WARNING: TROLLS BAND TOGETHER SPOILERS AHEAD READ WITH CAUTION
In 2023, I listened to over 56,000 minutes of music. I was impressed with beating my 2022 record -- until I compared it with my roommate's minutes listened. How one person listens to 128,000 minutes of music is beyond me. But back to the point. I analyzed my top songs of the year and selected some real winners for the "Best of 2023." Once again, I could not choose just one song to give the title of "Song of 2023." Spanning differing musical genres, artists, and even rhythms, my top three songs reflect my personal tastes and the vibes of the year.
Song One: "I Wish You Roses"
Album: Red Moon In Venus
Artist: Kali Uchis
Kali Uchis has been one of my favorite vocalists since the release of "Melting" back in 2015, nearly a decade ago. Her voice is powerful yet delicate and beautiful -- like a flower. Since the release of her first single, "Know What I Want," in 2014, Uchis has majorly evolved as a musician and a vocalist. Her voice has a unique, jazzy, almost-vintage quality that shines, especially in tracks like "I Wish You Roses." The song is so polished and precise that I was obsessed with the song from the very first listen. When the single was put out in January of 2023, I knew the song would not only be a commercial success - now having racked up over 110,000,000 streams on Spotify - but mark a shift in Uchis' musical evolution and growth. "I Wish You Roses" is just a beautiful song -- from its melody to its lyrics and, of course, Kali's breathtaking voice. I swear this song makes me levitate every time I listen. The song and accompanying music video reflect the beauty of her artistry, and I think this song is definitely a modern-day classic that will stand the test of time. Red Moon In Venus is one of my favorite albums of 2023 and one of my favorite Kali Uchis projects. She has set the bar for herself and the R&B genre extremely high, and I cannot wait for her newest album, Orquídeas, to be released in January of this year.
Song Two: "Better Place"
Album: Trolls Band Together Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
my fav villains of 2023
To switch gears in a major way, my next pick for "Song of 2023" is "Better Place" by *NSYNC. Yes, this song comes from the soundtrack of Trolls Band Together, but does that diminish the quality of the song? Not even a little bit. If anything, it enhances it!! I fear that people may write off my pick as silly because it's not niche/abstract or because it is sung by the Y2K-era heartthrobs of *NSYNC. But that kind of thinking is probably rooted in misogyny! Or a negative, nihilistic mindset. To that, I say, try enjoying a little mindless FUN. The kind best represented by a song from the soundtrack of a "children's" movie. This song is so upbeat and fun, and I think that fun cannot be overlooked. If we only look at music through specific criteria to deem its quality, we may neglect certain genres of music, or worse, forget to enjoy music -- regardless of its origin or quality. Don't tell me you don't have any "guilty pleasure" songs because we all know that's a lie. First, this song is the first song that *NSYNC has released in DECADES. Seriously, the first piece of music they have released since 2002. I, for one, could not be more grateful that they got the (boy) band back together. "Better Place" is so catchy and infectiously upbeat! It puts a smile on my face every time I listen. It has that 90s/Y2K energy that I personally eat up. While Justin Timberlake (devil) sings the lead on the song, the other band members still shine through. Plus, I am OBSESSED with the movie version of the song, sung by a very eclectic group: Eric Andre, Daveed Diggs, Kid Cudi, and Troye Sivan. CRAZY. Furthermore, I adore this song because reminds me of Trolls Band Together, my favorite movie of 2023. If it's good enough to create a diamond-shattering family harmony, it's good enough to make it to my "best of 2023" list. I'm so excited to see you excited!
Justin Timberlake (devil)
Song Three: "My Love Mine All Mine"
Album: The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We
Label: Dead Oceans
You didn't think I forgot Mitski, did you? Of course, the best comes last. For my final pick of "Song of 2023," I have selected "My Love Mine All Mine" from Mitski's latest album, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We. This song is so gorgeous it is no wonder it has become one of Mitski's most popular songs. This is probably due to how the song massively blew up on TikTok in 2023. However, that should not discount Mitski's hauntingly beautiful voice and songwriting ability. This is one of my favorite Mitski songs, and I think she deserves all of the acclaim and popularity that followed the release of this single. From Rolling Stone to Pitchfork to Billboard, this song has been praised by people far more important than me -- and the angsty teens on your FYP. There is a reason so many people can connect to this song and relate to its message. In an increasingly consumerist society, waste rampant, and SHEIN clothes flooding the Goodwill bins, love is all we have at the end of the day when all material possessions are stripped away. Take everything away, and all we are left with is the love we carry. It could be easier to withhold love; after all, loving someone can be one of the most painful experiences in life. But in death, you can't bring anything material with you. Only the love in your heart. Now, that is a message the whole world loved. Kudos, Mitski!! Thanks for making our 2023.
Lana Del Rey
Reviewer's Name: Sophia Troetel
Date of Review: January 1, 2024