The best songs and albums of 2023: Official Charts staff picks

Team Official Charts share their favourite releases of the past 12 months
Best songs of 2023

As the curtain falls on 2023, we're feeling all reflective here at Official Charts HQ.

After a year that's seen a staggering 45 Official Number 1 albums and its fair share of record-breaking hit singles, it's probably about time we told you our favourites.

So, if you're looking for recommendations (we're a bunch of eclectic taste, if we do say so ourselves), we reveal the songs and albums that've shaped our 2023.

Martin Talbot - Chief Executive Officer

Martin Talbot Staff Picks

Complete Mountain Almanac - Complete Mountain Almanac

When the Dessner family come together this Christmas, they will surely wonder how this album didn’t reach a much, much bigger audience – and quite rightly. Created by Swedish poet Rebekka Karijord along with Jessica Dessner (and supported by brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner, the Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran collaborators and full-time members of The National), this beguiling, folk-chamber has been a turntable fixture since its release in late January.

Comprising 12 tracks (one for each month of the year, from January through to December) it offers an emotional reflection on the breakdown of planet and body. Just the most beautiful record.

Anna Erhard - 170

This track by the Berlin singer-songwriter was playlisted by 6 Music in November and quickly ignited that traditional journey from discovery to engagement - having checked out the parent album Campsite on Spotify, I managed to grab a £10 ticket on a whim, saw her at the Grace (in Islington) the following night and invested in her album from the merch stall.

If you are looking for touch points, think Elastica meets Wet Leg via Courtney Barnett and you can’t go far wrong. With a new album due soon, there should be a lot more to come from Erhard.

Lauren Kreisler - Director of Brand & Digital

Lauren Kreisler Staff Picks

Romy - Mid Air

I’ve absolutely hammered this one in 2023! The debut solo album from The xx’s Romy, with production from Stuart Price, Jamie xx and Fred Again…I immediately fell in love from the first listen.

A dance-pop record influenced by the likes of Everything But The Girl and woven together with Romy’s translucent vocals, it was written as a love letter to the queer clubs she frequented growing up. 

Chart-wise, it flew under the radar somewhat (Number 15), but it definitely deserves a closer look. Every track is beautiful, and the quality doesn’t peter out either; my two favourites - Enjoy Your Life and She’s On My Mind - are tucked right at end of the album.

Skindred - Gimme That Boom

In one of the best Albums Chart races of the year back in August, Newport metal kings Skindred just missed out on the Number 1 album by a mere 150 (!) copies with their album Smile. We were sweating for them here at Official Charts HQ. Still, they bagged a huge new personal best out of it, their first Top 5, and in their 25th anniversary year too.

Lead single Gimme That Boom has been on repeat for me ever since (it technically came out at the end of 2022 so I’m taking some artistic licence here…)

A cerebral boundary-pushing masterpiece? Nope. 

A fun smack-you-round-the-face energiser that gets your sorry ass up off the couch and out for a run? 100%!

MORE: The Official Top 40 biggest songs of 2023 revealed

George Griffiths - Staff Writer

George Griffiths Staff Picks

Slayyyter - STARF*CKER

Slayyyter’s ambitious second album tells you all you need to know with its provocative title; this is a record about celebrity, sex and excess under the allure of the Hollywood sign.

Slayyyter may have emerged from the distortion of hyper-pop, but she’s worked hard to evolve and STARF*CKER pays tribute to this by feigning to the pop greats. Miss Belladonna is as gloriously dramatic as any cut from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, while stand-out single Out Of Time sounds like Dua Lipa by way of Carly Rae Jepsen. Bold and cohesive, it’s a revelatory statement from a singer whose ready to play in the big leagues.

Lana Del Rey - A&W

A&W, the majestic centerpiece of Lana’s seventh album Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd., manages to tell the story of an entire life in seven minutes. Gleefully hopping from morose folk-pop into a teeth-shattering trap beat, Lana chalks up her resentment around being misunderstood, as both an artist and a woman. Much of Did you… contained insular, self-analytical songwriting, and on A&W, the greatest lyricist of her generation turns all that ire and criticism inward. ‘It’s not about having someone to love me anymore,’ Lana states, and she means it. She is, finally, happy with being exactly who she is.

