T-Bone's Top 40 Alt Songs in 2023

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T-Bone's Top 40 Alt Songs in 2023

Post Post #0 (ISO) » Sun Dec 24, 2023 10:46 am

Post by T-Bone »

Hi, it's that time again, a MafiaScum tradition in which I authoritatively rank alternative music for the masses. Thanks for coming in, I am ranking my Top 40 Alternative hits of the year. Yes, I managed not to increase the number of this list, 40 is as high as I'll go. Though it was tough! I considered 79 songs for this list this year, a new record! There were many more making waves in the alternative music space that did not get here. It was a big year for Alt music.

To prepare you for what will happen...I listen to Alternative music. Or at least music classified as "Alternative" by places such as Alt Nation on SiriusXM, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, and overs. I don't not have deep cut music tastes, I listen to popular music in the genre. That's good enough for me. Most of these songs on my list have seen significant airplay over the year. Some get more airplay than others, but that's mostly the criteria I look for. I know that the fact that other people have heard these songs on the radio make these songs trash and I'm okay with that if you are. If you tend to like my Song Contest submissions, you'll like this list. If you don't like my Song Contest submissions, then you won't.

Starting today I am going to post my Top 40 songs. My goal with this list is to share my favorite artists and tracks and also provide a representation of the current state of Alternative music. There is a little criteria that my music tastes have in common. I like Alternative music that borrows from other genre of music. if there are folk vibes, some metal, some rap-rock, if there are string or brass instrumentation, chances are I'll enjoy it. I also tend to enjoy tracks that tell a story musically, like getting more intense as the track goes on. I also love collaborations and duets and mutliple voices. For a few tracks on this list I opted for collab versions of the original popular version of the tracks.

Thanks for joining me, whether this is your first time or your third time. I am excited to share the artists on this list. A lot of heavy hitters of Alternative music returned in 2023 and whether they appear on this main list or the honorable mentions, it was a great year for Alt music. The next post will be today's submission for my Top 40. Please comment along if you want, it's nice to know people are reading!

At the end I'll share the Spotify playlist of the Top 40 and my playlist for the Honorable Mentions later.

Previous Editions

2022
2021

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#40-#36
My Top 40 Alt Songs of the Year!

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Post Post #1 (ISO) » Sun Dec 24, 2023 10:46 am

Post by T-Bone »

#40 - Rats by Khai Dreams

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notibles: n/a



This is a previous Song Contest entry for me and I know the SC folks weren't a fan but it's kicking off my list because I think it's cool. Part of why i think it's cool is because khai dreams (she/they) is an entirely new representative in the mainstream Alternative music space. No, this didn't get much airplay but I think it's huge that it did. I do tend to like people with non-traditional backgrounds entering the alt scene. I also love the folksy driving vibe of this song, it sounds comforting and energetic at the same time.

#39 - Odyssey by Beck and Phoenix

2022 Rank: #19, #27 (Phoenix)
Other Notibles: After Midnight (Phoenix, Clairo)



Phoenix has been a staple of my rankings appearing twice on last year's rankings and having two candidates this year. This collaboration with Beck I think combines the best of both sounds. Beck has been around a long time and has a very well defined psycadelic sound straight out of the 90s, and Phoenix seems to have a lot of Beck's influence in their own music. This is a cool track with some fun sounds.

#38 - Loving You by Cannons

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notibles: n/a



There's something mesmerizing about this song and that's why it ended up on this list. Cannons showed up a few years ago and their sound blends a lot of funk and disco into their rock sound. You get that funk vibe in this track. The vocals are soft and understated while the back track has a haunting and driving force behind it. It's the type of song you sway your hips to but not go out and dance to. Very chill and very powerful.

#37 - Overcome by Nothing But Thieves

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notibles: n/a



I love it when a new (to me) artist makes the airwaves and takes over, and for awhile Overcome ruled the summer of Alt music. They are a bigger artist in the UK but they've created a buzz in the US. The way this song seems to have that old school guitar-based sensibility, such as with the guitar solo in the middle of the song, with modern trappings of alt music makes a great combo. There's part stadium rock and part pop in this song and it makes for a bright tune overall.

#36 - Eat Your Young by Hozier

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notibles: n/a



Hozier catapulted into Alt royalty several years ago with Take me to Church, blending some typical sounds of Christian rock into his music. The roots of that and folk vibes are present in this sound as well. The messaging of the song is wild from the veiled references to oral sex (a common thing in his music!) to the more overt anti-capitalist message it's nice that a song like this can get popular.

