You can find my top albums of 2008 here. In this post, we're going to look at my top eps, best compilations, top songs, and some other shit. So let's go.
The top 4 eps of 2008:
3)Animal Collective-Water Curses
2)Be Your Own Pet-Get Damaged
1)Fleet Foxes-Sun Giant
I really didn't listen to that many eps this year, so this list is a tad bit incomplete. Fleet Foxes Sun Giant ep would probably still be the number one choice though.
The Top 7 Compilations/Mixtapes:
7)The Long Blondes-Singles
6)Diplo & Santogold-Top Ranking Mixtape
5)Various Artists- Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump: Original Heavyweight Afrobeat Highlife & Afro-Funk
4)Esau Mwamwaya + Radioclit-"The Very Best" Mixtape
3)Arthur Russell-Love Is Overtaking Me
2)Jay Reatard- Singles 06-07 & Jay Reatard-Matador Singles 08
1)Wale- The Mixtape About Nothing
D.C. rapper Wale put together a mixtape that is devoted to 90s sitcom Seinfeld. Yes, you read that right...Seinfeld has entered rap culture. It is fantastic. The highlight of the mixtape is "The Kramer", on which Wale samples Michael Richards infamous rant at L.A. comedy club The Laugh Factory to make a thought-provoking thesis on the use of the N-word. Also, there is a confusing/out of place/pathetic cameo by Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfuss that should derail the mixtape completely, but luckily doesn't last long enough to do much harm.
The Most Disappointing Album Of The Year:
For something to be disappointing there had to have been a build up of hope prior to it's release that made the albums disappointment all the more painful. So out the door goes Weezer's Red Album because I don't think anyone thought that would be good. Out goes The Raveonettes Lust, Lust, Lust because I gave up all hope for them after I heard "Aly, Walk With Me". This really comes down to three choices: Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak, Scarlett Johansson's Anywhere I Lay My Head or Philip Jeck's Sand. Jeck's album was completely built up for me as being this masterpiece, yet when I heard it, I couldn't make heads or tails of what I was listening to. Kanye's 4th album was coming off of his highly enjoyable Graduation, so, yeah, it had a lot to live up to...but this was almost like Kanye wasn't even trying. The first time I heard "Love Lockdown" I couldn't believe it was Kanye...not because he was singing, but because it sounded so...fake. To it's credit though, 808s & Heartbreak does contain the awesome "Robocop", so it can't be a huge disappointment with that.
No, the most disappointing album of the year is Scarlett Johansson's Tom Waits cover record Anywhere I Lay My Head. Note, it's not the worst album of the year, just the most disappointing. I love Scarlett...and Tom Waits is my favorite artist of all time...but the two of them together just doesn't work...even with a David Bowie appearance hidden on "Falling Down". The album isn't unlistenable...it's just unremarkable...and that's something that a Tom Waits inspired album should never be. Anywhere I Lay My Head should have been a thought-provoking journey to a world where pin-up models could sing the blues and femme fatales fall victim to the same desperation as the drunk on the street. Instead I felt absolutely nothing from this album. That's why it's a disappointment.
The Worst Album Of The Year (that I heard):
This would easily be Weezer's third self-titled album, Weezer (also known as The Red Album). Here's an excerpt from a review I wrote for the album earlier in 2008:
I can see it now: I'd compare Weezer's Red Album to the regurgitated food the cow re-chews on it's way from it's 1st stomach to it's 2nd stomach. If you think it's as good as the first time, then I'm sorry my friend, but you enjoyed cow vomit. Calling it "Pork and Beans" doesn't fool anyone.
And I was going easy on the album there. Red Album is an attempt to revisit the magic that Weezer had on their first self-titled album (The Blue Album), but they don't even come close, falling far below even the level of quality on their second self-titled album (The Green Album). The songs range from "could be decent if it wasn't by Weezer" ("The Greatest Man That Ever Lived") to "oh my God that is horrible make it stop make it stop" ("Heart Songs"). Also, in the case of "Heart Songs", I think I'd vote that in as easily the worst song of the year. It's only fitting that Weezer gets wrong a song that is all about nostalgia, on an album that is attempting to rely on our nostalgia for anyone to give two shits. Weezer...it's time to retire. Go away, and stop ruining my good memories of you.
Most Overrated Album Of 2008:
TV On The Radio-Dear Science.
