The WBW40 – Will’s Top 40 Songs of 2023

Well, here we are: 6 years after I started doing these, and 6 months after last year’s installment. Yeah, if you’re curious about that whole situation, you can go back and read why it was so late. Let’s just say I got out of a bad “creative marriage”, and it took me a while to get back on track. If you’re new here, let’s go over some ground rules: there aren’t really many rules. Ya see, when I first started, I only focused on songs that had been released that year. Over time, though, I came to realize many of the songs that had become popular that year had actually been released the previous year. So, I got a little more loosey goosey with it.

Also, when this project began, way back in 2017, it skewed HEAVILY Country. That’s just what I was listening to back then, so it carried over to the post. A lot of folks were driven away, though, because you all have that whole “I listen to everything but Country” mindset. *Sigh* Well, due to the events of last year, I also sort of divorced myself from the Country genre for a bit, so this year’s mix is a LOT more eclectic, and I’m sure you’ll find something new here that you like.

How do I find these songs? Well, there are a lot of factors honestly. I keep a running list throughout the year of songs that just sort of stick out to me. I know that, at one time, folks would hear a cool song and Shazam it. Do they still do that? Does that app even still exist since that Jamie Foxx game show? Well, I’m an old man now, so that’s not how I operate. I tend to jot down the hook, and then look it up later. That leads me down a bunch of rabbit holes, where I end up discovering these songs and more.

So, after compiling this list, I had a few observations. First off, I’m really not digging how we’re back to Motown-era song lengths. I think I mentioned this last year, but it’s even more prevalent this time around. Hit songs, clocking in at 2:37. That’s not a song! That’s just a really long ringtone! I sort of think it’s influenced by TikTok, in that you can’t post a “real” song clip longer than 1 minute. So, if a song is shorter, more of it can fit in a TikTok video, and have a better shot at going viral. That’s just my 2 cents there.

The second observation, though, is a big one – to me, at least. It seems like we’re in the thick of what I’m gonna call “Jailbait Pop”. Yeah, I know that sex sells, but I turned 42 exactly one month ago, and I have officially entered my Old Man Era. It hit me like a ton of bricks, realizing that I am now old enough to be the father of all the hot Nickelodeon starlets. If, God forbid, I ever end up single, I will NOT be that 50 year old with a 26 year old girlfriend. I have nothing to offer a 26 year old, as I need to be with someone who actually lived through 9/11, and didn’t just hear about it on a YouTube Short. So, that’s what’s been so weird here: all of these former Disney stars and So You Think You Can Dance? contestants singing pretty openly about sex. I remember you from Girl Meets World! One thing about this list is that the song has to be able to stand on its own, apart from the music video – despite the fact I do a lot of research via YouTube. So, with that in mind, I strive to find the lyric videos so that the visuals don’t influence the assessment of the song. This year, however, that took on extra meaning, as I needed to make this as safe for work as possible. I mean, some of those Tate McRae videos…

There’s a lot of talk these days about “industry plants”, and it feels like that could almost apply to anyone here. Back in the late ’90s/early ’00s Pop Explosion, we had young girls, but there were differences. Britney started out as the girl next door, while Christina was the one begging you to rub her bottle (it was all that Latin blood she got from her Daddy!). Then, Britney was sort of ushered into the jailbait queue, and Mandy Moore was there to take on the Girl Next Door mantle. Jessica Simpson popped up as the Girl Who Sang In Church, so there was a tinge of Suppressed Passion, Shielded By Innocence. Then Christina morphed into Xtina and got Dirrty. It was musical sexual hopscotch. Not today, though. All these singers are DTF, and they’re here to sing about it! It’s just jarring, is all. You were on Bizaardvark, Olivia!

So, now that I’ve laid the groundwork, let’s get this show on the road, shall we?

40. Tyla – “Water”

We’re gonna start things off kinda mellow. This one sort of grew on me because my 8 year old was always singing it around the house. I have GOT to do better about monitoring what those girls watch on YouTube! Initially, it was sort of annoying to me, as it almost feels like the chorus is sung off the beat, but it works. When I first graduated from college, I had a stint where I was into chillout mixes, and this is almost chillout adjacent.

