2008, a year of music

If a year is ever a bad one for music, you'll know it because my list will be extremely short and I'll be bitching loudly about a lack of stuff to steal off the internet. Looking back at 2008, while we didn't have a groundbreaking year of insta-classics like 2005 and 2006, 2008 still gave me more than a few records that I will still be pulling out in a few years time. Face it, Eagles of Death Metal will outlive us all. 

Below you will find my picks for the 25 best albums of 2008, a few
honorable mentions, and new this year, my favorite 15 songs of the
year. I'll post the new podcast shortly, where Fritz and I go through my list and Fritz applauds and derides it in equal measure.

25)Clipse- Road To Till The Casket Drops
Road To Till The Casket Drops is all assured braggadocio, verbal dexterity and the punch-lines I've come to expect
from this dynamic duo. And the craziest thing is they gave this fire away for free! Hey, I like this more than Hell Hath No Fury. Ka-razy.

24)Bloc Party- Intimacy
Intimacy didn't win Bloc Party any new fans, despite how "awesome" Kele thinks it is. I think it is pretty great as well. "Mercury" is underrated and the softer songs are more defined than the some of the similar but uninspired slogs on the second half of A Weekend In The City. Bloc Party could still use an editor(this album be a bit long), but they're still passionate and decidedly Bloc Party.

23)Crystal Castles- Crystal Castles
Half the time they’re screaming, the other half they’re dropping lovely 8 bit blips that coo and sigh. The loud moments bring all the kids to the yard, but quieter songs like “Air War” and “Good Time” are where I take notice. Craft and nuance go a long way with this guy. Also, Warren Ellis called them “cunts”.

22)Ladyhawke- Ladyhawke
From the first second to the last second, Ladyhawke is all about the 80’s. 80’s synth, 80’s harmonies, 80’s hooks all right here, baby. A pleasure from beginning to end detailing those great touchstones of young love, doomed love, and bitches. You know a couple. The funny thing is that I never would have found this album if I hadn’t been trying to steal an album off the internet by the band Ladyhawk, who aren’t nearly as good as Ladyhawke. The moral? Internet stealing is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. And easy.

21)TV On The Radio- Dear Science
Everybody loves this album! I like it too. Dear Science one ups the bands previous efforts by amplifiying the consistency and the dancing. According to plenty of reputable journals, this is an extremely political album. I’ll take their word for it, because the lyric sheet is too hard to read. Double space, motherfucker.

20)MGMT- Oracular Spectacular
Beyond the life changing singles, this is actually a really good album. People will hate, the sun will rise, but we’ll always have “Electric Feel”. The epitome of hipster rock, I can only hope it isn’t a fluke.

19)The Black Keys- Attack and Release
Mr. Producer Of The Moment Danger Mouse was involved in plenty of dud albums in 2008, but thankfully this isn’t one
of them. DM pulled The Keys out of their basement and into his dusty arms. Aptly named, Attack and Release has more slow songs than usual for The Black Keys but for once you actually will want to listen to them. Nice. The rockers
rock of course because it is still The Black Keys, and there isn’t anything Danger Mouse can do about that.

18)Nine Inch Nails- The Slip
Trent Reznor is free of Interscope tyranny, and decided that as a gift
to all of us, he’d give away this fine, just fine, record. The Slip is Nine Inch Nails as their most raw and alive, and a welcome change after 2007’s overcalculatedYear Zero. NIN with live drums and blistering guitar is how I like it right now.

17)Nada Surf- Lucky
One of Nada Surf’s finest records, an honest and pure album that
demands repeat listens. “Beautiful Beat” is the kind of joyful track
that’s hard to find on most rock records. More than anything, I
appreciated the ability to write about being sad without wallowing in
self pity and ennui.

16)Juliana Hatfield- How To Walk Away
Juliana Hatfield has been doing this for awhile, but before this album all I knew was "Universal Heartbeat" and the cameo on My So Called Life.(I was going to say famous cameo, but people I've mentioned it to had no idea what I was
talking about. It was the Christmas episode, she talked to Angela, that's all I remember.) How To Walk Away is about just that, walking away from sad moments in your life stronger and better. A couple tracks lean darker but "Shining On" is the standout and a monument to overcoming the bad in our lives and coming out better.