It wasn't bad at all, but I didn't think it was anywhere near as good as Return To Cookie Mountain. Some people get all obsessive about these guys, and yeah, they are good, but this was not album of the year. Sorry.
Most Underrated Album Of 2008:
This album is so underrated, that I didn't even include it on my top albums of the year list! Nico Muhly's Mothertongue starts off with an avant-garde classical piece that evokes the work of Philip Glass. Over the rest of the work, Muhly echos Bjork, Steve Reich...and folk music. It's quite an experience, and perfect for fans of minimalist classical music.
Best Album I Discovered Because Of Taylor Long:
My former editor, and the mind behind the T-Sides music blog, Taylor Long has a tendency to suggest albums to me that I never would have heard elsewhere. Last year she brought Patrick Cleandenim's excellent Baby Come Home to my attention. This year it was Dengue Fever's Venus On Earth. Dengue Fever combine Cambodian pop music with American indie rock, to create an album that almost seems like a piece of alternative history. Most of the album is sung in Khmer, the main language of Cambodia (with a few songs in English), but don't let that scare you away. The album is terrific.
Best Album I Discovered Because Of Nick Psillas:
Like Taylor, Nick Psillas, of the band The Broosevelts also has passed my way many music suggestions. The best album he told me about this year was Little Joy's self titled debut, Little Joy. Little Joy is a side project of Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes and Rodrigo Amarante of Los Hermanos. As a fan of both those bands, this album represents almost a dream pairing, but I was still skeptical. The last Strokes album left me pondering the need for a band like the Strokes anymore, and the last time Los Hermanos did anything new was 2005. Could this just be another disaster? Well, obviously it isn't. This is what the 3rd Strokes album should have sounded like. This is the return to form we wanted. Now let's see how these rumors of a new Strokes album in 2009 turn out.
The Top 60 Songs of 2008:
60)"Time To Pretend"-MGMT
59)"The Vowels Pt. 2"-Why?
58)"Dance, Dance, Dance"-Lykke Li
57)"Run To Your Grave"-The Mae Shi
56)"In The New Year"-The Walkmen
55)"House Jam"-Gang Gang Dance
53)"Saved By Old Times"-Deerhunter
52)"The Next Messiah"-Jenny Lewis
49)"Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"-Beyonce
48)"Don’t Stop The Music"-Rihanna
45)"Sentimental Heart"-She & Him
44)"The Modern Leper"-Frightened Rabbit
43)"Too Drunk To Dream"-Magnetic Fields
41)"Kiss With A Fist"-Florence and the Machine
40)"Lately"-The Helio Sequence
38)"The Next Time Around"-Little Joy
37)"Which Song?"-Max Tundra
36)"Oh My God"-Ida Maria
34)"Shut Up And Let Me Go"-The Ting Tings
32)"Black Albino Bones"-Fucked Up
31)"Bete Noir"-The Gutter Twins
30)"Trolley Friend"-Pattern Is Movement
29)"Soul On Fire"-Spiritualized
28)"All I Wanna Do"-Jaimie Lidell
27)"Where Do You Run To?"-Vivian Girls
26)"Teenagers"-Department of Eagles
25)"Strange Overtones"-David Byrne & Brian Eno
24)"Take My Love With You"-Eli “Paperboy” Reed & The True Loves
23)"Shake That Devil"-Antony & The Johnsons
22)"My Year In Lists"-Los Campesinos!
20)"I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me"-Annie
19)"Easy Does It"-Bonnie “Prince” Billy
16)"Skinny Love"-Bon Iver
15)"Blue Ridge Mountains"-Fleet Foxes
12)"Lover’s Day"-TV On The Radio
11)"You! Me! Dancing!"-Los Campesinos!
10)"Becky"-Be Your Own Pet
9)"Nous Tombons Dans Elle"-Dominique Leone
8)"I’m Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You"-The Black Kids
7)"Constructive Summer"-The Hold Steady
6)"Sweet Darlin’"-She & Him
5)"American Boy"-Estelle (Featuring Kanye West)
4)"Put On"-Young Jeezy and Kanye West
3)"The Nun’s Litany"-Magnetic Fields
2)"Oxford Comma"-Vampire Weekend
1)"Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!"-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Ok, that's it for the music of 2008! I'd like to do a movie list, but I'm not sure when I'll get that up. Hopefully soon. Thanks for reading!