The Best Music of 2023, Album of the Year: The Who, Who’s Next : Life House (Super Deluxe); Plus My Picks for the Top Thirty Starring (in the Top Ten, alphabetically) Jonathan Butler, Cat Power, Louis Cato, Everything But The Girl, The Hooters, Amos Lee, Stephen Marley, Duke Robillard, The Rolling Stones and Taj Mahal and Much More
Welcome to my year end list. Sifting through the new releases each week, using multiple sources, is a lot of work. Boiling that down to a list of thirty is tougher still. It would be nice if there were a gate keeper with anything like my preferences, but I have not found one yet. This list is likely to be nothing like any other year end list that you will see, not NPR, not the NY Times, not Rolling Stone, not even WXPN. That said, I thank you for reading this list and my comments about each of the entries.
About my list, the artists' age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, all have no bearing on their inclusion. My criteria is pretty simple. As I may have mentioned in the past, I want to hear singers with a strong voice, one that shows a little personality. I'm looking for production that allows every instrument to be heard clearly (instrumental albums are welcome, too). What I don't want to hear are wishy-washy vocals, vocals buried in the mix, etc. A strong melody is good, too. My bottom line, if you will, has not really changed in all these years: I am looking for music that excites me, even the quiet stuff. The real excitement is the urge to write about it; the idea that others will listen to a given record is what keeps me going. If I think about it, that urge has fueled my career since the earliest days of college when I first learned about radio broadcasting. It's why I became a radio disk jockey and why the full-time job I had after college was the best job I think a person could possibly have. So, that's what you're looking at below and why each and every album is on my list.