We're continuing this"Best of 2023" mini-series with a few picks for favorite albums from Rabbit Room friends and contributors. Here are some noteworthy songs and albums that were playing in our earbuds last year.
The album I was most excited about this year was Switchfoot's new deluxe edition of The Beautiful Letdown—such a great album already, and then to have all those great covers, ahhh...)! Besides that, I have three twenty-something daughters, so that might help explain why The Show by Niall Horan was the other record in main rotation for me in 2023, with "If You Leave Me," "Never Grow Up," and "Heaven" being particular faves.
Across The Spider-Verse Original Score by Daniel Pemberton. Daniel Pemberton's work on the two Spider-Verse movies is some of the most creative I've heard in a film score in the last few years. Record scratches, a pen scribbling, spray cans, a goose clucking, bongo drums, synthesizer, electric guitar, and the slowed-down sound of an elephant—all of these make up the DNA of his sublime Spider-Verse score.
Eric Whitacre's The Sacred Veil.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Weathervanes. The new record from one of our greatest living songwriters is ambitious and potent. It's a collection of stories that are, by turns, dark and vibrant, but are always brilliant.
I grew up listening to Andrae Crouch in my childhood home. This year, I revisited him on Spotify and enjoyed it very much. My favorite new music was Jon Batiste's World Music Radio album. Couldn't get enough of Batiste this year...and cannot wait for his show at the Ryman!
Matthew Clark’s album A Tale of Two Trees.
UK-based Christian artist Tina Boonstra blew me away with her album Circle Back, Start Again.
One of my favorite songs of the year is “Death Defying Joy” by Andy Squyres - musically hooky with deep and rich lyrics.
We listened to Colony House's Cannonballers record nonstop this year.
Javelin by Sufjan Stevens is a great record about loss and suffering. It’s loud and honest and gentle and encouraging. So many good songs on here. My favorite at the moment is “Everything That Rises.”
Stick Season by Noah Kahan. The folky sound mixed with the complex songwriting is fantastic and makes it a perfect album to listen to while driving past trees. Plus his deluxe album’s features are amazing.
Good Riddance by Gracie Abrams is a refreshingly introspective album that is sonically cohesive and illustrates her capacity for depth in her songwriting. I enjoyed that even with the variability in the song concepts it felt like the album had a natural intermingling and flow.
Proof of Life by Joy Oldaokun. It has been my new favorite record to spin whenever having friends for dinner or a game night. With authentic lyrics, and impressive collaborations with artists like Noah Kahan, Chris Stapleton, and Mount Joy, she truly knocks it out of the park. If you ask me, the best Tracks are "Keeping the Light On", "Taking Things For Granted", and "Somebody Like Me."
The Sun by JOSEPH. The Sun is top tier. It feels like one big therapy session, emphasizing the importance of speaking kindness to ourselves and using bravery as a catalyst for new, healthier beginnings. Their harmonies will forever leave me under their spell. BEST TRACKS: Waves Crash", "Fireworks", and "Don’t Protect M."
I would be remiss not to mention 1989 Taylor’s Version. I mean those four bonus tracks…COME ON!
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