COPY’s Favorites of 2023: Music

These songs held our hands through a year of quiet transformations. 

By The COPY TEam


Check out the full playlist here


Drop Cherries by Billie Marten

I’ve been listening to this album religiously since its release to the extent that I’ve practically etched the lyrics of every song into my memory. Drop Cherries is a collection of songs that delves into the multifaceted aspects of love. I’m always in need of a reminder of what is good and tender in this life, and this album absolutely does that for me.

Heaven Is a Junkyard by Youth Lagoon

This album takes me back to a pivotal family trip to Maine this summer. I remember getting lost in the songs, staring into overwhelming seaside views, and blasting “Idaho Alien” on repeat. I remember feeling and believing that I had all the time and space in the world to just be.

Rat Saw God by Wednesday

Another album that colored a specific season of my life this year. I loved this album from the very first listen, but its impact didn’t truly sink in for me until I moved to a new city this summer for grad school. I pretty much exclusively listened to this album and the band’s (incredible) discography during what proved to be a brief yet gritty season of transition.


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

I found solace in my family this year, and I have this album to thank. Sure, there were other factors—growing up, thinking about my art in the long-term, spending quality time with my extended family after years apart—but Lana provided the heartfelt and prismatic soundtrack for the journey. I want to hike coastlines with my mom; I want to drive through fields listening to Etta James with my brother; I want to hear my dad’s old stories; I want to make endless morning coffee for my grandparents, to pour milk hearts in their mugs. This wasn’t always the case for me, and I’m grateful it is now.

On opener “The Grants,” Lana sings, “When you leave, all you take is your memory / And I’m gonna take mine of you with me.” What follows feels like a homemade quilt weaving memories, jokes, fears, wounds, and loves. She’s both irreverent and introspective, and her words are more intimate than ever. “Fingertips” changed me; I read that it began as stream-of-consciousness iPhone voice notes, a technique Lana calls “automatic singing,” which is so special… I’m gonna try that… Songs like this one feel as if we’re inside the “tunnel under Ocean Blvd,” seeing the unfiltered soul or “handmade beauty sealed up by two man-made walls.” This image echoes Lana’s shifting place in pop culture over the past decade—she’s got good intentions, she tells us, but she stumbles, and she’s been ridiculed and underestimated and only now garners respect as an artist. On the title track, she cuts to the core of the artistic impulse, repeating, “Don’t forget me.” This lends the album a novelistic feeling, or at least reminds me of the epic novels I read in the months I had this music on repeat. Like how Steinbeck’s working title for East of Eden was “My Valley,” and how he dedicated that sweeping story to his young sons, hoping they could find in it the long-gone places and people they came from (very “Kintsugi”). Or how Dostoyevsky wrote The Brothers Karamazov in the aftermath of his son Alyosha’s death at age three, naming the novel’s hero Alyosha and giving him the final word after so much violence and conflict: “Let us never forget how good we all once felt here, all together, united by such good and kind feelings as made us...perhaps better than we actually are” (to me, that’s basically “The Grants”). Is it human nature to toil for hundreds of pages just to say the simple thing we were scratching at all along? I think it might be. It makes us flawed; it makes our strenuous efforts sacred. Ocean Blvd inspired me to find the beauty in my own stories this year as much as any great novel.

Some other songs that shaped my year!!!: “My Love Mine All Mine” by Mitski, “Time Ain’t Accidental” by Jess Williamson, “Turbines/Pigs” by Black Country, New Road, “Sidelines” by Toro y Moi, “Lingering” by Allegra Krieger, “American Daughter” by Beach House, “Shivers” by Julia Jacklin


The Record by boygenius

I stayed up late (10pm Mountain Time) for The Record’s release. I laid completely still, crescent-roll cozied up in a white duvet, in a bedroom of a house I was watching for the weekend. Someone else’s family dog had her nose pushed into my cheek. And I cried. I had already played “Not Strong Enough” incessantly leading up to the release, and that night, I listened to “Letter To An Old Poet” nine times. On boygenius’s first EP, Phoebe Bridgers sings, “I wanna be emaciated,” but in The Record, she rewrites that line to, “I wanna be happy, I’m ready.” I was tired of living a skin-and-bones version of my life. I wanted to reckon with what was starving my happiness and serve a feast. Five days later, I decided to quit my job and move across the country. You could argue about causation vs. correlation, but it’s more important to just recognize that The Record held my hand while I changed my entire life.

