Thursday, January 01, 2009

Top Thirteen Albums of 2008

Okay, usual disclaimers: These are just my favorites, and in no way definitive. There's lots of good stuff this year that I haven't heard (and some that I'm still getting into, like Elbow's The Seldom Seen Kid and the new Blitzen Trapper). Blah blah blah, you see where I'm going with this.

Also, be sure to check out Jonathan's list at Country Caravan. It is far longer, more insightful and better-written than mine, and he clearly listened to more new music this year.

Now on to the lists, with less commentary, cause I don't really know what I'm talking about.


13. Deerhunter, "Microcastle"

This song is called "Agoraphobia." It's the track that really sold me on the album, which definitely took me a few listens to fully appreciate. The entire second bonus disc is good enough to stand alone, making this really one half of the year's best double-album.

12. Los Campesinos!, "Hold On Now Youngster"

The song is "You! Me! Dancing!" Really fun, energetic, upbeat music. There's too little like that in my personal collection.

11. Lil Wayne, "Tha Carter III"

This track is "Lollipop," chosen because it gives the best insight into the album's sound of any of the singles. But my favorite song, "Mr. Carter," didn't get a video. Shame.

10. Wolf Parade, "At Mount Zoomer"

It seems like there was a lot less hoopla/interest/hype for this year's Wolf Parade album compared to Apologies to Queen Mary, but it wasn't due to a dramatic dip in quality, near as I can tell. These guys also put on one of the best live shows I saw in 2008 (the other being the band coming in at #1).

9. Vampire Weekend, "Vampire Weekend"

Serious blowback to this collection, and I can't figure out why. It's incredibly likeable. I'm sure it's very difficult for a bunch of American kids to tackle an African sound without coming off as pretentious or silly. (Okay, this LP IS a little silly, but in a good way.)

8. Fleet Foxes, "Fleet Foxes"

I got into these guys after seeing the video below, an episode of the awesome "Takeaway Show." I figured the songs would sound very different on the album than they do in this setting, but it's not really so. Such a simple, throwback folk sound. It's not at all difficult for me to understand the appeal of Fleet Foxes to a public tired of over-produced, cheesy pop songs and grinding, unimaginative nu-metal.

7. Department of Eagles, "In Ear Park"

An acoustic version of "No One Does It Like You" is embedded below. This was the Song of the Year for me. Not necessarily because it was the Best Song, but because I couldn't get it out of my head from the first time I heard it, this fall. Still can't, really.

6. My Morning Jacket, "Evil Urges"

I really, viscerally disliked "Highly Suspicious," the first song I heard from "Evil Urges," for at least a month. It sounded shrill and screechy and utterly unlike the My Morning Jacket I loved and remembered. Then, something finally clicked, and now when I listen to the whole album, I can't even hear the thing that once bothered me any more. Weird. Anyway, it sounds different at first, but "Evil Urges" boasts the same fantastic songwriting that has marked every MMJ album since "At Dawn." Simply one of the best American bands of the moment. Embedded below is "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 2," though if you asked me, they're clinically insane not releasing "I'm Amazed" as a radio single.

5. Beck, "Modern Guilt"

Beck's best since Midnite Vultures. He hasn't made an album this consistently engaging, interesting and diverse since his heydey. "Gamma Ray," embedded below, and "Walls" are my favorite tracks.

4. No Age, "Nouns"

These's a kind of sound that I've just always liked in my rock music, ever since I first started listening to the stuff in the early-to-mid '90s. It's kind of a fuzzy, lo-fi, thick, hazy guitar sound, of the kind you'd hear on Dinosaur Jr. albums. No Age captures this sound perfectly. It's so rich and busy, I'm constantly surprised these songs are performed by only two people. Here's "Teen Creeps." I also think "Things I Did When I Was Dead" is awe-inspiring, though.

3. Cut Copy, "In Ghost Colours"

I mean, just listen to it. Pure ear candy. This was the year's most infectious collection of songs. Below is the single, "Lights and Music," but just about every song on the album is this good.

2. The Walkmen, "You and Me"

This track is called "Four Provinces" on the album, but is here titled "Hey, Leah." I love this live performance, but my favorite track on the album is probably the haunting "On the Water," which will always remind me of 2008.

1. TV on the Radio, "Dear Science"

I think these guys are the only band which has produced by Favorite Album of the Year twice since I started keeping track of such things. (Radiohead, maybe? OK Computer and Kid A? It's possible.) Dear Science is their best work yet, which is pretty staggering considering how much I like their older music. A unique, layered even, dare I say, whimsical record. This is my favorite song, "Golden Age":


Eagle Seagull, "I Hate EPs!"

Fleet Foxes, "Sun Giant"

Professor Murder, "Professor Murder On a Desert Island"


These are in no particular order.

"Waving Flags," British Sea Power from Do You Like Rock Music?
"White Shoes," City Center

"Gotta Cheer Up," Cotton Jones from the unreleased Paranoid Cocoon

"Sex On Fire," Kings of Leon from Only By the Night
"With a Heavy Heart, I Regret to Inform You," Does It Offend You, Yeah? from You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into
"Airplanes," Local Natives
"Mister Jung Stuffed," Man Man from Rabbit Habits
"Electric Feel," MGMT from Oracular Spectacular (below is the amazing Justice remix)

"Share the Night," The Clientele from That Night, a Forest Grew
"Ready for the Floor," Hot Chip from Made in the Dark
"Regarde," Monade from Monstre Cosmic

"Think I Wanna Die," Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin from Pershing
"Tell the World," Vivian Girls from Vivian Girls
"In the Aeroplane Over the Sea," The Chairs from November EP

"Honor Amongst Thieves," These United States from Crimes
"Quarantined," Atlas Sound from Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel

"Echoplex," Nine Inch Nails from The Slip
"Demon Apple," Tapes N Tapes from Walk it Off

1 comment:

Celebrity Gossip said...

Thanks for sharing your favorite stuff..I enjoy reading this article. Happy New Year and Wishing you more collections this new year...