39. Libianca – “People”

I had no clue Libianca had competed on The Voice, as I haven’t watched that show since about season 2. I mean, once you realized the coaches were the stars, and they were never gonna promote an up-and-coming artist who might threaten their own chart position, it was a zero-sum game. Anyway, Libianca grew up in Cameroon, and this song is apparently influenced by her cyclothymia, which is a type of bipolar disorder. I’ve said in the past that I’m not a “lyrics guy”, but when I actually listened to the words here, I felt what she was saying. It’s an important song, reminding folks to check on their “people”, as they may not be doing as well as one might think. Hashtag mental health.

38. Labrinth – “Never Felt So Alone”

So, since I’m not really into lyrics, I’m more into how a song makes me feel, as well as what it might remind me of. Here, this comes off like an early Rentals song. I will forever cherish the Borders listening station, as it introduced me to a lot of great albums, including Return of the Rentals (which happened to actually be their debut album). Formed by Weezer’s Matt Sharp and Patrick Wilson, that band had a Moog-driven sound that I can’t even describe, but this is so reminiscent of that. Anyway, Billie Eilish is here, too, but she’s uncredited, and it’s not the last time she’ll grace this list.

37. Paul Russell – “Lil Boo Thang”

This song is one minute and fifty-four seconds long. I’ve heard TV theme songs longer than this. This is roughly the length of a song playing during an antidepressant commercial. Whatever. Let’s be honest: the “Best of My Love” sample is doing all the heavy lifting here, but it’s still a great summer cookout song.

36. Jessie Murph, Jelly Roll – “Wild Ones”

Jessie Murph is basically the modern-day, second coming of early 00s’ Country star Gretchen Wilson, of “Redneck Woman” fame. Only this time, they threw in a twist of Jelly Roll, so it’s fitting that he just happens to be featured on this song. She’s singing about how she’s into dangerous guys, and when Jelly Roll’s verse mentions “Livin’ in Gotham, and Bunnie’s my Harley Quinn”, you get an idea of just how twisted a relationship these two are after. I really wish there was another verse here, as it ends just as it’s getting started.

35. Only The Poets – “Every God I Pray To”

Sometimes when an artist is from the UK, folks will ask “Why don’t they have an accent when they sing?” Well, these guys certainly do, and I LOVE it. This feels like a Westlife ballad, and I’ve gone on record in the past about my going on 25-year love of that group. You can keep your Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC* – best boyband in the world? Hands down, it’s Westlife. So, these guys are in great company.

34. Jax Jones, Calum Scott – “Whistle”

This is another UK collaboration I stumbled upon, as Jax Jones produced this song, while the vocals are provided by Britain’s Got Talent alum Calum Scott. As I was just talking about boybands, this feels like a track from Black & Blue era Backstreet Boys, as Scott is giving AJ McLean on that chorus. Did I use that right? Are the cool kids gonna let me eat lunch with them now?

33. Tom Walker – “Freaking Out”

This one just sort of stuck with me, as it’s got a weird “Coldplay meets Five for Fighting” thing going on. Plus, I really just relate to the anxiety he’s singing about here. Man, this part of the chart is just chock full of UK imports!

32. Talia Mar – “Forget About Your Ex”

I like this because it sounds almost like an edgier Lily Allen. Remember Lily Allen? She made cute weird songs, sort of like a “street smart” Zooey Deschanel, and then she started dating Hopper from Stranger Things, and it seemed like the music stopped. Anyway, this won’t be the last time you see Ms. Mar on the countdown.

31. Zara Larsson, David Guetta – “On My Love”

Apparently Larsson has been around since I started doing these countdowns, but I hadn’t heard of her til this year. Once I learned she was Swedish, that’s all I needed to hear. If we learned anything from Ace of Base – and, I guess, to a greater extent ABBA – it’s “Always trust the Swedes.” Having done a tour of duty in European retail, this sort of song is like a trigger to me. You might as well say, “Longing, rusted, furnace, daybreak, seventeen, benign, nine, homecoming, one, freight car.” Next thing I know, I’m regaining consciousness in a foam party at the Navy Yard.

30. Selena Gomez – “Single Soon”

I don’t think I’ve ever really liked a Selena Gomez song up to this point (I don’t count “Calm Down”, since she only had a feature on the remix). It was just an interesting take on breaking up, as those songs tend to be sad. Here, however, she’s anticipating it. I mean, she can’t wait! Just like a woman! If this were 1999, we’d have a response track from Sporty Thievz, called “Yeah? I’mma Be Single, Too!”

