The 20 Best Albums of 2023 So Far

The 20 Best Albums of 2023 So Far

The 20 Best Albums of 2023 So Far. Check out the top critically acclaimed albums of the first half of the year! Our gallery ranks the highest-scoring LPs released between January 1, 2023, and June 30, 2023, based on their Metascores as of July 3, 2023.

Eligible albums must have received at least 7 reviews from professional critics, and we have excluded reissues, EPs, live albums, and compilations. Discover the most impressive and highly praised music releases from the first half of the year and stay updated with the latest in the music industry.

#20. Scaring the Hoes Vol. 1 by JPEGMafia and Danny Brown

At the 20th spot, we have the highly anticipated collaboration between innovative rappers JPEGMafia and Danny Brown. The album, produced entirely by JPEGMafia, features the “Vol. 1” tag, hinting at possible future installments. However, no concrete release plans have been confirmed yet. Fans can expect a boundary-pushing and exciting project from these two talented artists.

#19. With a Hammer by Yaeji

At number 19, we have “Hammer,” the highly anticipated studio album debut from Kathy Yaeji Lee, a Brooklyn-based Korean-American DJ and producer. This 13-song set comes as a follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2020 mixtape, “What We Drew.” Expectations are high for this new release, as Yaeji continues to showcase her unique and innovative musical style.

#18. Raven by Kelela

Coming in at number 18, the latest album from the American R&B/electronica artist marks her first release since her 2017 studio LP debut “Take Me Apart.” This highly anticipated album has received the best reviews of her career so far, indicating a promising and well-received addition to her discography. Fans and critics alike are praising the artist’s growth and evolution in her latest offering, making it a standout release in her musical journey.

#17. But Here We Are by Foo Fighters

At number 17, we have the 11th studio album from the iconic rock band led by Dave Grohl. This release holds significant importance as it is the band’s first album since the passing of drummer Taylor Hawkins. For this record, Dave Grohl took on the role of drummer, stepping into Hawkins’ shoes.

Produced by Greg Kurstin, the album showcases a powerful and emotional performance from the Foo Fighters. Critics have hailed it as the band’s highest-scoring album of the 21st century, making it a remarkable and memorable addition to their impressive discography.

#16. The Great White Sea Eagle by James Yorkston

At the 16th spot, we have a captivating collaboration between Scottish folk artist James Yorkston and The Cardigans frontwoman Nina Persson, alongside The Second Hand Orchestra. This project serves as the follow-up to James Yorkston’s album “The Wide Wide River,” which also featured The Second Hand Orchestra.

With the addition of Nina Persson’s enchanting vocals, the new release promises to be a unique and delightful musical experience. Fans can expect a beautiful blend of folk and captivating melodies as these talented artists come together to create magic.

#15. Praise a Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) by Yves Tumor

Securing the 15th spot, the experimental electronica artist delivers their third release with Warp Records and fifth LP overall. Although it scored slightly lower than their previous two albums, it remains an impressive and strong addition to their discography.

This artist continues to push boundaries and explore new sonic territories, captivating audiences with their innovative approach to music. Despite the minor dip in scores, critics and fans alike are applauding this latest release, recognizing it as another remarkable and noteworthy creation from the talented artist.

#14. The Hypnogogue by The Church

Tied at the impressive 13th position, we have the renowned Australian alt-rock outfit, The Church. Best known for their 1980s hits like “Under the Milky Way,” the band has recently released their 26th (!) album in February, which has been met with widespread acclaim.

This new release is hailed as their best in recent memory, captivating listeners with its concept album format, featuring songs interwoven by a dystopian sci-fi setting.

Although it may be their first venture into a concept album, the sound remains familiar, resonating with longtime fans who have followed and cherished their music over the years. The Church continues to showcase their artistry and creativity, solidifying their place as an enduring force in the alternative rock scene.

#13. Turn the Car Around by Gaz Coombes

Tied at the remarkable 13th position, we find the fourth solo album, “Turn the Car Around,” from the talented Supergrass frontman. This release marks his return to solo work after a gap of five years, and critics and fans agree that it is his finest work yet.

With his signature musical prowess and captivating vocals, he delivers an album that showcases his evolution and growth as an artist. “Turn the Car Around” is a compelling and memorable addition to his solo discography, leaving a lasting impression on listeners and reaffirming his status as a respected and influential musician in the industry.