Let’s Start Here. by Lil Yachty

Lil Yachty wrote a psychedelic album and I made it everybody’s problem. 

“Margaret (feat. Bleachers)” by Lana Del Rey

I wrote an article about Jack Antonoff loving another Margaret. And then he wrote a song about loving another Margaret. We have so much in common!!! (But on a different note—Lana Del Rey telling me, “So if you don't know, don't give up / 'Cause you never know what the new day might bring,” made me believe love could exist for me. Hmm, anyways.)


GUTS by Olivia Rodrigo

There’s not much to be said about Ms. Olivia that hasn’t been said before. I love GUTS and I love how snarky and silly and then painfully serious and heart-wrenching she can be. Fave tracks: “love is embarrassing” and “ballad of a homeschooled girl.”

“Saturn Returning” by Angie McMahon

This song shook me by the shoulders and screamed in my face and said, “YOU ARE DOING OKAY! YOU ARE GOING TO BE JUST FINE!”

My Big Day by Bombay Bicycle Club

With features from Jay Som, Nilufer Yanya, Damon Albarn, Chaka Khan, and Holly Humberstone, I knew this album was going to be interesting… but I didn’t really expect it to also be good. Somehow, even with all of these featured artists’ own styles making appearances, it manages to feel like a really cohesive, really cool album.

The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess by Chappell Roan

Chappell Roan for president. Chappell Roan forever. Get on board now.

Other favorites from the year: Shelter by Alice Phoebe Lou, “No Alarm” by Benét,  “Madman” by Slow Fiction, everything is a dream, but it is your dream by Father Koi, “Everywhere I Go I Bring the Rain” by Caroline Rose, Silver by She She She, and Time Ain’t Accidental by Jess Williamson.


“Dirty Guy” by ShitKid

My friends Kevin and Steven told me to listen to the band ShitKid recently, and I was like, “Who the fuck is that? That sounds like an emo metal band started by misfit high schoolers in a garage in Ohio.” But then I looked them up on Spotify, and Cherry Glazerr—the artist behind my favorite album of all time, Apocalipstick—was listed in the handy Fans Also Like category. So I gave ShitKid a chance, and now I am obsessed. Their new song rips. Kevin and Steven have impeccable taste.

“More, More, More” by Andrea True Connection

I am cheating because this song was released in the 80s, BUT it had a random resurgence a few months ago online because it was the soundtrack to an uncomfortable yet iconic promo video for Sex and the City in the mid-2000s. I ended up watching the video unintentionally countless times in the span of a few weeks because it kept making its way onto my screen. I guess I follow a lot of other people who like to (semi-)ironically say “I’m a Samantha moon, Carrie rising.” This song is so pleasantly hypnotic that when its sound waves reach your brain tissue, the only thing you can think about is doing a little cha-cha dance in the street with your girls. The trees move to it in the wind on your evening walk. It echoes in the tiled walls while you’re taking a shower. It is the air you breathe. It refuses to be forgotten. It is a blessing and a curse.


EP IV by Yumi Zouma

As I write this, it is 12:57am on a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I’ve just finished listening to my favorite band Yumi Zouma’s fourth EP (titled quite literally), and I cannot breathe through my tears. The New Zealand group’s new record marks a distinct sonic shift away from the dreamy, synth-forward indie pop that they’re known for and towards unapologetically emotional, shoegaze-y rock. In the opening seconds of the stunning first track “KPR,” the low bassline plucked alone in an irresistible hook caught my attention. (I’m taking a wild guess and saying this was Charlie Ryder, though it could also be Joshua Burgess—both play bass and guitar for YZ, or should I say, absolutely shred.) This was… different.