There's my first 5 songs on this list. See you tomorrow!
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Post Post #2 (ISO) » Mon Dec 25, 2023 1:03 pm

Post by T-Bone »

Merry Christmas! My gift to you is 5 more songs! As a bonus I'm going to drop my Honorable Mentions playlist in the next post too! But let's start with 35.

#35 - Hotline by bby

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notibles: n/a



Usually I try to link to the official artists channel, but for some reason bby's YouTube channel doesn't have the proper song on it, instead the artist sings it with a college party. So yeah, you can imagine the type of artist this is. This song is just on the list because it's fun. The bass line is groovy and drives the song, and honestly the simple hook of 'you know where I am' just feels fun to sing with.

#34 - The Place That Makes Me Happy by The Moss

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notibles: n/a



There's something about this song that makes it sound out of place for 2023. There's blues vibe, there's a little funk, and a little classic rock. Genres that by themselves I wouldn't be too enthused by, but together it makes a great Alternative track. This song reminds me of something but I've yet to figure it out. Another song or music motif or something. if you listen and figure it out please comment!

#33 - Summer of Luv by Portugal. The Man and Unknown Mortal Orchestra

2022 Rank: #33
Other Notibles: DUMMY



Apparently Portugal. The Man has a permanent spot on my list at 33. Like most of their tracks I like it but I'm not in Luv with it. This band has a specific sound and its all over this song. I like the groove of the baseline, and big plus for the saxophone. I'm not sure who the other band on the track is but good on them getting the rub. I especially like the beginning of the chorus when it transitions and stalls on the 'So high' line. Their other track DUMMY was probably more popular but the weaker track.

#32 - Under You by Foo Fighters

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notibles: Rescued



Foo Fighters are an all time great band and I'm glad they made their way on my rankings finally. They put out good songs every year but this one is a little more special. This song is bright and happy sounding and starts off strong with the first verse and chorus. It does overstay its welcome a bit like many Foo Fighter songs and that's why it doesn't rank higher, but when I'm able to justify putting Alternative and Rock royalty on my rankings I feel like the exercise is a little more legitimized, considering I know I have some huge omissions that ended up in the honorable mentions list instead.

#31 - When You & Me Dance by Grabbitz

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notibles: n/a



Just outside by Top 30 is this one-hit wonder from early in the year. This is such an incredibly fun song that I love every time I hear it. Out of all the songs on this list this is the one you have to get up out of your chair and dance to. It's a great blend of dance and rock music that I cannot think of a good comparison too. The start of the song is high energy but yet listening the whole way through you go on a journey of high energy and high anticipation and Grabbitz expertly crafts the moment to moment feeling of this song. The chorus after the first verse is so hype, and the building anticipation of the bridge right in the middle of the song as the beat drops a bit allows you to reset just for a moment before the last verse brings allows you to peak as the last chorus comes up again. The outro is pretty hype too.
My Top 40 Alt Songs of the Year!

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Post Post #3 (ISO) » Mon Dec 25, 2023 1:04 pm

Post by T-Bone »

And now here is my Spotify playlist of my Honorable Mentions. There are 35 this year! Almost as large as my main list. Some of these songs are the songs I didn't pick for the countdown (such as entries by Phoenix and the Foo Fighters). There are some hits where the artist made my rankings but I didn't include them in the HMs for various reasons. Some of these songs are from Alt music's heavy hitters that I couldn't find a spot for on my rankings (Fall Out Boy, The Killers) and some come from huge returns that I just didn't feel the song they picked as their single was their best (Blur, The Used). I definitely agonized over many of them that just missed out on my Top 40 like Hold Me Like a Grudge and In My Head. I do stand by these songs and y'all will probably enjoy them!

Playlist for 2023 Honorable Mentions!

