Well folks, it’s that time again. It’s time to share part one and the first twenty-five tracks of my annual multi-part playlist of new songs of the year. The beginning of 2023 in music.
Personally, I didn’t get a great start to 2023. I started to feel under the weather on New Year’s Day and it developed into a real nasty cough. Like most, I’m sure, I hadn’t gotten sick much over the past few years, what with social distancing and other health measures during the pandemic, so this one hit me really hard. The cough was so bad most nights that it kept me from sleeping. The eventual trip to the doctor landed me a chest x-ray appointment to screen out pneumonia (negative, thankfully) and a puffer to help keep the airways clear. Still, the cough stuck with me for almost two months.
Then, my workplace started returning back to the physical office in March. I know many had returned much earlier so I’m not likely to get much sympathy here but I had been working strictly from home for three years and the return has been a bit of a shock to the system. Packing a lunch and putting aside clothes from the night before, and setting the alarm for 5am have all been a re-learning process and of course, public transit has been more ugly than good. Still, I try to look at the positive side in that it’s only two days a week so far. Just another new normal to get used to.
2023’s not been all bad though. I’ve been in relatively good health since surviving that monster cough and have been eating very well. With the warmer weather, I’ve been getting out for walks in the fresh air as much as possible. I spent a weekend at the cottage with my some old friends that I hadn’t seen in over a year. And with spring arrived and summer on the horizon, here’s looking at more of these.
But let’s get back to the task at hand.
This will mark the fifth year running that I’ve done this exercise and I’ve found it enjoyable to go back every once in a while to see what I was listening to at various points and see which songs have held up and which have not. For the first year or two, I broke the playlist down into three-ish parts and it wasn’t necessarily as structured, but of late, I’ve done one for each quarter of the year and have somehow managed to put together a hundred songs by a hundred different artists for each of the last few years. This first part here is made up of twenty five songs from albums released between January and March and all things being equal, you should see twenty-five more songs from the spring months at some point in late July.
So without further ado, I’ll present the music that has helped keep me going over the first three months of 2023. Highlights include:
- The near eight minutes of “The golden age” by Molly, which is as dreamy as dreamy can be
- The debut solo album by Blur drummer Dave Rowntree was a very pleasant surprise and “Downtown” is just a great groove
- Samia is lovely and brutal and honest on “Kill her freak out” and she might just have you singing along
- It’s been seven long years since the last album by New Zealand’s The Veils and “No limit of stars” and the rest of the new double album is exactly what we’ve been missing
- “Colossal waste of light” is the title track off an album by Eyelids, a group of Portland-based indie veterans that I checked out simply because of the involvement The Decemberists’ John Moen and discovered a heck of a lot to like in their brand of jangle pop
- “Ghosts again” is my favourite track by synth pop legends Depeche Mode since 2005’s “Precious” and this latest record is quite possibly my favourite since 1993’s “Songs of faith and devotion”
- The highly anticipated and perfectly titled debut full-length by indie supergroup, Boygenius, has joyously lived up to the hype and “$20” is a prime, rocking example of what to expect
Here is the entire playlist as I’ve created it:
1. “When the cynics stare back from the wall (feat. Tracyanne Campbell” Belle & Sebastian (from the album Late developers)
2. “The golden age” Molly (from the album Picturesque)
3. “When you stop” July Talk (from the album Remember never before)
4. “City of angels” Ladytron (from the album Time’s arrow)
5. “Downtown” Dave Rowntree (from the album Radio songs)
6. “Kill her freak out” Samia (from the album Honey)
7. “My blood runs through this land” Black Belt Eagle Scout (from the album The land, the water, the sky)
8. “Sinatra Drive breakdown” Yo La Tengo (from the album This stupid world)
9. “Odd to even” Amber Arcades (from the album Barefoot on Diamond Road)
10. “Unglow the” Pearla (from the album Oh glistening onion, the nighttime is coming)
11. “Fingers of steel” Shame (from the album Food for worms)
12. “Magic powers” Death Valley Girls (from the album Islands in the sky)
13. “Oil (feat. Stevie Nicks)” Gorillaz (from the album Cracker Island)
14. “The people say” Steve Mason (from the album Brothers & sisters)
15. “No limit of stars” The Veils (from the album …And out of the void came love)
16. “Colossal waste of light” Eyelids (from the album A colossal waste of light)
17. “Come back” Frankie Rose (from the album Love as projection)
18. “Meshuggah” Unknown Mortal Orchestra (from the album V)
19. “Baby snakes” Death and Vanilla (from the album Flicker)
20. “Cut the cord” Black Honey (from the album A fistful of peaches)
21. “Right here” Emiliana Torrini & the Colorist Orchestra (from the album Racing the storm)
22. “Ghosts again” Depeche Mode (from the album Memento mori)
23. “Too late for an early grave” The Reds, Pinks and Purples (from the album The town that cursed your name)
24. “Sixers” The Hold Steady (from the album The price of progress)
25. “$20” Boygenius (from the album The record)
Apple initiates or lab rats can click here to let me know if this link works to sample the above tracks as a whole playlist.
And as always, wherever you are in the world, I hope you are safe and continue to be well. Above all, enjoy the tunes.
If you’re interested in checking out any of the other playlists I’ve created and shared on these pages, you can peruse them here.