MMM Staff Picks: Douglas Dahlström’s Most Anticipated Releases of 2023
Ever since I started to report regularly about new albums back in 2019, we’ve been graced with four great years for music with masterpieces such as Lana Del Rey’s Norman F*cking Rockwell!, Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising, Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters, Little Simz’ Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, and Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE gracing our ears. Below is my top ten list of what to possibly get excited for in 2023!
#10. boygenius – The Record — To Be Released: March 31st
Photo Credit: Harrison Whitford
Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus are back as boygenius, the hottest power trio in music since the recently departed David Crosby teamed up with Graham Nash, and Stephen Stills teamed up in 1969. They have already released three equally stunning singles, Phoebe’s “Emily I’m Sorry” returning to her hazy, terrific, fractured acoustic “Garden Song”-style, while Lucy’s sweeping “True Blue” could have been on her latest record, 2021’s Home Video. But Baker’s punchy, desperate “$20” is stealing the show. “Run out of gas, out of time, out of money // You’re doing what you can, just making it run,” pretty much describes how most people are living their lives. “May I please have 20 dollars,” she begs. I’m begging for about 20 more, so I can pre-order their first LP.
#9. Lana Del Rey – Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd — To Be Released: March 24th
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Interscope Records
Lana is seemingly stuck in her Laurel Canyon era, but as long as she’s keeping the level of quality as high as on the pre-released title track-single, I can stand that. “Love me until I love myself,” she pleads, while sounding more majestic and up in the blue than ever before. And man, can she sing!
#8. Paramore – This Is Why — To Be Released: February 10th
I never cared much for Paramore until I heard this slaying title track of their long-awaited upcoming album. Then I decided to revisit their older material and figured that both 2017’s After Laugher and Hayley Williams’ 2020 solo project Petals for Armor do have some real pop-rock bangers (“Hard Times” and “Dead Horse,” for instance). Sure, “C’est Comme Ca” and “The News” aren’t quite as instantly infectious as the lead single, but they’re doing a great job of matching the energy. This Is Why could very well turn out to be Paramore’s magnum opus.
#7. Arlo Parks – My Soft Machine — To Be Released: May 26th
Photo Credit: Alexandra Waespi
Her stunning debut album, 2020’s Collapsed in Sunbeams was one of my favorite indie records of that year, fusing beat poetry with bedroom pop melodies and SAULT-like British soul. The pre-released “Weightless” takes her music in a synth-ier direction with distinct traces of U.K. hip-hop. It will be exciting to see whether those flirtations will be fully explored on her upcoming, second album.
#6. Olivia Rodrigo — Title and Release Date: TBA
Photo Credit: Press
2021’s teen star sensation promised her fans new music in 2023, jokingly telling ELLE that she “hopefully won’t be as sad” this time around. So, while SOUR was an entire album dedicated to broken teenage hearts, her new album might see her exploring her musical talents further.
#5. Dua Lipa — Title and Release Date: TBA
Photo Credit: Hugo Comte
Dua Lipa regained my hope in pop music with her magnificent Future Nostalgia. As she’s set to name-drop her upcoming third album, a further focus has been put into the songwriting and story-telling, arguably the weakest point of her previous work. At the same time, let’s not hope that’s taking anything away from incredible bops like “Don’t Start Now,” “Physical,” “Break My Heart,” and “Levitating.”
#4. Rihanna — Title and Release Date: TBA
Photo Credit: Press via Apple Music
Talking about pop music, Rihanna is set to come back with a brand new album in 2023. I was never the biggest fan of the Barbadian singer’s work – in fact, “Work” and “Don’t Stop the Music” pales terrible in comparison with the much groovier pop work of contemporary pop singers like Ariana Grande and Dua Lipa, but it will definitely be interesting to find out whether having a baby, enduring the pandemic and her relationship with A$AP Rocky – who’s also releasing a much-anticipated album in 2023 – will provide her with something interesting to say.
#3. Wet Leg — Title and Release Date: TBA
Photo Credit: Hollie Fernando
According to singer Rhian Teasdale, the second Wet Leg album will be “like the last one, but longer, bigger, better, faster, stronger, and more fluorescent.” Anyone who’s followed my writing knows how much I’m in love with their debut album, so you can imagine how much I’m worrying about it being a sophomore slump. Like Lennon said, “Don’t Let Me Down.”
#2. The National – First Two Pages of Frankenstein — To Be Released: April 28th
Photo Credit: Josh Goleman
The National is one of few major indie groups that I actually have a very limited knowledge of, which is embarrassing to admit considering albums like 2007’s Boxer, 2010’s High Violet, 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me, and 2017’s Sleep Well Beast are all considered modern indie classics. Guess I have some homework to do; First Two Pages of Frankenstein, their ninth album and first in four years is scheduled to be released on April 28, featuring guest appearances from Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers, and Taylor Swift.
#1. Sparks – The Girl Is Crying in Her Latte — To Be Released: April 28th
Photo Credit: Munachi Osegbu
Returning to Island Records, the label on which they released their undisputed masterpiece Kimono My House (1974), for their 26th studio album, the Sparks brothers consisting of Ron and Russell Mael are back after their critically acclaimed A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip and after receiving a César Award for Best Original Music for the Leos Carax musical film Annette. It’s always hard to know what to expect from a Sparks album – their hit-or-miss factor is pretty high – but you’re guaranteed an inspired experience, and with a title like this it just can’t go wrong.