Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mark's Top Ten of 2008

10. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
I actually didn't like this album when it came out and wrote it off as over-hyped, but it grows on you after a while, and after all the media attention died down (Rolling Stone and Spin!) I found it quite listenable.

9. Ting-Tings - We Started Nothing
Very creative British pop music, catchy songs, and a really cute singer.  nuff' said.

8. Kanye West - 808's and Heartbreak
Another quality showing from Mr. West.  Sure he's a prima-donna whiny bitch at times, but he's good, and that quality affords you some 'political capital'.  

7. Flight of The Conchords - Flight of The Conchords
Yes, I know that, in theory, this is a comedy album, but it's 90% music and therefore makes the list. Besides, I checked this one with High Lord Behringer and got the nod.  

6. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
You can usually tell a good band when they have the ability to blur genres and appeal to a broad crowd.  I remember hearing the tail end of a MMJ song on a country radio station as I was scanning the dial one day on the road and thought that these guys have it figured out and this album is no exception.

5. Common - Universal Mind Control
Just released, while short in run time (a paltry 38 minutes), Universal Mind Control packs the jams.  From the incredible Afrika Bambaata-inspired title track to the "Here's my song about hope, can I play at the inauguration Mr. Obama?" track, it's a great hip-hop album all the way through.

4. The Walkmen - You and Me
If a band could write their own retrospective, this would be it.  While admittedly being a bit down-trodden and lethargic at times, You and Me seems a very appropriate body of music for the times and for this band that seems to have lived through it all.  For a band whose whole existence has occurred during a decade that many of us wish we could just get a re-do on, the album sums it all up.

3. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
This band never ceases to amaze me with their creativity.  Where Girl Talk uses samples with Federal Charges-strength, MGMT develops their own sounds and meshes them together into songs that are nothing short of addictive.  This is one of the albums of 2008 that has me very apprehensive as to if MGMT can continue to deliver at this caliber. God I hope they can.

2. Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
While many looked at this album as being a departure from their original material, I welcomed it simply for the fact that I was never a big DCFC fan in their prior days.  This album is a great example of the bands ability to create massive depth in songs and do something that was missing from a lot of indie music, rock. The album carries an amount of power not usually seen in many releases and make the departure for this group a well-placed move.

1. Kings of Leon - Only By The Night
Yeah, go ahead, light me up, I know these guys aren't "Indie" anymore (that must be based on album sales, I know they were when no one bought their records).  I don't really care.  This album is a bit over-produced, a bit predictable in spots and that's what makes it incredible. It's a wonderful traditional rock record.  Only By The Night is a solid album through and through that is best listened to from start to finish with no interruptions.  I figure that these guys spent years playing the UK and Europe because they couldn't get arrested in the U.S.  Any success they incur here is well-deserved.

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