Friday, December 19, 2008

Soundtrack to 2008

Pitchfork has taken their holiday hiatus, so they haven't been posting as often. They've instead been sharing lists ranking their favorite albums and tracks of 2008.

There's not many surprises to faithful Pitchfork readers: Crystal Castles, Vivian Girls, and No Age, among others, fall within the top 20.

I just posted the "eight greats," or things that really made 2008 fantastic, last entry. That kind of gives you a taste of my life through out the last 12 months, but, like I wrote here, music is the true memory capture-r.

So, here's the 8 albums of 2008. Some of these did not come out in 2008, so don't be misled to think this represents what the music industry did this year. These are the singles, the beats, the melodies, that I couldn't get enough of (and still can't).

These are the songs that made me smile when I walked to class on cold Syracuse days, the songs that I fell asleep to warm under my down comforter, the songs I'd wish would play at a house party so I could dance out to the fullest with friends. These are the songs I lived my life to in 2008.

Ray LaMontagne, Trouble
LaMontagne's homespun soulful voice soothes the spirit. I've grown to love every song on the album, and it didn't take much time. He released A Gossip in the Grain this year, but Trouble still ranks as my favorite album by him. Trouble is all about love, but not all sappy, predictable manifestiations of it; he gives it to you real, the good and the bad, natural, familar love that all listeners can relate, and attest, to.
[favorite track: Jolene] [close second: Shelter]

Kings of Leon, Only By the Night
Kings released Only By the Night in 2008, and at first, I didn't like it. I thought it was too much of the same, not too different from their old stuff. I was wrong; I admit it. Only By the Night really showcases Jared Followill on bass, playing intergral parts in the development of Use Somebody and 17. Listeners can really tell that Kings have played together a long time, just by how well-composed and, may I dare say, juicy their tracks are. Their debut released in 2003 and they've been rocking ever since, even in this, their fourth album.
[favorite track: Use Somebody] [close second: Manhattan]

Lykke Li, Youth Novels
She's got moves. She's got the cutest voice ever. She's got the formula to the perfect indie pop song down pat. Just listen to this album; it has 14 perfectly executed examples. I've made a fool of myself walking down the streets of Syracuse, unable to keep myself from walking with a hip shake here or lip sync there; it's truely addicting/contagious/Swedish.
[favorite track: Dance Dance Dance] [close second: Let it fall]

MGMT, Oracular Spectacular
I've loved MGMT since the minute Joe Ryder played Electric Feel for me. This album is fantastic; I can't even count how many times I've listened to it all the way through. It will make you want to dance, sing along, pick up an instrument, see them live. Their next album is due out sometime in 2009, with the help of the Chemical Brothers. The 14-minute Metanoia single released late this summer and, if it is any indication of what MGMT will give us in the future, I'm boosted to the fullest.
[favorite track: The Handshake] [close second: Weekend Wars]

Bonus video:

Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene's 2005 self-titled release received most playtime by me this year than it ever had in the past. The pending Bonnaroo experience brought them back to the top of my iPod's "most listened to," and rightfully so. If you're not familiar with the best thing Canada has most-likely ever contributed to indie music, pick up this album. Everything is fantastic: the energy really makes some songs chug on like a speeding freight train, others showcase the pure beauty that can come out of well-designed, well-played music. You need this album.
[favorite track: Fire Eye'd Boy] [close second: Swimmers]

RaRaRiot, The Rhumb Line
My dearest RaRaRiot, how you've grown. From the small sets at Mezzanotte and FunkNWaffles, you're now superstars, playing national tours and even being featured on Nordstrom BP's playlist (it's super weird to hear it while working). I had only been accustomed to getting my RaRa fix live or with old recordings, but Rhumb Line offered me a whole new option with old classics and new additions. Great thing is, RaRa is still RaRa: indie pop with strings and catchy beats/melodies.
[favorite track: Too Too Too Fast] [close second: Oh, La]

Deichkind, Aufstand im Schlaraffenland
Jan showed me this band when I was in Germany, and it was like an epiphany. Could this be real? A really good German band? That's not to say Germans are bad musicians, but Americans really trump German's indie scene, no one can deny that. But, Deichkind was something new. They've deemed themselves "electro/hip hop" but all I know is that they make some mean dance songs.
[favorite track: Remmidemmi] [close second: Limit]

Bonus: Kopf oder Zahl (deichkind remix), Jennifer Rostock

Sigur Ros, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
This Icelandic band's fifth album did not fail to impress by any means. I'd like to think this is the most pop, pedestrian album they've produced, but they've still maintained the pure beauty that is at the heart of their sound. It's all in Icelandic, but I think that makes it better; English would hurt it's value.
[favorite track: Við Spilum Endalaust] [close second: Gobbledigook]

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