The 10 best synthpop songs of June 2023

Counting down my favorite synthpop, futurepop, and darkwave songs of the month.

Here are my favorite synthpop, futurepop, and darkwave songs of June 2023. If you want to follow my music discovery this year, subscribe to my 2023 playlist on Spotify. New songs are added every Friday. Sort by Date Added to see the new tracks appear at the top of the playlist.

10. Tobias Bernstrup – “Legend”

Italo disco maestro Tobias Bernstrup delivers the second single from his forthcoming new album, which hasn’t been given a title or release date yet. “Legend” is what Tobias does best: bubbly, effervescent synth riffs set amidst dark tones. The lyrics to “Legend” serve as a sort of positive affirmation: “Don’t ever let them cause you pain ’cause you are a legend.”

9. BlakLight – “Prey”

It’s been a helluva year for California’s BlakLight. The duo, now a trio, has already released a remix album and a sorta-instrumental album that is constantly playing in the background at Synthpop Fanatic headquarters. Somehow, they’ve found time to record new singles and another full-length set for an October release. My favorite part of “Prey,” their latest release, is the clever way Brian Belknap weaves prey/pray homophones into the chorus: “You’ve gotta pray for me… You are prey for me.” This is top-notch songwriting.

8. Blackcarburning – “Losing Our Way”

Mesh singer Mark Hockings has been teasing his solo debut as Blackcarburning for a few years, and it’s finally here. At times, Watching Sleepers sounds defiantly different from Mesh, particularly when he incorporates other voices. “Losing Our Way,” though, sticks close to the Mesh sound, and that familiarity is probably what makes it one of my favorite cuts from the album.

7. APNOIE – “Recollections”

Russian artist APNOIE has been a mainstay on my best-of lists in the run-up to her debut album’s release. Now that Ivory Tower has finally arrived, it’s hard to believe she’s still cranking out exquisite singles from the set, like “Recollections,” yet another dark and sensual gem with a memorable hook.

6. KÅRP – “Greasy Makeup”

Find me a more compelling opening line than this one: “Here I stand before you with my greasy makeup, asking for you to fix oh what’s needed.” I love songs with a poignant narrative, and KÅRP provides a thoughtful, complex response to domestic violence. It’s delivered with such startlingly beautiful vocals and ebullient synth riffs, you’d be forgiven for overlooking the song’s difficult subject matter.

5. Presence of Mind – “Leave Me Your Weapon”

Swedish trio Presence of Mind make trad synthpop that’s charming and melancholic—just how I like it. Their third album, Humans, includes the enchanting singles “Human” and “Lonely Like Me,” as well as this gorgeous opener, “Leave Me Your Weapon.” The song’s urgent synth riffs contrast nicely with its tender vocals, offering a profound metaphor about emotional turmoil.

4. Affet Robot – “At the End”

Affet Robot is undergoing an incredible evolution. Once singing entirely in Turkish, Eren Günsan fully commits to performing in English, and now he’s issuing lines with a spoken-word grace that is instantly compelling. His vocals on “At the End” hover over a monster beat that absolutely thumps. Those old comparisons to She Past Away are now nowhere to be found.

3. Teledeath – “Hotline”

New York’s Teledeath is one of the year’s hottest discoveries. “Hotline,” his third and best single so far this year, finds David Budet sharpening his craft. His production sounds rich and varied, with a lot of synths layers bursting in and out of the song. His softy cooing vocals offer a welcome contrast to a sea of low-registry voices in the darkwave scene. And the song’s hook, “loving you is suicide,” packs a mean punch.

2. Dead Lights – “I Am Electric”

Glamgoth duo Dead Lights jack up the energy on their second single this year. “I Am Electric” is raw power full of muscular beats, sinister vocals, and whirling synth noises. Like previous single “Receiver,” there’s a sexual undercurrent that runs through the song’s lyrics. “I flow through you” is one of the dirtiest lines this year.

1. Séance – “Follow the Leader”

Swiss duo Séance returned in 2019 after a 30-year creative break. They’re set to release their second album since their resurgence, and it should be a total banger if first single, “Follow the Leader,” is any indication. The song’s bouncing beat are fiery chants are pure body music filtered through a modern day synthpop lens. I’m transported to the glory days of Front 242—even the black-and-white video carries a definitive Corbijn vibe.

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