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Best of 2023: album of the year

💮 A year for the culture ! Congratulations to all artists on their finished works 🌸

2023 was an incredible year for music! So many of my favorite artists released new music, and older hits gained a newfound relevance due to social media sites like TikTok and Instagram reels. I swear, I didn't even know the names of some of these songs despite hearing them dozens of times on my FYP. Doja Cat, Olivia Rodrigo, and many more artists released albums this year. But only one can be the best (by completely subjective metrics).

Album: Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd

Artist: Lana Del Rey

Label: Interscope | Polydor

Non-Airable Tracks: "Did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd" "Sweet" "A&W" "Fingertips" "Peppers (feat. Tommy Genesis)" "Taco Truck x VB"


Lana Del Rey's ninth studio album was released in the spring of this year, and may have been overshadowed by more radio-friendly albums -- even her own single of 2023, "Say Yes To Heaven." Yet, this album shows Lana's incredible growth as a musical artist through its seamless blend of genres like folk, alternative, and psychedelic sounds. Unlike her other albums, where she crafted a unique "world" in which to build the concepts for her songs, Lana Del Rey utilized a technique she calls "automatic singing" - or singing whatever came to mind and sending those raw, unfinished snippets to her producer - to create the more personal album. This album caters less to a mainstream audience, but creates a sound that Lana Del Rey was able to convey her faith and artistry through.

I initially struggled to determine what was truly the best album of the year. I listed a few to my little sister, Anna, over the break and she told me simply, "you're stupid if you don't automatically think There's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd." I was taken aback, before realizing I had neglected to consider the masterful album Lana Del Rey had gifted to her listeners. To quote my gorgeous, genius of a sister, "when thinking of album of the year, three came to mind: The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We by Mitski, The Record by Boygenius, and of course, Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. Lana surprised long-term fans dropping a title track single with such stunning vocals and thoughtful symbolism. Lana Del Rey gets so personal on this album and tells stories beyond her own, including the love story of Jack Antonoff and Margaret Qualley. She has always been one to go the unconventional route, dropping the nine-minute single "Venice Bitch," for her album Norman Fucking Rockwell. Producers told her the song would flop because it was too long, but Lana had faith in her fans, and it remains one of her best songs, period. Lana took risks this time around, and it paid off. She made the album she wanted to create, not the album people wanted to hear."

To wrap things up, Lana Del Rey's ninth studio album is one of her best albums overall, and is my top choice for album of the year after careful analysis. I was not the biggest fan of her work when I listened to it the first time, and I have to say this album completely changed my perspective. Hopefully, it changes yours as well. Happy New Year, KAMPers!

Honorable Mentions - album of the year:

- Heaven knows...

- Something To Give Each Other

- nadie sabe lo que va pasar mañana

- The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We

- Stick Season (We'll All Be Here Forever)

- Red Moon In Venus



- Scarlet

Sounds Like:

  1. Mitski

  2. TV Girl

  3. Noah Kahan

  4. beabadoobee

Recommended Tracks:

  1. Did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd

  2. Kintsugi

  3. Margaret (feat. Bleachers)

  4. Let The Light In (feat. Father John Misty)

  5. Fishtail

  6. Candy Necklace (feat. Jon Batiste)

  7. Peppers (feat. Tommy Genesis)

  8. Taco Truck x VB

Reviewer's Name: Sophia Troetel (plus quotes from Anna Troetel) Date of Review: December 31, 2023

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