20 Songs I’m Loving in 2023: An Updated Playlist Tour

My Spotify profile is a mess. Each week, I’ll craft multiple playlists with songs from a pre-existing list. I’ll dump a bunch of songs I heard once on a playlist that’s supposed to be heavily curated. I’ll go back and delete songs because I wasn’t in the mood to hear them that day, and then remember they exist a month later and add them back. One thing stays consistent, though. My playlist of the year. I make one playlist usually toward the end of the previous year, that anticipates and sets the tone for my listening habits over the next 12 months. It also winds up being the dump-bin for every song I come across.

Last year, I posted a list of recommendations of newly released music, out of my own enjoyment and love of sharing. This year’s playlist has taken many twists and turns, but almost 5 months into 2023, I can confidently say that it’s found its feet. Have a listen while you read.

Soptify: Songs I’m Loving

My listening habits differ vaguely this year than they have in the past – I’ve been actively searching for new artists to listen to, and committing to listening to more than just one song of theirs. In the past, I’ve stuck with the artists I’ve always loved, and impatiently awaited new releases, only to become inevitably underwhelmed and disappointed after years of anticipation (not you Lorde, I wasn’t talking about you!). Most of these songs are fairly feminine, mellow and autumn-y, so take that as you will. Whether you’re into that sort of thing or not, I suggest you take my suggestions on board. Surely one of these 20 songs will make it on to your affectionately titled vibes playlist!

20 Songs I’m Loving Lately

Crush by Ethel Cain

I hate to admit this, but I found this song on TikTok. It was a fairly cringe attempt at a thirst-trap from an account with like, 6 followers. But the For You page really came through for me that day. Naturally, I listened to this song and only this song for a week, and expected to get sick of it, but never did.

Eventually, I got around to listening to Ethel Cain’s wider discography, and looked into the lore behind her album, ‘Preacher’s Daughter.’ I love a concept album more than life itself, so this ‘made up character from the bible belt who finds herself whisked away and cannibalised to the most beautiful and intricate soundtrack imaginable? Perfect. I highly recommend not only her entire body of work, but the research behind it as well. You can’t listen to this album right if you don’t have genius lyrics up beside it. I am utterly obsessed with everything she’s ever done, and extremely excited to see her perform in June. I will be a complete menace about it, but can you blame me?

Good Thing by Maple Glider

I watched the Stan series ‘Bump’ with my mum when I was home over Christmas last year. I adored the entire show, but the soundtrack was fantastic on its own. This song is great to listen to before you go to sleep, or if you’re driving home after a stressful day, or in any situation really.

Ride the Dragon by FKA Twigs

This is nauseatingly catchy, so listen at your own risk. It’s cheeky, feminine, experimental and fun (like most of FKA Twigs’ work, honestly). It also makes great lawn-mowing music, for anyone wondering.

Come Over and Love Me by Love Spells

I think this song popped up as a recommendation for a playlist I was making, and Spotify doesn’t always hit the nail on the head with that sort of thing, but in this case, I solemnly concede. It’s dreamy, calm, happy and sad. It’s great for any mood I’m in, so long as that mood isn’t like race car driving or something.

Sleeping With the Lights On by Searows

A few weeks ago, the aforementioned Ethel Cain made this Tweet:

Post Content Tweet Ethel Cain I Love Searows
Image: Ethel Cain Tweet 2023

And so do I. 

I heard “Used To Be Friends” a few months ago, and it destroyed me in the best way possible. His voice completely captivated me, and the production style was so simple, yet effective. I eventually listened to his album, Guard Dog, and this was my revised favourite track (I will probably change my verdict because every track is great).

Coolest Fucking Bitch In Town by Haley Blais

Aside from the very Manic-Pixie-Dream title, this is one of those songs that’s written to feel exactly like the experience it’s about. I love a ‘no metaphors, all statements, stream-of-thoughts about an average situation’ type of lyricism. If you like Phoebe Bridgers, you’ll like this, trust me. It also has a very steady, understated lift to the song that I love.

Interstate by Big Thief

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in other blog posts throughout history, Masterpiece is one of my most coveted and dearly loved albums. Of course, like many others, I consider Adrienne Lenker to be the lyricist of a generation – especially if by ‘generation’, I mean, my sleeping playlists. This song has resonated more closely with me these past few months than others on that record, but Vegas is a close second.

True Blue by boygenius

The Record by boygenius is the indisputable release of the year for me. The trio from sadgirl heaven, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, have described it as being “born through friendship, about friendship” and I adore that. This song has been making me happy cry since they released it as a single back in February.

