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Best Songs Of 2023: 20 Bangers That Define The Year So Far
List & Guides

Best Songs Of 2023: 20 Bangers That Define The Year So Far

From hyper-pop breakout anthems to emo-punk comeback hits, the best songs of 2023 prove that the year will be an exciting one for music fans.


With 2023 well underway, music fans have already been spoilt for choice among the many incredible new songs released throughout the year so far. From rising stars such as PinkPantheress and Ice Spice to seasoned emo-punk stalwarts Fall Out Boy and Paramore, artists across all genres have been delivering exceptional music that has burrowed its way into the ears of listeners across the world. Whether you’re a fan of dance-pop, indie rock or lo-fi R&B, the best songs of 2023 stand out from the pack and shine extra brightly…

Listen to our Charts playlist here, and check out our best songs of 2023, below.

20: Tiësto (featuring Tate McRae): 10:35

Already a record-spinning icon on the EDM scene, Dutch DJ Tiësto scored himself a No.8 hit in the UK with 10:35, on which Canadian singer-songwriter Tate McRae makes a guest appearance. With lyrics that see McRae ponder depressive tendencies (“Darker thoughts are harder now/They look like monsters under my bed”) and media saturation (“The TV make you think the whole world’s about to end”), the song was supposedly named after Tiësto’s favourite time of day. “That’s usually when I’m wrapping up dinner and starting to think about what’s next,” Tiesto said in an interview with Apple Music. “It’s when things really get going.” A slap house tune that ranks among the best songs of 2023, 10:35 has all the ingredients of a timeless club anthem.

19: Zara Larsson: Can’t Tame Her

Swedish singer Zara Larsson returned in January 2023 with Can’t Tame Her, an 80s-inspired slice of synth-pop about female empowerment that peaked at No.25 in the UK. “People want to put girls in a box of what you should do or not,” Larsson said when speaking about the song’s lyrics with Billboard magazine. “I’m out there, I’m very loud and I try to stay true to myself.” Boasting impeccable production from Swedish duo MTHR (Ivert and Sang), Can’t Tame Her takes Larsson beyond her dance-oriented comfort zone and into chorus-heavy retro-pop terrain, a move that fits her like a glove. Only time will tell if this song will define her as much as Blinding Lights did The Weeknd, but for now, Can’t Tame Her more than earns its spot among the best songs of 2023.

18: Leigh-Anne: Don’t Say Love

With UK girl group Little Mix is now on an extended hiatus, Leigh-Anne Pittock confidently decided to go it alone with her debut single, Don’t Say Love, in June 2023. Displaying a nostalgia-laced mix of 2-step garage and dance-pop, the song entered the UK singles chart at No.11, with Leigh-Anne telling Vogue that its lyrics are about “owning who I am and stepping into my solo career”. A promising debut among the best songs of 2023, it’s exciting to see Leigh-Anne embark on this new chapter in her musical journey, leaving Little Mix fans eagerly anticipating what lies ahead.

17: Ed Sheeran: Eyes Closed

Ed Sheeran’s 14th UK No.1, Eyes Closed continued the singer-songwriter’s seemingly unstoppable reign as Britain’s biggest pop sensation. Originally written as a breakup song but re-worked as a tribute to the passing of his close friend, SBTV founder Jamal Edwards, it sees Sheeran hark back to the folk-pop formula that made him a household name, with a suitably poignant chorus (“So I’m dancin’ with my eyes closed/’Cause everywhere I look, I still see you”). “This song is about losing someone,” Sheeran wrote in an Instagram post, “feeling like every time you go out and you expect to just bump into them, and every thing just reminds you of them and things you did together.” As yet another addition to the best Ed Sheeran songs, Eyes Closed set the right tone for his poignant sixth album, – (aka “Subtract”), perfectly mixing melancholic introspection with uplifting melodicism.

