These are in no particular order- it's hard enough just coming up with the list!
Paul Weller - 22 Dreams
I’m always hesitant to listen to new material from the old guys of yesteryear, but I knew that The Jam front man Paul Weller wouldn’t let me down. I love his 2002 release “Illumination“ and absolutely worship 1995‘s “Stanley Road“, but I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about “22 Dreams”. In fact, I didn’t even buy it until September. If there’s any question of whether or not the Mod-father can still rock it, check out the title track “22 Dreams“. And afterwards, let him soothe your soul with “Invisible”, my 2008 version of “You Do Something To Me”. Do it, you’ll love yourself for it.
Oasis - Dig out Your Soul
If you think Oasis seriously rips off the Beatles on the Manchester band’s seventh studio album, you’re right. And if ripping off one of the best bands in the history of, well, ever is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right. Anyone who can’t appreciate the psychedelic trip that is “To Be Where There’s Life” isn’t anyone I want to be friends with. This album isn’t for new Oasis fans, but if you’re an oldie, you’ll love them that much more.
Shocker of the Century- my favorite song on the album is written by little old Gem Archer, and NOT my favorite songwriter, Noel.
The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing
Every album has a song or two that you skip over, and I will admit that The Ting Ting’s debut is no exception. But besides the two songs I barely ever listen to, I’ve never been more jazzed about a CD. I only heard one song before my love affair started with Katie White and Jules de Martino. This album should be the poster child for Indie Kid dance music. Key Tracks: Keep Your Head, The Great DJ and Fruit Machine.
All that aside, how can you not love a band who performed on Nickelodeon’s Yo Gabba Gabba???
Adele - 19
First off, I promise that there WILL be American artists on this list- the UK just had a good year!!
Adele has a voice that you wish you had. If you aren’t a fan of ballads like “Chasing Pavements” or “Crazy For you”, try upbeat tunes like “Right As Rain”, “Cold Shoulder” or “Tired”- they’ll have you smiling by the end. She’s just too cute to ignore. Also, if you’re a fan of piano, do NOT forget about the epic win that is “Hometown Glory”. It gives me girl-wood.
And just to show that she’s awesome, here’s a clip of her covering The Strokes “Last Nite” for BBC1
Kings of Leon - Only By The Night
I was very hesitant to buy this KOL CD. I’ve been a fan since their release of Youth and Young Manhood, so I figured I had to buy it when it came out solely based on my loyalty to the band. I liked “Sex On Fire”- catchy hook, solid baseline, but that wasn’t enough for me. I saw them twice on the Tennessee band’s most recent tour and instantly I felt bad for not liking the CD. So I’d like to take this opportunity to write an open letter to Kings of Leon
Dear Caleb, Jared, Matthew and Nathan:
I’m sorry for not appreciating the awesomely swell record you just put out. I have been publicly (and willingly) shamed for my doubt. I promise that, in the future, I will trust that what you have created is of the utmost beauty and rocked-ness.
Shocker of the Century (or maybe not): “Sex On Fire” is not the best song on the album- check out “Be Somebody” and “Crawl”.
Live performance of Manhattan
We Are Scientists - Brain Thrust Mastery
I’m sad that drummer Michael Tapper is no longer with WAS, but that certainly didn’t take away from the quality of their second release. There wasn’t much promotion for the release until Keith Murray and Chris Cain started posting you tube videos for a self-help program called Brain Thrust Master which clued fans in they were gearing up for a new album release. It’s absolutely great. The lyrics, the melodies, everything. You get the goofy indie rock, eighties goodness, lots of synth, electric guitars and some pretty kick ass beats. If you liked the first single “After Hours”, check out “Chick Lit”- great song, hilarious video. I wouldn’t expect any less from We Are Scientists.
Coldplay - Viva La Vida
I know, I’m shocked that I liked it too. You know they’ve done something right when the world’s biggest Coldplay hater (ME) can admit that this was easily one of the best records put out this year. And what’s worse? “Prospekt’s March”, the follow-up EP, is super awesome as well.
Listen, Chris Martin, I don’t want you getting any ideas. I still think you want to bone Bono (I don’t blame you), and I really don’t like you, but dammit, Viva La Vida rocked my socks, shoes and pants off. And I still can’t stop listening to it.
Twilight Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Let it be known that I am NOT proud of the fact that I saw this movie in the theater, but I was extremely impressed with the songs used in the film. With the exception of a couple songs, they were all written or recorded for the soundtrack. Before you judge me or really start to hate me, let me explain. It’s got something for everyone! And maybe that’s why I love it so much. Muse, Claude Debussy and my all-time favorite classical song “Clair de Lune”, Paramore, Iron and Wine…how much more do you want??
There are some artists on there I’ve never heard of, and after listening to the soundtrack, I want to go buy their music. Check out Blue Foundation and The Black Ghosts if you want some cool new tunes.
Shocker of the Century: The film’s star, Robert Pattinson, contributed two songs on the album- the guy can sing. If the voices of Jeff Buckley, Amos Lee and Ray LaMontagne had a child, it would be Pattinson.
The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
When you start the album off, the first two tracks make you think this whole album will be loud, fast and kick-ass. Well, it is, but woven in between the booty shakin’ tracks like “Salute Your Solution”, “Hold Up” and “Five on the Five” are ones that are very clearly influenced by blues, classic rock and even, dare I say it, country. It’s good- plain and simple. I only recently bought the album- like within the last week because I already had a handful of tracks on my computer. Shame on me for not buying it right away!!
DUH! moment: You’ll like this album forever.
Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
I don’t have much to say about this album except that it’s fantastic. Besides the hit “You”, there are so many excellent tracks on this CD that reaffirm my love for my hometown heroes. If you don’t believe me, check out “The Skinny” for a relaxed flow or “Shoulda Known” for more energy. Rhymesayers, you done good.
Letdown of 2008
Cold War Kids - Sure "Something Is Not Right With Me” is a great song…but I have to be honest- I’m upset that I spent money on Loyalty to Loyalty. It blows.
Girls Aloud - Out of Control
Sometimes I’m afraid to tell people that I like Girls Aloud, but then I remember they aren’t big in the US, so the most common reaction I get is confusion about who I’m talking about. So yeah, I liked their new album. Yeah, I listen to it all the time. So what? I like girl Brit Pop. Deal with it.
Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords
Because they’re my fourth favorite folk duo from New Zealand.