New Music Sunday

The Best Songs Released in October 2023

We’re in the home stretch!!!! Only a handful of more weeks until we drop our Best Albums of 2023 post….hope you’re ready!

October album releases:

Fruitland, Adam Melchor
Supernova, Aidan Bissett
CCTV, Ari Abdul
Are You There, Boy?, Beharie
My Big Day, Bombay Bicycle Club
The Rest, boygenius
Lucid Dreams, BoyWithUke
Just Because, Claire Rosinkranz
Crazymad For Me, CMAT
Fanfare, Dorian Electra
Dear Insanity…DPR Ian
For All The Dogs, Drake
Scatterbrain, Emei
Small Songs, Vol.1, fanclubwallet
Paint My Bedroom Black, Holly Humberstone
Water Made Us, Jamila Woods
The Silver Cord, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard 
Now That I’ve Been Honest, Maddie Zahm
I’m Green, Mali Velasquez
Come June, Mitch Rowland
It’s All A Bit Fuzzy, Neil Frances
NOAH, Noah Floeresch
Bobbi, Pip Blom
Blame It All On Love, Poolside
Tomorrow’s Fire, Squirrel Flower
Javelin, Sufjan Stevens
Columbus & 89th, Sarah Jarosz
1989 (Taylor’s Version), Taylor Swift
I Love You, Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers
Something To Give Each Other, Troye Sivan

In chronological order:

“Blanket” – Kevin Abstract
Release date – October 4

The breakup of BROCKHAMPTON marked a before and after in my and a lot of people’s lives, and we’ve all been waiting to see what the boys’ solo careers bring to the table next. Although Ian, aka Kevin Abstract, has put out two full-length albums already, both of them came out during the BROCKHAMPTON era, and still very much aligned with the rap collective’s sound. “Blanket” on the other hand, goes in a completely new direction, clearly demonstrating that this is a fully new chapter for the 27-year-old.

This song is completely out of Kevin’s previous realm genre-wise, and somehow he makes it work like it’s his natural style. His lyrics and music in and outside of the band have always been very personal and unguarded, and although this song barely has any lyrics, the same sentiment seems to abound in the track. It makes sense to hear him come out with a much more raw sound, plus it just shows how talented he truly is as a musician and not just as the main face and spokesperson for a group of 13 people. I’m really excited for what’s next for him, and I hope he gets to continue to show us even more sides of his artistry with his upcoming new album and all future projects he decides to work on. – Javi

“Cleanup Drive” – Grace Gardner
Release date – October 6

Sometimes, it feels really good to look back on when things were harder and relish in the recovery. Grace Gardner’s latest single, “Cleanup Dive,” is an exploration through the darker parts of her memories to reclaim lost and stolen goods. The song, artfully produced by Gardner, is sonically minimal, mirroring how much quieter the mind is when it’s purged of long-linged fears and anxieties. In an affirmation of progress, Gardner professes, “I’ve reconciled with everything, reflected on my history, said out loud that none of it’s my fault.” In a genre full of self-deprecation and heartbreak, it’s nice to hear a singer-songwriter lean into her own experiences working toward acceptance and self-love. – Meleah

“Cut Me Down” – Blu DeTiger, Mallrat
Release date – October 13

I’d like to thank the person who came up with the idea of Blu DeTiger and Mallrat collaborating. I’ve loved Mallrat’s music for years now, to the point where I can remember seeing her open up for Maggie Rogers in 2018 or 2019 at The Riviera Theater in Chicago, and hoping that she was going to have her big break soon. 

Fast forward to 2023 and she has a cool 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify and was recently collaborated on the song “DO IT AGAIN” with BENEE, the official track of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. 

“Cut Me Down” is such a fun pump up song that’s pretty synonymous with the title: “every time you cut me down, I just laugh it off.” It’s like the 2023 version of “Shake It Off,” (of course I am going to weasel Taylor Swift into the conversation whenever I can) but less radio-friendly and more “Cool Girl by Tove-Lo” vibes. And of course, Blu delivers with a funky fresh bassline. – Kristin

“Voyager” – boygenius
Release date – October 13

To absolutely nobody’s surprise, I’ve found another opportunity to talk about boygenius’ music!

The trio, who I’m seeing in just a few days at their Hollywood Bowl performance on Halloween, (the perfect day to see the boys, if I do say so myself), dropped an EP a couple weeks ago titled The Rest, featuring tracks that didn’t make the album but ones they still wanted to release. After seeing a clip of boy genius performing these songs before they were released, I immediately became enthralled and entranced with “Voyager,” a song led with vocals from Phoebe Bridgers and co-written with Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, Conor Oberst, Christian Lee Hutson, and Marshall Vore—and co-produced by Bridgers’ frequent collaborator, Ethan Gruska.

