2023 has been another year of excellent releases by Australian artists, but you’d be forgiven for not thinking that if you’d looked at the ARIA Albums Chart at any point over the past 12 months.
“From cultural cringe to clogged charts: why aren’t Australians listening to Australian music?,” The Guardian asked in June, sparking a period of heavy online discussion about the potential reasons Australian releases were being overlooked in favour of the music of global artists.
The discussion between Australian journalists and publicists and music lovers was thoughtful, encouraging, but it was also inescapably disheartening, there being a prevailing worrying feeling that this country’s relationship with its artists and their music was, perhaps irrevocably, damaged, at least in a commercial sense.
As 2023 came to its end, and Rolling Stone Australia‘s writers started preparing our shortlist of the best albums of the year, one thing became clear: Australians continue to produce some of the most exciting, innovative, and noteworthy music in the world.
In our list of the 25 best Australian albums and EPs of the year, which you can check out below, there are legends reminding us of their pop power and local rappers taking on the world; there are scrappy indie rock bands just fighting to be heard and myriad incisive singer-songwriters with monumental stories to tell.
In our 25 picks there are some evident chart monsters, but there are just as many albums that didn’t receive the commercial (or even critical) success that they deserved. The talent is there, the talent has always been there, and when 2024 rolls around, be mindful of this: that US superstar doesn’t need you to buy the deluxe version of one of their old albums, but your local Australian artist needs you to check out their record.