15)Phantom Planet- Raise The Dead
Phantom Planet broke up at the end of 2008, going out on top with this
great concept record that actually adheres to its concept by actually
making the concept audible in the recording. Crazy, I know. Raise The Dead
is easily heard as the mad rantings of a crazed cult leader, making for
a stirring, occasionally chilling and especially rocking listen.

14)The Kills- Midnight Boom
Midnight Boom is The Kills best record and don't let anybody
tell you otherwise. Especially those fucks at Stereogum. Production
from Spank Rock genius XXXchange emphasized a more dance oriented sound
and pushed The Kills out of the gray murk and into full color.

13)Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains- Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains
Along with Josh, Greg and Hov, Sebastien is the only other musician
that I don't know but still feel comfortable referring to by his first
name. It might be because he sold me a Death From Above 1979 shirt at
the Lager House in 2005. On his first solo outing, he largely abandons the dance sounds of "When You Go Out" and heavy rocking of his
former band for a more straight ahead Singer/Songwriter with a full
band sound. It still traffics in the passion I love from SG, and if
he's singing something, I'm there. "American Names" is the standout,
but don't discount "Renegade Silence", the dancefloor jam.

12)Sloan- Parallel Play
Perhaps a little less hooky and ambitious than Never Hear The End Of It, Parallel Play stands strong with great contributions from the usual likes of Jay and Chris. "All I Am IS All
You're Not" is a classic Sloan shout along and further proof that Sloan
haven't run out of great songs by a long shot. And hey, one of the
Andrew songs is pretty good too.

11)Local H- 12 Angry Months
In the lead up to 12 Angry Months, Local H lead man Scott Lucas said that the record would be his most personal, to
the point that some of the lyrics were things he was a little embarrassed to say in public. A little too honest, he said. 12 Angry Months could be accurately summarized as transcriptions of a couple breaking up, with specific demands for returned property(Interpol and Libertines albums you didn't
listen to before we met) and angry comebacks regretted as soon as
they're uttered("I can't believe I fucked you" ends one particularly
vicious track). In less capable hands, this kind of material would overwhelm and depress, but each track swells with both emotion(obviously) as well as great musical ideas. They might be a two piece, but Local H can blow just about any band off the stage. The fury of "24 Hour Break-Up Session" isn't the kind of thing anybody can fake.

10)Alphabeat- This Is Alphabeat
This is the happiest album of the year. Even when the songs are about sad things like wayward boyfriends or rocky
relationships, the chorus and melodies and hell, everything comes together and creates pure pop bliss. "What Is
Happening" is most fun song about an argument I've ever heard in my life. And the pleasures of "Fascination" are known far and wide, but I'll say it again, "Fascination" is the best thing ever.

9)We Are Scientists- Brain Thrust Mastery
This is a mistake that works. I don't agree with all of the production
decisions on this album, and some of the arrangements still bewilder
me. But, I couldn't stop listening to Brain Thrust Mastery. I think it was when I realized that I wasn't going to get With Love And Squalor part deux that I came around and embraced the sweetness of "After Hours" and the 80's overkill of "Lethal Enforcer". BTM
also holds the crown for best last track of the year with "That's What
Counts", which knows just how to utilize that dangerous saxophone.
Don't think the sax is dangerous? Go listen and cringe at the new
Killers album.

8)Coldplay- Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends
I've always liked Coldplay and I've never felt wrong in liking them, even through the X&Y era("Fix You" is awesome. Deal with it.) Viva La Vida corrects many of Coldplay's faults by being concise and overjoyed. For an album about death, it embraces the time we still have and relishes in all of its ups and downs.

7)Fall Out Boy- Folie à Deux
Just getting better and better with every record, Fall Out Boy fully
shrug off their pop/punk label and move closer to becoming that great
pop/rock band I know they want to be. Patrick Stump is a great
songwriter, end of discussion. His way of making pop joy on track after
track is something to applauded throughout the land. And Pete Wentz can
writing his ridiculous lyrics as long as he keeps having Stump sing

6)Q-Tip- The Renaissance
I spent much of this year becoming acquianted with A Tribe Called Quest, and The Renaissance
fits right in with that discography, a smooth and perfect rap record
that emcompasses all that I demand from a rap record: Great beats and great rhymes. Oh, and charisma. The Renaissance delivers all this with stellar production from Q-Tip and on "Move", the late great J-Dilla.

