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Best Albums of 2023 – Billboard


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The albums that most stood out from an unusually open year in pop.

When you think of some of the artists who really dominated the airwaves, the culture and the headlines in 2023 — artists like SZA, Beyoncé, The Weeknd and (naturally) Taylor Swift — it’s a little strange to realize how many of them did so without releasing a proper new album this year. Of course, a couple of them released albums towards the tail-end of the 2022 calendar, and some of them found success with revived older material. But the last 12 months generally provided proof that promo cycles don’t need to be based around a new full-length in 2023 — particularly if you’ve got a much-anticipated new tour to serve as your most relevant contemporary body of work.

The result of that was that 2023 felt less dominated by the usual scheduled blockbuster releases than nearly any year in recent memory. Such big-ticket albums were few and far between, and often faced stiffer competition from the massive albums of yesteryear than from their peers’ 2023 drops. (It’s telling that this week’s Billboard 200 chart features no fewer than five albums from Swift — with the only 2023 releases among them being re-recordings of albums from the first half of the 2010s.) And when one of them did really grab hold of the No. 1 spot, it could hold on for as long as 16 weeks, as Morgan Wallen’s One Thing at a Time did throughout the spring and summer.

Consequently, our list of the best albums of 2023 was as wide open as any we’ve ever done. Our list of course includes some of the expected pop stars, but also indie-rock supergroups, cult pop and R&B favorites who’ve yet (or are just starting) to get the crossover success they’ve long deserved, hitmaking rappers warping into the fourth-dimension and singer-songwriters who survived superstardom to become some of our most compelling veteran artists. It’s a list where only a handful of the artists in our top 10 could’ve been predicted before the year started, but one that we find even more satisfying as a result — showing how thrilling the in-between spaces in pop music have become, and giving us a chance to properly reward some of our new and returning favorites without them needing to elbow their way past the usual spate of A-listers.

Here are our 50 favorite albums from a fun, unpredictable and boundless year in pop music.

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Written by: radioroxi

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