top 52 montreal songs 2023

CRi, Gayance, Charlotte Cardin

The Top 30 Montreal Songs of 2023

Despite some shadows cast on the local music scene late this year, Montreal was fertile ground for fantastic songs in 2023.

2023 was another great year for Montreal music, but also a year of undeniable change and unease.

Closures of venues like the Diving Bell and the proposed banning of lease transfers by the CAQ  are among the biggest losses the artistic community experienced this year. However, none was bigger or more cataclysmic than the November passing of one of Quebec’s greatest-ever poets, Karl Tremblay of les Cowboys Fringants, sending the province into widespread mourning. 

What to do today in Montreal Karl Tremblay
RIP Karl Tremblay

Through it all, the city remained a fertile breeding ground for artists both toward the centre and well left of it. Artists new and well-established on both sides of the two solitudes (and in between) delivered excellent material during this calendar year, from psychedelic Krautrock to Brazilian-influenced jazzy house to Metallica covers in Inuktitut.

I’ve ranked 30 songs, and included 22 “honourable mentions” (that’s one song for every calendar week of 2023). As always, a WHOLE lot of heart-wrenching decisions had to be made — but here they are for your listening pleasure.

The Top 30 Montreal Songs of 2023

30. Murray A. Lightburn “Once Upon a Time in Montreal”

The sound of an impromptu waltz in mid-autumn near Leonard Cohen’s old spot.

29. Skiifall feat. Charlotte Cardin “Yuteman Denis”

The sound of NDG’s finest making perhaps his most ethereal track yet, with a little help from a certified local star.

28. Le Couleur “Sentiments nouveaux”

The sound of all the best chillwavey synthpop tropes combining to make an insatiable groover.

27. TDJ “Levitate”

The sound of being sent in a time machine to an early-aughts rave in a massive room, with outlandishly colourful outfits and dated haircuts surrounding you.

26. Nate Husser “Itchy Palms”

The sound of waking up on a warm summer’s day and going on a chill, relaxing post-coffee walk.

25. Charlotte Cardin “Confetti”

The sound of Montreal’s biggest homegrown pop star showcasing a whole new sense of confidence and poise — with the hooks to back it up with.

24. N NAO “Lac Léman”

The sound of a quaint weekend trip to the country, and you’ve already seen a whole lot of trees en route to your destination.

23. La Force “xo skeleton”

The sound of the funkiest, most reverb-washed song you’ll likely ever hear with an opening lyric about life insurance brokers.

22. Grand Eugène “Mon amour”

The sound of mid-tempo slacker rock and bedroom pop at its breathy, jangly best.

21. Alex Nicol “Eye for an Eye”

The sound of Beck’s Sea Change if it focused a lot more on social injustice than on breakups.