Spoiler: Honorable Mentions

Name, Artist, (2022 Rank)

Hold Me Like a Grudge by Fall Out Boy
In My Head by Mike Shinoda, Kailee Morgue
Over by CHVRCHES
Rescue Me by Dirty Heads
Out of My Mind by little image
Chemical by Post Malone
Daylight by David Kushner
Sick by Aidan Bissett (#22)
Sympathy by Declan McKenna
girlfriend by hemlock springs
All We Ever Do Is Talk by Del Water Gap
Emergency Contact by Pierce The Veil
Stick Season by Noah Kahan
Burning by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (#3)
Love From the Other Side by Fall Out Boy
SPIT IN MY FACE! by ThxSoMch
Adios by JAWNY
Change by Djo
Did I Make You Up? by half*alive (HM)
GOSSIP by Maeskin and Tom Morello (#6)
Kid by The Revivalists
After Midnight by Phoenix and Clairo (#19, #27)
Rescued by Foo Fighters
Stuck by Thirty Seconds to Mars
The Narcissist by Blur
Easy by MISSIO (HM)
Double Life by Cold War Kids
Out of My League by Aidan Bissett (#22)
Pull Me Through by Royal Blood
One More Time by blink-182
Boy Scout by JAWNY
Calm Down by All Time Low (#39)
Your Side of Town by The Killers
Giving Up by The Used
Get Happy by Matt Maeson (#35)


See you tomorrow!
My Top 40 Alt Songs of the Year!

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Post Post #4 (ISO) » Tue Dec 26, 2023 12:16 pm

Post by T-Bone »

Hey hey hey, it's Day 3. Are you out there? It's Top 30 time! This part of the list was difficult, I shuffled the 21-30 songs a few times, even while I wrote this. I always listen to a song while I prepare these write-ups and that causes me to go 'wait should this be ranked this low?' I need to stop tinkering so here we go.

#30 - Sofa King by Royal Otis

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



I don't know what to say about this song other than it is great. It's got a mellow and haunting sound to it, there are musical influences I am having a hard time putting a finger on. And it is very catchy as a tune. This song had such an odd year airplay wise. It was always on the radio, always charting, but never making it to the top. The dual refrain of "you're so fucking gorgeous" and later "you're so fucking...high" is brilliant lyrical writing. The first time you hear the refrain change it's unexpected and that is what makes the song so memorable for me.

#29 - Fallin' With Me by The Struts

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



I consider The Struts to be one of those quintessential alternative bands. They have the sound you would expect and the fan base you would expect. I don't typically gravitate to them, they have this shouty style of music that reminds me a lot of glam rock that feels dated to me. But this song works. This song gets a little shouty and a little glam rock, but when the chorus drops it elevates the song to a higher level. Without the chorus there's no way this song would make my rankings, but that change makes it interesting and memorable.

#28 - Those Eyes by New West

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



We've made it to the part of the list where I talk about controversy as if there is any sacredness to this. It's my rankings you shut your objections! This song was released in 2020, but it didn't get radio airplay until this year. That's just how it works with my rankings. It didn't get much airplay, but enough to make an impression on me. This is a wonderful ballad and a great song to sing along to. It's slow but it is driving at the same time.

#27 - The Perfect Pair by beabadoobee

2022 Rank: #12
Other Notables: n/a



Bea has one of my favorite voices in all of alternative music. There's something alluring about hearing it that always grabs my attention. This song really shows off her vocals and smart song composition. I love the male backing singer putting an extra layer on Bea's vocals. There is a lot I love about this song. My only complaint is that the song seems to end at the two minute mark and the last minute has an interesting but pointless instrumental breakdown. This song would have benefitted more from another verse or refrain after this. I think I would have ranked this much higher if not for that. I don't mind an instrumental breakdown in a song but this one feels without purpose.

#26 - Call Me What You Like by Lovejoy

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



I've refrained from commenting on this for three days but it's time for me to face the music, angsty white boy acts are all over my rankings and I cannot help it. At least I can use the excuse is that a lot of them are also British, weirdly enough. British Alternative is basically its own genre now. They are very easy to tell because they sound so similar. This song has some fun moments and that's why I ranked it. I love the soft pre-chorus before the first chorus as it helps give the song a journey between verse and chorus. And then ending on a final bridge where the singer says "I'm not paranoid I'm a realist" is a great accent to the song's finale.

We made it three days! Many more to go, and we will crack into the Top 25 tomorrow. Like and subscribe and I will see you next time!
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Post Post #5 (ISO) » Wed Jan 03, 2024 3:25 am

Post by T-Bone »

Getting sick completely derailed me. Top 25 continues this evening!
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Post Post #6 (ISO) » Wed Jan 03, 2024 3:47 pm

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Welcome it's Top 25 day! My favorite day including the number 25 of the year! (Would there be some other?)

