The 25 best albums of 2023

27 December 2023, 07:00

Radio X's choice of the best albums of 2023
Radio X's choice of the best albums of 2023. Picture: Press

Here are Radio X's picks of the finest albums of the past 12 months... from the return of Blur and The Rolling Stones to great new music by Royal Blood and Paramore.

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Radio X

By Radio X

Here are Radio X's picks of the best albums of 2023... in strictly chronological order.

  1. Gaz Coombes - Turn The Car Around: release date 13th January 2023

    The fourth album from the former Supergrass man is a mature reflection on life via superb songwriting. Tracks include Sonny The Strong and Don't Say It's Over.

    Gaz Coombes - Turn The Car Around cover art
    Gaz Coombes - Turn The Car Around cover art. Picture: Press
  2. The Murder Capital - Gigi's Recovery: release date 20th January 2023

    The Dublin post-punk outfit trump their well-received 2019 debut When I Have Fears with a grittier follow-up. Tracks include Return My Head and Ethel.

    The Murder Capital - Gigi's Recovery cover art
    The Murder Capital - Gigi's Recovery cover art. Picture: Press
  3. Maneskin – Rush! (Are You Coming?): release date 20th January 2023

    After gaining international attention by winning the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, the Italian quartet continue to startle and delight with their accomplished pop rock. Tracks include Supermodel, Honey (Are U Coming?) and The Loneliest.

    Maneskin – Rush! (Are You Coming?) cover art
    Maneskin – Rush! (Are You Coming?) cover art. Picture: Press
  4. Paramore - This Is Why: release date 10th February 2023

    The American rock band fronted by Hayley Williams take a sonic detour into the realms of late 70s post-punk offering a nervy album that's entirely suited to its times. Tracks include This Is Why, The News and Running Out Of Time.

    Paramore - This Is Why cover art
    Paramore - This Is Why cover art. Picture: Press
  5. Inhaler - Cuts & Bruises: release date 17th February 2023

    Proving that their debut It Won't Always Be Like This wasn't a fluke, the second album from the young Dublin band is solid, emotive indie rock. Tracks include Love Will Get You There and These Are The Days.

    Inhaler - Cuts & Bruises cover art
    Inhaler - Cuts & Bruises cover art. Picture: Press
  6. Gorillaz - Cracker Island: release date 24th February 2023

    Not content to rely on past glories by playing Wembley Stadium with Blur in 2023, Damon Albarn got his old band back in the studio and continued his aural adventure with Gorillaz. The line-up is suitably stellar, with Beck, Thundercat, Bad Bunny, Tame Impala and even Stevie Nicks all present. Tracks include Cracker Island, New Gold and Silent Running.

    Gorillaz - Cracker Island cover art
    Gorillaz - Cracker Island cover art. Picture: Press
  7. The Lathums - From Nothing To A Little Bit More: release date 3rd March 2023

    The fragile but hopeful worldview of the Wigan band attracts more followers with every year; this is an accomplished follow-up to 2021's How Beautiful Life Can Be, with more passion and a touch more drama. Tracks include Say My Name and Struggle.

    The Lathums - From Nothing To A Little Bit More cover art
    The Lathums - From Nothing To A Little Bit More cover art. Picture: Press
  8. Black Honey – A Fistful Of Peaches: release date 17th March 2023

    The Brighton-based four piece led by Izzy Bee Phillips os a defiant and intense statement. Tracks include Charlie Bronson, Out of My Mind and Heavy.

    Black Honey – A Fistful Of Peaches cover art
    Black Honey – A Fistful Of Peaches cover art. Picture: Press
  9. Fall Out Boy - So Much (for) Stardust: release date 24th March 2023

    The eighth studio album from the pop-punk stalwarts is pleasingly back to FOB basics. Tracks include Heartbreak Feels So Good and Hold Me Like A Grudge.

    Fall Out Boy - So Much (for) Stardust cover art
    Fall Out Boy - So Much (for) Stardust cover art. Picture: Press
  10. DMA's - How Many Dreams? release date 31st March 2023

    The fourth album of appealing tunes from the Sydney-based trio has a wider palette without losing their unique identity. Tracks include Everybody's Saying Thursday's The Weekend and Fading Like A Picture.

    DMA's - How Many Dreams? cover art
    DMA's - How Many Dreams? cover art. Picture: Press
  11. The Lottery Winners – Anxiety Replacement Therapy: release date 28th April 2023

    The fifth album from the Manchester band sees guest appearances from Frank Turner, Boy George and Shaun Ryder, but the star turns don't get in the way of their solid indie rock. Tracks include Money, Letter To Myself and Let Me Down.

    The Lottery Winners – Anxiety Replacement Therapy cover art
    The Lottery Winners – Anxiety Replacement Therapy cover art. Picture: Press
  12. Foo Fighters - But Here We Are: release date 2nd June 2023

    Like the first Foo Fighters album, this is an album that sees Dave Grohl working through his pain to find the positivity in tragedy. The unexpected death of drummer Taylor Hawkins in March 2022 casts a long shadow over this album - as does the death of Grohl's mother Virginia - but the light still shines through. Tracks include Rescued, Under You and Show Me How.