29. Lewis Capaldi – “Wish You The Best”

I love Lewis Capaldi and can’t believe he’s only 27, because he sings with a yearning beyond his years. Remember how I told you I was using lyric videos so as not to distract from the song? You ought to be thanking me here, because the official video would have you ugly crying in public. Trust me.

28. Tate McRae – “run for the hills”

So, at this part of the countdown, we’ve left The UK and now we’re entering Jailbaitville, population: LOTS. McRae has that whole breathy Britney thing going on here, but I ultimately love how this whole thing comes together. One thing to remember is that McRae – like Britney – isn’t a *singer*. I know the “Leave Britney Alone!” crowd will hate me saying that, but she’s basically an “entertainer”. Ya know, like Cedric. Britney can do a lot of stuff, but I feel like she probably excels more at choreo than vocals. McRae, similarly, came from So You Think You Can Dance?, and that’s her first love. Her videos….Hochi mama! But vocally, she’s not bad, but she’s also not “wowing” me, either.

27. Talia Mar – “Bored”

I told ya we’d see Talia again on this list, and that didn’t take long at all! I like this because it feels like the kind of throwaway Top 20 single we got from girl group after girl group in the mid to late ’00s. Was this from Eden’s Crush? Or DREAM? Or Danity Kane? Doesn’t matter. Nobody talks about any of them anymore! But, you’d hear this song and go, “This thing slaps! Who sang this again?”

26. Sabrina Carpenter – “Feather” 

Again, another breathy starlet. Also, another video you couldn’t watch in your cubicle. You’re welcome. I’m getting Kylie Minogue vibes here, with the whole coquettish thing going on. I actually picked up her album on clearance at Target a few months back (Yes, I bought an actual CD!), so I need to see what else she’s been getting into since her Disney Channel days.

25. Morat, James TW – “Someone I Used To Know”

I was unfamiliar with both parties here. Apparently, Morat is a Grammy-winning, Spanish-language band from Colombia, while James TW is an English singer-songwriter. So, what a lot of folks may have forgotten were the residual effects of “The Latin Explosion”. Sure, America got Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias, but it also meant that non-Latin acts thought that stargate wormhole worked both ways, so they started recording Spanish versions of their hits to court a new audience. I think it all came to a head when *NSYNC and Son By Four collabed on a duet of “Yo te Voy a Amar”, which was the Spanish version of “This I Promise You”. Anyway, this song takes me back to those days. It’s clearly “forced synergy”, as there’s nothing genuine about it, but it works.

24. Paloma Faith – “How You Leave A Man”

Anybody remember Anastacia? No, not the chick from that movie folks used to swear was a Disney movie. She emerged from MTV’s The Cut, with her song “Not That Kind”. Like Blu Cantrell (remember her?), she’s one of those artists who was pretty successful outside the US, but can go shopping at Kroger and never gets recognized. This song starts out sounding like a stronger Cyndi Lauper, but when she gets to that chorus, she BELTS, and I swear I’m hearing Anastacia all over again. I bet there are, like, 36 remixes of this song playing in European clubs these days.

23. David Kushner – “Daylight”

The first time you hear this, the first verse sounds like something Lurch would sing in an Addams Family musical. When you get to that chorus, though, everything changes. It’s not even dynamic, but it’s got such a great hook. And when you add in the subtle distortion, it just comes together to create something special.

22. JAIN – “Night Heights”

You know JAIN, even if you don’t realize you know JAIN. Her song “Makeba” was in everything from viral videos to Marshalls commercials. It was EVERYWHERE. And I really wanted to get it on a list, but it didn’t make the cut. Ya see, while its popularity was fairly recent, it was actually released in 2015 – before I even started doing these things. Still, I did something of a dive on her discography, and found this gem. This sounds like something The Weeknd would have put out after Starboy. It’s somewhere between “I Feel It Coming” and “Save Your Tears”. I love that throwback 80s synth vibe here, and I almost can’t believe it’s the same artist as “Makeba”.