#25 - Green Honda by BENEE

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



Breaking away from the angsty white boy music for a moment we turn to…angsty white girl music. Okay. BENEE is someone who has been around a lot of alt music that I like. She had an early collab with Gus Dappterton a few years ago and has been quietly collabing with other artists in the space. Green Honda has such a forceful driving beat that keeps your attention all the way through. I'm not particularly enamored with her voice when she adds baby talk voice that is also auto tuned but nonetheless my attention has been gotten.

#24 - Tropic Morning News by The National

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



This song has a haunting attraction for me. The verses are played in the minor while the chorus is played in the major key and it is a pleasing transition. This song also does a great job of making me as a listener want to know what's happening next. What is The Tropic Morning News? Why does the first chorus get cut short? Why is the second chorus different from the rest? Oh where are all the moments we had? I first became attracted to this song just trying to learn it. But when he completes the entire chorus at the end it feels satisfying and earned to listen to. It's triumphant as the first words are sung and the guitar rift plays you out.

#23 - Weightless by Arlo Parks

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



I've written haunting a lot on this countdown and once again I must describe this track as haunting. Arlo Parks’ voice is amazing, one of the best I've heard in alt music this year. I love when new voices enter into alt music. This song’s hip hop influences are persistent throughout. This is the type of song that makes me curious how the performer does it live. It's heavy on synthetic sound and her voice blends beautifully. I'd love to hear her do an acoustic take or something on it.

#22 - Unloveable by Beach Weather and Pale Waves

2022 Rank: #32
Other Notables: n/a



This next song I've taken creative liberties with by choosing the version with Pale Waves because I love a duet. The original version is the one that got the air play, and this track mostly preserves the sound of the original but Heather from Pale Waves provides slightly different 2nd verse and backing vocals on the track and it just improves upon an already great song. As for why I like this track, the chorus feels powerful and fun and the song has a great beat that makes it easy to listen to. Funny enough because I basically only use Spotify to plan out this playlist and count down Beach Weather ended up on my Wrapped because Spotify thinks it's my favorite band now. The original song is worth a listen if you want to compare.

#21 - Perspective by Cafune

2022 Rank: HM
Other Notables: n/a



Last year I tried hard to get Cafune on the countdown but for a number of reasons put them in my honorable mentions instead. I don't know why but this band never gets the air play I think it should. Perspective is yet another incredible track and I need SiriusXM and other outlets to start taking this band seriously. This song hits all the notes for me. It has a snappy intro, the track gets more intense as it goes, the lyrics are catchy, and I cannot help but dance to it as the drums come in and the song hits its peak. The best part is that Cafune does not overstay their welcome and the song is done just under three minutes. I'd have put this higher on my countdown had it gotten more airplay.

Alright. We're back on track, my illness is over, and we will be hitting Top 20 tomorrow!
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Post Post #7 (ISO) » Mon Jan 08, 2024 4:57 am

Post by Infinity 324 »

a few songs i really liked here, adios by jawny is a BANGER
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Post Post #8 (ISO) » Mon Jan 08, 2024 4:59 am

Post by T-Bone »

Update I had a close friend pass away so I haven't felt this but I will finish the list, thanks for your patience.
My Top 40 Alt Songs of the Year!

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Post Post #9 (ISO) » Mon Jan 08, 2024 5:00 am

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fuck. i'm sorry
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Post Post #10 (ISO) » Mon Jan 15, 2024 2:10 pm

Post by T-Bone »

My apologies, between getting sick and some personal issues this wasn't on the forefront of my mind for a long time. I will try to finish it up this week. I've been hit or miss with feeling sick the last week or so, so I cannot promise. But here we go now, the Top 20 con is on!

#20 - Carry You Home by Circa Waves

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



Welcome to the Top 20. I've got a lot of British acts on this list and Circa Waves is the latest. This track is simple and executed well. The opening verse’s softness contrasted with the driving drums and bass beat is a combination that brings me right into the song and never lets go. The synth piano motif running throughout the song gives it cohesion between the verse and chorus that is repeated in other instruments throughout the song and it helps keep the song interesting through it's high energy run time.

