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idobi Radio Presents: Best Albums Of 2023 Vol. 2

Greatest Albums of 2023 Vol. 2
[Waterparks, The Aces, The Maine, Honey Revenge]

‘Tis that season for us to collectively reflect on the masterful, put-it-on-repeat albums that have dropped this year. In a year brimming with exceptional releases, sifting through the best albums of 2023 proved to be a delightful challenge for the idobi Radio team. When we initially tried to narrow our favorite albums down to 23 to correspond with 2023, it proved absolutely impossible. So we took off the restraints and, ahem, opened up that pit! Welcome to the Best Albums Of 2023 Vol. 2.

We opted for a celebration of equality, bestowing each album with its due praise for a collection of 3 Volumes of new albums we loved in 2023. It’s also important to note that this compilation excludes EPs and reimagined albums—those releases deserve a spotlight of their own (stay tuned for that!). Without further ado, delve into Volume 2 of the best albums from 2023 below!


Released: April 14, 2023

By now, you should know to expect the unexpected when it comes to Waterparks. Responsible for some of the most forward-thinking and fizzy pop-punk this side of the last decade, Awsten, Geoff, and Otto are always one step ahead of the baying pack. However, when it came to the vibrant red that runs through INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, who could have predicted their most streamlined, clean-cu, and direct collection of songs to date? The likes of “FUCK ABOUT IT” and “FUNERAL GREY” express the thrills and spills of falling in and out of love with a bump, whilst “SELF-SABOTAGE” and “BRAINWASHED” flawlessly executes the feeling of being your own worst enemy when it comes to what goes on in your head.

That’s not to say there wasn’t still room for chaos, with “RITUAL” pummelling you around the chops with strobe light intensity and “STARF*CKER” making you feel like there is more at play here than meets the eyes. It all mashes together as a record that deserves to be heard through every radio in the country whilst still remaining quintessential and fantastically Waterparks. —Jack Rogers

Why Would I Watch — Hot Mulligan

Released: May 12, 2023

Number one hot, new band Hot Mulligan gets vulnerable and sentimental with Why Would I Watch. The explosive album is raw, real, and represents darker themes of trauma, growing up, and regret that still strings fans into a line of relatability. While they’ve stayed true to their style with gut-wrenching screams and, at times, devastating lyricism, this release demonstrates their development as an act. Songs like “Betty” and “Smahccked My Head Awf” tap into an emotional service of the heart to remind listeners that we can feel the desolating emotions that life brings and that you will, in fact, be fine even as the world watches. —Lizzie Baumgartner

Take Me Back To Eden — Sleep Token

Released: May 19, 2023

Despite the fact they have played their mysterious trade for well over 7 years at this point, 2023 was the year that Sleep Token went from metal’s best-kept secret to a genuine worldwide sensation. Starting the year by drip-feeding offerings that would later become clear belonged on their third full-length, they became a fresh point of contention within a scene—one that often rests on its laurels too hard—almost overnight. And there is good reason because the sheer quality of craftsmanship that appears on Take Me Back To Eden is so fabulously evident. “The Summoning” is savage and sensual in equal astonishing measures, “Ascensionism” is seven minutes of Heaven-sent harmony, and “Aqua Regia” is blissful and bubbling alt-pop for the ages.

Whether you stand on the love or loathe side of the fence, denying the spell Sleep Token cast over the scene is impossible. Take Me Back To Eden will continue to surprise, delight, and conjure strong feelings for years to come, and that’s the sort of band that is so necessary in this day and age. Transcending their boundless sound and becoming a genuine moment in heavy music history, whatever comes next will be just as fascinating. —Jack Rogers

Toxic Positivity — The Used

Released: May 19, 2023

Channeling their uncanny ability to delve into the tumultuous landscape of mental health struggles, The Used unleashed their ninth studio album, Toxic Positivity, a poignant exploration of the seemingly endless conveyor belt of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and more. Within this sonic expedition, the band confronts the complexities of the human psyche, offering a raw and relatable narrative that resonates with the collective struggle.

