Blogography Logo



Posted on Friday, December 29th, 2023

Dave!Much like last year, I didn't stray far from the pop music I love (although I was listening to the new Metallica album more than a few times on those bad days). I just needed "comfort food" to get me through, and there was plenty of that in 2023. But anyway, here you go...

#1 Smash: The Singles 1985-2020 — Pet Shop Boys
I don't generally put compilation albums in my year-end wrap-up, but this one simply could not be denied. Pet Shop Boys is one of my all-time favorite bands, and this is a super-set of their best music. I already own every album they have released, so the first thing I did was create a playlist of the Smash setlist. Though some of the singles were "new versions," that had me exploiting my Apple Music subscription to hear. Interestingly enough, many of my most favorite PSB songs, like The Way it Used to Be and Dreaming of the Queen and The Survivors and The End of the World and Up Against It and others were never released as singles, thus aren't on this compilation. Regardless, it was my favorite album of 2023 by a long shot, and reliving these songs was an amazing experience for Pet Heads.

#2 i/o — Peter Gabriel
As a longtime Peter Gabriel fan, I was intrigued when rumors of a new album started leaking very soon after Up was released in 2002. Apparently Gabriel had so many songs left over from that project that he was planning on a follow-up album in 2004. Then, NEARLY TWENTY YEARS LATER, we finally get a new album. And it was weirdly-handled. Instead of releasing it in January 2023, Gabriel dropped a new single on every full moon... with an alternate mix of the same song the following full moon. It got to the point where I forgot about the releases and any momentum for the album fizzled. UNTIL Jester took me to see the i/o tour on October 9th. Weirdly, the entirety of the album was played in this epic-length live show, making it the first time I had heard the actual album. And then on December 1st, the two albums of two different mixes was released, and it leapt to one of my favorite albums of the year. A lot of that has to do with me thinking back to the concert, but the songs are just darn good on top of that.

#3 In the End it Always Does — The Japanese House
I was completely unaware of Amber Bain until she collaborated with MUNA, and then I was immediately obsessed. Mostly because she could easily be a fourth member of MUNA, a band I love. This album is filled with lovely, haunting, easy-listening tracks that have interesting, simple melodies and a lyrical property that causes them to wash over you like warm gentle waves on a beach. Or wrapping around you like a warm blanket. Gorgeous from start to finish, this was an easy pick for my third favorite album of 2023.

#4 The Show — Niall Horan
Color me shocked. One of the members of One Direction who is not Harry Styles actually released a darn good album (well, with the exception of the song You Could Start a Cult, which... WTF?!?). While it's true that nothing on this album is overly-challenging or groundbreaking, it's still solid songwriting with some great tracks that I ended up playing a lot over the Summer. And just writing about it makes me want to give it another spin. I can't give much better endorsement than that.

#5 Endless Summer Vacation — Miley Cyrus
I must admit that every time Miley releases a new album that gets critical praise I have the smug satisfaction of knowing that I was a fan since Day One. And here she comes with another fantastic collection of songs that takes full advantage of her breathy vocals while actually trying to say something. Not feeling the need to scream to the cheap seats or rip into a track like it owes her money or unleash shock value, Endless Summer Vacation is a mature effort that's really satisfying for longtime fans.

#6 Cracker Island — Gorillaz
Gorillaz is one of those stunt bands that can actually back up their antics with incredible music. And this latest is more of the same... but with a few tricks tossed in for good measure (collaborations with Tame Impala, Bad Bunny, Beck, and STEVIE NICKS??). I listened to the album on repeat too many times, but you can hardly blame me when beautiful tracks like Silent Running (with Adeleye Omotayo) kept getting stuck in my head. Interestingly, the main release was a scant ten tracks, but they released a "Deluxe" version with another five more experimental tracks that are far more disposable (with the exception of the bared down version of Silent Running, which is great).

