Jason Tate’s Top Albums of 2023

Best of 2023

Well, it’s that time of the year again. I’ve been putting together a list of my favorite albums of the year since at least 2005, and 2023 was one of the most jam-packed I can remember. Not only did I listen to more music than ever before, but I found the quality of new releases week-to-week to be engaging and exciting. Discovering new gems and being more than impressed with the output from old favorites.

You can subscribe to my newsletter if you’re interested in a weekly rundown of the music and other entertainment I consume, and the staff compiled best of 2023 list can be found here.

Favorite Albums of 2023

  1. Blink-182 – One More Time…
  2. Fall Out Boy – So Much (for) Stardust
  3. The Maine – The Maine
  4. Yellowcard – Childhood Eyes EP
  5. The Gaslight Anthem – History Books
  6. Taking Back Sunday – 152
  7. Zach Bryan – Zach Bryan
  8. Thrice – The Artist in the Ambulance (Revisited)
  9. Boys Like Girls – Sunday at Foxwoods
  10. MxPx – Find a Way Home
  11. City and Colour – The Love Still Held Me Near
  12. FRND CRCL – Suburban Dictionary
  13. Origami Angel – The Brightest Days
  14. Ruston Kelly – The Weakness
  15. Foo Fighters – But Here We Are
  16. Dave Hause – Drive it Like It’s Stolen
  17. Olivia Rodrigo – GUTS
  18. Blink-182 – Live from Coachella
  19. Spanish Love Songs – No Joy
  20. Taylor Acorn – Certified Depressant EP
  21. The Menzingers – Some of It was True
  22. Crime in Stereo – House and Trance
  23. Heavenward – Pyrophonics
  24. Dizzy – Dizzy
  25. Hot Mulligan – Why Would I Watch
  26. Koyo – Would You Miss It?
  27. KC Rae – Think I’m Going to Die
  28. Paramore – This is Why
  29. Andrew McMahon – Tilt at the Wind No More
  30. Arrows in Action – Built to Last

A few years back I re-ranked a lot of my early end of the year lists, and what I found was that my original lists relied a lot on trying to project out what albums were going to be important in the future and not always going with what albums meant the most to me during the year. I was unconsciously (or maybe even consciously) letting my thoughts of how the list would be viewed compared to other online lists, or be judged by the internet commenters play a role in my decision process. After my re-ranking experiment, I realized that the albums that had stood the test of time for me were the ones that had defined my year because I played them a whole lot, and then I spent the next decade playing them over and over again too, and therefore they became a part of my life. I’ve tried to keep that in mind when I rank albums now. What are the albums that spoke to me the most through the year? What are the albums that were undeniably on repeat? What albums do I see myself reaching for in the future? What albums defined my year?

And in 2023, it’s impossible for me to ask those questions and not come to the conclusion that Blink-182 undeniably dominated and defined my year of music listening. Not only were they once again my most played artist of the year, but their new album was far and away my most played album as well. And, well, I wrote a whole love letter to the band and album on the website too. From the reunion announcement, to the incredible live debut, to the album, it was Blink’s year and they deservedly earned the top spot on my list.

The rest of my top ten is filled with familiar faces. Fall Out Boy had my favorite album at the mid-year point and slot in at number two. The Maine released another great album and Yellowcard may have only given us a five song EP, but it was on repeat virtually all summer. The Gaslight Anthem’s return left me completely fulfilled and perfectly lined up with the autumn weather. There’s no other way to put it except that Taking Back Sunday blew me away. Their new album just knocked me flat on my ass. It’s incredible.

Looking through my list now, I see my 2023. There’s Blink’s live bootleg, representing the incredible fan moment and how much fun I had re-listening to that live recording over and over while anticipating the band’s new album. There’s Thrice’s re-record, something I skeptical about and then immediately into, sitting in my top ten. There’s Zach Bryan taking the world by storm. There’s FRND CRCL, Origami Angel, Koyo, and Arrows in Action leading the next wave of pop-punk in all its different flavors.

As a whole, I loved music in 2023. I loved how many bands that I’ve followed for years released albums that felt like incredible additions to their catalog. I loved how many new artists I discovered. I loved all the time I spent with music both old and new. And, perhaps most importantly, I loved the way music weaved its way through my year, providing a memorable soundtrack to the passing months.

The Stats: I listened to over 14,470 songs this year (29,840 scrobbles), 988 different artists, and 2,081 different albums. My most played artist was Blink-182, and my most played album was One More Time…, because, of course.

Thank you to everyone that read this website this year, it’s because of you, and especially those of you that support the website, that we exist. Also, if you want to hear more from me throughout the year, specifically once a week as I write about music and entertainment I find interesting, sign up for my newsletter.

To make it easy to check out music from my list, I put together a playlist containing a song from each of these albums on Apple Music and Spotify. (And each of the albums above links to a page with links to all the streaming platforms.)

