• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

The Best Songs Our Readers Discovered in 2023


Jan 6, 2024


Doris Troy was part of the original lineup of the greatest ensemble I had never heard of, the Sweet Inspirations, whose members included Cissy Houston (Whitney’s mother) and her nieces Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick. There’s something about the staccato piano combined with Troy’s elongated “I love you”s that reassures me that love isn’t fireworks — it’s the world they illuminate as they ascend and break up the darkness. — John Semlitsch, Austin (Listen on YouTube)

This year has been a lot. War, rockets, drones: All that I could hear and see in Kyiv as a civilian resident. One might be amazed at how people can adjust. This is a song I discovered when I was riding my bike to the hospital in Kyiv where I work. It was a morning after some powerful explosions overnight. But there was also sunlight and spring, and the tune playing in my headphones, forcing me to smile. — Nazar, Kyiv, Ukraine (Listen on YouTube)

A young woman I know recently posted a photo of herself and her newborn baby girl on Instagram with Rosemary Clooney’s rendition of this Irving Berlin song in the background. When my mother passed away and I was only 4 years old, her older sister, my aunt Edie, sang this song to me often as she tucked me in for the night. It’s a bittersweet memory, but now, 71 years later, it still reminds me of how fortunate I am to have had so much love in my life. — Norman Reisman, New York City (Listen on YouTube)

When they do the double Dutch, that’s them dancing,


Listen on Spotify. We update this playlist with each new newsletter.

“The Best Songs Our Readers Discovered in 2023” track list
Track 1: Badfinger, “No Matter What”
Track 2: Bessie Banks, “Go Now”
Track 3: Labi Siffre, “Crying, Laughing, Loving, Lying”
Track 4: John Prine, “Souvenirs”
Track 5: The Chiffons, “One Fine Day”
Track 6: Liz Phair, “Whip-Smart”
Track 7: Big Maybelle, “My Country Man”
Track 8: Billy Bragg, “A New England”
Track 9: The Brat, “The Wolf (and the Lamb)”
Track 10: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, “Superrappin’”
Track 11: Doris Troy, “What’cha Gonna Do About It”
Track 12: Nina Simone, “Blues for Mama (Live at the Newport Jazz Festival)”
Track 13: Rosemary Clooney, “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep”


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