that Caesar is not merely a Frank Ocean reprise, but a character of his own making.
Kaytraminé - KAYTRAMINÉ
A blend of two vibrant artists, Kaytraminé is a duo that seems almost fated to have happened. After a few years in the making, KAYTRAMINÉ (self-titled) combines the smart-alec lines of Aminé and the slick, house production of Kaytranada. The instrumentals sample a range of sounds from Jermaine Jackson to Puff Daddy (Diddy), with the clips finding a middle ground through Kaytranda’s head-bobbing production. Aminé concocts memorable one-liners on songs “UGH UGH'' and final track “K&A:” “Kaytraminé made a slap/Call it Will Smith/Rappers ain’t my friend they finna hate us like we was Chris/Rockin’ sh*t from your wishlist,” “B*tch I’m Calvin Klein and you are Kenneth Cole.” With the all-star elements from both parties, Kaytraminé created a perfect summer album while keeping fans on their toes for the next bar, next beat switch, and (hopefully) next album.
(album cover credits to Spotify)