Moves by Suki Waterhouse

This song came on the Spotify radio that followed up my “Driving Home For Easter” playlist, and I swear it altered my brain chemistry about 45 seconds in. I must have replayed it for 40 minutes, driving through the mountains, and my obsession did not subside on arrival home. Suki Waterhouse’s music is so far up my alley, but nothing hits like this song for me.

Boyhood by The Japanese House

I heard ‘Saw You In A Dream’ by The Japanese House when I was 16 or 17, and have been deeply in love with everything they’ve made since. This is their latest release, and as someone who listened to their music through some of the most transformative and significant parts of my transition from teenager to barely adult, this song feels like closure to their older work. It’s reflective, reassuring, and it’s easy listening in the most complimentary way possible.

ICU by Phoebe Bridgers

After seeing Phoebe perform in Sydney this February, I significantly reduced my intake of her solo work. Naturally, boygenius is enough Phoebe to keep me fed. But this song has stayed consistent in my listening habits. She explained on the night that she wrote it about her former lover and current bandmate, Marshall Vore, and that made some lyrics make sense (i.e. “I can’t even get you to play the drums”), but I really can’t look past the humour of a line like “I hate your mum” in a song so solemn.

Tomb of the Prince by Ellen Soffe

One thing about me is I’m a “Stole my Dad’s taste in music” girlie. He sent me this song a few months ago, and hit the nail on the head – it’s so soothing and sentimental. I love how all the instruments seem like they’re given equal treatment. There’s no statement piece, no standout lyric, no demanding guitar solo. In the best way, it’s just a nice song, plain and simple.

Cowboy Gangster Politician by Goldie Boutilier

Almost-country deep-south pop is of course a bit of a recurring theme in this year’s playlist so far. I came from the title, and stayed for the Stevie Nicks, Silver Springs vibe. Goldie Boutilier doesn’t have a lot of music available on Spotify, but I recommend listening to this EP and searching her up on SoundCloud if you’re desperate like I am.

Feather by Sabrina Carpenter

Last year, when Sabrina Carpenter put ‘emails I can’t send’ out, I didn’t know that the perfect pop record existed. I must have listened to that release 2000 times in the weeks following. Then, out of the blue, a month or so ago, the absolute angel dropped the deluxe version out of nowhere. This was the most disco-pop bonus track there. Listen to it and try not to have a little boogie, I dare you.

Home Team by Indigo De Souza

A friend recommended De Souza’s album “I Love My Mom” to me, and honestly I think I put every single song on my playlist. It’s cheeky, resentful, precious and genuine. I firmly recommend every one of this artist’s releases.

Liquid Love by Billie Marten

Billie Marten has very recently started piling into my playlists – her work, or what I’ve heard of it so far, is music for the love of music. It’s not trying to be anything other than what it is, and it reads genuine and sweet regardless of topic matter. It seems like a celebration of life at it’s simplest, and I eat that up. This one reminds me of a more sunny ‘Wet’ song. I highly, highly recommend I Can’t Get My Head Around You, Mice and Nothing But Mine.

Any Way You Want Me by BROCKHAMPTON

I love Brockhampton, no matter how many times they claim to disband and then drop yet another record. The one they put out this year, “The Family”, was surprisingly mellow and sincere in parts. Kevin Abstract is my favourite member, and this song is playful and sweet and cool in a way that only he could voice.

Bet She Looks Like You by Nick Hakim

Nick Hakim released the record that this song is on back in ye old 2017, Green Twins, is one of my most favourite and most gate kept albums in all of existence. A little while ago, I gracefully swallowed my pride and recommended it to a friend. This was one of her favourite tracks on the album, and it’s probably the song I’ve listened to least on there. So naturally I reconsidered, and of course, it’s splendid. We learn and grow. Nature is healing, so forth.

Fucking Married by Harriette

One of Harriette’s songs, ‘At Least I’m Pretty’, finished up second or third in my Spotify Wrapped last year, and admittedly, I hadn’t really heard anything else she’d made. I don’t remember how I came across this song, but I like how cheeky it is. It’s a little spiteful, but it’s sweet too, and the lyrical arrangement is rather clever. Also, it’s my birthday next week so the line “I’m so cute, I’m 22” really resonates.

Love It If We Made It by Rina Sawayama

This song was also an auto-add to my driving home playlist, but I swear I just about squealed when I heard it. It’s a cover of the 1975 song by the same name, except it’s about 75% more fun. I’d listened to a few other songs on Rina Sawayama’s self-titled 2020 album (namely, Bad Friend took up rent-free sole residence of my frontal lobe for about two weeks after I heard it), but the production on this really gripped me by the ear and dragged me across the schoolyard.