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!