A collage of NYLON's favorite album covers from 2023.
Nylon; Getty Images


Progress Report: NYLON's Favorite Songs & Albums Of 2023 (So Far)

From Miley Cyrus’ Endless Summer Vacation to Blondshell’s spectacular debut.


We are officially halfway through 2023, which means it’s time to take stock of the overwhelming deluge of music that’s entered the world thus far this year.

The first six months of 2023 have given us a surprisingly low-key smattering of releases, not so much on the blockbuster, superstar scale, but more on the cult level: several incredible and promising debuts from Blondshell and Gracie Abrams; timeless opuses from Lana Del Rey and Caroline Polachek; and viral, internet-capturing standouts from Ice Spice and boygenius.

Below, we’ve gathered our favorite albums and songs among them — the ones that we think will stand the test of time (or at least until the end of this year). If you’ve been following along with NYLON’s coverage you might recognize some, if not most, of these titles. If not, then read on, and perhaps you’ll find something new to take away with you.


Blondshell - Blondshell


It's been a long while since I've added a new artist to my Grunge Girl playlist, largely populated with the favorite ‘90s acts of my youth. That is, until Blondshell's debut album came along. It's ideal for a wide range of emotional scenarios, from scream-singing in a cathartic rage to sadly lamenting the precious time you wasted on a loser who didn’t deserve it. Her heavy guitars hit just the right notes of nostalgia, while her confessional, biting lyrics keep it firmly in the now. —Alyssa Vingan, editor-in-chief

Clear 2: Soft Life EP - Summer Walker

LVRN/Interscope Records

Summer's "Clear" live album got me through a breakup in 2019 and, while I'm glad I'm not in the same position for her new release, "Clear 2" gave me everything I loved from the first album and more. —Laura Pitcher, staff writer

desire, I want to turn into you - Caroline Polachek

Aidan Zamiri

I’m tired of pop artists delivering their “most vulnerable album” yet. Where’s the drama, intrigue, performance? All used up on Caroline Polachek’s transcendent and boundary-pushing Desire, I Want To Turn Into You, probably. The album is a masterpiece, every synth flourish, and hair-raising falsetto. Four months after my first listen, I still get shivers when I hear its songs. —Steffanee Wang, music editor

Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd - Lana Del Rey

interscope records

Lana Del Rey is our unofficial poet laureate. Did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd is her career’s finest, most experimental songwriting. The record refuses to stay stagnant, exploring Del Rey's favoriting topics of love, family, and melancholy across everything from gospel to trap. Months later, I still get chills when I get to the beat change in “A&W.” —Layla Halabian, culture editor

Did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd is a gleaming triumph of self-mythology, experimental songwriting, and a portrait of grief told in gospel, trap, and gritty, glimmering pop. It’s Lanita’s most expansive album yet, and it will be on repeat in my headphones (and in my heart) for years to come — particularly this lyric: “Your mom called/ I told her/ You're f*cking up big time!” —Sophia June, staff writer

Endless Summer Vacation - Miley Cyrus

Columbia Records

Miley has given us our soundtrack of the summer, yet again. Melancholic, messy, yet mature — Endless Summer Vacation’s disco-pop beats ultimately drive it home; a fresh reminder of why we fell in love with Cyrus as an artist in the first place. —Kelly Reed, senior social strategist

“Flowers” is by far the song from Miley’s new album that gets the most attention, but start to finish the whole album is full of sexy, slinky, single girl songs. It’s this summer’s soundtrack to listen to while you're getting ready to go out and still dancing around in your underwear (à la Miley herself). —Sam Neibart, beauty editor

Good Riddance - Gracie Abrams

Interscope Records

With Good Riddance, Gracie Abrams has achieved a feat only few (most notably her hero and tourmate, Taylor Swift) have achieved — a debut album that feels at once of the moment and timeless. With sweeping melodies and confessional lyrics, it's a record that feels entirely personal, and yet, as evidenced at the Eras tour, can be screamed loud enough to fill a stadium. —Lauren McCarthy, executive editor

Like...? - Ice Spice

10K Projects/Capitol Records

It seems impossible that a mere six months ago, Ice Spice was a largely unknown rap talent coming out of the Bronx. Now, she and her songs are everywhere — from lyrics in your Instagram captions, to onstage with Taylor Swift at the Eras Tour, to North West's TikTok page — and her ubiquity is well deserved. Every song on her debut EP is a confident smash that will likely stand the test of time. —AV

Rat Saw God - Wednesday

Dead Oceans

Rat Saw God is Wednesday’s most bulldozing rock yet — it's an addictive, thorny tapestry of an American adolescence in the recession-era South, one punctuated by kudzu, recreational Benadryl use, and sneaking into public pools. It’s staggeringly good, making me nostalgic for the rawness of a high school summer. —SJ

Raven - Kelela


If you want to feel your feelings, this album is for you. Kelela herself told fans it's for “crying in the club,” and the combination of meditative spiritual moments and transcendent techno drops will leave you doing just that. —LP