The album opens with the visceral impact of “The Worst I’ve Ever Been,” in which vocalist Bert McCracken‘s familiar aggression intertwines with existential messages, setting the tone for the follow-up shriek-inducing and monstrous display of “Numb.” The second track propels the listener into a maelstrom of emotions, with McCracken’s pointed lines, “Me and my head are enemies/I’m tired of fighting everything,” encapsulating the all-consuming battles within. The crescendo of the album unfolds across the closing track, “Giving Up,” a sonic journey that refuses to succumb to the voices echoing within. 

As The Used seamlessly weaves elements of emo, alternative, punk, and more, they craft a spellbinding collection that transcends genre yet slots exquisitely into their storied discography. At its core, Toxic Positivity radiates an unwavering hope, a resilient heartbeat pulsating through each track. While fans will always hold In Love And Death near and dear as they were introduced to the concept of music channeling their deepest internal battles, Toxic Positivity acts as the older sibling to their sophomore album, drawing on similar emotional sentiments with a maturity only found through experience and the will to survive. —Paige Owens

Freak Of Nature — Heart Attack Man

Released: May 26, 2023

Their first independent release, Heart Attack Man somehow managed to one-up themselves with their third studio album, Freak of Nature. A band that simply gives no fucks about their public perception, they are genuine in their stories and aren’t afraid to write about uncomfortable topics. They say the things that other artists are hesitant to highlight and do it with their full chest. This album is all about embracing the weird and brandishing your differences like a weapon. It is an anthem for the outcasts, celebrating the beauty of feeling out of place and thriving in that sentiment. Heart Attack Man is loud, often angry, and in your face with their narratives and delivery.

Like A Kennedy,” “Stick Up,” and the title track are arguably the stand-out songs on the record. They are clever and cheeky not just in their music but in their presentation across the board. Upon first listen, the album is certainly catchy and fun, but giving it the credit it deserves, Freak Of Nature is extremely intelligent and brilliantly sharp. Watching this band grow over the years has been a gift, and we can’t wait to see what they do next. —Tate Logan

I’ve Loved You For So Long — The Aces

Released: June 2, 2023

When The Aces launched the bouncy single “Always Get This Way” on February 17, it was clear that the indie-pop quartet’s new era would be one for the books. Their third album, I’ve Loved You For So Long via Redbull Records, combines the electricity of their debut, When My Heart Felt Volcanic, with the maturity and melancholy of 2020’s Under My Influence. The Aces have always been a strong voice for queer people in the industry as well as fans.

ILYFSL sees lead singer Cristal Ramirez at her most vulnerable, as the album was recorded during a time of non-stop panic attacks. From highlighting life trapped inside the mold of their small Utah town in “Suburban Blues” all the way to musings on adolescent queer love in the surf rock single “Girls Make Me Wanna Die,” The Aces will tug at your heartstrings and make every listener feel both seen and heard. —Maria Serra

RETROVISION — Honey Revenge

Released: June 23, 2023

If you haven’t heard of Honey Revenge, then it’s time to take notes. The pastel pop-rock band is known for its unique blend of nostalgic melodies and fiercely relatable lyrics. From the pain of feeling forgotten in “Sensitive” to the playfully self-deprecating lyrics of “Airhead,” Honey Revenge’s RETROVISION takes listeners on a journey of self-discovery. That is the path to embracing themselves wholeheartedly, flaws and all. RETROVISION is the quintessential soundtrack of our 20s and reminds us that living life to the fullest is the sweetest revenge. And when we make mistakes, it’s okay to brush ourselves off, have a good laugh, and move on to the next challenge. In the words of their sparkling frontwoman, Dev Papadol, “I’m in it for the long haul/I’m in it for the ride.” —Maggie Schneider

Suicide And Sunshine — Trophy Eyes

Released: June 23, 2023

Throughout their frenzied story, Trophy Eyes have always worn their battered and bruised hearts on their sleeves. From the heart-wrenching intensity of 2016’s Chemical Miracle to the joyous ecstasy of 2018’s The American Dream, every step has been placed with passion, power, and potency. The depths of devastation and heights of euphoria that they plummet to and reach for on Suicide And Sunshine are at a whole new level. “Blue Eyed Boy” is the most sensationally shimmering song written about losing a loved one you will ever hear. While “Life In Slow Motion” is a pristine reminder of making every second count, and it’s proven impossible to listen to the beautifully brutal “Sean” without your eyes welling up and needing a quiet moment.