#19 - Fighting Myself by Linkin Park

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: Lost



I know I'm making a controversial pick for A) this song and B) not putting them higher. Tragically we aren't able to get new Linkin Park anymore, but the band came back big in 2023 with the release of Lost, a previously unreleased track to celebrate 20 years. This song was the second single on the anniversary album, and didn't get as much airplay, but I just prefer it over Lost. Lost is a great track and if I were going to put more than one Linkin Park song on my ranking it would have placed in the 20s. I grew up with this music and Fighting Myself hits the nostalgia harder for me. It brings me back to a time where a friend and I were waiting for the release of Minutes to Midnight in High School. I love the cyber voice at the beginning of this track and the guitars hit hard and remind me a lot of some of my other favorite LP tracks…but I won't get into that argument again right now.

#18 - Run Away With Me by Cold War Kids

2022 Rank: #26
Other Notables: Double Life



Cold War Kids are the alternative band of the 2010s, their track, First, was named alt song of the decade by SiriusXM. They are a band I like a lot. Sometimes they can be a little too Coldplay for my liking and other times they release bangers like this one. It's a fun song that is easy to sing along to and sometimes that's all I'm looking for in a track. Cold War Kids had two hits this year and if I was putting more than one song on my top 40 there's every chance Double Life could have made it as well. It's another banger that CWK put out. The chorus to this song makes me happy every time I hear it.

#17 - Just Pretend by Bad Omens

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



This might be one of the heaviest track on this list, this song has that heavy metal influence for sure. I don't know much about this band, it would not surprise me if this was a Christian rock band. This band reminds me of a metal band I like, All That Remains, where the singer gets close to but doesn't quite hit screamo (which I do not like). The singer's chorus is in the vein of Chester from Linkin Park in many ways. I love the intensity of this song and how it plays between a quiet intensity in the verse and then amps up into all intense for the chorus and refrain. This song was criminally underplayed this year but I get why it might not have been.

#16 - Cannonballers by Colony House

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



This song is truly unlike all other songs played in popular alt music this year. The band describes themselves as landlocked surfer rock and I've never heard more perfect words to describe a song. The surfer guitar rift lends a great energy to the tune, and the song just hits through out it's run time. I especially love the transition to the chorus and how you've got a bit of a bass drop to rock your head to.

Thanks for sticking with me. Top 15 coming soon.
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Post Post #11 (ISO) » Tue Jan 16, 2024 5:04 pm

Post by T-Bone »

Hey hey it's Top 15 day! In years past I would slow down and do 3 at a time to give each entry more breathing room, but in light of how this year went I'm going to stick to 5 at a time, with hopefully longer write-ups. Let's get it started!

#15 - Ant Pile by Dominic Fike

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



I don't know what an ant pile is and it's a good plot to get the American audience hooked. I love the funk guitar at the beginning only for the song to change to a more hip hop sound. I'm also drawn to his lyrics, they talk about some familiar things but also veer off into nonsense. The guitar coming back for the chorus is a great touch to contrast that with the rap-like verses. Finally at just over two minutes this song does not overstay it's welcome and I always appreciate that.

#14 - Caffeine by Jack Kays

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



This song hits my nostalgia bone hard. It's got a classic alt rock vibe. But also the lyrics bring me back to my own time in high school. I think of an unrequited crush I had, Kat, in which one night my crush was reciprocated, and then for reasons I'll never know she moved on. I ended up in a fine place with my life, I know she struggled after HS and everyone lost touch with her, so I cannot help but think back to this time and of her. This ranking is probably more due to my nostalgia than the song but I also do like the song and I'm happy with my placement.

#13 - The Way by Manchester Orchestra

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



Manchester Orchestra has developed a sound I find it hard to describe but I love it every time I hear them. This might be the saddest sounding white boy song on this countdown. This does remind me a lot of their hit song, The Gold, in structure. They also use “the” a lot in song titles. It's a mellow listening experience very unlike other sounds on this countdown, but Andy's voice is powerful enough to carry the entire song. It's a very mature sound with an ending crescendo that makes the whole experience worth it.

#12 - Vial by Vinyl Theatre

2022 Rank:
Other Notables: n/a



I've said this a few times already about a few on this list but this band does not get enough airplay. This song came out in February of last year and it's been in heavy rotation in my listening from the jump despite never getting more than a week of airplay on alt nation's advanced placement show. The message of the song feels very relatable to me as someone who struggles with mental health in general. But also this song is high energy and groovy. That guitar riff that plays in the beginning and during the chorus is the best rift on this list. Finally as a bonus, Vinyl Theatre posted a Nightcore version of this song and it slaps even harder.