21. Dua Lipa – “Dance The Night”

Ooh, just shut out of the Top 20! Look, we all loved Barbie, and this was featured in a pretty important scene. That said, at the end of the day, it just sounds like every other Dua Lipa single. Dua Lipa releases always come off like “We’ve got Disco at home!” I get what she’s doing, and she’s good at it, but I’m almost like “Could you try something…different for a change?” Plus, I didn’t feel this was the strongest song on that soundtrack…

20. P!NK – “All Out of Fight”

Now, we’ve entered the Top 20! I love P!NK so much, and I never would have predicted her career path. I’ve lived long enough to watch her go from “Girl who clearly dates Black guys” to “Woman who probably calls the police on suspicious Black guys on her block.” Who’da thunk it?! But I love how she can go from the rock star extremes of something like “So What” to a beautiful ballad like this. My favorite part here is when the background drops out, and it’s just a cappella. Huh. I guess that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

19. Cimorelli – “Skin”

One thing about me is I don’t really like video as a medium. If ya ask me, half the things that are videos would work better as the written word. So, this means video folks are one of my blind spots. I don’t know YouTubers, I don’t know streamers. So, when I discovered Cimorelli, I had no clue they were some kind of Partridge Duggar Family that’s been posting covers for over a decade. I just stumbled upon their incredible cover of a song we’ll talk about in a little bit, but they also happened to have just released this original song, which really stuck out to me. Sure, on the surface it’s cut from the same cloth as “Beautiful” and “Unpretty”, but the harmonies they bring to it are almost a Wilson Phillips meets M2M sort of thing. If you haven’t checked them out, please do, as their covers are spectacular!

18. Cat Burns – “know that you’re not alone”

I had never heard of Burns, but apparently she went TikTok famous during Covid. I love the sentiments here, just like with Tom Walker’s “Freaking Out”. This was a message I really needed. Plus, if you don’t listen to the words, and just sort of groove to the chords, you realize the chorus sounds like the theme song to a forgotten early 90s TGIF series.

17. Tate McRae – ‘Greedy”

Watching the official video for this song would have gotten you fired. Trust me, and you’re welcome. Again. I swear, if you told me McRae’s entire career was being funded by Chris Hansen and Perverted Justice, I’d say “It all makes so much sense now!” Still, it’s a catchy song. This has a Timbaland-esque beat, and it feels like the spiritual successor to Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous”.

16. Brad Paisley – “So Many Summers”

I can hear the groans: “Oh, no! Country!” but at least this is the first you’ve seen of the genre (outside of Jelly Roll) up to this point. Paisley’s career is in an interesting place, because you could argue he peaked more than a decade ago. So, now, he’s in that elder statesman role, kinda like Garth. He has nothing to prove anymore, so he does this thing where he basically releases a song at the beginning of every year, as if it’s his contribution to the “Song of the Summer” race. He’s basically like, “Take it or leave it.” Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. He doesn’t care. He’s rich and married to Kimberly Williams! This one didn’t exactly take off (I tend to think he releases these things too early for them to really be “summer songs”), but it still spoke to me. Have you ever really thought of your life in terms of how many summers you get to experience? I’m old now. How many have I got left? Aw, man. Now I’m depressed.

15. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – “Murder on the Dancefloor”

I LOVE when some sort of pop culture fluke occurs so I can do something like this! A lot of folks know about my time in Russia, but a trip I never really talk about is when I studied abroad in London in college. Well, one day I was watching MTV between classes, and I discovered this video. This is one of those cases where the video really does enhance the song, so I’m gonna make an exception here. I mean, it’s still a great disco song – the kind Dua Lipa wishes she could release – but I love the little story told here. Anyway, I have tried to promote this song any chance I’ve gotten over the past 20 years. Instead, it took it being featured in the film Saltburn for it to gain a second life, and I am HERE for it!

14. Billie Eilish – “What Was I Made For?”

…THIS was the strongest song on the Barbie soundtrack, and it’s probably my favorite release from Eilish so far. It also helps that this was featured in one of the more emotional parts of the film. It’s just beautiful and ethereal, and not something I would have expected from Eilish. Just top notch and haunting.

13. Miley Cyrus – “Used To Be Young”

I’ve said that I’m always excited for new Miley releases because you never know what Miley you’re going to get. She did “Party in the USA”. She did “Wrecking Ball”. She even did her whole Stevie Nicks phase. But this is a mature Miley, looking back on her past, and making peace with it as she reflects on the transgressions of her youth. She’s not apologizing, but rather justifying. She’s not sorry for anything she did, but she’s also saying she’s no longer that person. Just another reason I always look forward to what’s next from her. She’s one of the most versatile artists out today.

