The hottest music from Chicago & beyond

Author: Faronheit Page 1 of 187

The Top 50 Albums of 2023

Well we have once again made it through another year. As such, the time for reflection and list making is upon us. Did you listen to a lot of new music this year? If you did, congratulations because 2023 happened to be a pretty great one overall in terms of pure artistry and quality recordings. Some years it’s a struggle to name 50 records that both held my attention and truly impressed. This one both came together with relative ease, and left me a little sad not everything I loved in 2023 could be included. 50 is a manageable number, plus another 10 honorable mentions because I can’t help myself. Even still, everyone from Jessy Lanza to PJ Harvey to The Armed to Lydia Loveless to Bar Italia all couldn’t quite survive the inevitable cuts and it breaks my heart.

The ultimate point of this list, and any list really, is to try and let you know both what amazing records you might have missed, but also to hopefully see if you agree or disagree with my take on things. Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s what makes it so great. So here are 50 (+10) records that meant a lot to me this year. And while I understand the spirit of the zeitgeist in including a record or two from December 2022 on some year-end lists, this isn’t one of them.

All the records listed here came out in 2023, and if you saw my year-end list from 2022 then you’d know SZA was on that. I sincerely hope you enjoy this list, and ideally make some great new discoveries along the way. Check out some albums you might not have done otherwise. Take this moment to reflect, then rest assured we’ll be right back at it again come January. Here we go, Faronheit’s Top 50 Albums of 2023.

Honorable Mention

Gia Margaret – Romantic Piano

Jane Remover – Census Designated

Jess Williamson – Time Ain’t Accidental

Margaret Glaspy – Echo the Diamond

Marnie Stern – The Comeback Kid

McKinley Dixon – Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!?

Overmono – Good Lies

Sampha – Lahai

Slow Pulp – Yard

Yo La Tengo – This Stupid World

The Top 100 Songs of 2023

One thing that fascinates me about year-end lists is how little true consensus there tends to be between them. It makes the moments when everyone actually IS in agreement so much more powerful, and a testament to the quality of something. Call it the Paddington 2 effect, or I suppose the Dolly Parton effect, because nobody actually dislikes either of those two things. My favorite song of 2023 falls into that “broad consensus” category. So many people and publications ranked it as their top track of the year that seeing another list fall in line like this one might induce another eye roll and a “here we go again”. But I can’t deny something that’s objectively true, as much as I’d like to be a contrarian. You’re of course more than welcome to disagree with me, along with the hundreds of other music writers who listed this as the #1 song of 2023. What’s wilder, in my mind, is how this 7+ minute track received no commercial or terrestrial radio placement, as far as I’m aware. Instead it just got a lot of organic, fully chosen plays across a variety of formats. If you know your music and have been paying close attention to year-end lists, hopefully my favorite song of 2023 won’t come as a surprise.

But for those who still aren’t sure what I’m talking about, there’s a list of 100 great songs here just waiting for your ears, stretched across a wide variety of genres and styles. A little something for everyone. The rules are relatively simple – so long as the song was released at some point in 2023, it was eligible for inclusion on this list. But also, to spread the love as much as possible, every artist and album only gets to be represented by a single track on this list. Featured guest spots do not count towards this total, which is how JPEGMAFIA, Danny Brown, and Lil Yachty all managed to show up more than once. Alternatively, even a Various Artists record like the Barbie soundtrack only gets one song to represent it. If you’ve got a problem with that, take it up with management. Otherwise, kick back and soak in the 6.5 hours of music that represent the finest tracks of 2023. The list is below, along with clickable links to hear every song on YouTube. There’s also an embedded Spotify playlist near the bottom if that’s your preference. Listen, explore, and enjoy! Cheers to the end of the year, and wishing you a great 2024 ahead!

Show Review: Jessy Lanza at Sleeping Village [10-12-23]


The actions and behavior of a crowd often dictate how well a particular performance goes. Inattentive, unenthusiastic, or just plain rude concertgoers can have an effect on the entire show experience both on stage and off. Last year for example, I saw The Smile perform at The Riviera Theatre and a self-professed “massive fan” of the band standing behind me proceeded to add running commentary through the entire set before someone eventually got security involved. It turned what should have been a transcendent show into a bit of a nightmare.

Thankfully, the opposite is true as well. Great enthusiasm and energy inspires others to match it, and possesses the ability to push a strong performance to an even higher, more transcendent level. The great concertgoing experiences far outnumber the poor ones. At Sleeping Village on Thursday night, I was lucky enough to catch another great one courtesy of Jessy Lanza.