#11 Migraine by BoyWithUke

2022 Rank: #9, #14
Other Notables: n/a



It's really cool to hear BoyWithUke’s music mature with every new release. BoyWithUke used to perform with a digital mask but recently unmasked as part of the process of writing/releasing this song. I know that story doesn't say much about the song but I think this is a banger tune. The lyrics do reflect the theme of maturity too. His signature ukulele is still present but now it's not just a gimmick like it was in his earlier work. The chorus is also surprisingly complex which helps keep the song interesting through three full length verses.

Alright, Top 10 is next! Stay tuned!
My Top 40 Alt Songs of the Year!

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Post Post #12 (ISO) » Wed Jan 17, 2024 5:34 am

Post by Infinity 324 »

love ant pile
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Post Post #13 (ISO) » Mon Jan 29, 2024 3:49 pm

Post by Psyche »

khai dreams has definitely improved her production but that song was pretty generic imo. a bit sad to see the some of the personality from the initial EP polished away but maybe it's not representative of the whole album
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Post Post #14 (ISO) » Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:52 pm

Post by T-Bone »

Okay, I have had all my write ups written for over a week i just didn't post them. Going to post the Top 10 now. I apologize for how this year went!

#10 - Hollywood Baby by 100 gecs

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



100 gecs is following in my tradition of ranking an obvious one-hit wonder high on my list because of sounding so different from typical alt music. It's not even that it's so different, there are obvious glam rock influences here. Moreso that the song is so catchy for probably stupid reasons. It's an ear worm just like Wet Leg and Blu DeTiger were before them. I find the song has an intoxicating rhythm from the get go that you have to keep listening to. The great guitar motif throughout the song keeps me invested. And the lead singer’s autotuned voice is also oddly mesmerizing that it helps keep my interest going the entire song. It also helps that at a 3 minute run time it does not overstay its welcome. The bridge starting out singing over the bass before the rest of the band comes in puts a great cap onto the song.

#9 - Just The Once by Metric

2022 Rank: #7
Other Notables: n/a



Metric came back big last year with All Comes Crashing (which was 7 for me last year) and they followed it up with a song I find intriguing. It's a groovy song with a lot of elements that would feel at home on a space sound track. There's a flow to the lyrics in the verses that I find very pleasing maybe it's symmetry or something else I haven't put my finger on it. My favorite part of the track is Emily belting out the word “once” after the chorus and all the while the song continues on like nothing is happening. The backing track is a track that knows it's too cool.

#8 - HONEY (ARE U COMIN') by Maneskin

2022 Rank: #6
Other Notables: n/a



It's time for me to admit I like Maneskin. I wasn't sure because their debut single really annoyed me and made me a little uncomfortable. Last year they came in my top 10 and this year they repeat the feat, something only a handful of artists have been able to do (Metric, Holly Humberstone, BoyWithUke). Very prestigious I know. I love the chorus in this song it hits hard and hits you right away. They also modify the chorus throughout the song. First giving it an introductory sequence, then hitting it hard, and then right at the end returning to the introductory sequence to absolutely shift the pace of the song. Like other bands who have a different native language I also find charm in the syntax they sometimes choose. This chorus though just sells the song for me.

#7 - Empty Nest by Silversun Pickups

2022 Rank: #34
Other Notables: n/a



We've reached an inflection point in this countdown, where we've come across the first of 6 songs I considered for number 1 before ultimately making my choice. There is a cleverness in how the lyrics of the verse are structured. There's a lot of symmetry within each verse and between them. The harmony between Brian and Nikki (the two singers) is excellent. I have so many lines that I love from this song that all I can say is listen to it a few times. The driving motif behind the song just keeps me engaged. Truly in a weaker year this is my top song and it's not close because there are so many elements I love about this song it's hard to talk about. How about the high note played on the guitar to accent the chorus? Amazing.

#6 - Dial Drunk by Noah Kahan and Post Malone

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: Stick Season (Noah), Chemical (Malone)



Here's the other song on this list that I chose the alternative version to feature in the countdown instead of the original. This is an alternative countdown right? …I'll turn in my things to security. I like Noah Kahan because his lyrics are very straightforward. I know it sounds a lot like country but it's got great trappings of alt music. I chose the version with Post Malone because I think he adds an extra element to an already great song. Certainly seek out the original version of you wish. But I like Post Malone’s take on the 2nd verse and his additional harmonies in the chorus and bridge. Finally, the bridge where the singer has a conversation with a cop is the best bridge verse of the year. Whenever this song gets stuck in my head it's that bridge and last chorus I go back to. It's so good.
My Top 40 Alt Songs of the Year!