12. *NSYNC – “Better Place”

You don’t know how much it pained me to keep this out of the top 10 but, if I’m being honest, it didn’t deserve to be any higher than this. There was SO MUCH anticipation for this song: the first new music from *NSYNC in almost 2 decades! And it was…this. It’s not a bad song. It actually grew on me after a few listens (I really hated that whistle intro at first), but it never really gets better than “good”. It’s not *GREAT*, which is what I believe we were all expecting. It also didn’t help that it was a Hail Mary pass by Universal to get butts in seats for the 3rd installment in the Trolls franchise. When it was released, it seemed like this might just be the beginning, potentially leading to a full-on reunion. And then Britney’s book came out and the reunion hopes were dashed, as Justin Timberlake was once again a “controversial figure”.

11. Loreen – “Tattoo”

Sometimes my girls end up on those YouTube videos that are just compilations of “The Top 50 Songs of 2023”, even though it’s, like, February, so it’s clearly just 50 random songs with about 10 that are actual “hits”, from the year before. Well, this popped up on one of those, and I was just sort of blown away by it. I had never heard of Loreen but, wouldn’t ya know it: another Swede! And she won the Eurovision Song Contest (for the second time!) with this very song. The crescendo into the chorus – this is just such an incredible song.

10. Emeli Sandé – “How Were We To Know?”

This is one of those artists whose name I’d seen for years, but I couldn’t name a single one of her songs. This one, though, is just gorgeous. I will definitely be diving into her discography after this. It’s got that gospel tinge to it, but her voice is just so powerful, yet in an effortless sort of way.

09. Morgan Wallen – “Last Night”

Yeah, I know. Here’s how I look at it: a lot of y’all have clearly forgiven Chris Brown, so I’m gonna apply my credits toward Wallen. There are only certain folks who are still upset about Wallen’s whole controversy, but in case no one’s been paying attention, all that did was embolden his fan base. The angrier you got, the more famous they made him. It was kind of insane when you think about it. Still, this song was catchy and sort of wormed its way into my brain. It’s nowhere near his best song, but pretty soon he’ll be able to phone it in like Brad Paisley. This dude became an *ICON*, over the span of 2 years, for all the wrong reasons. Still, it’s a catchy song.

08. Fall Out Boy – “Heartbreak Feels So Good”

The mark of a great song is one that sticks with you. Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of when this single dropped, and I’ve carried it with me, for the past year, as one of my favorite songs. I just love Fall Out Boy. Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t love all Fall Out Boy. I was late to the party, hopping on with Infinity On High, which I thought was a perfect album. I tried the stuff before it, and the stuff after it, but that album was their pinnacle to me. For a while, I thought I was really just a Patrick Stump fan, but after he wrote that lackluster theme song to Spidey and His Amazing Friends, I realized I was actually a fan of the total FOB package. And this song was a great return to form for the band.

07. FIFTY FIFTY – “Cupid”

Another one I can blame on my daughters. We got in an argument because my oldest tried to say this was BlackPink and, since I know almost nothing about the K-pop craze, I didn’t know any differently. After spending a bunch of time trying to find this song, by BlackPink, I discovered it was actually by a group called FIFTY FIFTY. So, I had to explain to her that not all K-pop groups are the same, and it was a nice teachable moment. Catchy as Hell, though!

06. Miley Cyrus – “Flowers”

This song sort of started 2023 for me. Miley did her whole New Year’s Eve special with Dolly Parton, and during the show there was a TV spot for this new song dropping in days. It’s another great song, showing growth and maturity on Miley’s part, as she learns that she’s better off alone than in a bad relationship. Given her then-recent divorce from Liam Hemsworth, it’s no secret who she’s singing about here. You just can’t help but sing along with her.

05. Luke Combs – “Fast Car”

There was a time when Luke Combs had 3 different entries – in the same year – on this countdown, and this year I managed to keep it to one! I did that for YOU! Like that Snoop clip, “This muthafucka don’t miss!” Seriously, everything Combs releases goes to #1. If anyone wants to talk about an “industry plant”, I’ve had my suspicions here, as he hasn’t really had a flop yet. His success rate is somewhat unnatural. But it is what it is. Folks hate when I say this, but I never liked the original version of this song. To me, Tracy Chapman only wants me to give her one reason to stay here. We don’t talk about cars. So, Combs made me like this song. Plus, it was beneficial for both parties, as he got another huge hit – a crossover one at that – and she became the first Black woman to win Country Music Association Award for Song of the Year.

