The Music of 2023 So Far


Ryan Shore, Contributing Writer

Every year has its perks. Unique, inspiring, and defining people pave the way for years to come, as new artists make their mark faster than ever. With TikTok growing, the meaning of a “hit song” has changed forever, as the standards have become much lower, and the hits mostly have to be danceable. Nonetheless, some of the biggest hits this year so far have been personal, self-reflective, hard-hitting, and year defining.

Let’s take a look at the defining artists of 2023 so far.

1. Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus has made one of the boldest returns in recent years. The interesting thing about her is the fact that she hasn’t taken a major hiatus, she’s just been able to grow her way back to the top.

With history on Disney Channel as kids TV star Hannah Montana in the 2000s, to a drastic change in style with her decade-old hit “Wrecking Ball,” Cyrus knows that it feels like to be famous.

The vulnerable, self-reflecting, confident, and undeniably catchy style Cyrus created on her new album, Endless Summer Vacation, left a big footprint in the industry. As the years go by, Cyrus has been able to keep up with the times and the sound people love, while still continuing to be successful.

The hit song “Flowers” has been the main song that’s defined 2023 so far, as it’s record-breaking popularity continues to grow through the months. The chorus of the song is a similar but more personal take on Bruno Mars’ track “When I Was Your Man.” Mars’ track is about buying flowers and caring for someone, while Cyrus’ version focuses on buying herself flowers and putting herself first.

As the track continues to grow, and the months pass by, Miley Cyrus will definitely be considered one of, if not the, biggest artist of 2023.


2. Shakira

Shakira is set in stone as one of the Latin Pop greats. With countless hits, memorable performances, and her dancing talents, everyone knows her name.

With most of her success coming from the 2000s to the early 2010s, Shakira has had a bit of a slump for a while, as drama and controversy filled her life in and out of the spotlight.

As of 2023, she’s been back and better than ever. With two top 10 tracks on the charts just this year, she’s been able to certify herself into the top 5 most listened artists of the month on Spotify since February.

The two tracks have been surprisingly successful, as both are collaborations that Shakira joined in on. The first being the song “TQG” with Colombian singer and songwriter Karol G. The latter is a music session with the Argentinian DJ Bizarrap.

With success, longevity, awards, and inspiration all around the world, Shakira needs no introduction nowadays, and continues to prove her greatness.


3. SZA

After five and a half years, SZA returned from an album hiatus while still staying in the spotlight. With multiple singles over the past few years, and the release of hit song “Good Days” on Christmas day in 2020, it’s safe to say she spent the pandemic working on her sophomore album.

SZA’s presence has grown continuously over the past few years as she had a tour, public appearances, and multiple features with popular artists. Hits like “All The Stars” with Kendrick Lamar and “Kiss Me More” with Doja Cat have helped her shine in the mainstream through the solo hiatus.

As the new album SOS released, her more confident, self-reflective, contemporary R&B sound was shown and has helped her progression tremendously, as she seems comfortable in her own shoes.


4. Paramore

As the 20 year anniversary of the bands formation takes place this year, Paramore came back from a six year hiatus for the release of their sixth studio album, This Is Why.

With singles such as the title track, “The News”, and “C’est comme ça”, the band proved that they still have their flair, and show variety in each track.

Even this far down the line, Paramore never stopped showing up to present a fantastic work. They’re one of the most consistent bands in music, and this record continues their hot streak over the past two decades.

The praise  this record received is well deserved, and despite not having being a worldwide sensation, it served its purpose and wildly succeeded.


5. Lil Yachty

Over the past few years, Lil Yachty has been known as one of the corniest and most uninspired artists in the game, as potential lowered with every release. But out of nowhere, he shocked the world with the release of Let’s Start Here.

Yachty’s transition from simplistic trap to deeply thought out psychedelic space rock was drastic, and confusion was an understatement at first. However, his progression was no match for criticism, as he seemed to create a footstep in the genre changing direction for rappers.

Most rappers tend to stick to their craft, so it’s great to see a musician breaking that barrier for other rappers to switch up their style and experiment with new things. It’s a brave and bold commitment, but Yachty seemed comfortable in his own shoes despite the lack of experience he has in this field throughout his career.


As the year progresses, more and more music will be released for the world to hear, and maybe it’ll look a lot different from the present day. Regardless, more artists will continue to mark their footstep in music history as the music world grows every day.