The Best Songs of December 2023 // New Music Friday!

"Take Me Home Country Roads" // Lana Del Rey

After such an incredible year of so much music, Lana released one last song of 2023, a beautiful cover of the John Denver classic "Take Me Home Country Roads". She was inspired to cover this song after touring all over the country for the last seven months, which she talked about in the announcement of the song in an Instagram caption. "It's really been somethin," she said in her caption, "But there’s so much more to see. And in the meantime..." I hope this is going to be a part of her long-awaited American standards album that she has been talking about for years! I'm sure 2024 will bring so much more gorgeous music from Lana and I can't wait to hear it! 

"You're Losing Me (From The Vault)" // Taylor Swift

To close off such a monumental year in her career, Taylor finally released "You're Losing Me" on streaming, after initially only being an exclusive track for a special The Eras Tour version of Midnights. In terms of breakup songs she has written throughout her career, this is up there as among the saddest and most devastating. So many lyrics give me chills every time I hear them, "Remember lookin' at this room? We loved it 'cause of the light, now, I just sit in the dark and wonder if it's time" and "I can't find a pulse, my heart won't start anymore for you". Perhaps the hardest hitting is, "And I wouldn't marry me either, a pathological people pleaser, who only wanted you to see her". Especially after so many gorgeous songs she wrote over the years about this relationship, like "peace", "Cornelia Street", "invisible string", "Paper Rings", and "Lover", a lyric like that is just so sad.  I can see why it wasn't originally included on Midnights because it is almost too honest - hopefully this is a heartbreak that time can one day mend. Jack Antonoff recently revealed that this song was written in December 2021, which really does put so much of the entire Midnights album into a new perspective. 

Check out my full review of Midnights!

"All I Need To Hear (Live From Real World Studios) // The 1975

The 1975 released such a beautiful live rendition of one of the stand-out tracks from their incredible 2022 album, Being Funny In A Foreign Language. This version captures the beauty and intimacy of the song's lyrics so perfectly. I got to hear Matty Healy's dad, Tim, perform this live at Madison Square Garden last month and it was such a special moment to get to witness. For Christmas this year, I also got the Live from Real World Studios 7" vinyl as a gift and I have absolutely loved listening to it on that format too. I will definitely be sharing more about that vinyl release early in the new year!

Check out my review of The 1975 Still...At Their Very Best live at Madison Square Garden & my full review of Being Funny In A Foreign Language!

"Houdini - Extended Edit" // Dua Lipa

The original version of "Houdini" has been on repeat ever since it was first released in November and to go along with that song, this month she put out a few alternative versions and remixes of the song. My favorite is the extended version, which is about two minutes longer than the original with an extended psychadelic intro and outro. I love the new refrain in this version too. "Weave the ceilin' from tomorrow, free the people from daylight, all the plans go out the window, when we're out this late at night" really enhances the non-stop party vibe of this song.

A few days ago, I also got a special gift in the mail from Dua & Warner Music with special "Houdini" stickers, candy and a photo print - it was such a fun surprise to get in the mail! Dua's upcoming third album is my most anticipated album of the new year, I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us! 2024 is going to be Dua's year, I'm sure of it!

"NYE (featuring Suki Waterhouse)" // Local Natives

Local Natives recently released a new version of their song "NYE" to feature Suki Waterhouse, who adds so much to this song. Over the past year, I have really enjoyed so much of her music and am looking forward to hearing more from her in the new year. "NYE" is essential listening for all of your New Year's Eve festivities!

"Flavour Of The Month" // Rina Sawayama

Rina recently released the bonus edition of her 2022 sophomore album, Hold The Girl earlier this month and included a brand-new song, "Flavour Of The Month". It fits in really well with some of the grungier moments from that album and I would love to see her go deeper down that route with future releases!

"Big Difference" // Nicki Minaj

Although I definitely have very mixed feelings about Pink Friday 2, Nicki Minaj's latest album, there were a couple of gems on the track list that I have been really enjoying this month. As messy as this album gets at times, "Big Difference" is a one of the few diamonds in the rough for me. The production is really different and eclectic, with super fun classic Nicki vibes in the lyrics and her vocal performance. It reminds me of "LLC" from her last album which is one of my favorite tracks by her. If you listened to Pink Friday 2, what were some of your thoughts on it?

Thanks for reading! It's hard to believe that this is my last New Music Friday post of 2023! I started this series back in January in an effort to share more of my music taste outside of my long-form album reviews. Going into it, I didn't know how many people would care to read it, but from the start my New Music Friday posts have consistently been among my most popular every month. It has become a monthly tradition that I have looked forward to putting together on the last Friday of every month! I am absolutely going to continue this series in 2024 and look forward to sharing more new releases with you! If you are interested in going back through my posts in this series from 2023, click here

To finish off 2023, I will be posting a list of my favorite songs of the year, as well as my favorite albums of the year - so be sure to come back and check both of those out very soon! Thank you again for all of your support this year, I am so appreciative of anyone that has taken the time to read my work year after year. I am looking forward to all that is to come in the new year! Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful 2024!

-Melissa ♡

photo credit to all owners - header designed by Melissa Kacar

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