Carl Smith - Editor

carl staff picks


Finally, the return of the Proper Pop Star™. While Tate's 2022 debut i used to think i could fly saw her navigate teenage angst, THINK LATER re-introduces the Canadian singer-songwriter as an assertive and unapologetic young woman; all with a lick of early noughties nostalgia.

With the likes of Ryan Tedder, SZA's SOS associate Rob Bisel, Savan Kotecha and frequent Ariana Grande collaborator ILYA across the record, THINK LATER showcases a major step-up for Tate soncially. Here, Tate shapes a strong artistic identity underpinned by some Timbaland-inspired, trap-pop production.

My favourite tracks on the record (aside from greedy and exes, obviously)? cut my hair, we're not alike and run for the hills.

Jung Kook ft. Latto - Seven

Not only the song of 2023 for me, but a defining pop moment of the year. If you’d have told me that BTS’s Jung Kook would lean into early noughties UK garage for his debut solo single, I’d have eaten my light stick. But, back in July, JK used the unlikely touchpoint of Craig David’s turn of the millennium smash 7 Days to inspire his very own Seven.

Shedding any squeaky-clean status he might’ve been stamped with in BTS (‘night after night, I’ll be f*ckin’ you right…’), this Latto team-up established Jung Kook as a solo artist dripping in star quality. And one in a rather unique space, too; his mastery of the English language bringing palatable K-pop to new audiences via the mainstream.

It’s no surprise Seven made UK chart history on its release; seeing Jung Kook claim the highest-charting debut for a solo Korean act ever on the Official Singles Chart, entering at Number 3.

Helen Ainsley - Senior Marketing & Communications Coordinator 

helen staff picks

The Maine - The Maine

The self-titled ninth album from one of my favourite bands has been on non-stop since it was released. The way their sound has evolved since the very early days is so satisfying, and The Maine – a nostalgic rock album with a tasty sprinkling of poppy '80s influences – contains so many incredible tracks and attention-grabbing moments. Bouncy lead track blame, the mood i’m in / jsyk, and thoughts I have while lying in bed are personal highlights, but the entire tracklist is stellar. I’ve spent quite literally half my life listening to this group and they have yet to disappoint.

Libianca - People

Technically this was released in December 2022 but, let’s be honest, it’s a defining track of 2023. People was an absolute moment for Libianca; the way this beautiful song resonated with the nation sent it to the top of the Official Afrobeats Chart for three straight months, peaked at Number 2 on the Official Singles Chart and truly helped to kick off another great year for Afrobeats artists.

MORE: 100 iconic songs turning 20 in 2024

Chris Austin - Operations Director

chris staff picks

Olivia Rodrigo - GUTS

Thanks to my daughter, this is my most listened to album of 2023. The always difficult second album from Olivia is a great follow up to Sour, and packed full of big tunes. vampire hit the top spot of the Official Singles Chart in the summer, but honourable mention goes to the rock-inspired ballad of a homeschooled girl

Nothing But Thieves - Welcome to the DCC

An instant earworm and my track of the year as soon as I heard it in March. With influences as far ranging as Stevie Nicks to Daft Punk, this 80s dance sounding track from a contemporary rock band is outstanding. A travesty it only just made the Official Top 100 Singles Chart (Number 97).

Ryan Draper - Operations Manager

Ryan staff picks

Kesha - Gag Order

Experimental, raw, spiritual, cathartic, even macabre in some parts but an absolutely fantastic ride from start to finish. Her voice has never sounded stronger or more brittle. Party dollar sign girl has truly left the building.

Christine and the Queens ft. 070 Shake - True love

‘You’re making me forget my mother’ has to be one of the most devastatingly-hopeful lines in recent pop music history.

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I want to leave a couple of my Picks here from Artists that have escaped the public's attention.

Album: Alika by Alika. Alika was Estonia's eurovision entry this year, and released her debut album in the autumn. The album is an eclectic mix of excellent tracks and has become my absolute favourite album of the year. The songs are a mix of English, Estonian, Ukranian and Russian, with a wee bit of French thrown in for good measure.  The song 'You' was my most played song this year.

EP: Introverted Extrovert by Bea and Her Business. Bea delivers five standout tracks that bring out the best of the personality of this young singer. Bea does a lot of covers on her social media channels, but her originals are excellent and deserve a wider audience. All The Boys is the song that led me to discover her music in the first place. One sassy artist.