Here are Happy’s Best Albums of 2023

From deep introspective tunes to mixes that blend genres, this year’s music scene has it all

To say that 2023 defied our expectations is putting it mildly, artists burst onto the music scene with a vibrant explosion of creativity.

Whether fueled by lockdown introspection or a collective yearning for release, artists poured their souls into an unprecedented landscape of sound.

rvg amp prize nomination
Credit: Izzie Austin

From Naarm’s RVG to Eora’s DMA’s, across the Pacific to Brooklyn’s own arthouse rockers, Water From Your Eyes and Long Island’s The Lemon Twigs, here are the best albums of 2023.

RVG: Brain Worms

RVG’s ‘Brain Worms’ marks a significant evolution for the Melbourne-based quartet, solidifying their status as indie rock virtuosos. The standout single, ‘Common Ground,’ introduces listeners to Romy Vager’s haunting vocals seamlessly interwoven with infectious melodies.

The album as a whole exhibits a rich sonic diversity, transcending influences to carve out a sound distinctly their own. From anthemic rock ballads to introspective reflections, ‘Brain Worms’ reveals a maturity that defies the band’s relatively short time in the industry.

With Romy Vager’s vocals, Reuben Bloxham’s intricate guitar work, Marc Nolte’s rhythmic precision, and Isabele Wallace’s pulsating basslines, the album stands as a deliberate and controlled artistic endeavor. It reinforces that RVG isn’t just following trends but actively shaping them.

Blink 182: One More Time

blink 182 one more time best albums of 2023

 The reunited trio marks an impressive come back with a sharper – albeit classic pop punk sound. Tom DeLonge’s return blends seamlessly with Hoppus’ wit and Barker’s drumming genius, delivering a potent nostalgia bomb.

Yet, it’s not a mere retro rehash. Songs like ‘One More Time’ and ‘Kiss & Tell’ are infectious pop-punk anthems, while ‘San Diego’ and ‘Lost Without You’ grapple with aging and friendship with poignant depth.

One More Time… offers a diverse yet cohesive journey, reminding us why Blink-182 are legends and proving, with 17 unforgettable tracks, they’re far from finished. It’s a celebration of their evolution, showcasing both fist-pumping energy and reflective ballads, solidifying their timeless presence in the music scene.


Sigur Rós: Atta

atta best albums of 2023

‘Atta’  is a post-rock revolution, paving the way for a new wave of emotional experimentation. While retaining their signature ethereal soundscapes and Jónsí’s soaring vocals, ‘Atta’ pushes boundaries with subtle but striking shifts.

Songs like ‘Skel’ build with glacial intensity, while ‘Ylur’ offers a hushed intimacy we haven’t seen before. It’s familiar yet fresh, a natural progression that feels both nostalgic and innovative.

Beneath the shimmering layers of sound, ‘Atta’ plunges into profound depths of emotion.  Themes of bittersweet longing, fragile hope, and quiet contemplation intertwine, echoing with a universality that touches the soul. Each track feels like a journey, leaving you changed by the emotional weight it carries.

The Lemon Twigs: Everything Harmony

the lemon twigs everything harmony best albums of 2023

In a year teeming with stellar releases, Everything Harmony by The Lemon Twigs stands out as a masterpiece. It’s not just a retro throwback; it’s a genre-bending triumph that transcends its influences.

The D’Addario brothers weave threads of psychedelia, folk-rock, and Beatlesque pop into a vibrant, kaleidoscopic whole. Each track is a drop of gold, from the romantic charm of ‘Corner of My Eye’ to the Beatles-esque sing-along of ‘What You Were Doing.’

Tracks like ‘Every Day Is The Worst Day Of My Life’ and ‘The Moment”‘showcase their knack for harmonies, catchy hooks and infectious melodies.  This is an album that demands attention and rewards repeated listens, leaving a truly remarkable musical accomplishment that resonates long after the final note fades.

Gorillaz: Cracker Island

Gorillaz cracker island

Damon Albarn threw open the studio doors and invited the world in. Genre boundaries dissolved like desert mirages as Gorillaz’s animated crew collided with a dream team of musical adventurers.

The guest laden album includes standout tracks from Beck, Stevie Nicks, Bad Bunny, Tame Impala and Bootie Brown.

Beneath the party lights, the album holds a deeper introspection that grapples with existential blues, and a touch of melancholy that we have have come to love Albarn for.

From the sun-drenched beaches of California to the moonlit alleys of Tokyo, each track offers a glimpse into a different sonic wonderland, proving that Gorillaz remain one of the most adventurous and relevant bands of our time.

