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The 100 Best Albums of 2023

From Lil Yachty to Olivia Rodrigo, from R&B to indie rock to Afrobeats

In 2023, must-hear albums kept piling up at an insane rate. Olivia Rodrigo proved the truth-bomb punk-pop of her 2021 Sour was no fluke. Boygenius blew first-album expectations out of the water. Lil Yachty traded in his boat for a space cruiser. Zach Bryan released an album of deeply personal songs that subverted country-bro masculinity (and still packed arenas). Underground rapper Billy Woods and beatmaker Kenny Segal teamed up and went deep. Paramore raged back; Victoria Monet led an R&B resurgence; Mitski reimagined the American gothic. And on and on.

With a few noted exceptions (including Miley Cyrus, Drake, and the, um, Rolling Stones), this wasn’t a huge year for blockbuster releases by mega-stars, but that only made more room for newer innovators — from sci-fi-reggaeton mastermind Tainy, to Afrobeats greats like Asake, Burna Boy, and Mr. Eazi, to breakout country hero Megan Moroney. They all gave us music to live in, and records that will be resonating long after this year is out. 

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