Happy 2023! In case you missed it, we’re now sharing monthly new music posts instead of every Sunday. The playlist is still updated regularly every week.
Noteworthy album & EP releases:
Diamonds & Dancefloors, Ava Max
Bubblegum, Biig Piig
the record, boygenius
Actual Life 3 Piano EP, Fred again..
Good Thing We Stayed, Julia Wolf
ABSOLUTE HEARTBREAK, khai dreams
A Reckoning, Kimbra
Cautionary Tales of Youth, Låpsley
Health, Medium Build
Gloria, Sam Smith
Electrophonic Chronic, The Arcs
Insomnia EP, the moss
ASKING FOR A RIDE, White Reaper
“Happenstance” – Shalom
Release date – January 11
Indie newcomer Shalom signed to Saddle Creek Records (Big Thief, Indigo De Souza) this past summer and already has a debut LP on the way. “Happenstance,” which was co-written and produced by Ryan Hemsworth (Mitski, Tinashe), Shalom sings about feeling lost and misguided in the world: an uptempo song for pretty heavy lyrical content (my fave)!
“I feel so out of place/ I’m just trying to erase myself/ Whenever I get the chance/ my need to evaporate/ And receive validation at the same time/ Is just happenstance.”
“I Wanna Dance With You” – Royal Otis
Release date – January 12
Australian duo Royal Otis is back with their first release of 2023, a feel good track that I guarantee will make you want to get up and dance. The content of the song is self-explanatory when you read its title: Royal Otis wants to dance with you!
The song’s lighthearted qualities remind me of music from the ‘80s, like “Come On Eileen” and the most obvious choice, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston.
Catch Royal Otis on tour with alt-j this year in AUS and NZ.
“Flowers” – Miley Cyrus
Release date – January 13
Despite Miley Cyrus’ new single “Flowers,” which comes ahead of her new album, feeling timelessly “Miley,” I am sad to write this now saying that I’ve unfortunately become incrediby sick of the song, thanks to the viral moment it’s currently having on TikTtok.
I won’t let that hinder its relevance in the current pop culture moment, though (and I will try not to diminish its quality or its place on this list, cause I do love it). “Flowers” is Cyrus’ first Number 1 and was the first song to ever surpass 100 million streams in its first week of release.
“True Blue” – boygenius
Release Date – January 18
While I am very much a Phoebe Bridgers stan and have habitually preferred the boygenius songs where she takes the lead, I was surprised to come to the conclusion that I prefer Lucy’s lead on “True Blue” (after much consideration, of course). The song is an unusually happy one coming from the group, and it also doesn’t hurt that the song does an incredible job singing about Chicago during its only two seasons: summer and winter.
“It feels good to be known so well / I can’t hide from you like I hide from myself / I remember who I am when I’m with you / Your love is tough, your love is tried and true-blue.”
“War and Peace” – Låpsley
Release date – January 20
British musician Låpsley is back with her excellent sophomore album Cautionary Tales of Youth after nearly seven years after the release of her debut LP Long Way Home. “War and Peace” tells the story of a tumultuous relationship: describing the highest highs and the lowest lows.
“You’ve got the sweetest way of lifting me up / I’ve never stood so tall / But you’ve got the coldest way of bringing me down / With no words at all”
“Breathing Song” – Samia
Release date – January 24
Samia’s excellent sophomore album Honey just dropped this past week, and while I still need more time to determine which songs are standouts for me, it goes without saying that “Breathing Song” is currently in the running for my favorite.
While Samia has explained that the track is about a time in her life when she used alcohol as a distraction for her pain, I’ve also interpreted some of the lyrics seem to be describing the aftermath (TW) of a sexual assault. She also claimed that the track is “probably the least enjoyable song of all time.”
“Body Better” – Maisie Peters
Release date – January 27
There’s something very specific to the pain of feeling like someone is falling out of love with you due to lack of physical attraction, especially when you feel like your emotional connection with that person is strong. It’s a thought that can allow you to spiral quite easily, and Maisie Peters’ new single “Body Better” encapsulates that spiral perfectly.
“I can’t help thinking that she’s got a better body, has she got a body better than mine? …The worst way to love somebody is to watch them love somebody else and it work out.”
“Dawns” – Zach Bryan, Maggie Rogers
Release date – January 27
A collaboration with Zach Bryan and Maggie Rogers is a vocal match made in heaven. While I’m first to admit that Rogers’ sophomore album Surrender didn’t quite do it for me, I’d love to hear an entire collaborative project between her and Bryan. Or maybe a co-headlining tour?