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Post Post #15 (ISO) » Tue Jan 30, 2024 4:33 pm

Post by T-Bone »

#5 - Blame Brett by The Beaches

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



Breaking into the top 5 it's even harder but these girls slap with this song. Any song in which women talk about sex is going to get my attention. But I also think this song is a lot of fun. The song has a classic driving rock motif but with a feminine voice it has a more unique sound. The lead singer of this band has an incredible voice that she is very good at restraining but also keeping it interesting. I think the refrain of blame my ex blame my ex is so funny especially in the context of this song and how love songs or break up songs in music normally sound in general. A contender for my number 1, but it's tough out here in T-Bone’s Alt 40 rankings. Also let’s have a laugh about the band name for a moment. You know what they wanted to call themselves.

#4 - Horizons by Gus Dapperton

2022 Rank: #15
Other Notables: n/a



I like this dude a lot. I know he autotunes himself but I love the absurdity of his voice. It's clear to me he's a talented singer under all the alternations anyway. As I mentioned earlier I just use Spotify to plan this list at the end of the year. Spotify thought this song was my favorite of the year in the Wrapped feature. So I knew I had to rank this highly. I'm not sure if he's a rock rapper, a rock hip hop guy, an EDM rock guy or something else. He blends these elements in all his music well. My favorite song of his predates my annual rankings. This song has a good bit of symmetry in the verses which now that I've written that word a few times this year it must be one of my acceptance criterias for alt music. I think he harmonizes with either his backup singers or himself very well which creates a great synthetic sound in his voice that I quite like. Shout out to the bridge where he gets a tiny bit of his signature scream sound in.

#3 - Pepper by Death Cab For Cutie

2022 Rank: HM
Other Notables: Arrow in the Wall



Amazingly, I get to feature alternative music royalty in my rankings. I think Death Cab is probably one of the most well known bands even outside the alternative music genre. They have a lot of crossover hits. This song is so simple and so well constructed. The verses tell a great story both with the lyrics and with the motifs it features. See if you can hear the theremin in the second verse. The song starts so humble with an acoustic guitar and then a little piano that you'd be forgiven if you didn't realize by the end all the other instruments and motifs they sneak in. It's possible they borrow from Sergeant Pepper’s lonely hearts club band but I can't say I know that well enough to say so. My favorite part of this song is the chorus, which is crazy on its face as it's just two lines repeated. But what I find so satisfying about the chorus is all the musical motifs that play in the background and spaces between those two lines. This is the type of set up that should be boring and yet they masterfully make it interesting.

#2 - Not Strong Enough by boygenius

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



This is only #2! For most of the year I thought this would be my number one song. It checks so many boxes for me. It's a collaboration between three great single artists, including perhaps one of my favorite feminine artists Phoebe Bridgers. All three women get their own time to shine throughout the song. I think it's a little funny that the subject matter of the song is a take down on masculinity and I will happily sing along with no sense of irony. I think the structure of the chorus verses are so smart with each singer belting out the first line in their own ways. Phoebe and Julian’s first two choruses have a persistent power to that line (I don't know why I am the way I am) while Lucy just destroys it in the final chorus of the song. The harmonizing between these three are masterful. If you Google boygenius they won't be called a band, but a supergroup. This group is super.

#1 - Nosebleeds by Misterwives

2022 Rank: n/a
Other Notables: n/a



We are here at number 1 my top song of the year. This was a late contender coming out in September but when I first heard it I recognized it was special. To say I was blindsided by how much I enjoyed this song is an understatement. The track starts off hot with the rhythm of the base and guitar. The first verse has nice symmetry to it. What I really love about this song is how the sections of the song are varied and keep building off themselves each time you hear it. We have a verse section, a refrain section, and a chorus. From the first time you hear each section to the second new elements are added. In the second verse it's additional guitars. For the second refrain they add in the motif from the opening of the song. For the chorus it's more voices. I love the juxtaposition between chorus 1 and 2. The first one is very understated on the vocals, and the second one they go full tilt. The bridge after the second chorus is great at building anticipation. Finally at the end, they combine the chorus and refrain into one super section. This song puts a smile on my face and I want to jam to it each time. For a band I've never spent any significant time listening to before, Misterwives blew me away with this track and although it has only been out for a few months it is my top song of the year!
My Top 40 Alt Songs of the Year!