#7 Something to Give Each Other — Troye Sivan
I've enjoyed random tracks by Sivan, and some of those songs I've absolutely loved (You is on half my playlists)... but listening to a full album from the guy has always been rough for me because he strayed in directions that lost me. Turns out that third time is a charm, because this time the album is flawless from start to finish.

#8 Bauhaus Staircase — Orchestral Manoevres in the Dark
If you were to jettison a lot of the more experimental stuff from their early years, OMD actually has a darn good catalog of songs. Add to that the fact that the band has been going for a long time and... well... they've got a heck of a lot of music I love. But it was the release of History of Modern in 2010 that made me took another look at the band. OMD had been releasing a lot of good music, but this was such a fantastic album that I underwent a kind of OMD renaissance. Bauhaus Staircase a step down from the past three albums, but still a good listen with some excellent hallmark OMD tracks.

#9 Hold — Wild Nothing
If breezy fun synth-pop is your jam, have I got an album for you! Jack Turner has been cranking out some wonderful tracks for the past 13 years as "Wild Nothing" and manages to not deviate from formula while always sounding fresh. He had me from the first time I heard Chinatown off his first album Gemini... and has held me right up to this latest album in 2023. Everything is just solid, well-crafted, and listenable, as usual, and I wish he would get recognized with some song placement on any number of television shows, which would be perfect. These songs can go anywhere in anything.

#10 Council Skies — Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
During their time in Oasis, Noel and Liam Gallagher had a controversial run that resulted in some amazing music. But it all came to a very public end, and you had to wonder if their success and talent was fueled by their numerous clashes and fights. Turns out that wasn't the case, because they've both gone on to further success. Noel's latest is built around a rich sound that makes everything feel as though it harkens back to a time when music was made in a different way. Like Beatles-era, if that makes any sense. The Deluxe version has instrumental versions of tracks, remixes by the like of Pet Shop Boys and Robert Smith(!), and some nice extras that are worth a listen.

#11 Memento Mori — Depeche Mode
There's nothing more frustrating than being a Depeche Mode fan from the very beginning. If that's you, then it's likely you feel the band's best days are long gone, and everything after Alan Wilder departed following Songs of Faith and Devotion is not even the same band. I don't go quite that far... there were some post-Wilder albums I loved... but the never-ending theme of "redemption" on every fucking song became so very, very tired, and I positively hated the past two albums (Delta Machine and Spirit). Then fandom was sent into shock when Fletch died, and it felt extremely likely the band was done. Except they weren't, and Mememto Mori is the result. Half of the album is a holdover from the past two that I don't even want to listen to... but then there's some glimmers of the old band in a few tracks to make me happy that they released the album. Before We Drown is one of my favorite DM songs in a decade. And the tracks People Are Good and Ghosts Again just... work.

#12 DANSE MACABRE — Duran Duran
This is a strange throwback not to early Duran Duran (which I would have loved), but instead to a post-punk sensibility that puts being weird above being popular. Half the songs I like for real... half I kinda-like because they are just such a different turn for the band. But ultimately this is a bit of a low in the up-and-down cycle of Duran Duran, and I wish to God they would just give us a throwback album that recaptures those heady days of Girls on Film. But, then again, I could say that about so many bands from the 80's that have hung around.


Jake Hill's Country Music alter-ego, Dixon Dallas, could be a big joke... or it could be a serious attempt to carve out a musical niche in a very crowded field. Likely it's a bit of both. Whatever the case, the sexually-charged gay lyrics are layered on top of some seriously good tracks, and I listened to the pile of singles that got released in 2023 far more than I would have if they had merely been some kind of attempt at bad shock value at the expense of gay lives.


I love love love this Lauv song, All 4 Nothing (I'm So in Love), which came out in August of 2022 and I didn't even know about it until early this year...