16: Hozier: Eat Your Young

Drawing lyrical inspiration from the nine circles of Hell in Dante’s Inferno, Hozier’s Eat Your Young was released in March 2023 as the lead single from his third album, Unreal Unearth. Peaking at No.22 in the UK, the song fuses the swagger of 90s R&B with a contemporary indie-rock groove, with intelligent lyrics that muse on the depravity of war (“Puttin’ food on the table sellin’ bombs and guns/It’s quicker and easier to eat your young”). With a voice as angelic as Jeff Buckley’s and poetic aspirations as potent as Leonard Cohen’s, it’s a song that finds Hozier on typically fiery form. It’s quite rare for hit songs to be as deep and insightful as this, so Eat Your Young is remarkable among the best songs of 2023 for serving up a literate banquet of ideas for us to savour.

15: Nothing But Thieves: Welcome To The DCC

Announced as Clara Amfo’s Hottest Record In The World on BBC Radio 1 upon its release, in March 2023, Nothing But Thieves’ single Welcome To The DCC added a touch of conceptual art-pop to the Essex band’s breed of alternative rock. A daring departure from their usual sound into the dystopic nightclub vibes The Weeknd specialises in, the song serves as a gateway to Nothing But Thieves’ intriguing new album, Dead Club City, which is said to explore themes such as advertising, internet culture and politics. With its fusion of rock, experimental funk elements and nostalgic 80s influences, Welcome To The DCC grabs the listener right from its tension-filled opening and through its gradual build into one of the best songs of 2023.

14: Gorillaz: Silent Running (featuring Adeleye Omotayo)

When Gorillaz songwriter Damon Albarn teamed up with Greg Kurstin, one of the biggest pop producers in the world, even he thought it could have gone either way, as he admitted to Zane Lowe. Thankfully, the duo’s first collaboration, the soothing piano ballad Silent Running, proved to be a tranquillity-inducing masterstroke that led the way for what would become one of the best albums of 2023. “It just started the whole process for us,” Kurstin said of Silent Running, during an interview with Apple Music. A highlight of Gorillaz’s sixth album, Cracker Island, with soul-stirring backing vocals from Adeleye Omotayo, plus Albarn’s ear for catchy synth-pop melody lines and Kurstin’s sprinkling of radio-friendly magic dust, Silent Running leads the pack among the best songs of 2023.

13: Lovejoy: Call Me What You Like

Mixing power-pop melodies with the angular guitars of the post-punk revival era, Lovejoy’s hook-filled single Call Me What You Like has been one of indie rock’s biggest this year. Peaking at No.32 in both the UK and on the US Alternative Airplay chart, the song could put the Brighton-based band on the verge of a commercial breakthrough across the pond. “We’ve really struggled with getting our sound down over this year, and to finally be able to have something to show for it is exciting and humbling,” Lovejoy lead vocalist and YouTuber Wilbur Soot told BBC Radio 1’s Jack Saunders.

12: Fall Out Boy: Love From The Other Side

Having re-signed with the label Fueled by Ramen and reunited with From Under The Cork Tree and Infinity On High producer Neal Avron, Fall Out Boy return to their hard-edged emo-punk roots with the prickly and uptempo rocker Love From The Other Side. As the lead single from the band’s eighth album, So Much (For) Stardust, the song eschews the teenage angst of Fall Out Boy’s early work in favour of world-weary disillusionment, with frontman Patrick Stump telling NME that the track “definitely has this very mature bitterness to it”. Peaking at No.1 on the US Alternative Airplay chart, Love From The Other Side emerges from emo’s welcome renaissance to take its place among the best songs of 2023.

11: Depeche Mode: Ghosts Again

In a year which saw Depeche Mode’s 1987 hit Never Let Me Down Again go viral after featuring in HBO’s post-apocalyptic drama The Last Of Us, it’s a pleasant surprise to see the veteran synth-pop group experience a return to form with Ghosts Again. The song’s black-and-white video features singer Dave Gahan and guitarist Martin Gore recreating the chess-playing scene from Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film The Seventh Seal. As a haunting meditation on mortality, Ghosts Again feels even more poignant following the death of Depeche Mode keyboardist Andy Fletcher, at age 60, last year.

