Thankfully work is a bit slow today, so I had time to put together the below list of my Top 10 Albums of 2008. It took a lot of thought and there are some surprising omissions - No Lil Wayne (sorry to disappoint, Aaron) and No Chinese Democracy (no apologies to you, Axl, but I'm waiting for mine from you). The albums are listed in no particular order and aren't the 10 albums I think are the best - they just are my favorites. I can't wait to see everyone on Sunday. So without further ado - Dr. Moshe's Top 10 Albums of 2008
Spiritualized - Songs In A&E
Jason Pierce could have recorded 50 minutes of himself farting and I would been hardpressed not to put it on my top ten list. Thankfully, he didn't go that route and I was treated with a fantastic collection of songs. It seems like this album meshed a lot of ideas that he'd be working with over his past 2 or 3 albums, and finally found the right mix of sounds. The fact that rockers don't all sound like rewritten version of Electricity is great and Soul On Fire has a chorus that I swear should be sung by Liam Gallagher - some real anthemic shit. And here is what is my favorite song on the album - Death Take Your Fiddle....gotta love the ventilator being used as an instrument.
TV On The Radio - Dear Science
Not a very unique pick or very surprising. I think its a tribute to the quality of music TV On The Radio releases that I could have confidently placed this album on my Top 10 list months before I had even heard it. Dear Science is probably the most solid album, from Halfway Home to Lover's Day, that was released in 2008. If you haven't seen this youtube video for Family Tree used as the soundtrack to Flowers & Trees, check it out:
Glasvegas - Glasvegas
Every year, NME and the rest of the English press pick a band they like to throw obscene amounts of hyperbole at. Is Glasvegas this generations Definitely Maybe? Can it cure cancer? I'm thinking the answer is 'no' to both of those (sidenote: does anyone else feel old that Definitely Maybe is considered to be from a 'generation' ago?) - but it still a damn good album. I think its still an import-only release, so I'm not sure how many of you hipsters have checked them out, but check out this video for their song It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry and decide if the hyperbole is worth it:
The Walkmen - You & Me
As much as I enjoy musically ambitious bands like Radiohead and TV On The Radio, sometimes I just want some simple rock 'n roll. Thats what I love about You & Me. There aren't a lot of bands around that have the energy and excitement that The Walkmen exudes. Its a pretty basic concept, but they pull it off with You & Me. This album has a timeless quality to it - many of these songs could be played on a classic rock station and listeners wouldn't blink. In The New Year is up there for my favorite song of the year and their concert in Madison was one of my favorites of the year - they play the shit out of their songs and I love how their lead singer holds nothing back, I just hope his vocalcords hold up. Here's a link to an Last.fm performance of In The New Year....stupid last.fm disabled embedding code for this video, so just click and enjoy!
Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
Feed The Animals goes hand-and-hand with You & Me for me as far as enjoyability goes. This album is just a lot of fucking fun. I could go on and on about the fantastic juxtapositions between the songs and the technical aspects of this mash-up album, but I'm not a fucking nerd. This album gets the party started and that's all that really matters. Here's a youtube video of some dude who actually took the time to hunt down various video clips of the songs used and created some pretty cool montages.
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
I was a little hesistant to give this album a shot when it first came out. There had been so much hype that I didn't really think it could live up to my expectations. I decided to throw the expectations aside and just enjoy it for what it was - and I'm glad I did. I'm a big fan of Vampire Weekend's sound...its what I imagine Paul Simon's Graceland would sound like if he had some punk rock influence in his music. Plus, I had to put this album on my list after hearing A-Punk being played at Miller Park during Brewers games.
Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs
I was a bit torn on whether or not I should include this on my list. I had to re-read the rules of the Top 10 lists to make sure this compiliation qualified, but I believe I'm ok with this. 80s to present Bob Dylan has never been the era I've considered to be a favorite of mine, but this collection of demos, alternate takes, and unreleased songs really provided me with some additional appreciate for the songs. This compilation really shows the strength of songwriting and I was surprised that many of the songs I overlooked on these studio albums were eclipsed by these alternate versions. There were also many songs that I loved (Mississippi) that I was shocked that they could get better. Here's one such example - Most Of The Time
Kanye West 808s & Heartbreak
There's a lot of reasons not to like this album. Kanye doesn't rap. He sings with autotune. Some of his lyrics are cheesy at best (please see: Welcome To Heartbreak). The accapella 6 minute long closing track is awfully self-indulgent. But I've got to admit that this album has gotten a lot of spins in my car. The production is top notch, as per usual, and I've got to hand it to emo-Kanye - he put out an album that is out of the comfort zone of him and hip hop listeners in general. I'm convinced that the below song, Street Lights, is going to blow up once its released as a single. Love it.
Portishead - Third
The reason why this album is on my list, well besides the fact that its a great album, is because they pulled it off. Portishead made a great album after a long hiatus. This album made me stop making excuses for other bands that put out mediocre comeback albums and just accept the fact that their albums weren't that great (GnR, Verve), and gives me hope for other artists that may release comeback albums in 2009 (My Bloody Valentine, Dr. Dre). Heres the video for Machine Gun...another video I wasn't able to embed.
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Sorry Bon Iver, For Emma... is a fantastic album that I enjoyed very much, but I spent way too much time writing this list up and really need to get back to work so I can't do your album justice. Thanks for the great music, though!
Thanks for reading and I'll see ya Sunday night!