#12. Imagine This Is a High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities by James Holden

At number 12, we have the fifth studio album from the esteemed British techno artist. While known for his contributions to the techno scene, this album takes a different turn, leaning more towards ambient sounds rather than the typical dancefloor beats.

However, it doesn’t stop there; the artist fearlessly delves into a diverse array of genres and textures with impressive results. The album showcases his versatility and creativity, with each track exuding a unique and captivating atmosphere. Critics and fans alike are praising this bold exploration, making it a standout release in the artist’s illustrious career.

#11. Heavy Heavy by Young Fathers

Claiming the esteemed 11th spot, we have the Mercury Prize-winning Scottish alternative hip hop group. After a rare five-year hiatus following their third album, “Cocoa Sugar,” they have made a triumphant return with their fourth LP. The result is nothing short of exceptional, showcasing the group’s consistent brilliance and artistry.

Fans and critics alike are thrilled with the album’s quality, as it stays true to their unique sound while pushing the boundaries of alternative hip hop. The group’s well-deserved reputation for excellence remains intact, and this album solidifies their position as one of the most influential and revered acts in the genre.

#10. Everything Harmony by The Lemon Twigs

At the impressive number 10 spot, we find “Everything,” the self-produced fourth studio LP by the talented New York indie-rock duo, consisting of brothers Michael and Brian D’Addario. This album serves as a beautiful homage to the iconic Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys and other influential bands from the late 1960s and ’70s.

Critics have been effusive in their praise, particularly highlighting the duo’s timeless songwriting skills. The album is a nostalgic and evocative journey that captures the essence of a bygone musical era while showcasing the D’Addario brothers’ remarkable talent and ability to create music that resonates with listeners of all generations.

Their masterful execution and heartfelt approach have earned them well-deserved acclaim and secured their place among the most respected indie-rock acts of their time.

#9. Wait Til I Get Over by Durand Jones

Landing at an impressive number 9, “Wait Til I Get Over” marks the remarkable solo debut of Louisiana-born soul artist Durand Jones. Prior to this release, Durand Jones gained widespread recognition and acclaim with his band, Durand Jones & The Indications, through a trio of highly-praised albums.

Now, with his solo venture, Durand Jones proves his individual prowess and artistry, delivering soulful melodies and heartfelt performances that leave a lasting impact on listeners. The album showcases his soulful voice and emotive storytelling, solidifying his position as a rising star in the soul music scene.

With this debut, Durand Jones steps into the spotlight with confidence, captivating audiences and affirming his place as a standout talent in the industry.

#8. 12 by Ryuichi Sakamoto

At the honorable position of number 8, we have a poignant and final musical offering from the late Japanese composer, electronic music pioneer, and Yellow Magic Orchestra co-founder, Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Released just weeks before his passing in March at the age of 71, “12” serves as his 12th solo album and a lasting testament to his artistic brilliance. This emotive collection features 12 minimalist piano compositions enriched with delicate electronic flourishes, creating a deeply moving and introspective listening experience.

Remarkably, these evocative tracks were recorded during Ryuichi Sakamoto’s battle with cancer, making “12” a testament to his resilience and dedication to his craft even in the face of adversity. The album showcases Sakamoto’s masterful skill in blending classical piano melodies with subtle electronic elements, resulting in a harmonious fusion that resonates with listeners on a profound level.

As one of the most influential figures in contemporary music, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s final work encapsulates the depth of his talent and the beauty of his musical expression. “12” stands as a timeless and poignant farewell from a legendary artist, leaving a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire and touch the hearts of music enthusiasts around the world.

#7. False Lankum by Lankum

At an impressive number 7, the progressive Irish folk band Lankum makes their return in March with the genuinely striking album “False Lankum,” a worthy successor to their award-winning 2019 release, “The Livelong Day.”

Despite boasting an admirable score of 89, some critics consider it their “worst” album to date, a testament to the band’s consistent excellence with two previous releases achieving scores of 90+.

“False Lankum” stands as a testament to the band’s unyielding commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional folk music. With their signature blend of raw emotion and stirring melodies, Lankum continues to captivate listeners with their intense and ambitious sound.

Each track on the album showcases their unparalleled musicianship and storytelling prowess, making it a truly captivating and immersive musical journey.

While critics may regard “False Lankum” as slightly below their previous chart-topping releases, the album’s 89 score is still a testament to the band’s exceptional artistry and the sheer quality of their music.

As they continue to evolve and explore new musical territories, Lankum remains a force to be reckoned with in the world of progressive Irish folk music. Their unwavering dedication to their craft ensures that “False Lankum” remains a significant and noteworthy addition to their already illustrious discography.

#6. Rat Saw God by Wednesday

Rising to a commendable position at number 6, Wednesday, the indie-rock five-piece hailing from Asheville, North Carolina, presents their fifth album, “Rat Saw God,” which stands as their remarkable Dead Oceans debut. With a unique fusion of shoegaze and country music elements, the band delivers an eclectic and captivating musical experience.

“Rat Saw God” showcases Wednesday’s innovative approach to songwriting and genre-blending, seamlessly weaving together dreamy shoegaze textures with the soulful essence of country music. This refreshing amalgamation sets them apart from the conventional indie-rock scene, earning them critical acclaim and widespread recognition.

The band’s growth and evolution are evident throughout the album, as they confidently explore new sonic territories while staying true to their distinctive sound. Each track is a testament to their musical prowess and their ability to craft songs that resonate with listeners on a deep and emotional level.

As Wednesday makes their debut on Dead Oceans, “Rat Saw God” serves as a testament to their artistic vision and potential. The album’s fusion of genres and its ability to defy traditional boundaries make it a standout release in the indie-rock landscape.

With their engaging songwriting and rich musicality, Wednesday continues to leave a lasting impact on listeners and solidify their place as an exciting and innovative force in the music industry.

#5. That! Feels Good! by Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware, the talented English pop singer-songwriter, triumphs at number 5 with her highly acclaimed fifth studio album. As a stellar follow-up to her excellent 2020 record “What’s Your Pleasure?,” this latest release marks the pinnacle of her career in terms of critical acclaim.

With her unmatched artistry and distinctive vocals, Jessie Ware delivers a stunning collection of songs that showcase her growth as an artist and songwriter. The album is a masterful display of her musical versatility, seamlessly blending elements of pop, R&B, and soul to create a sound that is uniquely her own.

Throughout the record, Jessie Ware’s songwriting shines as she fearlessly delves into themes of love, desire, and self-discovery. Her evocative lyrics and soulful melodies draw listeners in, creating an intimate and captivating listening experience.

“What’s Your Pleasure?” stands as a testament to Jessie Ware’s artistic brilliance and her ability to push the boundaries of pop music. The album’s flawless execution and undeniable charm have earned it widespread acclaim from critics and fans alike, solidifying Jessie Ware’s position as one of the most exciting and innovative voices in the contemporary music scene.

With this exceptional release, Jessie Ware not only cements her status as a seasoned and accomplished artist but also proves that her musical journey is far from over. As she continues to evolve and experiment with her sound, the future holds even more promise for this remarkable singer-songwriter.

#4. Maps by Billy Woods and Kenny Segal

Billy Woods, the gifted Brooklyn rapper, continues to impress with his latest release, securing the coveted #4 spot on the list. Following his breakthrough in 2022 with “Aethiopes,” Billy Woods demonstrates his consistency and prowess with this rapid follow-up album.

Teaming up with the talented L.A.-based producer Kenny Segal, Billy Woods delivers a stellar collection of tracks that showcase his exceptional lyrical skills and thought-provoking storytelling. The album’s seamless fusion of raw and innovative production with Woods’ signature flow proves that his previous success was no fluke but a testament to his remarkable talent.

One of the album’s standout features is the presence of esteemed guest appearances. Collaborations with the likes of Danny Brown, Aesop Rock, and Quelle Chris add a dynamic and diverse element to the record, elevating its impact and solidifying Billy Woods’ reputation as a collaborator who brings out the best in his peers.

Throughout the album, Billy Woods delves into a range of introspective and socially relevant themes, touching on topics such as identity, personal struggles, and the complexities of the modern world. His poignant and thought-provoking lyrics resonate deeply with listeners, making the album a captivating and immersive listening experience.

With this powerful and compelling release, Billy Woods continues to carve his place in the rap scene as a visionary artist with a unique perspective and a dedication to pushing the boundaries of the genre. As he continues to evolve and innovate, fans eagerly await his next move, confident that he will continue to deliver exceptional and groundbreaking music.

#3. The Record by Boygenius

The indie-rock supergroup, comprised of the immensely talented solo artists Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, has taken the music world by storm with their debut full-length album, “The Record.”

While they had previously collaborated on an EP titled “Boygenius” in 2018 and captivated audiences with their live performances, it is this album that truly showcases their collective brilliance.

“The Record” has been met with resounding acclaim from both critics and listeners, solidifying the trio’s status as a powerhouse in the indie-rock scene. From its March release, the album soared to the top of sales charts worldwide, a testament to its widespread appeal and popularity.

The chemistry and cohesion between Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus are evident throughout the record, as their individual talents seamlessly merge to create a cohesive and captivating musical experience. Their emotive and evocative songwriting, paired with their mesmerizing vocal harmonies, forms the backbone of the album’s success.

As accomplished solo artists, the members of this supergroup bring their own unique perspectives and styles to the table, resulting in a rich and diverse musical landscape that keeps listeners enthralled from start to finish. Each track showcases their artistry, with deeply introspective and heartfelt lyrics that resonate with fans on a personal level.

“The Record” stands as a triumphant display of their collaborative prowess, proving that they are not merely a side project but a true musical force to be reckoned with. As they continue to push boundaries and explore new sonic territories, fans eagerly await what the future holds for this exceptional trio.

#2. Desire, I Want To Turn into You by Caroline Polachek

Former Chairlift member Caroline Polachek has been a prolific solo artist since 2014, and her latest album is a testament to her evolution as an artist. Teaming up with English producer Danny L Harle, she delivers a career-best and eclectic musical journey that has captivated both critics and fans alike.

Following her acclaimed album “Pang” in 2019, Caroline Polachek’s collaboration with Danny L Harle takes her artistry to new heights.

The album showcases her adventurous spirit and willingness to explore a diverse range of musical styles and influences. This collaboration allows her to experiment and push the boundaries of her sound, resulting in an exciting and refreshing listening experience.

One of the album’s standout tracks is “Fly to You,” which features collaborations with the likes of Grimes and Dido. The combination of Polachek’s ethereal vocals and Harle’s innovative production creates a mesmerizing and otherworldly atmosphere. The album’s ability to seamlessly blend different genres and musical elements showcases Polachek’s versatility and artistic vision.

Throughout the album, Polachek’s songwriting shines, with introspective and thought-provoking lyrics that resonate with listeners on a deep emotional level. Her ability to convey raw emotions through her music is a testament to her skills as both a songwriter and a performer.

Fans and critics alike have praised this collaboration as a brilliant showcase of Caroline Polachek’s artistry and creative vision. With each release, she continues to push the boundaries of her sound and challenge traditional expectations of music, cementing her status as an innovative and influential artist in the music industry. As she continues to evolve and explore new sonic territories, the future looks bright for this talented and visionary musician.

#1. Fountain Baby by Amaarae

Flexyvibe’s top album of the first half of 2023 is none other than Amaarae’s “Fountain Baby.” The Bronx-born, Ghanaian-American singer-songwriter delivered a remarkable major-label debut in June, following the success of her debut LP, “The Angel You Don’t Know.”

“Fountain Baby” is a genre-defying masterpiece that effortlessly blends American R&B with African pop and various other musical influences. Amaarae’s unique and versatile sound has resonated with both critics and fans, making it the highest-scoring album of 2023 so far.

The album showcases Amaarae’s exceptional songwriting and vocal prowess, capturing the essence of her dual heritage and artistic vision. With each track, she takes listeners on a captivating journey, weaving together soulful melodies, infectious beats, and poignant lyrics that touch the heart.

Amaarae’s ability to seamlessly fuse different musical elements is a testament to her creativity and innovation as an artist. Her music transcends borders and cultures, creating a universal appeal that has earned her widespread acclaim.

“Fountain Baby” is a testament to Amaarae’s artistry and serves as a powerful statement of her talent and potential as a rising star in the music industry. With this remarkable album, she solidifies her position as one of the most exciting and promising artists of the year.

As the first half of 2023 comes to a close, Amaarae’s “Fountain Baby” stands tall as the frontrunner and sets the bar high for the rest of the year. With such a compelling and groundbreaking release, it’s no surprise that Flexyvibe recognizes it as the top album of the year so far. Amaarae’s music has undoubtedly left a lasting impact on the industry and the hearts of listeners worldwide.

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