TOP TEN: Albums we’re looking forward to in 2023

It’s the final Top Ten of our best, worst and most talked about music of last year and the year to come. Let’s end on a high with some of our most anticipated albums of the year.

Roisin Murphy – Roisin Murphy has just declared the ‘Roisin Machine’ era over. I don’t know that this definitively means new music is on the way, but that’s what I’m reading into it. I’ve also still never managed to see her live, so would bloody love a new album followed by a tour at an entirely convenient time for me personally. Thanks very much. James Spearing

Young Fathers – I think I only realised just how much I now love Young Fathers when I immediately reached for the pre order button when this album was announced. They’re a mix of crazy, uplifting, hard-hitting, and thought-provoking sounds and without having listened to any of the singles so far I have no idea what route they will be going down with this, their sixth LP. With it being Young Fathers, though, it’s bound to be daring, unexpected, and funky as fuck. Canna wait. Fran Slater

Billy Nomates – Not long to wait for this one and early signs are promising. I think I had a small question mark about what Tor would do next and whether her resolutely one-woman approach had reached its limits. But from what I’ve already heard, I hope and expect to be proved wrong. Not that I really believed she wouldn’t go from strength to strength. Anyway it’s going to be great. James Spearing

Rihanna – Who am I kidding, this is never going to happen is it? Do I have to keep pretending that Anti is a new album while Rihanna makes another billion dollars flogging us make up? Sam Atkins

Kelela – Raven – I’ve moaned about artists who returned this year after long breaks and didn’t deliver, so allow me to directly contradict myself by expressing how excited I am for Kelela’s Raven – her first in 6 years – coming in February. When it comes to her brand of alt-R&B and electronic, soulful songs, I struggle to think of anyone more consistent. I still go back to her 2015 Hallucinogen EP as one of the most hypnotic, immersive pieces of R&B I think I’ve ever heard. The early singles have been very promising, so here’s hoping next year starts with a bang – or at least a pleasant trance state. Tom Burrows

Folly Group – Back when I had time to listen to the radio (nearly two years ago now), I heard the song ‘Sand Fight’ and I thought it was great. It channeled exciting influences from The Teardrop Explodes to Bloc Party. They’re released lots more since then and to be honest I’ve not paid attention. So if they do release an album in 2022 (it’s about time they did) I’m not sure I’ll even like it. But I’ll certainly be interested. And I have a feeling it will definitely be divisive among the PB editors. Lets see what happens. I’ll definitely be listening. James Spearing

Anna B Savage – She made my album of the year in 2021, so obviously I’m hugely excited for the release of the second album from Anna B Savage. I’m not usually one to listen to singles before an album comes out, but I couldn’t resist giving both ‘The Ghost’ and ‘inFLUX’ a cursory listen each. They suggest that Anna isn’t going to rest on her laurels, that she’ll be changing things up while also continuing to her creative, mesmerising self. Will she be the first ever artist to claim my album of the year twice? Maybe. Fran Slater

RAYE – One of the most obvious victims of a major label being more about making a ‘brand’ than an ‘artist’ out of one of their most promising and talented songwriters, RAYE’s journey in 2022 was truly chaotic. Repeatedly told that she will able to release a full length album ‘as soon as a song breaks on TikTok’, hit after hit as a featured artist feeling like the moment before focus was pushed elsewhere, EP after EP releasing without a proper debut album in sight. RAYE ended up speaking out against her label after waiting nearly a whole decade to release the music she wanted to, parting ways and going fully independent earlier in 2022. Cut to right now and she’s genuinely at #1 in the chart wih Pop track ‘Escapism’. ‘Hard Out Here’ and my personal favourite ‘Black Mascara’ showed the best music of her career while debuting as an independent artist. Did she have these records just sitting around? Did major label bosses think it wasn’t generic enough to pop off? It’s hard to know, but for me seeing RAYE able to release her debut full length album on her own terms will be one of the first things I’ll be thankful to see in 2023. Sam Atkins

NxWorries – 2016 was a breakout year for Anderson Paak. He released his masterful Malibu record in January, and performed one of the all time greatest NPR Tiny Desk shows in August. But more overlooked is the second album he released in October 2016, Yes Lawd!, a collaboration with Stones Throw producer Knxwledge as NxWorries. Knxwledge was fresh off his own breakthrough, working with Kendrick Lamar on To Pimp a Butterfly, and this was a real victory lap record: an effortless-sounding beat tape, with Paak singing and rapping his way across Knxwledge’s J Dilla-esque instrumentals. And now they’re back. New, H.E.R.-featuring single ‘Where I Go’ kicks off exactly where they left it, and I’m hoping that means there’s an album coming in 2023. Paak’s output since hasn’t touched the heights of his golden year, but I’m hopeful. Tom Burrows

Michael Kiwanuka – This is based on absolutely nothing at all. Michael hasn’t even hinted at the prospect of new music, but for anyone who adored his Mercury Prize winning KIWANUKA record back in 2019 as much as me, surely 4 years is enough of a gap to wait between albums? Seeing him live for the first time during 2022 made me even more deseperate for a new record, which I’m sure will retain the high standards he has set so far. Sam Atkins

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