NPR’s Top 50 Albums of 2023

Another day in December, another major year-end list. Today it’s NPR‘s list of the 50 best albums of 2023. For the first time since 2015, they didn’t rank it (it’s presented in chronological order), but they did award a “the best of the best” crown to 12 of the albums on the list.

Like all of NPR’s year-end lists, this one is very musically diverse, with jazz, modern classical, folk music from around the world, country, an album of Latin jazz reworks of Grateful Dead songs, R&B, funk, indie-rap, mainstream rap, pop, indie DIY emo, and much more. It’s got plenty of 2023’s usual suspects, but also at least a handful of albums that you might not have even heard of.

Check out the full list below (with asterisks for the 12 “the best of the best” albums), and read commentary on each pick at NPR.

NPR’s 50 Best Albums of 2023 (chronological order)
The Latin Dead – Eyes of the World
Tianna Esperanza – Terror
Iris DeMent – Workin’ on a World
Missy Mazzoli – Dark With Excessive Bright
Jordan Ward – FORWARD
Fever Ray – Radical Romantics
100 gecs – 10,000 gecs
Lankum – False Lankum*
boygenius – the record
Wednesday – Rat Saw God
Kara Jackson – Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love?*
Feist – Multitudes
Thomas Adès – Dante*
Jessie Ware – That! Feels Good!
Joy Oladokun – Proof of Life*
Bill Orcutt – Jump On It
billy woods & Kenny Segal – Maps*
Fito Páez – EADDA9223*
Amaarae – Fountain Baby*
Janelle Monáe – The Age of Pleasure
Sexyy Red – Hood Hottest Princess
Meshell Ndegeocello – The Omnichord Real Book*
Sweeping Promises – Good Living is Coming For You
The Japanese House – In The End It Always Does
PJ Harvey – I Inside the Old Year Dying
The Clientele – I Am Not There Anymore
Noname – Sundial
Mick Jenkins – The Patience
Victoria Monét – Jaguar II
Awadagin Pratt – STILLPOINT
Olivia Rodrigo – GUTS*
Yussef Dayes – Black Classical Music
Romy – Mid Air
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – Dynamic Maximum Tension
Ralphie Choo – SUPERNOVA
Margo Cilker – Valley of Heart’s Delight
Corinne Bailey Rae – Black Rainbows
Cleo Sol – Heaven
Doja Cat – Scarlet
Darius Jones – fLuXkit Vancouver (i̶t̶s suite but sacred)
Jorja Smith – Falling or Flying
Allison Miller – Rivers in our Veins
Troye Sivan – Something to Give Each Other
awakebutstillinbed – chaos takes the wheel and i am a passenger
Sampha – Lahai*
María José Llergo – ULTRABELLEZA
Mon Laferte – Autopoiética*

* = “the best of the best”