Music | 2023 was a year when all musical records fell. Concert tickets have become more expensive, but have never sold out so quickly. Artists with a more international outlook are carving out a place among American heavyweights. Female artists are more popular than ever. But above all, a lot of good music came out. Here are some of the key titles that marked the past year.
In 2023, the most listened-to artist on Spotify is… Taylor Swift! The 33-year-old American singer has accumulated more than 26.1 billion streams this year. And, in the process, achieves another feat: never, since the creation of Spotify’s annual ranking, has a female artist managed to land first place. It is now done. She thus dethrones Bad Bunny, the most listened-to artist on Spotify over the last three years.
Miley Cyrus – Flowers
This catchy pop song is the most listened to on Spotify this year. The counter already shows more than 1.6 billion streams. That’s more than ‘Billie Jean’, Michael Jackson’s most listened-to song, and this hit has been listened to since the creation of Spotify!
Miley Cyrus’ ‘Flowers’ is an ode to independence and can be seen as the start of a new chapter in her life, following her split from Liam Hemsworth. Cyrus sings that self-love is more valuable to him than the love of an anonymous “you”. All in a setting that led his former partner to listen to his demons…
It’s not just the hit’s catchy chorus and catchy melody that explain its success. The story behind it has been talked about a lot. Miley Cyrus, 31, wrote this song following the infidelities of her ex-partner, actor Liam Hemsworth. “I can buy my flowers”: in “Flowers”, Miley conveys the image of a strong and independent woman, who recovers from her difficult breakup, by learning to love herself. Wink: the song was released on her ex’s 33rd birthday and was filmed in her house.
A feminist song, with values: nothing less was needed for TikTok to get carried away, in clips where young women put themselves on stage, and boost the title to the top of the charts.
Olivia Rodrigo – bad idea right?
Olivia Rodrigo continues her triumphant march as pop music’s new “it-girl”. Like her sister Miley, Olivia began her career at Disney, and like ‘Flowers’, ‘Bad Idea Right?’ is about a former lover. But we can’t say that this song is a settling of scores – it’s simply about the hold that this ex still has over the singer. All in a straight pop-punk style, with a solid guitar riff and some attitude. It’s not for nothing that this song is Time Magazine’s favorite of the year.
Lana Del Rey – A&W
According to Pitchfork, the best song released in 2023 is ‘A&W’ by Lana Del Rey. And these specialists are far from the only ones to appreciate the song: Rolling Stone places it in third position. The song begins with acoustic instruments, which are then added with drum machines and synthesizers. It is epic but fragile, nostalgic and desperate, and funny and depressing. A&W is a brand of soft drink in the United States, but Lana uses it as an abbreviation for “American Whore”, a judgment she makes about herself. We can’t agree more with Pitchfork, because the song encompasses a lot.
Billie Eilish – What Was I Made For?
Did we mention it’s the year of female artists? If it wasn’t already clear from this list, we’ll say it again here: women dominated this year. Just think of Billie Eilish, who blew everyone away with her time in Pukkelpop. She co-wrote the soundtrack to the hit film ‘Barbie’ and the song ‘What Was I Made For?’, used in a key scene, became a huge hit. However, it is a subtle song, in which Billie’s voice is supported only by a piano and some ethereal synths. Only a great artist can have such an impact with such a minimalist song.
The Beatles – Now and Then
In 2023, The Beatles returned to prominence, although two of the four members had died. The new song ‘Now and Then’ was born from a demo that John Lennon recorded on his piano at home in 1977. Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr reworked it in the studio in 1995 but never found their way to it.
Today, McCartney and Starr have completed it, with the help of an AI capable of isolating Lennon’s vocals on the demo. The result is typical of the Beatles, with the bitterness of John and the gentleness of Paul. It’s not to the taste of all listeners today, but it’s a historic moment in music history that will be defining for years to come. Because what will AI allow us to do in the future? Will new songs by deceased artists be released soon, and would that be a good thing? The future will tell.