From big name reunions to highly-anticipated debuts, 2023 has been a bang-up year for house music. Here are 10 of the best house albums of 2023!
2023 has been a bang-up year for electronic music. It feels like the first year where life is getting close to what things were like pre-pandemic. Live music is back in a big way. Music festivals are happening again. Bands and collaborators are returning to the studio to rediscover the magic of in-person collaboration. As a result, there’s been some tremendous house music this year.
Big names, high-profile reunions and highly-anticipated debuts dominated the house music charts, as is to be expected in a year that gave us new records from The Chemical Brothers, Everything but the Girl, Alison Goldfrapp’s first solo record 20 years into her career, and the eagerly-anticipated debut from Peruvian-born/Berlin-based Sofia Kourtesis, which took our number #1 for the best house music of 2023. That’s just the start, though. There’s underground sounds to be had, especially in the beautifully murky, unpredictable outsider house of Rezzett’s Meant Like This or the eternal MIDI menu music of K-Lone’s Swell. Then, of course, there’s the deliciously vintage house of Brazilian rapper and producer FBC, who weaves in glowing late-70s house beats into an addictive garland of disco, soul, and funk.
House music may be the most uplifting electronic music genre. It’s all about the love, about coming together in communion to lose yourself in sweaty abandon. We could all do with some connection, some community, some hope. Here are 10 of the best house albums of 2023 to rekindle your optimism and keep you warm through the winter months.
The 10 Best House Albums of 2023
10. K-Lone – Swells
House music, more than other electronic genres, has a weird relationship to the past. Maybe that’s because it’s older than most electronic music, so that means it actually has a heyday it can call back to. House is one of the few electronic genres that can truly be retro, for better and for worse. Electronic music, as a whole, largely preoccupies itself with the future. It’s music for motion, for movement, whether that’s in a car gliding down a futuristic highway or working yourself into a lather on the dancefloor.
House often needs to balance this twin impulses, blending inspiration and innovation with classic sounds and structures. K-Lone’s Swells performs this balancing act beautifully, impressively managing to blend the past, present, and future into one sleek, stylish whole. K-Lone don’t stop there, though. Tracks like “Oddball,” with its MIDI organs and schmaltzy leads, would work as the soundtrack to some N64 gameshow or obscure ’80s anime melodrama just as easily as on easy-going dancefloors.
9. Everything But The Girl – Fuse
Everything But The Girl – Fuse
Another high profile reunion, Fuse is the first album from Everything But The Girl in 24 years. Much has changed since the duo surfed the wave of trip-hop to global superstardom in the late ’90s. Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn’s mixture of precise beats and sophisticated vocals sound even tastier than they did at the turn of the century. Thorn’s vocals sound even better than they did in 1999, embodying her thoughtful, lovelorn reminiscences in a way younger people rarely can.
8. Rezzett – Meant Like This
Not all house music was sugary, bright, and euphoric in 2023. Lofi and outsider house still occupy their weird hinterland, combining bouncy beats with scuzzed-out noise and zoned-out techniques. Rezzett’s Meant Like This is an especially enjoyable excavation, full of antigravity UK basslines and Jiffy Pop snares, all caked with a thick shellac of hiss and murk. It’ll keep you guessing, and riveted, no matter how many times you listen.
7. The Chemical Brothers – For That Beautiful Feeling
On “No Reason,” there’s a vocal loop on repeat of someone going “woo!”, a pure adrenalized rush of joy and excitement, like going over the top of some epic rollercoaster, again and again. In lesser hands, it could feel lame, bland, like some coporatized video trying to be hip with the kids. In The Chemical Brothers’ capable claws, though, it works. Everything about For That Beautiful Feeling, from the vibrant beach ball colors of the album cover to the duo’s signature block rockin’ beats, is life-affirming. To put it simply, it’s just fun. It also sounds brilliant, with rich, vibrant production which, when paired with The Chemical Bros. sharp songwriting instincts, makes For That Beautiful Feeling one of the standout house albums of 2023.
6. ♥ GOJII ♥ – Bliss in the Midst of Uncertain Tides
8 years in the making, Bliss in the Midst of Uncertain Tides is a glowing, blissed-out mix of progressive house and future garage. The stuttering two-step beats, levitating 4/4 kicks, and luminous synths manage to transcend sheer hedonism to touch on all of the aspects of love and infatuation. At times sweet and romantic, other times sweat-soaked and abandoned, Bliss in the Midst of Uncertain Tides finds ♥ GOJII ♥ at the peak of their powers.
5. FBC – O amor, o perdão e a tecnologia irão nos levar para outro planeta
In an era so rife with doomerism, it’s refreshing to find a little hope. Brazilian rapper and producer FBC’s O amor, o perdão e a tecnologia irão nos levar para outro planeta, which translates to Love, Forgiveness and Technology Will Take Us to Another Planet is a warm ray of optimism in an often bleak, harsh world. With 2 discs and 30 tracks, clocking in at almost 2 hours, Love, Forgiveness and Technology Will Take Us to Another Planet is an overflowing treasury of soulful, disco-infused house. It’s got hooks for days and vibes for weeks, making it one of the most addictive, generous house records of the year. If you’re looking for something to help combat your SAD, add Love, Forgiveness and Technology Will Take Us to Another Planet to your queue.
4. Tour-Mabourg – Spaces Of Silence
French producer Tour-Mabourg reminds us there’s more to house music than bouncy piano chords and boombap beats. Spaces Of Silence pairs elegant, streamlined production values more common in techno with the occasional burst of euphoric Big Beat. It’s a nice mix of some of this year’s more widescreen offerings with a more underground, stylish feel.
3. Disclosure – Alchemy
Alchemy has got to be one of the highest profile house albums in a year of high profile house. It’s only the fourth album from one of the biggest dance duos of the last decade. No matter how you feel about Disclosure’s bright, shiny pop house, Alchemy deserves to be listed among the best house albums of 2023 for that reason alone. It’s not all hype, though, as Alchemy is full of memorable moments, from the trancy uptempo “A Little Bit” to the ecstatic “We Were In Love.”
Alchemy isn’t all pop gloss, either. It has more than it’s fair share of heads-down, locked-grooves to get lost in, living up to its tech house tag. There are even some sleek, slick futuristic breaks to keep things from getting bogged down in 4/4 monotony.
2. Alison Goldfrapp – The Love Invention
Alison Goldfrapp’s solo debut, over 20 years into an illustrious electronic career, is a revelation. It’s big, bold, bright, and sweet as nectarine juice, full of hooks that will take permanent residence in your gray matter and sweet, optimistic melodies. With her regular work as Goldfrapp with Will Gregory trading in shadows and nuance, it’s thrilling to see her step out into the direct sunlight. Incredibly, this added illumination just makes Goldfrapp that much more appealing. Here’s to hoping she integrates some of these primary colors into her palette for the next Goldfrapp album.
1. Sofia Kourtesis – Madres
Sofia Kourtesis’ Madres is everything. It’s got that light, effortless, peaceful bounce that house music excels at. It’s got glorious, emotive vocals sung in Spanish. It’s flush with queer longing and desire. Madres delivers that Balearic white sand feeling of tropical house but without the gross materialism. The long-anticipated full-length debut from the Peruvian-born/Berlin-based Kourtesis more than surpasses the already-high expectations. Madres is beautiful, moving and emotional, delivered with incredible precision and technical know-how. It’s one of the best house records in recent memory and a jaw-dropping debut.
What house music did y’all dig this year? Any particular favorites from this list? Weigh in in the comments! If there’s any you haven’t heard, we’ve put together all 10 of the best house albums of 2023 in one handy playlist.