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Post Post #16 (ISO) » Tue Jan 30, 2024 4:35 pm

Post by T-Bone »

Thank you for putting up with my inconsistent posting.

Here is the Spotify version of this playlist - https://open.spotify.com/playlist/740rf ... 4c3969492a

Here are the honorable mentions as well - https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4vaXm ... d8ab514de0

These songs I liked but just didn't have room for in my Top 40.
My Top 40 Alt Songs of the Year!

"Playing in a Newbie game doesn't count" ~ PenguinPower, Feb 2019
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Post Post #17 (ISO) » Tue Jan 30, 2024 5:24 pm

Post by JacksonVirgo »

In post 10, T-Bone wrote: #17 - Just Pretend by Bad Omens

This might be one of the heaviest track on this list, this song has that heavy metal influence for sure. I don't know much about this band, it would not surprise me if this was a Christian rock band. This band reminds me of a metal band I like, All That Remains, where the singer gets close to but doesn't quite hit screamo (which I do not like). The singer's chorus is in the vein of Chester from Linkin Park in many ways. I love the intensity of this song and how it plays between a quiet intensity in the verse and then amps up into all intense for the chorus and refrain. This song was criminally underplayed this year but I get why it might not have been.
I was looking through this hoping to find new music to listen to, seeing this song here made me smile so much and not just because the singer is my avatar right now :lol: . This song means so much to me, the emotion that it leads into and then hits so hard just gets me feeling all the feelings. His softer vocals leading into the higher intensity in chorus just hits so hard, the entire album is just so good and explores his clean singing range since he used to do heavy "screamo" as you called it. If you like this, you might like "The Grey" by the same band if you're open to suggestions.

Glad you like this song :)
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Post Post #18 (ISO) » Wed Jan 31, 2024 2:46 am

Post by T-Bone »

I am, this is about sharing music anyway
My Top 40 Alt Songs of the Year!

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Post Post #19 (ISO) » Wed Jan 31, 2024 5:20 am

Post by Psyche »

i have a bot that can agg the youtube version of this playlist
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Post Post #20 (ISO) » Wed Jan 31, 2024 12:19 pm

Post by Infinity 324 »

In post 15, T-Bone wrote: Breaking into the top 5 it's even harder but these girls slap with this song. Any song in which women talk about sex is going to get my attention. But I also think this song is a lot of fun. The song has a classic driving rock motif but with a feminine voice it has a more unique sound. The lead singer of this band has an incredible voice that she is very good at restraining but also keeping it interesting. I think the refrain of blame my ex blame my ex is so funny especially in the context of this song and how love songs or break up songs in music normally sound in general. A contender for my number 1, but it's tough out here in T-Bone’s Alt 40 rankings. Also let’s have a laugh about the band name for a moment. You know what they wanted to call themselves.
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Post Post #21 (ISO) » Wed Jan 31, 2024 3:32 pm

Post by Infinity 324 »

i love sabrina carpenter - feather i found that song recently
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Post Post #22 (ISO) » Wed Jan 31, 2024 3:35 pm

Post by T-Bone »

I'm going to add a deep cut honorable mention today, this is a random song I listened to a lot in 2023. It just didn't fit my list in anyway.



Red Wine Supernova by Chappell Roan
This is very pop rather than alternative so even though I liked it, it could not be anywhere on my rankings. I like pop style music too! A lot of pop influences in alt music tend to rank highly. This is probably "bad" pop for a lot of people. But I like it so I'm sharing it.
My Top 40 Alt Songs of the Year!

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Post Post #23 (ISO) » Thu Feb 01, 2024 12:10 pm

Post by Infinity 324 »

that song is a BANGER
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Post Post #24 (ISO) » Wed Feb 14, 2024 8:45 pm

Post by Psyche »

A youtube music playlist aggregating the videos in this thread for those wo spotify:

https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=E0jrU ... NTAyMjAyNA

A utility for people who want to generate similar playlists from other threads: https://colab.research.google.com/githu ... ctor.ipynb
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