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The Wingspan

The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

Top 10 Albums of 2023

Graphic by Evan Bartlett using Canva

As this crazy and long year comes to a close, two Wingspan music writers share their top 10 albums of 2023 (in no particular order).

Wednesday: Rat Saw God

Release date: 04/07/23

Genre: Alternative 


When Wednesday´s singer Karly Hartzman sings, it’s very distinct, to say the least. The band, along with her voice can range from folky country to a punkish hard rock band in a matter of seconds. The drum work is unmatched, as it forcefully drives the sound in a heavy manner, creating a contrast between instruments that is unique and refreshing, as this is not seen among artists in a similar genre. With personal standout tracks such as, “Quarry and “Hot Rotton Grass Smell,” the instrumentals and soft vocal melodies bestow an image of sunny days in spring, with a side of death, this coming from the spare usage of depressing lyrics. Overall, a great album for a bright Saturday or a rainy Sunday. 


Zach Bryan: Zach Bryan

Release Date: 08/25/23

Genre: Americana/Folk


We know what you’re saying. Get this country stuff off this list. But hear us out: it’s palatable. As many label this project as country, it actually combines elements of folk, alternative, and country. Rather than singing about typical country topics such as beer, trucks, guns, and America, Bryan approaches the lyrics with a more meaningful array. From the raw strums of an acoustic guitar to a full backing band with drums, trumpet, etc, the impactful, yet simple production style also plays a big role in the overall album landscape. With key personal highlights such as “Overtime,” “Fear and Friday’s,” and “I Remember Everything,” he never fails to make you think you’re in a late summer night in a small town. Finally, Bryan brings along similar artists such as The War and Treaty, Sierra Ferrell, Kacey Musgraves, and The Lumineers for the joyride. All in all, a great album for a roadtrip and campfires 


Lil Yachty: Let´s Start Here

Release Date: 01/27/23

Genre: Psychedelic/Prog Rock


Let’s paint a picture. It’s January 27, and Lil Yachty’s new album “Let’s Start Here” has just reached streaming platforms. You click on the first song expecting a trap banger and realize the time stamp is just shy of 7 minutes long. You hit play and are immersed in a wave of sounds you would never think to hear from a rapper like Yachty. With guitar solos, soft drums, and breathly singing, Yachty quickly proves to listeners that he is more than just a rapper. Is this the same person who dropped the full-on viral rap song “Poland?” Is this the same guy who dropped the highly autotuned album “Michigan Boy Boat?” Sure is. Yachty started working on the LP back in 2021 after he had been heavily influenced by Pink Floyd. Using his influence, Yachty perfects the trippy and vibrant feel you get from a piece like “Dark Side of the Moon” while doing so with a modern twist, with updated production and autotuned vocals. From the tracks, “The Black Seminole” and “Drive Me Crazy”, the Georgia rapper takes the listener on an immersive and experimental journey through his mind. Overall, this is the ideal album to listen to while looking up at the stars at night. 


Paramore: This is Why

Release Date: 07/10/23

Genre: Alternative 


Does Hayley Williams ever miss? Paramore makes a statement in their return to the music game, dropping their first album in 6 years. With this record, Paramore, while keeping in touch with the same energy as their roots, is steering in a more mature direction. In a refreshing new take on their sound, the band approaches the project with a somewhat retro feel, including vibrant and warm production. With this, comes the incredible vocal work by Williams, which serves as the cherry on top of the project. Adding all elements together, Paramore comes out with one of the top rock and alternative albums of the year. Some personal favorite songs on this album include “The News” and “Running Out of Time,” as this album packs a quick, 10-track, 1 – 2 punch. Another amazing LP from Paramore provides a great soundtrack when doing anything from taking a Sunday morning stroll, to pumping out your last reps in the gym. 


Olivia Rodrigo: GUTS

Release Date: 09/8/23

Genre: Pop Rock/Punk

Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album proves she is way more than your average Disney channel actress. After the major success of her debut, SOUR, fans were questioning whether she could top it, and in our opinion, she did. Rodrigo comes back with a similar vibe while adding a pop-punk element that shines a new light on her sound. While the slow and sad songs are still present, the angry and empowering tracks are what seems to stand out in the grand scheme of the album. Our personal favorite bangers are “all american b****,” and “lacy,” as this album could be bumped at the happiest or saddest of times. 


