We’re halfway through 2023 and Consequence is looking back at the best pop culture has had to offer so far this year. Check out our list of the 30 best songs of 2023 below, and also take a look at our ranking of the best albums and best films of the year to date.
About 120,000 tracks are uploaded to streaming services every day; the number of choices is beyond overwhelming, effectively infinite. While some people might only tune in to a couple of playlists or radio stations, and a few big name artists seem to push their way into every earbud, beyond that lies an ocean of possibilities, and no two listeners can ever travel exactly the same musical waters.
Even as a staff, Consequence could hardly agree on a coherent list. We had so many more favorites we would have liked to include, tracks we geeked out about in Slack channels and passed around email chains. Our shortlist could have filled a full Zine without ads, and the 30 songs we wrote about could have very easily been 300.
More great songs will be released soon enough, and that makes it even more important to stop and celebrate the recent past. The music industry is moving faster than ever before, but here are 30 songs that made time stand still for at least a couple of minutes.
— Wren Graves
30. JPEGMAFIA, Danny Brown — “Garbage Pale Kids”
After teasing a full-length collaboration for quite some time, JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown finally joined forces on SCARING THE HOES. While each track fosters its own brand of off-kilter absurdity, perhaps no cut showcases the duo’s perfect collision of creative chaos better than “Garbage Pale Kids.” Over a shuffling, hard-as-hell beat that’s centered around an eerie sample of what sounds like children chanting, Peggy and Brown compete to see who can make such an incoherent sonic world a more fitting home. In the end, really, the winner of such a battle is any fan spinning the record. — Jonah Krueger
29. 100 Gecs — “Dumbest Girl Alive”
100 gecs waste no time in telling you exactly what they’re about. “If you think I’m stupid now/ You should see me when I’m high/ And I’m smarter than I look/ I’m the dumbest girl alive” sings Laura Les after a Josh Freese-aided thrash metal intro. “Dumbest Girl Alive” may be deeply silly, but don’t let the fried sonics and ironic lyrics fool you. Every destructive and delicious impulse is baked into “Dumbest Girl Alive,” allowing their reinterpretation of MySpace-era post-hardcore to blend with their hyper-online irreverence. Lines like “Put emojis on my grave/ I’m the dumbest girl alive,” only prove their uncanny brilliance. — Paolo Ragusa