Then Olivia Campion blows the record right open with a starburst of drums, and the propulsive energy of her playing doesn’t let up through the final track “Desert Mile.” Simpson shines as a songwriter and vocalist on this record, demonstrating a piercing vulnerability in the lyrics of “be okay” and “Kicking Up Daisies.” She taps into a smooth, lower vocal register that lends a depth and edge to the new tracks. The lushly layered production we’ve come to expect from Yumi Zouma adds an expansiveness to this new hard-rock sound. EP IV is packed with the best music they’ve ever released. Alongside the core four tracks, the record contains a treasure trove of remixes, demos, and instrumentals (including an achingly beautiful slowed version of “KPR” and a pared-back demo of “Desert Mile”) that together total the length of a full LP. I’m so FUCKING excited to see/hear what they do next. I love this record. I love this fucking band. Get in on this NOW, you guys. Seriously.

Stereo Mind Game by Daughter

My generational siblings (those exclusively born in 1998-99—everyone else, this one is NOT for you), do you remember scrolling Tumblr in freshman year of high school? Do you remember “Human”? Do you remember “Run”? Do you remember what it felt like to be a depressed teenage girl in your small Northeast town when winter came and the cold bleached you empty? If Daughter’s 2013 album If You Leave was a perfectly bleak winter record, their April 2023 record Stereo Mind Game is the perfect winter-to-spring transition record. It’s lyrically hopeful like the first blooms poking through the snow, yet sonically relentless like the lingering chill that doesn’t ebb until mid-May (where I grew up, at least). Lead vocalist Elena Tonra croons of lovers lost, let go, and not yet found. The inevitable march of time weighs heavy on every track. I really needed this album in April, when I was suffering from some major post-breakup blues and it was raining every day. The music met my mood where it was at, and that was dark. And sad. But often the lyrics were hopeful, if still really goddamn sad. It was a great way to trick myself into saying (read: singing) hopeful things at what felt like a hopeless time.

“One That Got Away” by MUNA


“Blame Brett” by The Beaches (from the 2023 album Blame My Ex)

To be frank, you can only go through so many heinous breakups in a row before you either turn to religion or go completely villain mode. I’m currently teetering on this precipice myself, but this song is tipping the scales in favor of EVIL. “Blame Brett” is a fun cathartic rock song for the (gay?) girls about becoming your absolute worst self in the wake of heartbreak: “I’m sorry in advance / I’m only gonna treat you bad / I’m prob’ly gonna let you down / I’m prob’ly gonna sleep around.” MOVE OVER, SZA. This is THEE toxic girl anthem of 2023. Frontwoman Jordan Miller candidly admits to the dear lady (GAY!!) rebound to whom she’s singing that “I’m only in it for the sex, that’s why / I’m never gonna love again / I’m only in it for the sex.” And LISTEN, I’d rather everyone was just upfront about where they were at emotionally rather than pretend they can give you a loving relationship when all they’re capable of is going down on you while thinking about their ex or primary partner the entire time. “Blame Brett” is a song that dares to ask, “Are you tired of being nice? Don’t you just want to go apeshit?” I do, Beaches. I really do. (Bonus points for referencing the Toronto Raptors in the first verse. Ball is love, ball is life.)

Other 2023 songs that altered my brain chemistry: “Speed Drive” by Charli XCX, “Casual” by Chappell Roan, “Not Strong Enough” by boygenius, “Heaven” (feat. Tinashe) by Shygirl, “Bad at Letting Go (feat. MUNA)” by Leland 


In the End It Always Does by The Japanese House

Amber Bain stitched together a gorgeous album that is, in no particular order: horny, elegiac, yearnful, irreverent, dance-worthy, and swirling. Brimming with production subtleties and stunning lyrics. Worth listening to over and over.

The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess by Chappell Roan

Oh my god. Reminds me of listening to The Fame in 2008 and marveling at its brain-scratching goodness and iconic pop soundbites. “You know what they say, never waste a Friday night on a first date.” To echo Lily elsewhere in this post: “Chappell Roan for president. Chappell Roan forever. Get on board now.”