5)Eagles Of Death Metal- Heart On
Josh Homme has one of the best track records in rock. His work with
Queens of the Stone Age, Desert Sessions and Eagles of Death Metal is
some the best rock and roll you're bound to find anywhere, and Heart On
is a sort of personal best. While this is easily the best EODM album,
I'm confident that we're going to be saying that about the next one too. And the one after that and so on into infinity.

4)Cut Copy- In Ghost Colours
The dance album of the year. If you aren't careful, it'll consume your
life. I'll end up giving you a call after not hearing from you for a
couple of weeks and all I'll be able to understand over the music
playing in the background is "Cut Copy! Oh god! 'Hearts on Fire', ahh!
The whole album kills-" click.

3)The Teenagers- Reality Check
Aptly named, The Teenagers are three scrappy hipster Frenchmen who craft synthy and processed guitar tracks about
girls they date but don't love and drunken hookups with girls who steal
your shit when they leave in the morning. It doesn't really have any
redeeming value, but its addictive and funny. It is as endlessly
superficial as anything a real teenager would say or do, which explains
"Fuck Nicole".

2)Does It Offend You, Yeah?- You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into
Someone, don't ask me who, once refered to DIOYY? as the Limp Bizkit of
Dance Rock. Well, I liked Limp Bizkit and I like Does It Offend You,
Yeah? even more. As hopelessly juvenile as their name would suggest, You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into
jumps from idea to pilfered idea, sounding like a different band from
track to track, with instrumentals, voice box vocals, normal vocals,
and hey, a guest appearance by Sebastien Grainger. It rocks from
beginning to end and yes, I love the fart noises in "Weird Science".

1)Friendly Fires- Friendly Fires
No album this year was as unflaggingly awesome as Friendly Fires amazing debut. Pitchfork actually said that this record had too much energy, which is like saying "This chicken tastes a little heavy on the chicken." Friendly Fires are destined for great things, with an energy and style owing to numerous dance rock forefathers like The Rapture and Gang of Four. They beat The Rapture by having made an album that's all killer no filler, now they just have to beat Gang of Four by having more than one good album.(burn)

Honorable mentions
Wale- The Mixtape About Nothing
Wolf Parade- At Mount Zoomer
The Music- Strength In Numbers
Neon Neon- Stainless Style
The B-52's- Funplex
Be Your Own Pet- Get Awkward
Filter- Anthems for the Damned
Wiley- See Clear Now
Slipknot- All Hope Is Gone
Van She- V
Spinnerette- Valium Knights EP

1)Beyonce- "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"
2)Alphabeat – "Fascination"
3)MGMT – "Time to Pretend"
4)Paramore- "That's What You Get"
5)Dizzee Rascal ft. Calvin Harris and Chrome- "Dance Wiv Me"
6)Kelly Rowland – "Work (Freemasons Radio Edit)"
7)Janet Jackson – "Rock With U"
8)Estelle- "Pretty Please (Love Me)"
9)Juliana Hatfield – "Shining On"
10)Kanye West- "Love Lockdown"
11)Neon Neon- "Trick For Treat"
12)Nine Inch Nails – "1,000,000"
13)Frankmusik- "Your Face"
14)Pitbull ft. Lil Jon- "Krazy"
15)The Count and Sinden ft. Kid Sister- "Beeper"

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3 Responses to “2008, a year of music”

  1. achtungbaby023 Says:

    [das ist gut]

  2. jackahack Says:

    alright, you sold me on cut copy. i have a $25 itunes giftcard. what else should i buy off this list? if the new we are scientists doesnt sound like the old one, not sure i would like it. as you know, i dont deal with change all that well. ill probably love FOB and EODM, so maybe those?

  3. jackahack Says:

    also, paramore? are you fucking kidding me? that song is horrible

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