Nothing defines our year like the music we listen to. The highs and the lows all have their own soundtrack, creating a beautiful portrait of our achievements and adventures. Years from now, we can pop on a certain song and fly back to a moment of pain, pleasure, or a mixture of both.
As 2023 ends, a few of our writers at Eulalie are sharing their personal favorite albums of the year. These albums hit that sweet spot including songs of heartbreak, hope, and everything in between.
Here are the 5 albums that define our 2023:
Whitsitt Chapel (Jelly Roll)
Jelly Roll’s country music debut has already become a classic in the short time since it was released. The heartfelt songs of failure and redemption hit home in ways I haven’t heard since Alice In Chains – Dirt. It is hard for me to remain calm when Jelly Roll’s soulful voice pleads for forgiveness as he returns to the bottle again.
The marriage of faith and alcohol continues throughout the album but never feels overstated. Instead, we get a charismatic concept album that rips at the fresh stitches in our broken hearts.
– Charles E Henning
Subtract (Ed Sheeran)
This album, released in May, is the conclusion of Sheeran’s Mathematics albums and by far his most personal in subject matter. The album delves into topics of grief, love, mental health, fatherhood, and finding a way out of struggles.
With deeply impactful lyrics and easy-to-remember songs, this album is his strongest one to date. There isn’t a single song on it that misses — which can’t be said about any of his other albums.
– Mads Misasi
A jazz revival has taken root in the music world, with singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Laufey at the forefront. She brings the genre into the mainstream with Bewitched, a lush, gorgeously melodic album that’s aptly titled. From the tight-knit harmonies in the title track, “Dreamer,” reminiscent of The Andrews Sisters, to the stirring string arrangement that opens “Haunted,” Laufey’s latest effort is easily her best yet.
Bewitched is a dance in the moonlight on a spring night. It’s a budding romance wrapped in every note. There’s a variety of instrumentation with a nice mix of ballads and uptempo tunes.
Each song seamlessly transitions into the next, weaving a tapestry of beautiful lyrics and a jazz/classical infusion complemented by Laufey’s smooth vocals. Decades from now, you can expect Laufey’s voice to be as recognizable and distinct as the great Billie Holiday.
the record (boygenius)
boygenius, the supergroup comprised of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Daucus, have gifted us with their debut studio album this year, following a lengthy five-year gap since the self-titled EP was released in 2018.
the record has proven to be well worth the wait. The trio, all talented singer-songwriters and strong performers on their own, combine their “genius” to create this cohesive album, which displays strong confidence in their collaboration with each other. The tracks are earnest, with lyrics that run the gamut from tongue-in-cheek to utterly devastating.
First Two Pages of Frankenstein (The National)
Their ninth studio album, The First Two Pages of Frankenstein from The National wasn’t even the only album the band released this year. The band also released Laugh Track, their tenth studio album. However, The First Two Pages of Frankstein stands out the most, with its raw, emotional, and yet at times upbeat melodies that feel like coming up for air after being trapped for years.
It’s perhaps the honesty that comes from it that makes it cut so deep for the listener; the album is inspired by frontman Matt Berninger’s battle with depression.
The First Two Pages of Frankenstein also features guest appearances from Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers, and Taylor Swift.
– Ashley Bissette Sumerel
What was your favorite new album this year? Let us know in the comments below!