2023 was a great year for me in terms of new music releases. Whether it was discovering a new artist, getting new music from some of my favourite artists or artists reissuing albums that I didn’t get a chance to grab the first time around, it’s safe to say that my record collection has grown significantly this year.
End of year lists always seem so daunting to me, I don’t really enjoy the idea of only being able to base it off of just album released in 2023. Sometimes we discover new artists or something gets re-released that opens the floodgates down memory lane, and I feel like those deserve to get some kind of recognition too. So my compromise was to do a list of records that I purchased this year.
Fall Out Boy – So Much For Stardust (Target Exclusive : Gold)
I wasn’t a fan of the last two Fall Out Boy albums but as soon as they released their lead single ‘Love From The Other Side‘, I knew I had to give this album a chance. From front to back this album felt like a good balance between the catchy hooks and melodic guitars that the band is known for mixed in with a little synth. It felt familiar but at the same time, different. The only thing I could have done without was the spoken word tracks, but apart from that I really enjoyed the rest of the album.
Favourite tracks: ‘The Kintsugi Kid (Ten Years) ‘ and ‘What A Time To Be Alive’
I don’t generally pre-order albums until I’ve heard a couple of singles off of it and can confirm that I would actually spin the album, but this one was an exception. I instantly pre-ordered this as I knew ITM would always offer up something sonically and visually appealing, and thankfully they did not disappoint. Between Maria Brink’s distinctive voice, witchy aesthetic and the robotic sounding beats from the bass and drums, this album felt like it teleported me into a horror movie and I loved every second of it.
Favourite Tracks: T’he Purge’ and ‘Damaged’ feat Spencer Charnas of Ice Nine Kills
With 11 years between albums, it felt like Matchbox Twenty came out of nowhere when they announced this album. It was refreshing to have them back and seemingly also go back to their pop roots that everyone knows and loved, it genuinely felt like each track could be a radio hit
Favourite Tracks: ‘Wild Dogs (Running in a Slow Dream)‘, ‘Where The Light Goes‘, and ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong‘
It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to Beartooth, but holy crap! This album is fantastic. It’s very different from what I’m use to hearing from the band but it’s also a welcomed change. The album tends to lean a bit more to the pop side of things but it works well with the guitar work throughout compared to say, the last A Day To Remember album. It feels like Beartooth has accomplished what ADTR was hoping for with their latest release.
Picking up this album on vinyl was a no brainer. The only tough decision I had to make was which of the neat variants was going to be added to my collection.
Favourite Track: ‘What Are You Waiting For‘
Lauren Spencer Smith – Mirror (Milky Clear)
Lauren Spencer Smith was one of my new discovery’s this year. Her relatable lyrics mixed with her powerful vocals make it evident why she is quickly rising in the pop world amongst today’s teens. I unfortunately just missed her show in Toronto, the album was released on July 14th and her sold-out show was on the 17th.
Favourite Tracks: ‘That Part‘, ‘Best Friend Breakup‘ and ‘Flowers‘
Valley was another one of my new discovery’s for the year and to my surprise, they were from Toronto! When i initially heard ‘Throwback Tears’ it was stuck in my head for days and I found myself eagerly awaiting the release date to arrive. The band has found a way to take sad lyrics and mix them in with an infectious beat that makes them feel a little less sad.
I’m a little bummed I dropped the ball and wasn’t able to grab a signed violet copy from their webstore, but I was able to grab a repress of their debut album on vinyl.
Favourite tracks: ‘Throwback Tears‘ and ‘Either Way, I’m Going Your Way’
I was first introduced to MisterWives when they opened for Thirty Seconds To Mars back in 2017 at Budweiser Stage. I remember being captivated by their energy on stage but some how forgot to do a deep dive on their catalogue. Fast forward a few years, and now I’m hooked. This album was fun to listen to and I find myself circling back to it every now and then when I want something fun to sing along to in the car.
I had a hard time finding this album at local record shops, so I was very excited to see a tour version being sold on their co-headliner with Bishop Briggs that also happened to be signed.
Favourite Track: ‘All The Same’
I’m glad that I was able to grab a copy of this exclusive, the bright blue seems to pop more than the colours released for pre-order on Olivia’s website. It also holds a special place in my heart as I had picked it up during my vacation in California this Fall. Trying to get a physical
Favourite Track: ‘bad idea right?’
Urban Outfitters has really been killing it with these nostalgic presses the last few years. I’m constantly finding myself surfing their site to see what albums they are bringing back from the dead and pressing on vinyl for the first time. They have a great catalogue of Disney / Disney Channel soundtracks along with 90’s to early 2000’s pop and I know when I see something like this I need to grab it quick before it’s gone because any time I’ve waited, I’ve missed out and the resale market for them is absolutely bonkers (I’m still kicking myself over not grabbing their pressing of the Backstreet Boys’ Millennium and Hilary Duff’s Santa Clause Lane)
Favourite Track: ‘Ultimate’
The Summer Set – Blossom
The Summer Set pleasantly surprised everyone in 2022 by reuniting and releasing this EP. From front to back, this entire album was catchy and the 23 minute run time seemed to go by in a blink of an eye. I constantly found myself looping the entire album for days. When this album was first pressed I was holding out to see if I could grab I copy when I caught them live but they unfortunately didn’t have them for sale when they came through in early 2023 and then the online stock had sold out. Thankfully when they came back in the Fall with Boys Like Girls they had them pre-signed which was a nice bonus!
If you’re looking for some cheesy, feel good pop-punk, I would highly recommend checking them out.
Favourite Tracks: ‘Street Lightning‘, ‘Teenagers‘ and ‘Back Together‘
Katy Perry – Prism (10th Anniversary Webstore Exclusive)
The original pressing for this album only came in black, and at the time I was only collecting coloured records so I passed on it. It’s taken a decade, but I’m happy I held out for this one. The splatter is beautiful and compliments the cover art perfectly. It also includes three bonus tracks as well as the original foil cover that was featured on the original release.
Favourite Tracks: ‘Birthday‘, ‘International Smile‘, ‘It Takes Two‘
Magnolia Park – Baku’s Revenge (Urban Outfitters Exclusive : Pink Smoke)
This was one of my favourite albums of 2022 but I just couldn’t justify the price tag + shipping (it never seemed to be available in the Canadian stores). It eventually went on clearance for boxing day and I snagged it for $6.99 (and $15 shipping because it was coming from the states). With it’s bouncy beats and catchy lyrics, this album makes me feel like I’m at Warped Tour all over again and I can’t wait for Magnolia Park to come back to Toronto so I can catch them live.
Favourite Tracks: Feel Something‘ feat Derek Sanders of State Champs and ‘Addison Rae‘
Good Charlotte – The Chronicles of Life and Death (Urban Outfitters Exclusive : Metallic Gold)
Urban had once again hit it out the park with their pressings of a back catalogue. They managed to get the first 4 Good Charlotte albums pressed this year with The Chronicles of Life and Death along with Good Morning Revival being pressed on vinyl for the first time. This was one of the first albums that I had ever purchased when I was 13, so I instantly pre-ordered it. I was also pleasantly surprised with how nice the metallic gold turned out. Usually I try to avoid gold pressings as they look like a flat brown, but this one actually had some depth to it.
The only down side is that they only pressed the ‘Life’ version of the album. It would have been nice to see the ‘Death’ bonus track featured as well.
Favourite Tracks: ‘Predictable‘ and ‘We Believe‘