With a hammer - Yaeji

XL Recordings

Once you get past the sick dance beats, you realize that Yaeji’s With A Hammer is actually a pretty tender album. The hammer is a personification of her anger, and there is a lot of fury, indignation, and defiance bottled up in its lyrics about breaking generational curses and speaking up for yourself. But there’s also family, acceptance, and finding yourself again. It’s emotional, thought-provoking material, both on and off the dance floor. —SW


“Alarming” - Ojerime

Every song on Ojerime's album Bad Influence is worth listening to again and again, but this song has found its way into almost all of my playlists for the year. It's moody and addictive. —LP

“boyhood” - The Japanese House

So, a lot has happened in the past four years. Luckily, we still have some things we can rely on — The Japanese House is one of them. “Boyhood,” the first single off Amber Bain's forthcoming followup to 2019’s Better At Falling, picks right up where she left off — namely, slinky indie-pop with lyrics that pack an emotional punch about how much and little life can change over time. The song's opening line says it all: “I could have been somebody else but/ I've been out looking for me.” —LM

“Co-Star” - Amaarae

Amaarae’s latest drop is something something for the astrology girls to bop to this summer. Managing to seamlessly list every sign throughout the song, everyone is simultaneously included and roasted in this one (in the best possible way). Also, it's just catchy. —LP

“Flowers” - Miley Cyrus

The first time I heard “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus, I thought about Lorde's much-quoted lyric off Melodrama: “Cut flowers for all my rooms/ I care for myself the way I used to care about you.” Cyrus, too, uses flowers as a symbol of joyful independence, and all that comes to mind when she sings it is the sheer, gorgeous liberation of doing whatever you want. —SJ

“Glossalalia” - :3LON

This gorgeous, glitched-out space odyssey by Baltimore musician :3LON took my breath away the first time I heard it. With a blend of harsh and orchestral sound elements, it feels like gazing on futuristic planet that’s been overtaken by vegetation. His voice is the ultimate organic instrument: strong and weightless at the same time. —SW

“I know it won’t work” - Gracie Abrams

A bright, beautiful breakup tune that has the singer-songwriter trying her best to let a former lover down easy. It's deeply personal, yet immensely relatable, and it has a chorus that's impossible to get out of your head after a listen or two. —AV

“Night n Day” - New York

Glitchy and hypnotic like a frazzled metronome soundtracking a city at dusk, the girl-pop duo NEW YORK’s “night n day” is a megabyte-sized song that sounds like your brain after guzzling computer juice: all clicks, cuts, chops, and loops. It's nothing short of dazzling. —SJ

“Not Strong Enough” - boygenius

Has there ever been a catchier song about being emotionally unavailable? The poppy guitars and pretty harmonies brighten up some heavy lyrics about anxiety and self-loathing — and therein lies the brilliance of boygenius. —AV

“Padam Padam” - Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue's immaculate pop catalogue has never really hit with the U.S. at large (I don’t wanna talk about it) which makes “Padam Padam”’s success all the more delicious. The track captures the essence of Minogue’s genius: it’s sleek, hypnotizing, and an honest-to-God earworm. —LH

“Perfect For You” - Peach PRC

It's probably impossible to improve upon the perfection of Paris Hilton’s 2006 hit “Stars are Blind,” so consider “Perfect For You,” which includes an iconic sample of the song, a 2023 follow-up. Bumping up the tempo, adding even more synthy echos and poppy lyrics, is just like adding more pink, glitter, and sprinkles atop a sugary pop confection — totally delicious. —SN

“Prescription” - Remi Wolf

Remi Wolf never disappoints with a new release, but “Prescription” is the gift that comes in two: the original song, and the extended seven-minute version. The latter has personally become my “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” — when it comes on I get nostalgic for summers spent entirely outdoors, when nothing mattered all too much. —KR

“Shooting Star” - XG

I can’t even count how many times I’ve recited, “We them cool kids/ nothing to it/ going stupid, saucing,” a fairly innocuous lyric but delivered with flawless swag by XG’s Cocona. “Shooting Star” is an unbelievably excellent song that’s only made further impressive given that it’s, like, the third song Japanese girl group XG’s ever put out. With a sugary, wide-eyed chorus about how much better life for them can get (there is no limit, I reckon), they balance the rap and sung parts perfectly, something that’s not the case for many of their peers. —SW

“Sunset” - Gus Dapperton

Gus’ latest song is ready to take you on a ride, literally. What starts as a dystopian, sinuous sound completely changes tone mid-song — bringing you along for what feels like a high-speed chase. With each listen, I'm both mystified and lured in by the journey that is “Sunset.” —KR

“Welcome To My Island (George Daniel & Charli XCX Remix)” - Caroline Polachek, Charli XCX, George Daniel

When Charli XCX is having fun, we’re all having fun. Her and George Daniel’s spin on “Welcome To My Island” has the same naughty, take-you-for-a-romp lyricism and propulsive production that made “Vroom Vroom” a cult favorite, except this time, Charli’s head-over-heels in love. “We're always showering each other in expensive gifts/ I put the two-tone Cartier on his wrist,” she sings after explaining how her man’s got her legs out wide like banana split. I hope it’s the first of many collaborations between the two artists — they have something special going for them. —LH