Taylor Dakota

Music Scene Media's Top Songs of 2023 (So Far)

Music Scene Media
Jul 19, 2023
8 min read

2023 is a little more than halfway through, and what a year it's been for music! With so many incredible releases from multiple talented artists across a plethora of genres, it's nearly impossible to catch every song as it comes out. So we here at Music Scene Media wanted to share some of our favorites that have been released so far to make sure that you don't miss out!

"2L8 UNDEAD" - Ryan Oakes (feat. Hollywood Undead)

"Ryan is one of my most-listened to artists, by far, and his rap skills are seriously underrated. I highly recommend diving into his discography, starting with his latest song featuring Hollywood Undead! If you like what you hear, check out our interview with Ryan here." -Melanie Bryan, Founder, Editor-in-Chief.

Originally from Northern Virginia but now LA-based, Ryan Oakes is a completely self-made artist. Beginning his musical journey in the rap genre, Oakes has evolved his sound over the years to include elements of rock and punk, proving he is unafraid to experiment sonically. "2L8 UNDEAD" was initially titled just "2L8" and released late last year. However, he changed the title a bit as a nod to the rerelease of the track, now featuring Hollywood Undead.

"Feed The Vice" - VCTMS

"This is just an absolute banger from start to finish. The entire song is just raw & emotional. The instruments and vocals were spot on, and you can tell that VCTMS is going up from here." -Matt Benton, Assistant Editor.

First entering the scene in the early 2010s, VCTMS is a nu-metalcore band from Chicago. The band released their first full-length in 2017 and haven't slowed down since. Between their killer work ethic, energetic instrumentals, and raw, hard-hitting lyrics, VCTMS has solidified themselves as a powerhouse in the metal underground. "Feed The Vice" was released back in May as a single for the band's upcoming album Vol. V The Hurt Collection, out October 13, 2023.

"Save Your Breath" - Brent de la Cruz

"Brent de la Cruz is a handful of talent yet to rise to mainstream media. This song mixes impassioned lyrics and a fervently exciting instrumental background consisting of guitar and a pop of synths. The song screams summer and has the power to transport you as you listen, which is what good music should always do." -Chloe Sarmiento, Assistant Editor.

California-born-and-raised Brent de La Cruz is an alternative indie-pop singer/songwriter out of San Diego. Since the release of his first album, Finding Boo, in 2021, he's been busy putting the pedal to the metal and gaining momentum as an artist. "Save Your Breath" marks Brent de la Cruz's second release of 2023.

"Fog Machine" - White Reaper

"The riff can't be touched by anything else this year, and the chorus will get stuck in your head all summer. It punches you in the stomach, then immediately helps you up and gives you a high five—the modern-day Cheap Trick." -Rich Funk, Editorial Assistant.

Formed in 2012 with the two founding members still in high school, White Reaper is a garage punk band from Louisville, Kentucky. With unapologetic lyrics and uncontrollable energy on stage, the band has captured the hearts of many in the scene. They released their first full-length, White Reaper Does It Again, in 2015, and their major label debut, You Deserve Love, in 2019. "Fog Machine" was released as a single for White Reaper's most recent album, Asking For A Ride, which came out on January 27, 2023.

"Deep in the Willow" - Knocked Loose

"It goes so crazy. It is my favorite song by an already amazing and prevalent band. 'Knocked Loose Motherf***ker' is a crazy breakdown callout. The song makes me wanna commit goon behavior." -Jackson Tujo, Copy Editor.

Another Kentucky native band, Knocked Loose's sound has been described as everything from metalcore to hardcore punk to beatdown hardcore. But no matter the genre, one thing can always be expected of the band's music: raw, unapologetic, and at times brutally honest, lyrics. "Deep in the Willow" was released back in June as a dual single with "Everything is Quiet Now."

"War Of Being" - Tesseract

"This is the first release from Tesseract in 5 years. It is a massive song! It is everything a Tesseract fan would want and more! It is 11 minutes of heavy prog. Compared to their previous release, it is extremely energetic. This song has left me anticipating the rest of the album once it is released!" -Christy Peterson, Photographer.

Tesseract is an English progressive metal band that was originally formed back in 2003. Having gone through seven vocalists and various other member replacements, the band has had quite the ride over the last 20 years. But they never let those minor setbacks keep them down for long, coming back each time more determined than ever to prove they're not going anywhere. "War of Being" is the first release for Tesseract's upcoming album of the same name, out September 15, 2023. It will be their first album release in five years.

"Smoke & Ribbons" - Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

"It is one of those rare songs that are truly just perfect to me - among the ranks of my favorite of all time. It’s self-aware, not contrived, it feels natural and genuine, self-reflective in a truly honest way that is hard to come across; somewhat all-encompassing, but not like it’s doing too much or trying to cover too much content. I think it’s one of the best McMahon has written over many years of creating music." -Chantel Malin, Photographer.

Andrew McMahon, who performs both under his own name and the moniker Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, is an alternative/indie rock musician. Though originally from Concord, Massachusetts, the singer/songwriter is now based in Southern California. "Smoke & Ribbons" is about accepting life's curveballs and pushing through. It is the closing track on McMahon's most recent album, Tilt at the Wind No More.