  • The Loveliest Time — Carly Rae Jepsen
    Last year Carly Rae released a perfectly lovely album called The Loneliest Time. Turns out the songwriting for that project resulted in an entirely additional album of material that she decided to release as a "companion album." This would be a bad thing if it was just a cash-grab, but the album actually has merit. Far from just a bunch of leftovers, there's a cohesive thread running through the tracks that could have easily made this a full release in its own right.
  • Last Man Dancing — Jake Shears
    I, infamously, became a fan of Scissor Sisters when Jester sent me some tracks to listen to... AFTER THE BAND HAD ALREADY BROKEN UP! Then in 2018 front-man Jake Shears came out with his self-titled debut solo album, and I was not impressed. It's like he tried to get away from Scissor Sisters while trying not to loose any fans, and it just didn't work. This time he learned from his mistake and went back to his dance music roots in a good way. ALas, there's a weird dichotemy going on here, whereas the first half of the album is a delicious nod to disco that's quite good... but the second half is just... not. It's not that it's bad, it's just a weird U-turn that was hard for me to process after getting completely hooked at the start. Still, this is a good album with some great songs, it's just that I listen to the first half more often than the last half.
  • Rockstar — Dolly Parton
    Despite not being a huge Country Music fan, I'm a huge fan of Dolly Parton. The woman can write really good songs as easily as most people breathe. It's just what she does. Then last year she was inducted into the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame. Being the humble angel she is, she said she felt bad about it because she didn't feel she had done much for rock music, and thought she was taking away from more worthy inductees. But then she said that since she had been given the honor, she'd come out with a rock album. And here it is. An oh boy did she go for gold. She's got duets with Sting, Steve Perry, Ann Wilson, Steven Tyler, Stevie Nicks, Peter Frampton, Joan Jett, Miley Cyrus, P!nk, Elton John, Simon Le Bon, and so much more! Which just goes to show that everybody loves Dolly Parton and nobody could say no to teaming up with her. Alas, the album is a bit of a mixed bag. I'd rather she have given us another album of the music she does best... but it's a fun listen for sure.
  • TRUSTFALL — P!nk
    I am a massively huge fan of P!nk. Let me qualify that... I am a massively huge fan of P!nk's pop music tracks. I'm not a fan of her slow ballads at all. Fortunately this album is a good balance and there's plenty for me to love, it just wasn't enough for me to love it enough to listen to it as much as previous albums.
  • Fantasy — M83
    Dreamy synth-pop with a slight edge that seeps into your subconscious in a good way. Some tracks hit better than others, but the album is definitely worth listening to.
  • That! Feels Good! — Jessie Ware
    After the disco explosion that was What's Your Pleasure? in 2020, Jessie took a half-step back into something more soulful that sounds as if it may be the best album she's ever released. And yet... a number of tracks on the album make sure that her newer fans aren't left behind. This is the kind of music I'll put on while making dinner, then not be able to switch off because it's stroking too many pleasure centers in my brain.
  • Tension — Kylie Minogue
    No dance-pop fan can deny the power of Kylie Minogue. Well, except me, who was very, very late to the party. With the exception of a few singles, I barely knew she existed until I was mistakenly sent a copy of Showgirl: The Greatest Hits Tour... FROM MY NETFLIX DVD SUBSCRIPTION IN 2006! and ended up watching it. And really enjoying it. Kylie knows how to put on a show! But anyway... I've been an off-and-on fan ever since. This album is more of the same, and I honestly probably couldn't pick the songs out of a Kylie lineup (except for Padam Padam, the lead single which I do not like)... but considering "the same" is actually pretty good stuff, I liked the album.
  • Time's Arrow — Ladytron
    If you're into their hallmark sound, this album will likely appeal to you. But there's also a few tracks that elevate it out of their usual fare.
  • chemistry — Kelly Clarkson
    I'm not a huge fan of the power ballads that Clarkson does so incredibly well, but this album had some offerings that I enjoyed quite a lot (high road is mesmerizing and magic is gorgeous).
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse — Metro Boomin
    The last movie gave us the absolute joy of the track Sunflower by Post Malone and Swae Lee, this time we get an album filled with a Who's Who of hiphop genius that feels incredibly cohesive and fit the movie perfectly.
  • GUTS — Olivia Rodrigo
    This album is a tough one for me because it has some truly great tracks that are wonderfully constructed and imbued with feeling... then there's a few which have such klutzy lyrical turns as "You sunk your teeth into me" on a track called vampire that grind the album to a halt for me. Overlooking these missteps is easy, however, because the album as a whole is pretty great.
  • This Life — Take That
    If you like Take That, then you'll probably like this album. It works as a continuation of what they've been doing for decades but doesn't really stand out from the other eight albums they've released. I did really like the title track though.
  • AUSTIN — Post Malone
    When Posty unleashes a song I love, I'm all in. Tracks like Sunflower and Circles and Better Now and Wrapped Around Your Finger made me a huge fan. But most of his catalog are not songs that hit me like those do, so I have a hard time listening to his albums straight through. AUSTIN was a little different, and I liked it quite a lot.
  • 72 Seasons — Metallica
    Look, it's Metallica. If you like the band, you'll like this album. They have lost absolutely nothing over the years, and this album sounds exactly like you'd want a modern Metallica album to be. But here's the problem... if this were Metallica's debut album, it would be absolutely lost in the metal scene. A lot of what goes into appreciating their later efforts is nostalgia. I'm not saying that it's time for them to hang up their guitars or anything... I liked this one a lot... I'm just saying that I'd rather listen to their old albums and recapture the feelings I had when they were fresh than listen to their later stuff.
  • It's the End of the World, But It's a Beautiful Day — Thirty Seconds to Mars
    This album followed Jared Leto's hilarious interview that got plastered all over the internet where he claimed that they had written 200 songs for it. As somebody who hasn't really taken much notice of the band, the idea of it was funny to me. Then on a chilly day in late September, I noticed the album had already been released. And it... was... good?!? No, not every song is great, but a few (in particularly Seasons, a song I love) made the album notable to me.
Categories: Music 2023Click To It: Permalink