Honorable Mentions

  • A Story Told – Mundane Magic
  • Anson Seabra – A Heart is Terrible Thing to Break
  • Awakebutstillinbed – Chaos Takes the Wheel and I Am a Passenger
  • Ava Max – Diamonds & Dancefloors
  • Babymetal – The Other One
  • Bearings – The Best Part About Being Human
  • Boygenius – The Record
  • Bully – Lucky For You
  • Carly Rae Jepsen – The Loveliest Time
  • Caroline Polacheck – Desire I Want to Turn Into You
  • Chad Perrone – What Would I Leave You With
  • Citizen – Calling the Dogs
  • Cub Sport – Jesus at a Gay Bar
  • Death Cab for Cutie – Asphalt Meadows (Acoustic)
  • Dessa – Bury The Lede
  • Girl Ray – Prestige
  • Gracie Abrams – Good Riddance
  • Holly Humberstone – Paint My Bedroom Black
  • Home is Where – The Whaler
  • Hot Milk – A Call to the Void
  • Jason Cruz and the Howl – Wolves
  • Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Weathervanes
  • Macie Peters – The Good Witch
  • Marvelous 3 – IV
  • Matchbox Twenty – Where the Light Goes
  • Meet Me at the Altar – Past // Present // Future
  • Metallica – 72 Seasons
  • Miley Cyrus – Endless Summer Vacation
  • Militarie Gun – Life Under the Gun
  • Narrow Head – Moments of Clarity
  • New Found Glory – Make the Most of It
  • Patrick Droney – Subtitles for Feelings
  • Peter Gabriel – I/O
  • PVRIS – Evergreen
  • Raye – My 21st Century Blues
  • Romy – Mid Air
  • Story of the Year – Tear Me to Pieces
  • Strange Ranger – Pure Music
  • Sufjan Stevens – Javlin
  • The Band CAMINO – The Dark
  • The Japanese House – In the End it Always Does
  • The National – First Two Pages of Frankenstein
  • The National – Laugh Track
  • Trophy Eyes – Suicides and Sunshine
  • White Reaper – Asking for a Ride

I’m not sure why we originally started ranking just the top thirty of the year, but one of the main reasons is that you have to stop somewhere. My honorable mentions section is where I can give credit to the plethora of other albums that stuck with me throughout the year but just missed the cut onto the official list. There are albums on this list that I spent countless hours with throughout the year and they are all worth your time. 2023 was stacked.

Favorite EPs of 2023

  • Anberlin – Convinced
  • Joystick! – Dwell
  • Kelsea Ballerini – Rolling Up the Welcome Mat
  • Manchester Orchestra – The Valley of Vision
  • Millington – Welcome Home
  • Sigrid – The Hype
  • Spiritbox – The Fear of Fear
  • The Callous Daoboys – God Smile Upon The Callous Daoboys
  • Zach Bryan – Boys of Faith

If an EP, or something EP length, gets an extraordinary amount of listens from me in a year, I have no problems putting it in my main list (as shown by Yellowcard making my top five), but often I find myself just not returning to singles and/or EPs as often as I do full-length albums. So, that’s why I also include a section for the EPs released this year that I liked the most.

Movies I Enjoyed in 2023

  • Air
  • Barbarian
  • Barbie
  • BlackBerry
  • Confess, Fletch
  • Decision to Leave
  • Joy Ride
  • Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
  • No Hard Feelings
  • Oppenheimer
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
  • Suzume
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
  • The Holdovers
  • The Killer
  • They Cloned Tyrone

I watched over 156 films in 2023, and this list contains the movies I saw for the first time in 2023 that I liked the most. I think my favorite film of the year was Oppenheimer with Spider-Verse coming in just behind. You can find more of my movie watching habits and ratings on Letterboxd.

TV Shows in Enjoyed in 2023

  • Beckham
  • Blindspotting
  • Bodies
  • Class of ’07
  • Harley Quinn
  • Hijack
  • I Think You Should Leave
  • Jury Duty
  • Loki
  • Monarch: Legacy of Monsters
  • Mrs. Davis
  • Pachinko
  • Party Down
  • Perry Mason
  • Platonic
  • Players
  • Poker Face
  • School Spirits
  • Shrinking
  • Silo
  • The Bear
  • The Curse
  • The Last Of Us
  • The Wonder Years
  • Welcome to Wrexham

According to Trakt, I watched over 915 episodes of TV in 2023 from 80 different TV shows. My most-watched show was Modern Family (it was our late night, before bed, show). I loved the final season of Blindspotting and that, plus The Bear, were probably my favorite two shows in a year full of awesome TV. You can find more of my TV watching habits and ratings on Trakt.

Books I Enjoyed in 2023

I only read 7 books in 2023 (2,459 pages), but at least I enjoyed them all. A little better than last year, but something I want to focus on increasing next year and being a little more intentional about sitting down to read each day. In the end, I adore anything Patrick Rothfuss writes, but I think the most fun I had with book this year was Where Are Your Boys Tonight? Put simply, if you like the music I’ve covered my entire career it’s a must read.

Apps I Discovered and Enjoyed in 2023

I discovered Raycast at the tail end of last year and it has quickly become one of my favorite apps and replaced my long loved Alfred. The extension library, Shortcut integration, and Chat-GPT features have made it indispensable. Just looking at their little productivity wrapped graphic shows how much I use it daily. Soro was a godsend for automating some quick Sonos Shortcuts to move music around the condo and change the volume to custom presets. And I reconfigured some of my workflows to once again use Nova as my main text editor and fell back in love with just how fast, and great, it is for manipulating text.

My Favorite Articles of 2023

I wrote 185,517 words this year over 1,381 articles.

It was another great year for the Liner Notes newsletter, and I look forward to picking that back up as new music starts flowing again in the new year. My review of Blink-182’s One More Time… was my favorite piece I wrote this year, and a few months removed I think it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. Being able to finally put that out into the world and have documented my history with the band and what they’ve meant to my life was very important to me.

And, with that, we put a bow on 2023. As always, thank you for reading and spending yet another year with me.

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