We recently released UTR official Top 11 Gourmet Albums of 2023.  Now it’s time to share the UTR Critics Panel’s picks for best individual songs of 2023.  As songs are even more subjective, we’re not combining “votes,” but sharing ALL the songs submitted by our panel. These are not ranked, and appear in no specific order – but we gladly present the critics’ picks of Best Gourmet Songs of 2023.  [Songs qualified if released by a Christ-following artist between 12/1/22 and 11/30/23.]

“Death Defying Joy” – Andy Squyres (“Captivated by the deep lyrics and catchy pop” – Dave)

“Be Enough” – Kylie Dailey (“Poignant lyrics and engaging production encouraging us to be content” – Larry)

“These Are the Days” – Lauren Daigle (“Ushers one into a frenzied anticipation of coming days of wonder” – Mick)

“Place For Me” – Jason Gray (“Reminds us that our happiness is not dependent on external circumstances” – Kevin)

“Shedding Skin” – Lucy Grimble (“A peace and vulnerability that nearly feels too sacred to witness” – Jessica)

“I’m Alive” – Paul Zach ft. Page CXVI (“Funky guitars, soulful vocals, and a whole lot of energy!” – Garret)

“Two Kinds” – The Arcadian Wild (“An ebb and flow of sound with a captivating vocal performance” – Josh)

“Everybody Feels It” – Christa Wells (“Those who are self-harming greatly impact friends and family” – Larry)

The Lord Will Provide” – Jon Guerra (“I wept to this song. A touching reminder that our Lord cares for us” – Justus)

“Losing My Head” – Mike Mains & the Branches (“A rock-laden anthem for all the doubters” – Dave)

“Jesus Loves You (And I’m Trying)” – Jason Gray (“Thoughtful and relatable songwriting on full display” – Russ)

“Get Back Your Fight” – Sarah Reeves (“Reeves has been a force this year and this track is her pinnacle” – Jessica)

“Orders” – Bruce Cockburn (“Our orders from Jesus are to love everyone regardless” – John)

“Muddy The Water” – Eliza Jamison (“Reminiscent of an old-time Gospel tent meeting altar call” – Garret)

“Find Your People” – Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors (“Best singalong of the year” – Dave)

“Falling Like Fire” – Aryn Michelle (“So powerful and personal that you might think she was there” – Larry)

“Temporary Tears” – Needtobreathe (“Resonates like a modern day Psalm” – Russ)

“Here For You” – Christa Wells (“Serves as a call to action for all Christians” – Kevin)

“One of Those Days” – Colony House (“Here’s the track for your next bad day” – Justus)

“God + Prozac” – Chris Renzema (“Pushes back on the stigma of mental illness” – Jessica)

“Levees” – Mandi Mapes (“I stop everything – this song deserves my full attention” – Dave)

“Plead” -Joel Ansett (“Achingly beautiful” – Garret)

“New Day in the Dark” – John Mark McMillan (“Frayed edges of grief are held together by hope” – Josh)

“Vengeance with the Sword” – Rachel Wilhelm (“Jeremiah’s warnings about abuse are still relevant” – Larry)

“Shadow of Your Wings” – Colorvault ft. Alex Taylor (“Fresh, energetic, and danceable worship” – Garret)

“Thank God I Do” – Lauren Daigle (“An absolutely gorgeous melody that melts the heart” – Russ)

“Let a Little Light In” – Jon Guerra (“Psalm-like plea for Christ’s light to break through anxiety’s darkness” – Josh)

“When the King Comes” – Haylie Allcott (“A Tolkien-inspired majestic melody” – Dave)

“New Wine (Is My Bible A Barricade?)” – Chris Llewellyn (“A wake-up call to the church” – Jessica)

“Wherever I Go” – Christa Wells (“God made each of us the way we are for a reason” – Kevin)

“Only Side I Take” – Ross King (“Points us to where our true allegiance should be” – Larry)

“Harpeth” – Michelle Lynn Thompson (“Tender and warm with captivating vocals” – John)

“Man on the Run” – Colony House (“A soaring, rhythmic anthem of yearning and surrender” – Russ)

“The Bread” – Eric Peters (“Vulnerable. Powerful. Heartfelt. Hope-filled” – Dave)

“New Heart” – Jeremi Licata (“Let the joyful bop of this song put a spring in your step” – Garret)