This song absolutely crushes my soul. While the song’s subject matter is certainly open to interpretation, I couldn’t help but take the song as a soul-crushing open letter about loving someone who either 1) has a personality disorder or 2) is just a huge asshole. The complicated feelings that come with loving someone who acts like a different person every other day hit too close to home for me, and like Bridgers always does, she found a way to completely devastate me with her delivery. – Kristin

“Paint My Bedroom Black” – Holly Humberstone
Release date – October 13

Kicking off an album with the title track is a pretty bold move in the music biz. Usually, artists start things off with a warm-up or an intro, but Holly Humbsterone went for it, and it totally works.

“Paint My Bedroom Black” sets the tone for the whole album right from the get-go. When Holly sings, “Here’s to new horizons,” it’s like she’s saying, “We’re in for a ride.” And before that, there’s this cool moment where she asks the producer to “tune her voice up,” which adds a touch of vulnerability and ambition to the mix. It’s like she’s telling us she’s ready to evolve. Plus, you’ve got Rob Milton on the production, the same guy who did some magic on The 1975’s “Being Funny in a Foreign Language.” You’ll notice those familiar guitar licks and beats that give you that groovy feeling throughout the song. It’s kind of like a nod to the good old days while staying fresh.

The track hits a high point when Holly’s surrounded by her own backup vocals, and she belts out, “And it’s funny you said I’d never have the guts.” That line really sums up the vibe, like she’s breaking free from doubts and proving people wrong. It’s relatable and hits home for many.

And let’s not forget the numbers – this song’s been streamed almost 2 million times on Spotify. That’s some real love from the fans. Oh, and Holly even opened for Olivia Rodrigo last year, so she’s definitely on the rise. With this album, she’s making a name for herself in British pop, and her future looks pretty darn bright. – Jesse 

“For You And All The Songs We Loved” – Maple Glider
Release date – October 13

The swingy rhythm and Maple Glider’s breathy vocals that sound like she’s on the brink of tears sit heavy on the chest upon every listen of “For You And All The Songs We Loved.” This stand out track from the singer-songwriter’s sophomore album, I Get Into Trouble, acts as a wistful farewell scene. On the birthday of the songwriter’s lover, the two decide to play the sad song they love and wallow in the indefinite goodbye. Maple Glider confesses, “I wish that you could love me the way I keep trying to, but I know that if it’s hard for me it is probably hard for you.”

Tori Zeitsch, known professionally as Maple Glider, is a newcomer from Melbourne, Australia. She released her debut album, To Enjoy Is The Only Thing, in 2021, garnering attention from critics and planting herself as a singer-songwriter to watch. I Get Into Trouble, released this month, is a great example of when an artist expands on their already rich world of storytelling, rather than pivoting sounds. The two projects explore how a Christian upbringing can exert an despotic power over a woman’s life, even after deciding to leave the church. Musically, the album, as a whole, is most powerful when leaning into simplicity, allowing Zeitsch’s vocals to tug at the innermost parts of listeners. – Meleah

“One Of Your Girls” – Troye Sivan
Release date – October 13

“One of Your Girls” is undeniably that track. When an artist pairs a video with a song, it’s essentially their way of signaling, “This is the song I want you to focus on.” Troye Sivan himself has emphasized in multiple interviews that this is his personal favorite from his much-anticipated album “Something To Give Each Other.” The music video is a visual feast, featuring Troye Sivan in captivating drag, flawlessly dancing alongside Ross Lynch, a beloved Disney sitcom heartthrob. But beyond the visuals, the song itself is a true masterpiece.

The chorus boasts an instantly infectious melody, and the clever use of a vocoder to create a “sad robot” vibe ensures that it lingers in your mind for weeks. Lyrically, the track explores a universal theme of feeling disposable yet willing to drop everything for someone, even when you ultimately feel undeserving of being kept a secret. Troye draws from personal experiences, especially with straight individuals, as revealed in his interview with Zach Sang. Notably, the spoken interjections of “Look, look at you” add an extra layer of intrigue to this already delightful musical confection.

With over 27 million streams on Spotify, Troye Sivan is swiftly solidifying his status as a pop culture icon. – Jesse 

“Now That We Don’t Talk” – Taylor Swift
Release date – October 27

And just like that, another re-recording of Taylor Swift’s has entered the world. After months of anticipation, Swift’s biggest commercially-successful album, 1989, has been entirely re-recorded and re-released, complete with five new vault tracks. 

As a massive fan (as we all know), it can be tricky attempting to keep my expectations at a realistic level, considering these vault tracks were not apart of said albums’ original track list for a reason. BUT I am here to say that “Now That We Don’t Talk” SHOULD have been on 1989 and is arguably better than at least a couple of the songs that made the 2015 cut (I’m looking at you, “Welcome To New York” and “How You Get The Girl”). 

Jack Antonoff’s widely-recognized ‘80s synth pop production style is laced all throughout this track, and I think it was executed quite perfectly, and probably my favorite song production-wise from the vault tracks, and most definitely my favorite conceptually and lyrically.

And one more thing – how did Taylor gatekeep the lyrics to the outro from us for so long??? (“…the only way back to my dignity, was to turn into a shrouded mystery…just like I had been when you were chasing me”). 10000/10. No notes from me. – Kristin 

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