The sheer rawness of what is displayed across these life-affirming and soul-crushing anthems is something to behold. Leaving no stone unturned and no sentiment unsaid, Trophy Eyes delivered yet another vital and volatile masterstroke, one that will enrich as many lives as it saves. Jack Rogers

Negative Energy — VEXED

Released: June 23, 2023

This record built on everything that made their debut album, Culling Culture, so great and made it even better. As visceral and pissed off as ever, vocalist Megan Targett has another outstanding performance throughout and has cemented herself as one of the best in the genre. Add this awesomeness on top of some disgustingly heavy riffs and breakdowns throughout, this record is a must-listen for any heavy music fan. —Patrick Walford

The Maine — The Maine

Released: August 1, 2023

It’s about time that The Maine delivered a stellar, all-encompassing self-titled record. It’s clear that John O’Callaghan, Kennedy Brock, Garrett Nickelsen, Jared Monaco, and Pat Kirch have grown as much in their sonics and songwriting as they have with their dedicated 8123 fan base. From 2008’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop to 2023’s The Maine, the band has produced nothing but alternative hits spanning sub-genres of pop-punk, emo, indie rock, and more. Tracks such as “blame,” and “dose no. 2” are ethereal disco dance tracks juxtaposed with the slow love song “funny how?” are the clear culmination of love for fans who are young and young at heart, all of whom will certainly be able to celebrate at their Sweet 16 Tour. Plus, this ninth studio album is a must-listen for those obsessed with 2017’s introspective LP Lovely Little Lonely. —Maria Serra

Still Love — Teenage Wrist

Released: August 4, 2023 

Since their debut release, Chrome Neon Jesus, in 2018, Teenage Wrist has undergone a profound evolution, both musically and personally, an alchemy of sound and soul that culminates in their latest opus, Still Love. The metamorphosis is palpable as the band channels their signature alternative-grunge-shoegaze-indie fusion—a symphony that resonates with the echoes of growth and maturity. The album’s architects, Marshall Gallagher (vocalist/guitarist/bassist) and Anthony Salazar (vocalist/drums/percussion), served as the album’s producers, orchestrating a transformative experience across its 12 tracks.

Still Love catapults Teenage Wrist to unprecedented heights, navigating uncharted territories with a refined sound that resonates with sophistication. Every note and lyric is meticulously crafted amid a canvas of distorted guitar chords, intricately woven together by Gallagher and Salazar. Each element contributes to a unique atmospheric soundscape—an evocative, melodic journey that redefines and defies the constraints of conventional genres. 

Across the album, the title track emerges as a luminous standout moment, enhanced by the hypnotic additions of Softcult, and casts a haunting spell against the instrumentation. The album, a harmonious collaboration, also features S.A. Martinez (“Dark Sky”), Sister Void (“Wax Poetic”), Fear Before The March Of Flames and David Marion (“Cigarette Two Step”), and Heavenward (“Humbug”). In its entirety, Still Love channels the anticipated sonic collage emblematic of the unique essence of Teenage Wrist while also forging new avenues for the duo to explore on future releases. —Paige Owens

RUCKUS! — Movements

Released: August 18, 2023

Movements’ third studio opus, RUCKUS!, transcends beyond what its title suggests. Settling into a home between the four-piece’s signature amalgamation of pop-punk, grunge, alternative, and shoegaze, the 10-track collection navigates the spectrum of human emotion.

The album unfurls, threading together delicate, soul-stirring moments of hope evident across tracks such as the magnetic single “Tightrope” and “Heaven Sent.” Yet, at the album’s core, an undercurrent of aggression and frustration surges forth. Tracks such as “Lead Pipe,” “I Hope You Choke!,” and “Fail You” pierce through the melodic soundscape with an outpouring of raw intensity, adding dynamic layers to the sonic narrative with vocalist Patrick Miranda’s haunting prowess and commanding range showcased across a backdrop of carefully crafted cacophony.

RUCKUS! emerges as the older sibling of the group’s debut album, Feel Something, echoing a familiar essence of juxtaposing emotions. With each listen, you’ll find something new across the lyrics and instrumentation to wrap your finger around and contemplate. (How could you not with lyrics such as, “So determined just to earn a little brush with death”?) —Paige Owens

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