Best of 2023: EUPHORIA.’S Favorite Albums

As 2023 comes to a close, music fans are reflecting on what records impacted their year and left a big impression on them. Ahead, find all of the albums and EPs that came out over the past 12 months that have been spinning on repeat in the homes of EUPHORIA. staff.

RAYE – My 21st Century Blues

When RAYE announced she would be going independent, fans knew it was going to be good. Finally releasing her long-awaited debut album after years of being signed to a major label, the British talent finally got to shine on My 21st Century Blues. From the trip-hop-inspired “Escapism,” soulful “Worth It,” powerful ballad “Oscar Winning Tears,” to the experimental “Environmental Anxiety,” RAYE proved there was a lot more to the singer who was once boxed into making faceless dance music. — Fabio Magnocavallo

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

At the heart of Lana Del Rey’s ninth album, Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd?, is a vulnerable exploration of love, loss, and familial ties. Del Rey manages to weave her signature vocal work with both infectious trap beats and soft piano ballads, acting as a testament to her genre-bending talent. Unlike her debut work that touched on surface-level concepts, Ocean Blvd finds Del Rey cathartically delving deeper into the more poignant moments of her life that have shaped her into the artist she is today. — Anissa Sanchez

Niall Horan – The Show

The Show, Niall Horan’s third solo album; is an ode to new love and navigating anxiety. The songs on this album pivot away from the heartache and embrace the joys of falling in love and finding someone new. This album is also honest about the realities of anxiety, especially for a person transitioning into their thirties and moving forward. Horan’s authenticity as an artist shines through most in this album. — Athena Sobhan

McFly — Power to Play

On their seventh studio album, McFly proves that their dynamic as a group is stronger than ever. Power to Play is an homage to the ethos of traditional rock and roll, reflecting a plethora of their longtime influences from Metallica to Blink-182. The album sees them dipping their toes into the heavier side of the genre — previously uncharted territory for the band. Yet, seamlessly, McFly brings their flair to heavy power chords and stadium-ready anthems including “Where Did All the Guitars Go?” and “Forever’s Not Enough,” where they prove their ability to continue pushing boundaries as a collective. — Anissa Sanchez

Mitch Rowland – Come June

Mitch Rowland’s debut album, Come June, is a testament to the musical and lyrical prowess that he’s demonstrated over the years as a key collaborator for Harry Styles. He steps away from pop/rock music in favor of a more stripped-back sound that allows his lyrics and his inspirations to shine through. Rowland is a storyteller and can craft gorgeous songs that are reflective and poignant and clearly connect with listeners. — Athena Sobhan

Kelsea Ballerini –  Rolling Up The Welcome Mat (For Good)

Kelsea Ballerini’s Rolling Up The Welcome Mat (For Good) is the perfect conclusion to this chapter. An extended version of the original, brutally honest release. From the fan-favorite “Blindsided” with the additional “yeah, sure okay” verse to the new track “How Do I Do This” with a super cute music video to match, Ballerini had rolled up the welcome mat for good. This was a career-defining project for the singer-songwriter and we can’t wait to see her break even more records. — Danielle Taylor

Olivia Rodrigo – Guts

Olivia Rodrigo took the world by storm with her debut studio album Sour in 2021, but it’s her sophomore album Guts that solidifies her staying power. More mature than its predecessor, Guts explores the transition from teenagehood to adulthood and all the complexities that come with it across 12 different tracks. The songs on Guts range from reflective ballads to powerful pop-rock anthems, displaying the complexity of Rodrigo’s emotions and her worldview. While more somber than popular singles “Get Him Back!” and “Vampire,” the song “Making the Bed” captures Rodrigo’s talent of making introspection relatable with the lyrics, “And I tell someone I love them just as a distraction / They tell me that they love me like I’m some tourist attraction / They’re changin’ my machinery and I just let it happen / I got the things I wanted, it’s just not what I imagined.” Guts stands out not only for Rodrigo’s musical growth but also for its ability to universally connect, making it one of the most memorable albums of 2023. — Eryn Murphy

CANNONS – Heartbeat Highway

Off the heels of an incredible 2023 for CANNONS, Heartbeat Highway pulls inspiration from the band’s incredible success and their love for their fans. In an interview with EUPHORIA. about the album, lead singer Michelle Joy explained that “Heartbeat Highway ties our experience to the way that people like to listen to our music. It’s the idea that you’re not sure when you’re gonna see each other again, but like we will have this last night together to hang out and it feels like an anthem for that special relationship.” The album is fun and joyful and the perfect driving companion. — Athena Sobhan

Jimin – FACE

FACE is Jimin’s first official solo studio album, and it accomplishes exactly what a debut album should, introduce Jimin as a solo artist. While longtime fans might already know of Jimin’s singing, songwriting, and dancing talents from his work in BTS, FACE feels like a reintroduction. Through the six tracks on the album’s standard version, FACE gives listeners a peek at Jimin’s emotions from the COVID-19 pandemic and tells a story from start to finish. While totally different sounds, tracks “Like Crazy” and “Alone” prove to be album highlights. The synth-pop single “Like Crazy” has a catchy hook and evokes a dazed happiness with a touch of sadness, perfectly leading into the R&B track “Alone,” an introspective look at loneliness and isolation. As a debut album, FACE hints that there is more for Jimin to explore and that the Korean singer has only just scratched the surface. — Eryn Murphy

Boygenius – The Record

The debut studio album for indie rock trio Boygenius, The Record, is a cohesive body of work that also allows each member’s songwriting abilities to shine through. The album highlights the individual and collective experiences of each member in a way that feels like second nature. But at the core, the album is a reminder of how formative friendships are in a person’s life and the importance of cherishing and nurturing those relationships. — Athena Sobhan

Mahalia – IRL

Nearly four years following her stellar debut album, LOVE AND COMPROMISE, British singer Mahalia returned with IRL and proved that she was stronger than ever. Recognizing the magic of collaboration, Mahalia recruited the likes of JoJo, Stormzy, and Kojey Radical to create some of 2023’s most noteworthy team-ups. From the reflective album opener “Ready” down to the album title track, Mahalia solidified herself as one of the UK’s best storytellers who deserves all the mentions. — Fabio Magnocavallo