LOS ANGELES — The ten best songs of the year, in no particular order, by Associated Press Music Writer Maria Sherman. Dive.
“On My Mother,” Victoria Monét
Buckle up for some positive affirmations! Once known as the hitmaker for Ariana Grande, Fifth Harmony and Chloe x Halle, 10-time Grammy nominee Victoria Monét these days is picking up flowers as a soloist and passing them on to listening mothers. Her blockbuster single “On My Mama” is a loving tribute to her mother and daughter, with Monét’s buttery voice and bright brass production. It might be the best R&B track of the year, with one of the best samples drawing on Chalie Boy’s 2009 hit “I Look Good.” It takes real talent to borrow from such a recognizable voice. Not only does Monét achieve this, she makes it her own.
“Monaco,” Bad Rabbit
Bad Bunny’s 2023 album “Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana” is a revival of his past sound, the hard-hitting rap music that preceded his mainstream superstardom. Perhaps it’s an exercise in going back to basics while unraveling the challenges of fame, the source material for much of the album’s lyrics. In any case, this combination makes for a more measured and pointed listen: The star is a real success on “Monaco,” a Latin trap song in need of speed that wouldn’t feel too far removed from her 2018 debut album. “X 100PRE.” Benito’s smooth, sombre baritone carries the track like the rapid-fire sound of a Formula 1 car bursting into baroque production.
“Flowers” Miley Cyrus
There’s a fine line between bold and corny when it comes to reviving pop records. Often, an empowering song with a soaring chorus loses all tension and hits the ear like too sweet a dessert. But on Miley Cyrus’ Grammy-nominated “Flowers,” the pop superstar makes the magic happen, hitting No. 1 for the first time in a decade. A summery, retro pop single filled with optimism born from divorce. “No regrets, no regrets/I forget every word you said,” he sings before launching into a self-improvement mantra—the musical equivalent of someone saying, “I’m sick of this conversation.” He then finds emotional resolution and musical resolve in his chorus: “I can love myself better than you.”
“The Boy Is a Liar Pt. 2” PinkPantheres and Ice Spice
It’s the song of the summer — hell, of the year — and it came out in January. The dream team of Bronx rapper Ice Spice and hyperpop-punk heroine PinkPantheress deliver “Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2″ is an examination of modern dating with an undeniable hook. Large enough to fly; It’s an inadequate remix for now. Additionally, the pronunciation of the word “Liar” as “Leo” in the song’s chorus is “It’s Gonna Be May” level creativity. What is not love?
Zach Bryan and Kacey Musgraves “I Remember Everything”
Country artist Zach Bryan knows a thing or two about writing about the loneliness of heartbreak with piercing specificity. That’s one reason why 2022’s major-label release “American Heartbreak” was named one of last year’s AP best albums. That’s one reason why her 2023 single and first No. 1 hit, “I Remember Everything,” is one of our favorites this year. This is confessional, rich, balladic songwriting enhanced by her heartfelt voice—those open, ringing notes—and the sweetness of Musgraves’ tone.
The burnt orange pop-punk days of Paramore’s youth are long gone. These days, the Tennessee rock band is flirting with post-punk, experimenting with asymmetrical synth production that reflects internal anxieties and the external forces that amplify them. “Crave” is the latter mirroring the former: a propulsive, mature band dancing around a spiky guitar riff. But at its core, as with all great Paramore songs, lead singer Hayley Williams expands her vast vocal range, barks out frustrations and destroys misguided desires.
“Hurry,” Troye Sivan
The opening track and lead single from Australian pop star Troye Sivan’s third full-length album, “Something to Give Together,” is all falsetto, locker room chants and utopian homoeroticism: “I feel the rush / I’m addicted to your touch.” a group of guys harmonize with the perfect pop of lead single “Rush.” Bravado is set up to bring a kind of sweaty sexuality, fun and lightness over house and EDM beats. Sivan offered a sort of mantra for the song, he told the AP in an interview earlier this year: “Things are good. Life is fun. Sex is great.
“The Dumbest Girl Alive”, 100 ge
What came first: the chicken or the egg, 100 ges or the internet hyperpop genre? It’s not important. The duo of Laura Les and Dylan Brady doesn’t make much sense; rather, musical arts thrive on pixelated chaos. In the case of “Dumbest Girl Alive,” a cut selection from their sophomore LP “10,000 ges,” all that matters is the nu-metal bass lick and distorted vocals that deliver incomprehensible lyrics like “Put an emoji on my grave / I.” “I’m the stupidest girl alive.” It’s the best song of 2023, both fun and silly, sounding like you’ve been sucked into a computer simulation.
“Oh my god,” NewJeans
In 2023, girl groups dominated the K-pop conversation. NewJeans are at the forefront with their Y2K nostalgic sounds inspired by the beginning of the millennium R&B and pop music. “OMG” was the catalyst for their rise to fame, with its addictive trap beat backed by UK garage-inspired production, tasteful cowbells (you read that correctly) and sticky staccato synth creating a strong foundation. the exuberant harmonies of the quintet. Oh my god, oh my god, really.
“Tantor” Danny Brown
Danny Brown’s absurdist approach to contemporary rap has made him one to watch for years, and “Tantor,” the rocking lead single from his long-awaited sixth studio album “Quaranta,” is proof of that. Produced by Alchemist, the track suddenly turns into prog-rock avant-rap, retro-futuristic hip-hop filtered like “Robocop”. If cyborgs aren’t your thing, look away; but then you would miss one of the most welcoming and fascinating parts of 2023.