    Foo Fighters - But Here We Are cover art
    Foo Fighters - But Here We Are cover art. Picture: Press
  13. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Council Skies: release date 2nd June 2023

    The title and cover art may hark back to Noel's Burnage roots, but his head is still in the clouds; with a guest appearance from Johnny Marr and even a remix from Robert Smith of The Cure, this is Gallagher Snr at his most expansive. Tracks include Pretty Boy, Council Skies and Open The Door, See What You Find.

    Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Council Skies cover art
    Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Council Skies cover art. Picture: Press
  14. Queens Of The Stone Age - In Times New Roman...: release date 16th June 2023

    Josh Homme's recent troubles in his personal life may have delayed the new QOTSA record, but the experience has found its way into the music, offering the rawest set of songs since the days of Rated R. Tracks include Paper Machete and Emotion Sickness.

    Queens Of The Stone Age - In Times New Roman...: cover art
    Queens Of The Stone Age - In Times New Roman...: cover art. Picture: Press
  15. Nothing But Thieves - Dead Club City: release date 30th June 2023

    The shimmering dance beats of Welcome To The DCC gave a hint as to where the Southend rockers' heads were at; this precision-tooled follow-up to 2020's Moral Panic shows the band are more essential than ever in 2023. Tracks include Welcome To The DCC and Overcome.

    Nothing But Thieves - Dead Club City cover art
    Nothing But Thieves - Dead Club City cover art. Picture: Press
  16. Grian Chatten - Chaos For The Fly: release date 30th June 2023

    Fontaines D.C.'s frontman goes solo and marks out some territory of his own, toning down the post-punk moves of his band for a more intimate setting. Tracks include Fairlies and Of All The People.

    Grian Chatten - Chaos For The Fly cover art
    Grian Chatten - Chaos For The Fly cover art. Picture: Press
  17. Blur - The Ballad Of Darren: release date 21st July 2023

    Eight years after their last outing together, The Magic Whip, Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree have reconvened to play some enormous shows around Europe and - bonus! - recorded a whole album's worth of new material. It's part classic Blur, part a step in a new direction, with a twist on the old sound and more mature concerns. Tracks include The Narcissist, St Charles Square and Barbaric.

    Blur - The Ballad Of Darren cover art
    Blur - The Ballad Of Darren cover art. Picture: Press
  18. Miles Kane - One Man Band: release date 4th August 2023

    The former Rascal and part time Last Shadow Puppet returns to his rock roots in style. Tracks include Troubled Son and The Wonder.

    Miles Kane - One Man Band cover art
    Miles Kane - One Man Band cover art. Picture: Press
  19. The Hives – The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons: release date 11th August 2023

    The Swedes are seasoned campaigners by now, but their sixth outing - its title a sly nod to the "mastermind" behind their sound - is their slickest yet and perfects the hyperactive garage rock formula. Tracks include Bogus Operandi and Countdown To Shutdown.

    The Hives – The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons cover art
    The Hives – The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons cover art. Picture: Press
  20. Hozier - Unreal Unearth: release date 18th August 2023

    A busy year for Andrew Hozier-Byrne: the Eat Your Young EP caught some attention in March, while this accompanying album reminded everyone what a great artist he is. Tracks include Eat Your Young and De Selby (Part 2).

    Hozier - Unreal Unearth cover art
    Hozier - Unreal Unearth cover art. Picture: Press
  21. Royal Blood - Back To The Water Below: release date 1st September 2023

    The fourth studio album from Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher sees the duo take controls of production and create a deeper, dynamic set of songs. Tracks include Mountains At Midnight and Shiner In The Dark.

    Royal Blood - Back To The Water Below cover art
    Royal Blood - Back To The Water Below cover art. Picture: Press
  22. The Chemical Brothers - For That Beautiful Feeling: release date 8th September 2023

    The tenth studio album from the duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons and the invention and inspiration shows no sign of drying up. Tracks include No Reason, Live Again and The Darkness That You Fear.

    The Chemical Brothers - For That Beautiful Feeling cover art
    The Chemical Brothers - For That Beautiful Feeling cover art. Picture: Press
  23. Blink-182 - One More Time: release date 20th October 2023

    A year on from the announcement that founder member Tom DeLonge was back in the fold, Blink are back with a collection of songs that are partly autobiographical and party good old pop-punk bangers. Tracks include One More Time and Edging.

    Blink-182 - One More Time cover art
    Blink-182 - One More Time cover art. Picture: Press
  24. The Rolling Stones - Hackney Diamonds: release date 20th October 2023

    In January of this year, would you have put money on our end of year lists featuring both The Beatles AND The Stones? Nope. But it happened. While the Fab Four's Now And Then was a work of archaeology, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood's 24th (!) album is fresh material, with only a small nod to the past in the shape of a return appearance by Bill Wyman, the final recordings by the late Charlie Watts and a cover of Rolling Stone Blues by Muddy Waters. Tracks include Angry, Sweet Sounds Of Heaven and Bite My Head Off.

    The Rolling Stones - Hackney Diamonds cover art
    The Rolling Stones - Hackney Diamonds cover art. Picture: Press
  25. Bombay Bicycle Club - My Big Day: release date 20th October 2023

    The sixth album from the London collective brings on the star guests - Damon Albarn, Holly Humberstone and even Chaka Khan all appear - but remains rooted in the band's reassuring worldview. Tracks include Tekken 2, Turn The World On and I Want To Be Your Only Pet.

    Bombay Bicycle Club - My Big Day cover art
    Bombay Bicycle Club - My Big Day cover art. Picture: Press

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