Readers' Soundtrack to 2023: Albums That Struck a Chord

News: Readers' Soundtrack to 2023: Albums That Struck a Chord
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"Fuse" by Everything But the Girl

A surprising return of a beloved group, offering heartfelt ballads, pounding drum'n'bass, and songs that play with the form of music itself. Liz Cooper finds solace in its fresh yet recognizable sound after a personal loss.

"Golden" by Jung Kook

Heli from Finland expresses gratitude for BTS's Jung Kook, whose album "Golden" became a lifeline during a period of burnout and depression. The versatility of styles and Jung Kook's artistry played a pivotal role in bringing joy and inspiration.

"The Ballad of Darren" by Blur

Ian Harrison, a long-time fan of Blur, praises Damon Albarn's best year yet. The album's tone leans into classic Damon-melancholia, offering pure, unadulterated heartwarming stuff that brings tears of joy.

"Five Easy Hot Dogs" by Mac DeMarco

Lee Thompson describes Mac DeMarco's instrumental album as a delightful, spidery journey through a road trip. Each track, including personal standout "Edmonton," creates a sonic landscape that leaves a lasting impression.

"Praise a Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)" by Yves Tumor

David from Chicago is captivated by Yves Tumor's boundary-pushing album, describing it as an astounding aural assault with beautiful harmonic guitar and clear but confounding lyrics. The album offers a whirlwind of stories, sounds, and spectacle.

"Zach Bryan" by Zach Bryan

Andy from Reading finds Zach Bryan's album to be a comprehensive package, with its simple yet beautiful compositions allowing the blue-collar spirit of the songs to shine. The album resonates with those who appreciate the authenticity of lived experiences.

"Fountain Baby" by Amaarae

Benny G from Hong Kong discovers the funnest and most experimental album in Afrobeats with "Fountain Baby." Amaarae's versatility and talent pool in the genre make it a standout choice for those exploring the Afrobeats scene.

"Weathervanes" by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Rick Boyer, from Solana Beach, praises the beautifully constructed songs on Jason Isbell's album. The relatable anguish, frustration, and confusion expressed in the lyrics, combined with impressive musical styles, place Isbell among the best rock musicians.

"Smile" by Skindred

Daniel Butler from Wales discovers the feel-good album "Smile" by Skindred, a Welsh band that seamlessly blends heavy metal and reggae. It's a moment of joy for Daniel, who appreciates the unexpected but successful fusion of genres.

"Head of Pomegranate" by Flamingods

Warren Kerr from the Isle of Wight admires the fusion of contemporary electronica and Middle Eastern influence in Flamingods' "Head of Pomegranate." The album's multi-paced nature and fabulous vocal layering make it a standout choice.

These albums, spanning various genres and styles, have become the soundtrack to the diverse experiences and emotions of Guardian readers in 2023.