Boygenius: The Record

Release Date: 03/31/23

Genre: Alternative/Folk


The boys are back in town, as the power trio of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker, team up for a long-awaited, full-album release. Leaving no doubt in fans’ minds, the boys execute and deliver exactly what was needed; the perfect combination of each individual’s sound. The songwriting is untouchable, as incredible lyrics are displayed over instrumentals with alternative, folk, and rock elements. Our personal favorite songs are “$20,” “Cool About It,” and “Satanist,” and the album can fit anything from a rainy afternoon to a warm beach day. 


Travis Scott: UTOPIA

Release Date: 07/28/23

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap


As this was Travis Scott’s first solo album in 5 years, the Houston rapper was held with high expectations with the release of his highly anticipated “Utopia.” Needless to say, Scott came through, providing a creative and futuristic take on Hip-Hop, which was a nice change of pace to the scene. This album immerses the listener into another world, with unmatched production that paints an earthly landscape. The beats are unlike most in the genre, as they frequently flow and change as each song progresses. When Scott’s rapping overlays these beats, the track is only pushed to the next level, as the MC proves why he is still relevent after the 5 year period. Not to mention, Scott features other artists, such as Drake, Playboi Carti, Beyonce, etc, all of whom provide meaningful parts to the songs. Our favorites include “Hyaena,” “My Eyes,” and “Til Further Notice.” These tracks are especially great for hikes and moshpits alike. 


El Michels Affair & Black Thought: Glorious Game


Release Date: 04/14/23

Genre: Hip-Hop/Jazz Rap 


Have you ever heard a Black Thought album that wasn’t a no-skip fest?  Well, that’s what we thought, because this one adds to his impeccable streak. While most know him from the popular rap group The Roots you should not sleep on his solo material. On this particular album, he worked with well-known producer El Michels Affair to create a project which avid hip-hop junkies would love. Black Thought is masterful with his storytelling, depth and imagery, which flows on top of production that is amazing and complimentary to the project’s atmosphere. Our key favorite tracks are “That Girl,” “Grateful,” and “Protocol.” 


Westside Gunn: And Then You Pray For Me

Release Date: 10/13/23

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap


Westside Gunn can do no wrong. When provided with an angelic, soft, and airy beat, the Buffalo rapper knows no better than to pop off. Something about his aggressive, yet high pitched tone and exaggerative adlibs, creates an amazing contrast within those soft beats, which results in your average Westside Gunn banger. Don’t get us wrong, there is some high-energy material on this project as well, which creates a great change in pace throughout the record. Add incredible features to the mixture, and you get “And Then You Pray For Me.” Our favorites include “Mamas PrimeTime” and “Kostas.” This project can be played while either chilling or raging. 


ZULU: A New Tomorrow 

Release Date: 03/3/2023

Genre: Hardcore Punk/Jazz Rap


From the face-melting breakdowns to the heartful rap verses, you can’t deny that the first full0length LP from hardcore punk outfit ZULU was nothing short of spectacular. Bringing elements such as rapping and various African instruments to hardcore music was rarely before witnessed in the genre. On paper, said combo would seem very out of the ordinary, but ZULU brings it to life in the perfect manner. As loud as the intense rhythm section plays through, don’t let it overshadow the powerful lyrics that flow throughout each track. Covering topics such as police brutality and social injustice, ZULU flawlessly bestows Black culture onto the hardcore punk scene. Our favorite cuts include “Our Day Is Now,” “Lyfe Az A Shorty Shun B So Ruff,” and “We’re More Than This.” This album is best enjoyed when sticking it to the man. 

Honorable Mentions: Danny Brown: Quarenta, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: The Silver Cord, Bonny Doon: Let There Be Music, Incendiary: Change The Way You Think About Pain, Foo Fighters: But Here We Are


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About the Contributors
Brandon Purdy
Brandon Purdy, Staff Writer
Brandon Purdy is a sophomore at NAHS. He can be seen playing the drums and guitar, running track and XC, or listening to music. He intends to write music and sports articles for the Wingspan this upcoming school year. His favorite color is purple, and his favorite movie is Cars 1.
Evan Bartlett
Evan Bartlett, Staff Writer
Evan is a sophomore here at NAHS and is in his second year in the Wingspan. He is a person who loves every single sport, but baseball is his favorite by far. He also loves to play frisbee golf when he has the time because he is usually busy doing something. Evan also enjoys hiking, especially in upstate New York, New Hampshire, and pretty much anywhere! He currently writes sports and music articles for the Wingspan. He finds writing and reading actually really enjoyable, especially sports articles about his favorite teams (The Boston Red Sox, The Philadelphia Phillies) and players.

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    FloresJan 4, 2024 at 12:50 pm

    Mitski erasure