AmEN! - Bring Me The Horizon (feat. Lil Uzi Vert)

"This song brings two genres together by doing a crossover, along with “Werewolf” by Lil Uzi Vert ft. Bring Me The Horizon. Along with that, it brings more attention to the scene which means the possibility of more growth for the scene and its people. This song is certainly one that people will remember." -Hannah Lujbli, Photographer.

Bring Me The Horizon is a British rock band that's been around since 2004. With their sound ranging from deathcore to pop-rock, the band's sonic versatility has fortified them as a household name in the alternative scene. "AmEN!" is the fourth single to be released for Bring Me The Horizon's upcoming EP, Post Human: Nex GEn, which is the second installment of the Post Human EP series. The track brings back the heavier sound fans have come to expect of the band.

"Dawns" - Zach Bryan (feat. Maggie Rogers)

"I chose this song because it means a lot to me and speaks to one of my biggest fears; wasting your dawns on someone you love and it not working out or not being your person. Dealing with the loss of that person and the time you invested into that relationship and finding yourself again." -Kyle Lewis, Photographer.

Born on a US Navy base in Japan, alternative country singer/songwriter Zach Bryan grew up in Oklahoma. A Navy vet himself, Bryan began releasing music while still actively serving in the military. His first album, DeAnn, came out in 2019 and was self-released. "Dawns" is Zach Bryan's first release of the year.

"We Didn't Start The Fire" - Fall Out Boy

"I honestly just love it! I've loved Fall Out Boy for about half my life now and was really obsessed with them as a teen. This one just hits right, like many of their old ones!" -Abby Paquet, Interviewer.

Fall Out Boy has been a pop-punk powerhouse since their humble beginning in the Chicago suburbs in 2001. In fact, their 2003 debut album, Take This to Your Grave, is cited as one of the most influential albums in the genre for the early 2000s. Fall Out Boy's cover of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" isn't simply a cover. Changing the lyrics to reflect newsworthy events from 1989 until now in 2023, the band's rendition of the song picks up right where Billy Joel left off.

"Help Me" - Sueco

"This song is super relatable, and the message is important. It normalizes struggling with mental illness and asking for help when needed. This is also an incredibly catchy song, even with the lyrics covering serious topics." -Taylor Dakota, Journalist.

Sueco the Child, popularly known simply as Sueco, is an alternative rapper from Los Angeles. Starting out as a producer, he quickly gained traction as an artist with the release of his 2019 single "fast." As an advocate for mental health awareness, Sueco wrote and released "Help Me" in the hopes that it would help fans through the tough times in their own lives. It's his second release of the year.

"VEN0M" - nothing, nowhere (feat. Underoath)

"It's the ultimate blend of emo rap and early 2000's metalcore. Underoath and nothing, nowhere sound incredible on the same track, and by doing this collaboration, it will lure fans of both artists toward other bands of both genres." -Andrew Kjelson, Journalist.

nothing, nowhere is the stage name of Massachusetts alternative/indie singer, rapper, and songwriter Joseph Edward Mulherin. Though he is the sole writer and producer of his music, Mulherin does have a touring band that performs live shows with him, also under the name nothing, nowhere. "VEN0M" is about being in a mentally abusive relationship, not just with another person, but also with negative thoughts and life decisions. It is the 11th track on nothing, nowhere's March 2023 release, VOID ETERNAL.

"Not Strong Enough" - boygenius

"This is a song I’ve had on repeat consistently since its release earlier this year. It helped mark the return of boygenius and showcases each member’s strengths. The lyrics really hit home." -Haley Wittmer, Journalist.

Indie rock supergroup boygenius is the band of solo musicians Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker. The group was formed in 2018 when the three friends decided to start making music together, in part to stop the pitting of women in rock against one another. "Not Strong Enough" was released on March 1st, with zero announcements or buildup to the release. It is the fourth single for, and sixth track on, the group's debut album the record, released on March 31st.

Mattel - Avenged Sevenfold

"The song has a unique structure, retaining the recognizable sound that is older A7X while also doing something completely different and outside of their genre; and it works beautifully." -Hayden Inman, Journalist.

Formed in 1999 in Huntington Beach, California, progressive metal Avenged Sevenfold (commonly abbreviated A7X) have been heavy hitters in the scene for two decades. With multiple member replacements due to death, near death, and creative differences, the band's had a roller coaster of a ride. But they never let that keep them down for long, trudging on through the lows and coming back stronger than ever. "Mattel" is the second track on Avenge Sevenfold's eighth studio album, Life Is but a Dream..., released June 2, 2023.

"Snooze" - Agust D (feat. Woosung of The Rose & Ryuichi Sakamoto)

"A song filled with the most warm and comforting lyrics, with a feature from the late great Sakamoto who is one of Agust D’s biggest inspirations. It's probably one of the last few works Sakamoto did before he passed away, so it makes it even more precious." -Wajiha Wazir, Journalist.

Agust D is the alter ego of Suga, a South Korean rapper, and member of the boy band BTS. A byproduct of the initials of his birthplace, Daegu Town, and his name, "Suga," reversed, the rapper created this alter ego to differentiate from his other solo work. "Snooze" is the ninth track on Agust D's debut studio album D-Day, which was released on April 21, 2023.

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