Chatting About the Best Songs of 2023

The New York Times’s pop music critics have some overlap in their taste, but in their annual songs-of-the-year roundup, the differences truly reveal themselves. There are songs from across genres, of course. And naturally, across generations. But sometimes, a song isn’t a “song,” per se — it can come from a movie, or a TikTok, or a commercial, or anywhere else music is deployed. Everyone’s personal soundtrack is unique.

That means tracks with pop sheen from Olivia Rodrigo and Central Cee, heartache from PinkPantheress and YoungBoy Never Broke Again, wind-instrument wildness from André 3000, and songs from “The Idol” and “Barbie.” Also featured: Noname, Yo La Tengo, Byron Messia, Kylie Minogue, Lankum and dozens more.

On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about the most impressive songs of the year, the difference between a musical event and a song, and whether a best-songs list that excludes music from a critic’s best albums can be considered valid.


  • Jon Pareles, The New York Times’s chief pop music critic

  • Lindsay Zoladz, a pop music critic for The New York Times who writes The Amplifier newsletter

Connect With Popcast. Become a part of the Popcast community: Join the show’s Facebook group and Discord channel. We want to hear from you! Tune in, and tell us what you think at Follow our host, Jon Caramanica, on Twitter: @joncaramanica.

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