Futurism Restated Bonus Issue: Best Albums of 2023 So Far
Melted techno, cocoon rap, and, yes, an ambient record or two
The year is more than half over—I’m already getting promos for November releases, which is terrifying—so I thought it might be useful to round up some of my favorite albums of the year so far. This is a bonus post for paying subscribers, to thank you for supporting this newsletter.
Unlike some critics, I’m not really a list guy. I’m very much not a fan of ranking, for one thing, so these are simply listed in alphabetical order (by first name, because, full disclosure, I couldn’t decide whether “Doc Sleep” should go under “D” or “S,” because is “Sleep” supposed to be a surname or is “Doc Sleep” meant as a single phrase, and I eventually just decided, fuck it)—but if you twisted my arm, I’d probably tell you that billy woods & Kenny Segal’s Maps is my No. 1 of the year. At least for now, that’ll certainly be at the top of my Pitchfork ballot, simply because no other record has given me a more potent mixture of pleasure and surprise.
Speaking of surprises, I apologize if diligent readers don’t find a lot of them here; my tastes are pretty predictable, I’m afraid, and I often end up bonding hardest with the records that I write about, so most of these are records I’ve reviewed for Pitchfork. I also didn’t do a separate tracks list, because I hate rounding up my favorite tracks of the year, particularly when they’re ranked. I’ve always been more of an albums guy than a songs guy, and my attention to dance music is at a low ebb right now, which takes a lot of potential tracks out of the mix, just because I’m not paying attention. (But boy, Pangaea sure is turning out some bangers.)
So with that said, read on for my top 19 albums, with blurbs, plus another twentysome runners-up. I hope you discover something new to fall in love with.
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