Slowdive:  Everything is Alive

slowdive album 2023

The original forbearers of shoegaze don’t merely revisit the genre; they reimagine it. The lush guitars that defined their 90s heyday still shimmer, but they’re draped in a newfound maturity.

Rachel Goswell’s voice, weaves spells in ‘Slomo’ and ‘Star Roving,’ evoking the same hypnotic beauty that captivated a generation. Yet, this isn’t simply a nostalgia trip.

Beneath the familiar soundscapes, subtle currents pulse. The shoegaze haze is imbued with a sharper focus, a melancholic wisdom honed by time. ‘No Longer Making Time’ reveals a vulnerability unheard before, its lyrics an aching lament for fleeting moments.

The production, a shimmering tide of electronic whispers and textured basslines, adds depth and complexity to the familiar chords.

Water From Your Eyes: Everyone’s Crushed

water from your eyes everyones crushed best albums of 2023

Brooklyn’s own Water From Your Eyes dropped onto the scene with some major art house swagger. ‘Everyone’s Crushed’ is a sonic sledgehammer shattering genre walls.

Water From Your Eyes unleash discordant beauty, twisting rock into a kaleidoscope of synth-pulsating chaos and Brown’s ethereal-yet-snarling vocals. Vulnerability bleeds through each track, making ’14’ a nostalgic ache and ‘Buy My Product’ a consumerist scream.

It’s not studio perfection; it’s a revolution of blistering brilliance, showcasing the band’s fearless approach to pushing musical boundaries.

Each track is a middle finger to genre expectations, and a testament to a band unafraid to push the limits and leave you breathless in their wake.

Holly Humberstone: Paint My Bedroom Black

holly humberstone paint my bedroom black best albums of 2023

Humberstone doesn’t hold back with this stunning debut, laying bare her heart through songs like ‘Antichrist,’ ‘Haunted House’ and the stand out ‘Superbloodmoon’ with D4vd.

Her words, both witty and poignant, paint vivid pictures of heartbreak, insecurity, and self-discovery, creating a space where everyone feels seen.

The melodies are deceptively simple, lodging themselves in your head long after the final note. Through it all, there’s a sense of catharsis, a release of emotions that feels both powerful and hopeful.

This isn’t just a young woman singing heartbreak, it’s a declaration of strength, a journey through darkness towards a glimmer of light. 

The Record: Boygenius

boygenius best albums of 2023

Boygenius, the American indie rock supergroup, has truly outdone themselves with their sophomore effort, ‘The Record.’

The album showcases exceptional songwriting abilities, with each track exhibiting a rare depth of emotion and introspection often missing in today’s music scene.

The opening track, ‘Without You, Without Them,’ showcases the group’s ability to weave together their distinct styles into a cohesive and emotionally impactful whole.

The album solidifies Boygenius’ place as one of the most exciting acts in indie rock today, with hauntingly beautiful tracks like ‘Emily I’m Sorry’ and ‘Not Strong Enough’ firmly cementing their legacy.

Sampha: Lahai

sampha lahai best albums of 2023

‘Lahai’ is a rare a sonic gem,  that transports you to another plane of existence in a mere 41 minutes. Sampha weaves minimalist magic, celestial keyboards and hushed percussion dancing around his soulful whisper that speaks volumes.

Themes bloom with quiet grandeur, from personal growth in ‘No One Knows Me Like You Know Me’ to the beauty of the everyday in ‘Dancing with the Spheres.’ 

Each track, from the golden warmth of ‘Honey’ to the haunting beauty of ‘The Lost Ones,’ is a deliberate step through a garden of emotions, revealing new depths with every listen.

It’s not just one of the best of the year; it’s a contender for a timeless classic, a whisper in the darkness reminding us of the quiet beauty within all of us.

How Many Dreams? – DMA’S


DMA’S fourth studio album, ‘How Many Dreams?,’ showcases the trio’s growth and evolution as musicians.  With infectious hooks, nostalgic vibes, and relatable lyrics, it’s a must-listen for fans and newcomers alike.

Standout tracks like the ballad ‘Forever’ and the high-energy ‘Something We Are Overcoming’ demonstrate DMA’S signature sound.  The album is a diverse journey, embracing their electronic side while maintaining their catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics.

With singles like ‘Everybody’s Saying Thursday’s The Weekend,’ ‘Olympia,’ and ‘Fading Like A Picture,’ DMA’S solidify their place as one of the most exciting indie rock bands, offering a cohesive and electrifying experience that resonates long after the last note.