“Not Where You Belong” – Mary Oz (“Seeks to empower victims of sexual exploitation” – Larry)

“Sons of Thunder” – Owl City (“A masterpiece sonically will empower you with the spirit and give you hope” – Jessica)

“Have You Heard” – Scottie (“Her voice weaves through the music” – Garret)

“Hope” – NF (“A poetic masterpiece that is gritty and inspirational” – Dave)

“Forgone” – Tow’rs (“Acoustic. Warm. Intimate. Poetic. Vocally alluring. It’s all here” – Josh)

“Radical Love” – Melanie Waldman (“The kind of love Jesus showed us is radical – believe it” – Larry)

“Dopamine” – Arcadian Wild (“Complex musically and thoughtfully executed” – John)

“Lost Boys” – Mike Mains & the Branches (“Dares to address personal and cultural insecurities” – Jessica)

“If I Could” – Tina Boonstra (“The production and harmonies are next-level” – Dave)

“The King is On the Way” – Jonathan Traylor (“Gives a proper perspective of waiting for Jesus’ return” – Mick)

“Good Man” – Jason Gray (“A great example of Gray’s songwriting gifts” – Russ)

“Pride Was All I Lost” – Nicholas D’Andrea (“Takes us to church with a passionate song of surrender” – Garret)

“Revival” – Anna Palfreeman (“We do not all experience the Holy Spirit the same way” – Larry)

“Heart Medicine” – Judah & the Lion (“Musically vibrant and lyrically poignant” – Dave)

“Tired Side of Content” – Chase Tremaine (“This gem calls out the goodness of a life well spent for God” – Josh)

“Worship” – Jon Batiste (“Helps us align with what matters most” – John)

“Bless God” – Brooke Ligertwood (“A worship anthem that falls somewhere between gospel and pop” – Russ)

“People Are Tender” – Zach Winters (“Encourages us to let compassion be the rule with people” – Larry)

“Jesus Christ Superstars” – Sam McCabe (“The honesty really stirred my soul deeply” – Dave)

”Fall on Me” – Needtobreathe ft. Carly Pearce (“Prayerfully asking to change our hearts and lives” – Kevin)

“How Could It Be” – Cole McSween & LJ the Messenger (“Catchy… has soul, swing, groove, and horns” – Garret)

“No Time to Wait” – Tina Boonstra (“Inspires taking risks to see God do something wonderful” – Mick)

“Begin Again” – Remedy Drive (“Powerfully captures stories of survivors of human trafficking” – Larry)

“Paradise” – Frankie Orella (“A slinky bass line anchors this pop ditty about the struggle for contentment” – Josh)

“I Just Want To (Acoustic)” – Christian Singleton ft. Daniel Yates (“Slow/quiet… then explodes with energy” – Garret)

“Not OK At All” – The Wayside (“A thoughtful lament steeped in Americana-blues” – Dave)

“You’re Not Wrong” – Common Hymnal (“Strong statement dealing with church hurt” – Larry)

“Plank” – G.E.S. (“Suspenseful-sounding strings, sparse but hot guitars, uniquely delivered vocals” – Garret)

“Leave a Ghost” – River And Rail (“Can’t help but put this one on repeat” – John)

“By and By” – Needtobreathe (“Fun and spirited anthem describing waiting for our heavenly home” – Mick)

“Every Beginning Is A New End” – Josh Gauton (“Cutting edge music on all levels” – Larry)

“Not Giving Up On You” – Chris  Renzema (“An anthem for those able to deconstruct their deconstruction” – Justus)

“Caesar Said to Brutus” – Zach & Maggie (“Fun toe-tapper with a Graceland-influenced melody” – Dave)

“Ven Con Migo” – Coqui (“Driving beat, amazing guitar, a great voice, and the charge to find spiritual zeal” – Garret)

“Cheap Fantastical Takedown” – Blitzen Trapper (“High octane musicianship” – John)

“Jubilee” – Cindy Morgan & Tommy Sims  (“A front-porch jamboree that will lift your spirit” – Dave)

We hope this helps you discover some of the best and most meaningful songs released last year!  Some of these tracks are already featured on our current Critics’ Picks Playlist (streaming now). Be watching for 2 new Gourmet Music Podcasts (Jan.31 and Feb.21 respectively) that will feature many of these “best songs” selections.

We’d love to get your feedback.  What songs on this list won you over?  What songs would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments below.