The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We by Mitski

Mitski’s music has always felt authentic, but her authenticity is often layered over more traditional pop synths. With The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We, she’s stripped her music back to its most primal and organic. Whether it’s a chorus singing the word “family” alongside her in “Bug Like an Angel” or barking dogs in “I’m Your Man,” there is an undeniable rawness to this album. Mitski finally feels like she has room to breathe.

Stop Making Sense (Deluxe Edition) [Live] by Talking Heads

This is probably my one and only chance to talk about Talking Heads in a yearly round-up, so I'm taking it! Remastered with two bonus songs previously not released on vinyl or streaming, Stop Making Sense is better than ever. It's music you feel in your muscles—it dares you to dance along with every note. The live versions of "Slippery People" and “Crosseyed and Painless” soar past their studio counterparts. And the transition between “Big Business” and “I Zimbra” is one I will never get over. Get introduced to Talking Heads with their biggest hits and on one of the best live albums ever re-released!


“Exodus” by E_DEATH

A jaw-dropping, transformative, and synthy dark-wave soundscape I had on repeat all year. It took me about 10 listens to realize it was a remix of “Genesis” by Grimes but even so, this song is a beast of its own.

“White Ferrari x I Know The End” by Erin LeCount

I discovered this mashup on TikTok and listened to the one-minute video on repeat until the full version dropped on Spotify the day after Thanksgiving. It’s extremely daring to mix these iconic songs together, and in the wrong hands, it could’ve fallen flat. However, LeCount successfully creates an ethereal experience that makes me want to cry and dance—my favorite activity.

“Kiss City” by Blondshell

The lyrics alone make me bark.

Something to Give Each Other by Troye Sivan

I wasn’t a huge Troye fan before this album came out, but I’ve had it on repeat since the day it dropped. I love to yearn, I love to reminisce, I love to cry, I love to confess my love! Well, maybe not the last one, but the album makes me believe one day I could. It’s a breath of fresh air (or a good sniff of a popper), and I cannot wait for his US tour.


“Can I Talk My Shit?” by Vagabon

When she sings, “I got way too high for this,” I felt seen.

With a Hammer by Yaeji

Certified bops on Yaeji’s debut album. Sure she’s known for the iconic “Raingurl,” but Yaeji is so much more than a one-hit wonder. Pitchfork rated the album an 8.5, calling it “an airy blend of synth-pop, jazz, techno, and ambient.” What more could you ask for?


“Secret” by Brian Eno and Fred again.. 

Heard this one during savasana at yoga. If you ask me what 2023 felt like I’d say this: quiet, satisfying, slow, beautiful, measured, and occasionally painful.

End of the World by Searows

“I have more than enough.” :’)


Like everyone else, I’m part of the Burlington, VT Spotify enclave. This year, I held hands with the artists who wrote my favorite albums. I cried, repeatedly, to Indigo de Souza’s “Parking Lot,” pregamed with Samia’s “Mad at Me,” and took showers to Chappell Roan’s “Pink Pony Club.” I texted an ex that Shallow Alcove’s “Dream Song” made me think of them.

At 24, I can feel my prefrontal cortex settling into its final form; I’m letting the music I listen to guide the way forward. Slowdive’s everything is alive became my new subway reading music, taking the top spot from an old favorite Mazzy Star album. I’ve spent hours writing, painting, and just existing in the odd twists and turns of Courtney Barnett’s score to the movie Anonymous Club (which I still haven’t watched). Some friends and I lost a tire off a rental car while driving up I-87 just after finishing a sweet, sweet first listen of Toro y Moi’s Sandhills.

As I accurately predicted, both out of self awareness and complete humiliation, my top song of the year was Samia’s “Amelia,” a song that celebrates girlhood and friendship. It carried me through 2023. It’s as simple as that: “Huh, delight, to live another night.”

