Our staff’s 50 favorite albums of 2023 so far, presented alphabetically, with our 50 favorite songs to follow tomorrow.

In 2022, Billboard‘s staff revealed our mid-year albums list in early June, seemingly just after the year had really kicked off in earnest in terms of big releases. After a tortoise-slow first four months to the year, the spring had kicked into high gear with successive chart-topping albums in May from superstar artists Future, Bad Bunny, Kendrick Lamar and Harry Styles. The floodgates were officially open, and 2022 never really looked back from there.

In 2023… well, we’re still kinda waiting, aren’t we? Nearly six months into the year, and we’ve still only had four albums top the Billboard 200 albums chart for the first time, and only one for more than one week: Morgan Wallen’s One Thing at a Time, which has ruled the chart for 13 non-consecutive weeks, and still stands over three months after its release as the album to beat — a challenge not many other albums have been up to so far. Besides that 36-track country blockbuster, the culture has largely been dominated by a pair of albums that are holdovers from late 2022 — SZA’s SOS and Taylor Swift’s Midnights — while most of pop’s overdue A-listers continue to lie dormant, and no rising or brand new sensations have put their imprint on the year in the same way.

Does that mean there haven’t been great albums to discover from this year? Of course not: Look a little lower on the Billboard 200 (or outside the chart altogether) and you’ll find plenty of still-impactful sets that have delighted us this year while the names at the top remain the same. Legacy-building releases from artists building formidable catalogs, successful left-turns from hitmakers we thought had long finished surprising us, and totally new breakthroughs and debuts from phenomenons who very likely may turn into superstars of future years: 2023 has packed plenty of delights to keep us entertained while we await further turnover at the top.

Here are our 50 favorite albums from the year’s first half — and let’s hope that this year’s deluge of game-changing chart-toppers is just around the corner.

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