  1. martymankins says:

    Awesome we share a few albums on our year end list. The more I played the new Depeche Mode album and saw them perform some of the songs live twice this year, it really grew on me.

    Albums on your list that I missed getting into but wanted to were the new Peter Gabriel, Duran Duran and Wild Nothing.

    And I have jsut about every Pet Shop Boys album, but this Smash set needs to be added to my collection.

Add a Comment


I love comments! However, all comments are moderated, and won't appear until approved. Are you an abusive troll with nothing to contribute? Don't bother. Selling something? Don't bother. Spam linking? Don't bother.
PLEASE NOTE: My comment-spam protection requires JavaScript... if you have it turned off or are using a mobile device without JavaScript, commenting won't work. Sorry.



Your personal information is optional. Email addresses are never shown, and are only used by me if a public reply would be too personal or inappropriate here. The URL link to your web site or blog will be provided, so only fill this in if you want people to visit!



Blogography is a place to learn and grow by exposing yourself to the mind of David Simmer II, a brilliant commentator on world events and popular culture (or so he claims).
Dave FAQ:
Frequently Asked Questions
Dave Contact:
Blogography Webfeeds:
Atom Entries Feed
Comments Feed
translate me
flags of the world!
lost & found
Search Blogography:
thrice fiction
Thrice Fiction Magazine - March, 2011 - THE END
I'm co-founder of Thrice Fiction magazine. Come check us out!
hard rock moment
Visit DaveCafe for my Hard Rock Cafe travel journal!
travel picto-gram
Visit my travel map to see where I have been in this world!
Blogography Badge
Atom Syndicate Badge
Comments Syndicate Badge
Apple Safari Badge
Pirate's Booty Badge
Macintosh Badge
All content copyright ©2003-2022
by David Simmer II
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.
ssl security