Beabadoobee banging out a top song of 2023John Harvey Pegg / flikr with permission for Varsity

As 2023 splutters, stumbles, and finally gives up the ghost, we at the ever-jolly Varsity Music HQ decided to reflect on our top songs of the year. And what a year it has been for the music industry. Drake released another mediocre album I will never listen to, Revs still hasn’t updated its playlist since 2013, and I’ve been subjected to more Taylor Swift than most Guantanamo Bay inmates. It’s been a real rollercoaster.

Sam Raine Jenkins: ‘A Night To Remember’ by Laufey and Beabadoobee

My song of 2023 was ‘A Night To Remember’ by Laufey and Beabadoobee. This song creates a powerful atmosphere, making it feel like you’re in a dimly lit bar on a Friday evening glancing around looking for someone to share the night with. Laufey and Beabadoobee's beautiful vocal harmonies make the choruses enchanting and evoke a captivating feeling throughout. The instrumentation is also extremely strong, with bossa nova guitar strumming, beautiful string sections, and smooth piano runs. The sheer fact that a song so theatrical, jazzy, and moody came out in 2023 is baffling. This timelessness made ‘A Night To Remember’ not only one of the most unique songs of 2023 but also one of the best.

Ava Fitzhugh: ‘Doudou’ by Cécile McLorin Salvant

Listening to pretentious French jazz was not part of the plan for my ‘Best Song of 2023’, but here we are anyway. Hot off her new concept album ‘Melusine’, this song gives you everything you need to imagine you’re mysteriously sitting in a French jazz club, smoking indoors, and pretending to enjoy martinis. Don’t let the nearly 6 minute run time dispel you – soon you’ll be hooked like me, knowing all the words somehow and not having a clue what any of it means.

Madeleine Whitmore: ‘Born For Loving You’ by Big Thief

The indie Gen Z TikTok realm may have been swept away in the tide that was Big Thief’s 2023 masterpiece ‘Vampire Empire’, but I believe its quieter, equally earnest sister was the most criminally underrated 3 minutes and 34 seconds of the year. I was lucky enough to see Adrienne Lenker’s lyrical masterpiece performed in London in April and waited impatiently for its release for months afterwards. ‘Born For Loving You’ is a steady, loving anthem for anyone who got Burlington USA as their location on Spotify Wrapped.

Beatrice Coulter: ‘I Love Hollywood!’ by Slayyyter

‘Oh thank God I sold my soul!’, Slayyyter declares in the first verse of her song ‘I Love Hollywood!’; to me, this lyric summarises the manic, slutty, and insane energy of 2023. Anchored by blaring synthesisers oozing 80s glamour and chic, this track professes a love for glamour despite the harm. This song is an explicit endorsement of every single hedonistic impulse inside you, and it affirms every bad decision you choose to make. This year saw the beginnings of a true electroclash revival (Snow Strippers, MGNA Crrta, The Dare), and none did it better than Slayyter’s mouthwateringly evil new song.

Sergio Niblett-Morales: ‘In My Room’ by Troye Sivan and Guitarricadelafuente

From the shimmering intro to the lively chorus, ‘In My Room’ is a fresh and fun track from start to finish! The lyrics centre around having a crush on somebody, and the torrent of feelings that comes with it. What is unique about ‘In My Room’, though, is that it flutters between English and Spanish lyrics, with extra vocals provided by Zaragoza native Guitarricadelafuente. This creates an intimate atmosphere throughout the song, with the highlight being the stunning outro featuring dream-like vocals over layers of strings. ‘In My Dream’ is definitely a Pop highlight of 2023!


Mountain View

A depressing Christmas playlist

Oliver Cooney: ‘brrr’ by Kim Petras

With a squishy, industrial sound and almost monotone melody, this track is the perfect introduction to the hyperpop genre. Void of an obvious subject matter, the song’s chorus is merely a collection of words that rhyme with the title, and Petras’ extreme rhoticity in singing them made this a staple singalong track of the year.