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  • Writer's pictureJW

2023 Sidequest: Song of the Year Awards

Yes, yes, this is a solo board games website. But I've always listened to music. It's very important to me. It gets me through bad days, lifts my mood. You should see me dancing while doing household chores.

Or maybe not. But here's some of the best music of 2023.

Album of the Year

It's unbelievable, but this band just keeps getting better. Album after album. Most played this year: UK Grim, by Sleaford Mods. I love the music, minimalistic as it may be. Or rather, because it is. I also love this in board games by the way, when designers know how to strip mechanisms to their core and then make a great game. Next, the lyrics. From the opener UK Grim ("in England nobody can hear you scream - you're just fucked lads") to closing track Rhythms of Class ("that's how they're living everywhere, we think it's even worse than home"), they're just brilliant.

We've got fun sing-alongs like Right Wing Beast ("You're all getting mugged by the aristocracy") and very sad ones like Apart from You ("the waiting rooms are cold in the depths invisible to everyone apart from you") and hardly a filler I could do without.


Sleaford Mods ft. Florence Shaw - Force 10 from Navarone

Song of the Year

I kind of ignore the output of Laibach these days. I've been a fan since 1983 or so, but somehow their output always takes a few years to "land" with me, ever since the album Volk (that I love now, but well, it's from 2006). So their recent single took me completely by surprise. I was knocked out cold by The Engine of Survival. Best love song ever.

Even if the sun falls down, I will shine on you

Even if I lose my voice, I'll sing for you

Even if black rain falls, I will cover you

Even if i lose it all, I'll fight for you

Laibach - The Engine of Survival

So close

Awards suck. I listened a lot to Protomartyr in 2023, it's still one of my favourite bands. I won't try to defend why they didn't win one of the categories above. I suck as well.

Protomartyr - Elimination Dances

Algorithm and Blues

Hey, old man, I hear you say, no new bands? Ehm. Sorry! I do still enjoy discovering new stuff. I just wasn't in the mood to listen to the radio much this year. Algorithms to the rescue! I got to listen to some new-to-me bands through the mysterious ways of Spotify and YouTube suggestions. Like Viagra Boys 👍🏻 And here's another fun one for you, that was new to me this year and to most of you I think: Die Spitz. I hope to catch them live one day.

Die Spitz - Hair of Dog

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I wanted to nominate Isshin Doutai but I realized it's from 2022! I have discovered it last year though (even though I have been following Kyary Pamyu Pamyu for years). The video is great as well.

One interesting discovery of the year was the OTYKEN band. It's a fun blend between traditional shamanistic-inspired songs (which I have a keen interest in) and contemporary folk metal. Here is one I enjoy:

Then the most uplifting song of the year award goes to Bad Company by Purple Machine (the kind of stuff you may hear while shopping in a supermarket). The video is strange though and I don't understand anything of what they say.

Another YouTube hit of the year that I…

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