2023 has, no joke, been a great year so far for new music. We got new material from some of my favorite current acts, such as Mono Inc and VNV Nation. We even get a new Garbage EP. (I might cover that at a later date.) Never mind Peter Gabriel and his “one new song per full moon all year” thing, because he’s such an utter nerd.

This, though. This album. I’ve anticipated this release the most since singles started dropping for it last year: “If Only” in July, “In Too Deep” in September, and “One Night in Burbank” just a couple months ago. Not a dud among ’em.

So obviously one of my first tasks this morning was to pick up the full album (oh 7Digital, I like your service but hate that you’re PayPal-only) and dive in. Right away I noticed a couple of things, though.

“Weight of the World” is here, and that single dropped in 2019. It was used in the first season of the gen:LOCK animated series and appears on that show’s soundtrack as well, along with “Syntax,” which is… also here.

So out of ten songs total, two are a few years old and three more are lead-off singles. That’s not a bad thing! I’m glad those two particular songs have escaped cartoon-soundtrack obscurity if nothing else. It just leaves me only half a record of new material to dig into, that’s all. (Not that I avoided the singles and older material while listening to all of Texture, because they’re all very good.)

Luckily the first brand new song to get my attention was, ah, “Brand New.” Right at the start of the album, how convenient! As for the rest, not all of them are as strong as the singles but only one (“Back In The Game”) actively annoyed me. (Look, even Daft Punk could only barely get away with using one short string of words as the entire repeating lyric for a dance song.)

Is Texture going to be my top album of 2023? Hard to say, honestly. I feel like being made up half of songs I already liked from months (and years) ago is a bit of a handicap, but on the other hand… I really like those songs. It’s a solid contender if nothing else.

But we’re not even halfway into the year. Have we already heard all the good new records we’re going to get? (I mean, other than Peter Gabriel’s slow-drip album release project.) I couldn’t tell ya; I’m infamously bad at predictions. I look forward to finding out, though.