My favorite albums of the year:

Honey by Samia

All of This Will End by Indigo de Souza

The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We by Mitski

Strange Days by Tobias

everything is alive by Slowdive

Picture of Bunny Rabbit by Arthur Russell

Calico by Ryan Beatty

End of the Day by Courtney Barnett

Sandhills by Toro y Moi

I’m Green by Mali Velasquez

New Blue Sun by André 3000

Honorably left-out favorite songs of the year:

“Charm You” by Samia

“Losing” by Indigo de Souza

“Heaven” by Mitski

“Layla” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

“Shivers” by Julia Jacklin


Desire, I Want to Turn into You
by Caroline Polachek

As a proud Aquarius moon and venus, I pay homage to our stereotypical detachment by rarely letting myself be fully immersed in desire. However, in this album, Polachek embraces the all-encompassing yearning and depicts desire as a necessary emotion that is as beautiful as it is painful. Desire, I Want to Turn into You is aptly titled. Polachek depicts the gut-wrenching feeling of falling in love, the feeling of being an eager participant in your own self being violently torn away from you. The album is genre-defying, weaving together 80s synths, dream-pop, traditional Andalusian dance music, and hip-hop to create a work of art that acts as a journey through the stages of desire. Her 2019 debut solo album Pang thrust her into the scene as one of the premiere pop girlies of the decade, but Desire, I Want to Turn into You solidifies Polachek as a master of her craft and possibly the most experimental and transformative voice in the pop industry.

Cinnamon by Kiki Kramer

If you’re nostalgic for the mid-2000s party girl pop era of music, you don’t have to go back into your Myspace archives to find it, because it’s right here in downtown Manhattan. Kiki Kramer is a 22-year-old NYU student and nightlife ingénue who recently released her first EP, Cinnamon. The production on the first track “Sweet Bitter” is reminiscent of y2k pop princesses like Ayesha Erotica, with elevated and modern trance and electronic influences. Lyrically, Kiki expertly captures the manic experience of being a young girl in the city—boys, drugs, and parties—while remaining painfully aware that there’s still a void after the night is done and you’re on your 4am walk home. Cinnamon has a certain magnetism to it that makes you want to get all dressed up and go to Casa Blanca on a Tuesday—like she references in the track “Weeknight”—even though you know you’ll regret it in the morning.


In the past year, I tracked my music more than usual; became an often-used tool. I was able to finish listening through my maybe-unhealthily large record collection, and partly due to that, I ended up listening to almost twice as much music as I usually do in a year. It was a pretty strong year for new music as well, with many songs from 2023 ending up as some of my most listened to songs ever. I love these songs.

“Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” by PinkPantheress and Ice Spice

February was cold, but when this came out, it almost felt like spring had arrived. It was such a great update on an already fun, catchy pop song from the amazing bedroom-pop talent of PinkPanthress that added the New York stamp of Ice Spice. The Jersey club-like beat supports the crunchy 2000’s ringtone-type tones that flow over it perfectly. This ended up becoming my most listened to song on Spotify of the past five years, and I don’t mind that. Plus, they dropped such an iconic video on the same day. So iconic that they put up a damn billboard of it on Flushing Avenue with some mannequins dressed up as the duo. Flawless Pop.

“The Most Wanted Person in the United States” by 100 Gecs

I was waiting for 10,000 gecs for years. These rascals kept pushing back the release over and over again. However it was worth it. They delivered what I wanted, some of the goofiest, catchiest, dumbest, freakiest music of the year. Ranging from ska to nu metal to dubstep, the Gecs have no limits. “TMWPITUS” is a trap kind of song, I don’t really know, but it makes me want to commit mischievous crimes. The lyric “Got Anthony Kiedis sucking on my penis” defines the vibe of what this whole thing is.

“The Hillbillies” by Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar

It was the year of dynamic duos. Cousins Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar came back and they came to have fun! Lamar dropped a beautiful album last year that had some of the darkest emotional moments of his entire career, so it was crisp to get something from him where he’s just joking about soccer players and secretly dissing Drake by being goofy with his flow. It originally dropped as just a video on YouTube that was mainly an ad for Tyler, the Creator’s music festival coming back—maybe one of the greatest promotional videos of all time.

Also check out: “God Loves You” by JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown, Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love? by Kara Jackson, and Fountain Baby by Amaarae