04. Taylor Swift – “Cruel Summer” 

I remember liking this song back when Lover was released, as that was probably my favorite album of 2019. So, imagine my surprise when, 4 years later, Taylor added it to her Eras Tour setlist, resulting it in getting an official release as a single. I’ve pretty much loved every Taylor release since 1989 and, while I haven’t really gotten on board with all the Taylor’s Version re-releases (or those folksy things she put out during the pandemic), it’s almost impossible for her to disappoint. I probably love this song more than I loved “Anti-Hero”, which charted higher on this countdown than “Cruel Summer”. Let’s just say there was some steep competition for the Top 3.

03. Jonas Brothers – “Waffle House”

This one sort of snuck up on me, as I never really took The Jonas Brothers seriously in the past. When they were still under Disney contracts, they always came off as The Osmonds, with their purity rings and whatnot. Plus, they weren’t “boyband” enough for me. That era had a lot of rock-tinged boybands, like Big Time Rush (another TV creation), and I just didn’t dig that sound. The Jonas boys might as well have been Hanson to me at that point. But, at some point, they grew up. And I dig their current sound. Plus, I love Waffle House, so they already knew how to grab me. The background sounds like some sort of Michael McDonalds meets Steve Winwood vibe, and I love it. Yes, this is the song that beat Taylor Swift in my mind.

02. Olivia Rodrigo – “Vampire”

I remember the first time I heard this, and wondered, “Who is THIS?!” It’s so haunting and beautiful, and I had no clue it was Olivia. We knew what she was capable of from “Driver’s License”, but this is just on a completely other level. From a songwriting perspective, I feel she has already surpassed where Taylor was at her age. Plus, the potential of the song itself is unlocked when you check out what other artists have done with it. I discovered Cimorelli because of their amazing cover of the song, which just might even be better than Olivia’s original. This is a situation where it’s the song, and not just Olivia, that got this to #2. And it was almost #1, but that ultimately went to…

01. Dax – “To Be A Man” featuring Darius Rucker

Remember back in Mortal Kombat, how there was that screen where your character would move up that column as you advanced through opponents? That’s what happened with this song. When I first started putting this list together, it slowly, but surely, fought its way from the bottom all the way to #1. Even stranger is I didn’t know this song even existed 3 months ago. A friend of mine sent it to me on TikTok, as he well knows my love of Darius Rucker. The clip was really just Rucker’s verse, so I got a feel for what he was going for, but didn’t know how it fit into the song as a whole. So, when I finally tracked down the whole thing? WOW.

Without going into specifics here, 2023 was a very hard year for me. I had to step up in a lot of ways in which I wasn’t ready, and it took a toll. This song sort of made me realize I wasn’t alone, as it delves into the expectations of men in society, and how they’re not really allowed to talk about those struggles and insecurities. Now, personally, I’ve never had too much trouble oversharing – I mean, this site used to be named after me, and was a glorified LiveJournal. However, while I never thought my issues were unique, I didn’t realize how common they actually were.

There’s that old social media joke of “Are the men OK?” whenever some sort of absurd MRA thing pops up, and the answer is “No, we aren’t.” The MRA movement is problematic because it sort of muddies things. I think this conversation is similar to those surrounding race. For example, a lot of folks feel you can’t be Pro Black without being Anti White, when that’s not true. One doesn’t take away from the other. Similarly, you can be concerned about men, without being Anti Women. Some are always going to go too far (like the MRA folks), but that shouldn’t define the entire situation. I always thought it was messed up that June was Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, because it’s also Pride. And, to compound things, Movember – where men don’t shave in November – is meant to spread awareness about prostate cancer AND men’s mental health. So, with 2 months on the calendar, the June observance is really just to throw mud at Pride, and has become something of a political boondoggle. This is why we can’t have nice things!

Anyway, this song defined 2023 for me in ways that I couldn’t ever do myself. Also, like “Vampire”, a lot of other folks have put their own spin on the song, resulting in some really rich results. In fact, there is a 10-miinute “Mega Mix” version, featuring a LOT of cameos from folks I’d never heard of (I think they come from the Christian music world), and it’s just really powerful to hear each of their contributions to the theme. So, coming as a surprise to me, it was Dax who provided my favorite song of 2023.

There you have it: my 40 favorite songs of 2023! Thanks for taking this journey with me, as this is my favorite annual post. How many of these songs made your list, and how many were new to you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and let me know if you discovered any songs that you think I should check out!