This week, we're continuing to look back at some of our favourite albums of the year, week-by-week and genre-by-genre. 2023 was a great year for pop music fans. Chances are that you've already fallen in love with the new Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo albums, so we're going to put you on some equally amazing albums from 4 future-pop stars that should definitely be on your radar...
Rêve – “Saturn Return”
Saturn Return is the debut album from multi-platinum dance-pop artist, Rêve. The album is a tribute to Rêve’s love for dance music, past, present and future, spanning a wide range of bpm’s and dance sub-genres with production from heavy hitters like Banx & Ranx (Dua Lipa, Little Mix) and Carl Ryden (Kylie Minogue, David Guetta). Rêve’s cathartic songwriting and storytelling is front-and-centre on this project. “I’m known for my dance vibes, which you’re getting plenty of with Saturn Return, but I also wanted people to see a more emotional and vulnerable side from me – because spilling my guts is my favourite thing to do,” Rêve reflects. “The album was carefully crafted to make listeners feel sexy, vulnerable, empowered, euphoric and free. My goal was to create a sonic dimension where everyone has a space to feel safe to experience and celebrate the full range of human emotion.”
Valley – “Lost In Translation”
Valley’s sophomore album Lost In Translation is the long-awaited follow up to their 2019 debut MAYBE and it proved to be well worth the wait. The Canadian band has truly hit their stride with Lost In Translation playing back like glimpses of a journal, drawing from pop-culture references, inspired by iconic bands through the decades, and laced with that signature Valley soundscape. In the words of drummer and vocalist Karah, “Lost in Translation is a tribute to our relationship over the many years as friends and bandmates, working through misunderstandings, and finding our way through the radio noise.” In typical Valley fashion, the album gives us everything from pop hits like “Break For You” and “Natural” to heartbreaking ballads like “i thought i could fly” and “Keep My Stuff.” It's safe to say that no matter what you’re feeling today, there’s a Valley song on here for you.
BoyWithUke – “Lucid Dreams”
Lucid Dreams is the debut album from the mysterious platinum-certified singer, songwriter, and producer BoyWithUke who rose to fame behind a signature glowing mask. Stitching together alternative, pop, and electronic elements, Lucid Dreams traces BoyWithUke’s journey thus far, holding nothing back in terms of intention, emotionality, and truth. In the words of BoyWithUke’s himself, Lucid Dreams encapsulates “my desires, my fears, my past, and my dreams.” He continues, “Lucid Dreams is the culmination of my personal journey so far. Each song is like a different step on the path. I’m facing past traumas, making the music I want to make, and figuring out who I am. The album is BoyWithUke blossoming, spreading his wings, and finding himself.” In creating the album, he wrote, recorded, and produced a majority of the new songs without any collaborators in just a three-week period and ahead of the album release, he shared the BoyWithUke Origins mini-series, which gave fans an intimate glimpse into the beginnings of his iconic character.
Olivia Dean – “Messy”
Olivia Dean’s debut album Messy cements her as one of the most original and versatile voices in UK pop. Crafting classic yet conversational hooks with genre-fluid tinges, she’s honed a way of exploring universal themes of love, loss and everything in between with razor-sharp storytelling. Of the making of Messy, Olivia shares: “It's funny because I think it’s the most fine-tuned I've got my sound to be, but also the most carefree I've been in actually making music… some of it’s quite vulnerable but it was just made out of pure fun and joy and unbotheredness.” Press play on this album and you'll be greeted with "UFO"—a beautiful vocoder ballad that will win you over and pull you into Olivia's world long before she even arrives at the chorus. It's the start of a 12-song journey you will enjoy every step of the way.