10: beabadoobee: Glue Song

Known for her gnarly dalliances in 90s-style slacker rock, Bea Kristi (aka beabadoobee) surprised her fanbase by dropping Glue Song, a charming slice of heartwarming chamber pop, on Valentine’s Day. “It’s a heartfelt song that means a lot to me,” Kristi revealed to Clash magazine. “A love song and the first one I’ve written in my new relationship. For the first time this is just me being really happy.” As one of the best songs of 2023, Glue Song offers proof that beabadoobee’s talents are coming into full flower as she starts to showcase a more vibrant and colourful side to her impressive songwriting skills.

9: Dua Lipa: Dance The Night

You can always trust Dua Lipa to serve up an infectious dance anthem – and that’s especially so in the case of Dance The Night, the lead single from the soundtrack to the Greta Gerwig-Noah Baumbach Barbie movie. Released in May 2023, the song reached No.13 in the UK, thanks to a disco-inspired sound reminiscent of Dua Lipa’s hit second album, Future Nostalgia. Co-written by Lipa, Caroline Ailin, Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, Dance The Night is full of infectious pop hooks and captivating vocals that’ll have you smiling from ear to ear. The Barbie-inspired music video adds an extra layer of charm, featuring a dazzling pink set and appearances by Margot Robbie, Emma Mackey, Issa Rae and Gerwig herself. Thanks to its irresistible groove and empowering message, Dance The Night is easily one of the best songs of 2023, demonstrating Dua Lipa’s continued ability to dazzle us with pop gems.

8: Jessie Ware: Pearls

Seamlessly blending soul, funk and disco, Jessie Ware transforms herself into a true pop diva on her mesmerising single Pearls. Inviting us into a world of freedom and liberation, Pearls urges listeners to let go of the constraints of everyday life and embrace the joy of dancing and celebration (“Shake it till the Pearls fall”), Ware’s outstanding vocals taking centre-stage throughout. You can practically envisage a mirrorball descending from your ceiling, thanks to the song’s sparkling synths and irresistible nu-disco groove, its sound that transporting listeners to a euphoric dancefloor filled with glimmering lights and carefree spirits. A lush and immersive tour de force, Pearls breathed life into contemporary pop music like nothing else this year, and that’s why it ranks highly among the best songs of 2023.

7: Linkin Park: Lost

A long-forgotten outtake dating back to 2002, Lost was belatedly released in February 2023 to promote the 20th-anniversary reissue of Linkin Park’s classic second album, Meteora. “We didn’t know what we were gonna do with Lost, so we just shelved it and forgot about it,” Linkin Park rapper and guitarist Mike Shinoda said in an interview with The FADER. “Finding it was like, ‘Oh my God, the song got all the way to the finish line. Fans are gonna love to hear this.’” The tragic passing of Linkin Park’s lead singer, Chester Bennington, in 2017, makes hearing his voice on Lost even more impactful, serving as a powerful reminder of how the best Linkin Park songs have the ability to uplift and heal, even during the darkest of times. Lost has resonated deeply with fans, whose support sent the song to No.18 in the UK and No.38 on the US Hot 100.

6: Kali Uchis: Moonlight

Produced by Benny Blanco and Cashmere Cat, Kali Uchis’ slow jam Moonlight is one of the standouts among the best songs of 2023. Fans of Childish Gambino’s Redbone and Silk Sonic’s Leave The Door Open will undoubtedly lap this up, as Uchis delivers a beguiling vocal performance that oozes with sensuality and retro charm (“I just wanna ride, get high in the moonlight”). Peaking at No.80 on the US Billboard Hot 100, Moonlight fuses the momentum of contemporary R&B with a touch of 70s-era psychedelic soul, adding sonic nuances that never fail to impress, no matter how many times you hear that undulating funky bass. One of the highlights of Kali Uchis’ third studio album, Red Moon In Venus, Moonlight is a touch of class from one of the best R&B singers of her generation.

