Here Are the Three Things Exclaim! Gave a 10/10 in 2023

An album, a TV show and a remastered film got perfect scores this year

Photo: Colin Medley

BY Alex HudsonPublished Dec 20, 2023

It's easy to give out a 10/10 score in hindsight. To award an album, film or TV show a perfect score when it's first released, however, is nearly impossible. How can anyone know what will resonate with generations to come and prove to be a defining work of its era?

That's why we give out 10/10 scores so rarely. They're reserved for truly transcendent works, which tap into deep truths or timely social movements, and help to push forward the art form itself.

Throughout 2023, Exclaim! gave out only three 10/10 scores — one for an expansive masterpiece of heavy music, and another for a stunning season of TV that took characters (and audiences) through a devastating emotional arc — plus one for a remastered version of a classic film that still exemplifies the pinnacle of its genre.

Read Exclaim!'s coverage of the best music and film of 2023 here. Also, check out the four things we gave a 10/10 in 2022.

The Bear, Season 2
Created by Christopher Storer
Date of review: July 19, 2023

Last year, we named the first season of kitchen drama The Bear the best show of 2022. From there, the show levelled up for an even better Season 2, seasoned with simmering tension, crushing lows and cathartic crescendos of emotion. As Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) and his staff prepare to open a new restaurant in Chicago, each character goes through a personal journey, with raw personal drama that raises the stakes as the season builds towards a towering finale.

Stop Making Sense
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Date of review: September 13, 2023

The Exclaim! editors go through a lot of debate before ever granting a 10/10 — but this one was easy. Talking Heads' classic concert film Stop Making Sense was newly remastered and released in cinemas, bringing gorgeous clarity to a film that was already a jaw-dropping display of dizzying rhythmic mastery and simple yet stunning staging. It was a big year for concert films, which became a major box office draw for the first time ever, making it the perfect moment for Stop Making Sense to remind audiences just how transcendent the form can be.

Tomb Mold
The Enduring Spirit
Date of review: September 22, 2023

A 10/10 score normally signifies a crossover work of near-universal appeal — but in the case of Toronto's Tomb Mold, extreme metal will always occupy its own niche, and listeners without a taste for it probably won't connect. But for those who do, The Enduring Spirit is a punishingly heavy, unrelentingly aggressive and curiously beautiful death metal diamond. As drummer-vocalist Max Klebanoff told Exclaim!, the band set out to create "something that's not necessarily 'positive,' but something that people found hope in." There's no question that they succeeded.

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