2023 UK number ones ranked

Every song that hit number one on the UK Singles Chart in 2023, ranked from worst to best

In the words of Doja: ‘B*tch, I said what I said’

Tradition looms – it’s time for my official ranking of all the songs that hit the number one spot on the official UK Singles Chart in 2023 –  with the number ones ranked from worst to best. It’s been a pretty solid year for music – and the mix of artists who made it to the top of the chart is really varied. I think tis is maybe one of the only years in recent memory where it feels like a vast chunk of the ones that got there really deserved it – original, fresh tunes with lots of merit. With Christmas songs dominating the charts, there’s no better time. Here’s all the 2023 UK number ones ranked from worst to best.

Disclaimer: I ranked Wham’s Last Christmas last year, but won’t be doing so going forward. It’s number one right now but I don’t think it’s fun for anyone if year after year I tell you it’s one of the best songs ever and rank it in the top three. We all know it’s a classic, end of.

14. Ed Sheeran – Eyes Closed

Surely one of the least impactful Ed Sheeran singles ever? No cultural impact here at all. Just a bit of nothingness.

13. Lewis Capaldi – Pointless

Significantly NOT as good as Forget Me. And even that is not that good. I like Capaldi as a fella but Im waiting for the day his music becomes as good as his voice and vibes.

12. Miley Cyrus – Flowers

It hurts my heart to do this, but Flowers is the biggest damp cloth bore of a lead single Miley Cyrus has ever released. It was number one for 10 weeks, and it is so boring. Too simple, boringly written – even Miley’s outstanding vocals can’t save it from the mundane. A boring lead from one of the most underwhelming albums of the year. Still waiting on the day where Miley Cyrus releases a record as great as her talent.

11. Kenya Grace – Strangers

From here on in, we’re in bangers territory. Kenya Grace here with Strangers – who has come from relative obscurity to the top of the chart thanks to the pulsing drum and bass production she mixed in her bedroom. I preferred second single Only In My Mind, but this is a cool, slick song that deserves its viral success and an exciting number one that’s launched her into the public eye and made her an artist to watch. Not too shabby.

10. The Beatles – Now And Then

The last ever Beatles song. It’s been described as “a fitting finale”, and I can’t help but agree. I’ve never been the biggest Beatles fan but I’ve spent this year listening to them more and I love the mood of it all. The audio-restoration technology used on John Lennon’s vocals are excellent.

9. RAYE and 070 Shake – Escapism.

Of all the UK number ones of 2023 ranked here, I think it’s Escapism that feels most important. I’ve got some qualms with this song. I think it’s too long, and I think the “DOCTAH, DOCTAH” bits are toe-curlingly hellish. But what I love most about this tune is not that it’s pretty good, but how much its success is a huge win for RAYE after her years of label hell and the fact it got so huge is a testament to her talent and determination to make her artistry work.

8. Jack Harlow – Lovin On Me

This sounds EXACTLY like seminal pop divider Strip That Down by Liam Payne. Not a criticism but actually the reason I kind of love this. No further questions will be taken at this time.

7. Taylor Swift – Is It Over Now?

Straight to the top of the chart marched Is It Over Now, one of the Vault tracks from Taylor Swift’s 1989 (Taylor’s Version) – and clearly the best out of the bunch. This one managed to make it to the top spot without even getting single release. Such is her power. Like most of the best Swiftian pop productions, it’s a track that builds to a thrilling conclusion with its lyrical sharpness.

6. Billie Eilish – What Was I Made For?

The big Barbie tearjerker could be delivered by no one with such gusto like Billie gives it here. A song destined to win a billion awards – its quiet brilliance makes you almost write it off if you haven’t seen it in context with the film. One of two Barbie songs to reach the top of the chart this year – a pretty insane achievement for a film soundtrack song. Eilish solidified it as a classic when she referenced the “although enjoyment” meme from TikTok at a festival this summer, too.

5. Dave and Central Cee – Sprinter

Sprinter stayed at number one for 10 weeks, a tie with Miley’s Flowers as the longest running top spot tune of 2023. It’s the longest run at number one for a rap song in UK chart history. The Latin-tinged guitar running along gently underneath their bars just sounds so delicious to me. Never gets old. Unlike Flowers, deserved its 10 weeks.

4. Dua Lipa – Dance The Night

When Dance The Night first dropped, I was not enthused. To me, it sounded like a leftover from the Future Nostalgia era just tacked onto the Barbie soundtrack. Dance The Night is so much more than that. As soon as I saw it in motion, with the dance scene from the film, everything clicked. I’ve then watched Mark Ronson and Dua Lipa explain the recording process of it in great detail, and watching Mark build up the instrumentation and Dua writing specific lyrics to hit at the right points of the dance club scene from Barbie just makes me have such a deeper reverence for it. “Ooh my outfit so tight, you can see my heartbeat tonight” is NEXT LEVEL good writing.

3. Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding – Miracle

Miracle is one of those songs that well and truly lived up to its hype. Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding have always only brought out the best in each other, and when they started teasing Miracle on TikTok I was fearful it might be a Kim Petras and Nicki Minaj Alone situation – all bark, no bite. But Miracle is bark and bite. A trance banger that feels so blissfully Y2K clubland – thumping its way along and never letting up steam. I’m still not bored of it.

2. Doja Cat – Paint the Town Red

Speaking of songs that never get old: Enter, Paint the Town Red. Potentially my favourite ever Doja Cat single, and that’s nothing I say lightly. The Dionne Warwick sample, the absolute gusto Doja gives the verses, the delicious delivery of the chorus, the sheer glee she exerts when she declares “I’m a demon, lord?” Perfection. Effortlessly cool.

1. Olivia Rodrigo – Vampire

The more I sit with Vampire, the more I think it could actually be Olivia Rodrigo’s best song ever. It’s a song full of surprise. Theatrical – almost musical theatre like – the rage that builds out of it knocks me for six every time. Her vocal performance is astounding. She is so good at making songs that start as ballads and completely derail, ending somewhere else. Dan Nigro’s production and Rodrigo’s lyrical content go together better by the day. If this song doesn’t move you, doesn’t flaw you with its bridge, you’re dead inside.

Those are all the UK number ones in 2023 – ranked! Justice for Cruel Summer, Greedy and Prada for never making the top spot. For the best music, reality TV and entertainment news, like Pop Culture Shrine on Facebook

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Um, Taylor Swift might have just confirmed she vapes on Lost Marys?

We got ChatGPT to write Taylor Swift song lyrics and honestly, I can see this as her next single

Just 17 tweets that sum up how we’re all feeling about Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift rn