5: Blur: The Narcissist

The first single released from Blur’s comeback album, The Ballad Of Darren, The Narcissist is a ballad that harks back to the group’s Britpop days in the most perfect way possible. With references to Pierrot clowns and psychedelic epiphanies, Damon Albarn’s trademark doses of melancholia grow on you with repeat listens, his self-reflective lyrics pondering obsession and longing for profound connection (“I’ma shine a light in your eyes/You’ll probably shine it back on me”). As the group’s first single in eight years, The Narcissist instantly asserts itself as one of the best songs of 2023 while also proving that the melodic ingenuity of the best Blur songs remains undimmed.

4: SZA: Kill Bill

With a music video inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s two-part revenge saga, Kill Bill, starring Uma Thurman, alt-pop singer SZA’s psychedelia-tinged soul ballad of the same name sees its creator fantasise about visiting violence upon an ex-lover (“I might kill my ex, not the best idea/His new girlfriend’s next, how’d I get here?”). Kill Bill has quickly become not just one of the best songs of 2023, but also one of SZA’s biggest chart successes, peaking at No.1 in the UK and No.2 in the US, largely thanks to the way it simmers with pent-up aggression. “I’ve never raged the way that I should have,” SZA admitted to Glamour magazine. “This is my villain era, and I’m very comfortable with that.”

3: Paramore: Running Out Of Time

When introducing Running Out Of Time to a live audience at Grand Ole Opry House, in Nashville, Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams said the song is about her lack of punctuality. Quickly finding favour among the best Paramore songs, the lyrics, delivered with wry humour and self-awareness, find the emo-punk icon emerging from COVID-19 lockdowns, criticising her own time management skills and rattling off a list of comical excuses (“There was traffic, spilled my coffee, crashed my car, otherwise/Would’ve been here on time”). Daydreaming her way down an Alice In Wonderland-style rabbit-hole of imagination in the song’s video, Hayley ensures her witty and highly relatable lyrics make Running Out Of Time a standout entry among the best songs of 2023.

2: Miley Cyrus: Flowers

Written in the aftermath of Miley Cyrus’ divorce from actor Liam Hemsworth just eight months after her California home burnt down during the Woolsey Fire of 2018 (“We were right ’til we weren’t/Built a home and watched it burn”), the success of Flowers is nothing short of phenomenal. Peaking at No.1 in over 36 countries, including the UK and the US, Flowers broke the record for most-streamed song in a week on Spotify and racked up over 300 million views on YouTube in just two months. Embraced for its optimistic message of self-empowerment and female independence, Flowers is an unstoppable force of nature among the best songs of 2023.

1: PinkPantheress (featuring Ice Spice): Boy’s a liar Pt.2

Though Boy’s a liar gained some traction on TikTok in late 2022, it wasn’t until UK songwriter PinkPantheress invited US rapper Ice Spice to feature in the remix, Boy’s a liar Pt.2, in February 2023, that the song truly blew up. Becoming PinkPantheress’ first single to crack the US Top 100, peaking at No.3, the Mura Masa-produced Jersey-club groove is a perfect match for Ice Spice’s attitude-laden bars. “Even though Ice Spice does drill, her flows are super unique and the beats she chooses are different,” PinkPantheress told NME. “A lot of people would struggle with the beats I choose, but I knew she’d be good for it.” One of the best songs of 2023, Boy’s a liar Pt.2 proves that PinkPantheress’ unique hyperpop style not only has hit potential, it also has what it takes to revolutionise dance-pop forever.

Looking for more? Check out the best albums of 2023.

Original article: 4 April 2023

Updated: 5 July 2023

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