Pick Your Poison: Thursday 10-12-23

SleazyWorld Go – Got Me Hot

Sofia Kourtesis – Vajkoczy

yeule – inferno

Pick Your Poison: Monday 10-9-23

Fredo Bang – Bang Man

Jason Derulo – Body Count

The Killers – Your Side of Town

Pick Your Poison: Thursday 10-5-23

corook – emergency contact

Rosie Darling – Villain

Vic Mensa – Blue Eyes

Pick Your Poison: Monday 10-2-23

Bombay Bicycle Club – I Want to Be Your Only Pet

Earl Sweatshirt & The Alchemist – Sentry (ft. MIKE)

Eartheater – Pure Smile Snake Venom

Pick Your Poison: Thursday 9-28-23

KennyHoopla – keep a window open//

Slayyyter – Erotic Electronic

The Streets – Too Much Yayo

Pick Your Poison: Monday 9-25-23

Bakar – Right Here, For Now

Hannah Diamond – Perfect Picture

K.Flay – Irish Goodbye (ft. Vic Fuentes of Pierce the Veil)

Pick Your Poison: Thursday 9-21-23

Actress – Push Power ( a 1 )

Cold War Kids – Run Away With Me

Lou Ridley – Bible Belt

Pick Your Poison: Monday 9-18-23

Chappell Roan – HOT TO GO!

Claire Rosinkranz – Pools and Palm Trees

JP Saxe – Caught Up On You

Pick Your Poison: Thursday 9-14-23

Alan Palomo – Club People

Tove Lo – Elevator Eyes

yeule – ghosts

Pitchfork Music Festival 2023: Sunday Preview Guide

What a weird, wild Sunday it will be at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023. Seriously, this is a perfect day for artistic outsiders who craft vital, world-bending music. You get the heavily experimental leanings of artists like Ariel Zetina, Rachika Nayar, Lucrecia Dalt, and Jockstrap to get things started. Then comes the heavy-hitters of noise and aggression as Soul Glo and JPEGMAFIA battle to see who will be louder and have the bigger mosh pit. Killer Mike will most assuredly slay too, because he always does. Then we get some fun pop-rock sort of acts courtesy of illuminati hotties and Hurray for the Riff Raff before things begin to cool down with Kelela and what should be a divine yet meditative set from Bon Iver. Of course Mdou Moctar is also in that mix to show off the incredible things that can be done with a guitar. I’m incredibly excited to see how it will all play out, and hope you are too! Let’s dive into the guide, shall we?

Previously:

A Pitchfork Music Festival Playlist

Friday Preview Guide

Saturday Preview Guide

Pitchfork Music Festival 2023: Saturday Preview Guide

Saturday at Pitchfork this year has the benefit of being one of the most balanced lineups I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s just heavy hitter after heavy hitter stretched across an entire day. There’s an unfortunate lack of hip hop (with the exception of 700 Bliss), but otherwise a solid amount of guitar-focused music rendered in interesting ways. Those who like a little experimentation in their rock can catch one of the final performances from the Philly band Palm, plus the unclassifiable Vagabon and the deeply moody melodies of King Krule. Black Belt Eagle Scout and MJ Lenderman do a ramshackle folk-adjacent thing, with a little more surging power later from Snail Mail and Julia Jacklin. You can also dance a bit thanks to Panda Bear & Sonic Boom as well as Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul. Then to cap off the night with Big Thief? Chef’s kiss. It’s a bit tough to single out some recommendations out of all these great sets, but somebody’s gotta do it. Read on, and try your best to plan out your day.

Pitchfork Music Festival 2023: Friday Preview Guide

One of the best things about the Friday lineup for the 2023 Pitchfork Music Festival is its unclassifiable nature. A lot of the artists on Friday don’t stick to a single genre or sound, and it’s exciting to have that unpredictability where you’re not entirely sure what you’ll be hearing from one moment to the next. A dose of R&B, rap, jazz-pop fusion, standard pop music, electronica, and lo-fi folk are all in the mix, and that’s just the first half of the day! If you need a little help navigating all of the various artists and time slot conflicts, read on. While I do have recommendations for every hour of the festival, please know the goal is to make picks that will hopefully result in the best overall experience throughout the day. You technically can’t go wrong checking out every artist on this lineup, but certain ones are better suited for an outdoor festival than others. If that’s how you think going into this weekend, you’ll end up in great shape. So without further ado, here’s the Friday preview guide.

In case you missed it: A Pitchfork Music Festival Playlist

Page 1 of 187

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén