10 Best Albums of 2023 so Far, According to Critics

Caroline Polachek.
Getty/Matthew Baker

  • These are the top 10 albums of 2023, ranked by their Metacritic score.
  • Caroline Polachek’s “Desire, I Want to Turn Into You” takes #1.
  • Paramore’s latest album, This Is Why, also makes it into the running.

=10. “That’s the reason” by Paramore

This Is Why is Paramore’s sixth studio album.

Metacritic score: 85

What the critics say: “These songs really emphasize how far they’ve come since emo’s heyday, and have as much (or more) in common with alt-pop icons as HAIM, Alanis Morissette or Fiona Apple as they do with the poppiest ‘rock’ contemporaries of emo Paramore Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the disco.” — Kerrang

=10. This Stupid World by Yo La Tengo

Veteran indie rockers Yo La Tengo are still going strong.

Metacritic score: 85

What the critics say: “’This Stupid World’ is just a particularly timely chapter in the humble saga of indie rock’s humblest institution. His songs not only capture the darkness that so many of us feel in every waking day, but also the impulse to keep waking up, to keep going.” — Pitchfork

=10. “Gigi’s Recovery” by The Murder Capital

The Murder Capital are a post-punk band from Ireland.
human season

Metacritic score: 85

What the critics say: “At their best, often seen on ‘Gigi’s Recovery’, The Murder Capital combine muscular drama and skeletal grace with a confidence that Radiohead would be proud of.” – The guard

=7. “The Candle and the Flame” by Robert Forster

Robert Forster’s eighth studio album was produced with his wife and son.
wallpaper records

Metacritic score: 86

What the critics say: “Forster all too humbly presents himself as a humble talent alongside the melodic genius of his late foil, yet this eighth solo outing is, as always, packed with minimal, carefully chiseled, acoustically drumming arrangements, topped with exceptional lyrics.” – The Telegraph

=7. “The Great White Sea Eagle” by James Yorkston, Nina Persson and The Second Hand Orchestra

The Great White Sea Eagle is James Yorkston’s eleventh studio album.

Metacritic score: 86

What the critics say: “Yorkston has translated his thoughtful, insightful songs into many musical forms, all of which have been quite successful. His collaborations with the Second Hand Orchestra, and with Persson in particular, result in some of the most beautiful and moving music he has made, which is high praise indeed.” – Any music

=7. “Raven” by Kelela

Kelela’s second studio album features contributions from Kaytranada and Shygirl.

Metacritic score: 86

What the critics say: “Kelela’s second album is a transformative work of art that fuses house and ambient, soul and dance, dwelling in in-between zones – like the eponymous animal, an intermediary between the material world and the realm of spirit. It’s a vast canvas of cultural expression, emotional tones, erotic exploration and musical brilliance.” – Beats Per Minute

=7. “The Car Around” by Gaz Coombes

Gaz Coombes is the former frontman of the English rock band Supergrass.
hot fruit

Metacritic Score: 86

What the critics say: “This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking collection of songs from an author whose responses to the world around him illustrate an ever-deepening maturity that is fascinating to draw across his four solo releases to date.” — Record Collector

=7. “Heavy Heavy” by Young Fathers

This is a work of art.
Ninja melody

Metacritic Score: 86

What the critics say: “’Heavy Heavy’ is a passionate, soulful and often mesmerizing work that will stay with you long after the first listen. Incisive and underpinned by a catchy melodic structure, it continues Young Fathers’ unparalleled lineup of unique albums and further cements them as one of the more unique acts there are today.” — NME

2. “12” by Ryuichi Sakamoto

“12” was written and recorded while Ryuichi Sakamoto was recovering from cancer treatment.

Metacritic Score: 89

What the critics say: “Sakamoto has transformed an everyday logbook into something transcendent, partly because of its intimacy. Whether it is one of his major works is a question for future historians, but in the midst of an ongoing battle with cancer its bravery is defiant and magnificent, the sound of an artist’s soul laid bare.” — Housing consultant

1. “Lust, I want to turn into you” by Caroline Polachek

Dido and Grimes both feature on Caroline Polachek’s second studio album.
Eternal Novice

Metacritic Score: 93

What the critics say: “It is because of her own vocal and musical versatility that Polachek is able to create a new map to explore, and the results are nothing short of exciting.” — Episode

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