Skip to content

Back to Music reviews... / Nov 29, 2023

his master’s choice

As the year comes to a close, we once again have gathered our picks for the best albums of 2023, celebrating the most amazing releases we have had the pleasure of sharing with our fans. This year, we couldn't decide on one album of the year, so the title has been handed to five terrific releases, all of which come as very limited 1921 Album Of The Year editions - versions you won't find anywhere else. We'd also like to thank Ben Dixon, Elly Bailey, Janny Rose & Sean Hubbard for their contribution to the article!

Everything But The Girl / Fuse

With their 11th studio album ‘Fuse’, Everything But The Girl break their 24 year hiatus. The tracklist oozes both nostalgia and excitement, with a modern twist on their sound. A mixture of beautiful ballads, catchy pop tunes, smooth lounge tracks. The lyrics crave connection. In the opening track, Thorn sings “Kiss me while the world decays”, a nod to the time they spent apart during the Covid-19 pandemic. The opener and first single “Nothing Left To Lose” sets the overall tone for the album, a modern nod to their signature 80s/90s synth wave groove. The album displays a mix of electronic and acoustic tracks, with playful, tastefully chosen synth elements lacing their way through the tracklist. They mark tracks such as “Run a Red Light” and “When you Mess Up” as signature Everything But The Girl. These show a softer, dreamier side enticing the listener with their flowy soundscape, reminiscent of a longing embrace. Overall a modern, sophisticated and honest work of cult artists.

Own it now on exclusive@hmv Album Of The Year Edition white & green splatter vinyl. 

Foo Fighters / But Here We Are

The Foo Fighters 11th album “But Here We Are” is their first release since the untimely passing of Taylor Hawkins. The pain and grief, the unpredictability of life and how it can all be over tomorrow carry through the entire album. The opening track “Rescued” highlights this “It came in a flash- it came outta nowhere”. It feels honest, raw and like something they really had to say. In “Under You” Grohl shows a softer, vulnerable side to his vocals sort of whisper-singing on the track. The album moves from a rather thoughtful tone into a psych-power-pop world, showing bits of those anthemic choruses the Foo Fighters filled stadiums and festival fields with. The last two tracks ramp up emotions. “The Teacher” is a 10 minute opus with gnarly riffs that build momentum throughout climaxing in maxed out levels and distortions until the track ends abruptly. “Rest” is a beautiful goodbye expressing all the grief, hope and love. Grohl fuels all his pain and anger into his performance on the record, making it a truly captivating experience for the listener. 

Own it now on exclusive@hmv Album Of The Year Edition green coke bottle vinyl

Queens of the Stone Age / In Times New Roman...

Queens of the Stone Age’s eighth studio album is a return to form for the legendary alt/stoner-rock band, following up an ambitious Villains from 2017. Eschewing its predecessor’s Mark Ronson production for a grittier feel, In Times New Roman… sees QOTSA at their best, with Josh Homme reasserting his claim to be the coolest man alive. This album only feels more poignant after release, following Homme’s revelation that he survived a battle with cancer, as well as the passing of close friend Taylor Hawkins, and the dissolution of his marriage. The album reflects this, with a melancholic, almost creepy atmosphere in some points. Most noticeable of these is ‘Sicily’, which feels almost Tim Burton-esque, and wouldn’t be out of place on an atmospheric soundtrack. Ultimately, this is a solid addition to the QOTSA discography, representing a more mature QOTSA, coming to terms with life’s difficulties. With the band’s lineup stable for over a decade, QOTSA manage to match Homme’s vulnerability with their classic swaggering macho attitude, creating a great piece of work that flows front to back.

Own it now on exclusive@hmv Album of the Year Edition opaque white vinyl

The Chemical Brothers / For That Beautiful Feeling

The Chemical Brothers, celebrated for their groundbreaking contributions to electronic music, released their tenth studio album, 'For That Beautiful Feeling.' Crafted within their personal studio on the south coast, this album is an auditory voyage in pursuit of those rare moments when sound becomes an overwhelming force, threatening to engulf you but ultimately propelling you on an unknown wave.'For That Beautiful Feeling' immediately immerses listeners in an experimental realm, a testament to the duo's ability to blend diverse sonic elements seamlessly. Each track is a unique journey through electronic soundscapes, ranging from ethereal to rhythmic, offering an entrancing and diverse experience. The album's production is meticulous, with pristine sound and expert mixing, resulting in a dynamic and captivating listening experience. The rhythms ebb and flow, creating an immersive, technicolor dreamscape.'For That Beautiful Feeling' reaffirms the Chemical Brothers' enduring importance in electronic music.

Own it now on exclusive@hmv Album of the Year Edition White vinyl

Mitski / The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We

Mitski's "The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We" is a deeply moving exploration of love and life. She contemplates the idea that life might seem simpler without hope, a soul, or love but passionately argues that love is the most enduring treasure. In her seventh album, she paints a vivid picture of America with its private sorrows and contradictions. The music is expansive, epic, and healing, portraying love as a timeless force blessing our most tender moments, like distant starlight. The album delves into the often-overlooked grown-up heartbreaks and joys that hold profound significance. It's a tiny epic, encapsulating the essence of life's ups and downs. From the solace found at the bottom of a glass to the nostalgia of a snow-covered driveway, Mitski's music spans the entire spectrum of human experience, echoing a collective cry for love. This album is a haunting, profound exploration of love and life, reflecting on the American dream and the enduring power of human connection. Mitski's work is a testament to her artistry, inviting us to embark on an emotional journey that's deeply personal and universally relatable

Own it now on exclusive@hmv Album of the Year Edition pink aster vinyl

Sign-up for emails

Sign-up for emails

Sign-up for emails

I'd love to hear about offers and promotions from hmv*