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The Bellarion

The Bellarion

The Bellarion

Re-Recordings and Rap: 2023’s Standout Albums

From Taylor Swift’s groundbreaking re-recordings to Travis Scott and Lil Uzi’s hyped releases, 2023 spoon-fed us listeners many quality albums.

 From Taylor Swift’s groundbreaking re-recordings to Travis Scott and Lil Uzi’s hyped releases, 2023 spoon-fed us listeners many quality albums. However, I’ve narrowed it down to the 12 best and most influential of them to discuss.  

My 21st Century Blues – Raye 

Release Date – February 3, 2023

Raye’s debut studio album, titled My 21st Century Blues, features songs like Escapism, one most of us know due to its popularity on TikTok. However, other songs such as Oscar Winning Tears, Flip a Switch, and Worth It, are worth a listen as well. Debuting at 58 on the Billboard 200, Raye’s initial success is a feat to admire.

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Red Moon in Venus – Kali Uchis 

Release Date – March 3, 2023

Kali Uchis has already seen major success with songs like telepatia, Dead to Me, and See You Again due to TikTok, the latter two being from her successful debut album Isolation. Red Moon in Venus’ release followed the success of lead single Moonlight, and the rest of the album exceeded expectations. Stand-outs like I Wish You Roses, Moral Conscience, and Happy Now complete an incredibly aesthetic and well rounded album. Debuting at 4 on the Billboard 200, Uchis found major success with her junior work.


Endless Summer Vacation – Miley Cyrus 

Release Date – March 10, 2023 

No one could get Miley Cyrus’ hit song Flowers out of their heads at the end of 2022. However, her album remained under wraps until March of 2023, when she dropped Endless Summer Vacation. Many know Cyrus for her 2013 album Bangerz, including We Can’t Stop and Wrecking Ball. Endless Summer Vacation included the previously mentioned Flowers, Rose-Colored Lenses, and Jaded. Debuting at 3 on the Billboard 200, she holds the highest rank thus far. 


Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd – Lana Del Rey 

Release Date – March 24, 2023 

Lana Del Rey’s most popular song, Summertime Sadness, carried the 2010’s for its unique tone. Many of Rey’s loyal fans awaited the next release, and she fulfilled their hopes in March, what’s turning out to be a great month for music. Songs like A&W, Margaret, and Let the Light In carry the rather long runtime and make the listen flow beautifully. Debuting the Billboard 200 at 3, Lana saw major success and is currently nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy’s.


The Pink Tape – Lil Uzi Vert 

Release Date – June 30, 2023 

The first of three rap entries on the list, Uzi’s third studio album has been much anticipated following 2020’s Eternal Atake. Songs like Flooded the Face, Nakamura, and Endless Fashion stick out in a solid album for Uzi’s flow and sampling of Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance theme, a WWE wrestler. Debuting at 1 on the Billboard 200, Uzi continues to stake his claim in the rap community.


Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift 

Release Date – July 7, 2023  

Obviously we cannot cover 2023 without covering Taylor Swift and her two re-recordings in the height of her critically acclaimed Eras Tour. The original album being published in 2010 was completely written by Swift herself, and she continued that trend with the Vault Tracks. Technically her 13th album release, Swift brings back classics like Sparks Fly and The Story of Us while incorporating new tracks like I Can See You and Foolish One. Debuting at the top of the Billboard 200, Swift earned her 12th Number 1 Album and tops the year so far.



Utopia – Travis Scott 

Release Date – July 28, 2023 

Travis Scott’s Astroworld shattered records and expectations, birthing an infamous tour to boot. Fans long awaited the next studio album, and 5 years later, Utopia was dropped. Stand out songs like HYAENA, FE!N, and Telekinesis all went viral on TikTok and sparked a popularity surge. Following her Renaissance success, Delresto (Echoes) featured Beyonce, adding another layer to this album. Debuting at 1 on the Billboard 200, Scott continued the surge of rap domination.


JAGUAR II  – Victoria Monet 

Release Date – August 25, 2023 

Her EP, titled Jaguar, featured hit songs such as We Might Even Be Falling in Love and the titular track Jaguar. However, Monet dropped the sequel to the EP with her first official studio album, Jaguar II. On My Mama stands out as the leading song, but Hollywood and Alright shape the album’s perspective before On My Mama wraps it up. Although it only debuted at 174 on the Billboard 200, it can be seen as the underdog on this list.


GUTS – Olivia Rodrigo 

Release Date – September 8, 2023 

Olivia Rodrigo is easily the biggest breakout star of the 2020’s, stemming back to her roles in Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Her debut album SOUR won her Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 64th Grammy Awards. So, when she announced GUTS with her lead single vampire, the whole world prepared to hear her new sound. Tracks like teenage dream, lacy, and bad idea right? incorporate her old sound and new all in one. Debuting at 1 on the Billboard 200, the sophomore slump missed Olivia by a long mile.


The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We – Mitski 

Release Date – September 15, 2023 

Mitski’s seventh studio album stayed under the radar until My Love Mine All Mine went beyond viral on TikTok. With that song, fans discovered more hits on the album like Bug Like an Angel and The Frost. Peaking at 12 on the Billboard 200, Mitski established career has seen a rejuvenation through the virality of My Love Mine All Mine. Her past songs, like Nobody and Washing Machine Heart have also seen popularity surges.


For All the Dogs – Drake 

Release Date – October 6, 2023 

Drake is potentially the most popular rapper in the world, with albums like Scorpion, Certified Lover Boy, and Views topping charts and dropping multiple #1 hit songs. So, with his most recent project, For All the Dogs, Drake resurged his popularity once again, specifically with Rich Baby Daddy going viral on TikTok. Other songs like Daylight, 8am in Charlotte, and Another Late Night all hit, and though it’s a departure from “Old Drake”, it still has its critically acclaimed value. Peaking at 1 on the Billboard 200, some can say a new era of Drake fans have emerged due to the album’s success.


1989 (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift  

Release Date – October 27, 2023 

What other way to wrap up the year than to come back to undoubtedly the most popular person on the face of the Earth this year? Swift’s re-records have redefined how music and streaming can work, and her most popular work, 2014’s 1989, was next in line. Aligning with the release of her Eras Tour Movie in theaters, classics like Shake it Off, Bad Blood, and Blank Space all returned to form, while vault tracks like Say Don’t Go and Is It Over Now cap off the album nicely. We all can guess where this debuted. 


Trends and Continuities 

You may have noticed that almost every album on this list was fueled by one of more songs going viral on TikTok. It’s no question that modern music has been shaped around virality on apps like TikTok. Take, for instance, Doja Cat and Ice Spice, two of the most prominent TikTok boosted artists since its birth. TikTok’s hold on the music industry is something that could be discussed for hours, but in simple terms: the 15 second video sharing app has turned the music industry to a battle for virality. And it’s working.