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Gauntlet staff picks for best albums of 2023

By Valery Perez, Sylvia Lopez, Ramiro Bustamante Torres, Ansharah Shakil, Dianne Miranda and Daman Singh, December 23 2023—

Drop Cherries — Billie Marten

Intricate layers of angelic melodies, intriguing progressions, and soothing percussion all lead to an amazing album. I had the pleasure of watching her perform some of these songs live this year, and I’m glad to say she sounds like the recordings live. It gets so overplayed in my home, it has become a mantra. If you’re looking to get your sad girl era started, or are a veteran looking to add to your sad collection, this is the album for you. 10/10 love.

–Valery Perez

GUTS — Olivia Rodrigo 

Olivia Rodgrio is an expert at including nostalgia and relatability in her music, and GUTS is the perfect album for people merging into adulthood. This album resonates with me due to the pop-rock melodies that remind me of an Avril Lavigne album and my childhood in the 2000s, as well as her storytelling and catchy lyrics that hold so much meaning. This album goes from pop-rock tunes about teenhood to the melodious songs about growing up, and learning how to mature while still being young at heart. GUTS made me realize that I’m not alone when it comes to overthinking and dealing with hardships that feel like an eternity, and this album made Olivia Rodgrio one of my favourite artists to listen to.

–Sylvia Lopez

The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We — Mitski

After Laurel Hell, I thought I would have time to digest it. Mitski had other plans and surprised me with an album that unfurled stories in my mind. Characters that I would have never thought of would dance in my mind to the tune of her songs while hearing soft crying around me. While I’m no longer in the same headspace as when I used to listen to Mitski, I can say with my whole chest that “Heaven” deserves to be seven minutes at least.

–Ramiro Bustamante Torres

This is Why — Paramore 

When Paramore released This is Why, five years after their last album, I remember vividly staying up late at night to listen to it, and it held up to all my wary expectations. Every Paramore album tells a cohesive, bold story, evolving genre-wise each time while still remaining a love letter to their past records. This is Why is no different. It’s a complete work of art. There’s a maturity and polish to the album as a whole, and everything feels intentional. I had half the songs on repeat for half the year, and I’m still addicted to the ruefully relatable lyrics, well-crafted production and Williams’s captivating vocals.

–Ansharah Shakil

Javelin — Sufjan Stevens 

With so many albums that came out this year such as the record by boygenius, Unreal Unearth by Hozier, To Learn by Leith Ross, The Land is Inhospitable And So Are We by Mitski, PetroDragonic Apocalypse[…] by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizzard and more, it is incredibly difficult to choose the best album of the year. There was one album that stood out to me because of the intimacy in each song of love and devotion. Javelin by Sufjan Stevens, with its exploration of an ever expanding definition of love made me reflect on despite this year bringing a number of challenges, what stuck out to me is the over-pouring  love I had received and the over-pouring love I have to give. This album is a wonderful reminder to look at the brighter side of everything. 

–Dianne Miranda

Census Designated — Jane Remover

Three albums in and two micro genres to her name,  Jane Remover gave us a sophomore album that goes to show that she is only getting better. The long compositions on the album leave you yearning with her, for her.  Census Designated finds her in fever dream blend of shoegaze and bedroom pop with lush soundscapes showcasing her production abilities to her best. For every deafening blast of sculpted layers, there’s a quiet moment to sober up with her apologetic dreamy vocals.

–Daman Singh

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