Top Albums of 2008

December 19, 2008

As 2008 quickly comes to an end, I start to read the many lists of magazine and websites’ Top Charts of the year, and now it’s my turn. Even though there are dozens of albums I have yet to listen to from the year, I could only come up with these 15 records. This took me a lot of time to reflect, and put together my list of favorite albums of the year…enjoy.

Photobucket 15. Panic at the Disco – Pretty.Odd.
2 things are fitting about the band name and album title. They dropped the “!” after panic for this record, and the songs should explain why. Also, compared to their last album of keyboard happy, electronic alternative-rock, its pretty odd….that this album is very grassroots, folk, and pop. It takes a couple listens, but it starts to grow on you.

Shes A Handsome Woman (Album Version) – Brendon Urie

Photobucket 14. Beck – Modern Guilt
Beck may be one of the most re-inventive artists in music, and this album proves so. His sound of industrial rock, groove-heavy bass, and new wave only lasts a little over 30 minutes in this 10-track album. Even though his voice gets a little Enya-esque, the beats and lyrics are good enough to where you can’t believe its over so soon.

Photobucket 13. The Cool Kids – The Bake Sale
To me, The Cool Kids are the product of what would happen if the Beastie Boys gave musical birth. The album is filled with gritty, garage beats, and grad student lines delivered by high schoolers that are easy to understand and follow. Makes me wanna nod my head to a bass-heavy stereo chillin on my shoulder.

Photobucket 12. Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple
Bouncing back from the smash of 2006’s “Crazy”, the duo didn’t create as much buzz with their sophomore effort, this year’s, The Odd Couple. I’ve always like these guys because none of their music sounds like “Crazy”. The diversity of modern beats from DJ Danger Mouse, mixed with vintage-souled voice of Cee-Lo sets the pace for an exciting album.

Photobucket 11. Slightly Stoopid – Slightly Not Stoned Enough To Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid
I was amazed to find that this was Stoopid’s 7th album released within a career lasting over a decade. After seeing their recent live show, I can see why they are one, if not the biggest cali/dub/reggae/punk bands in the country. This album is full of never-released tracks, remixes, and new versions of older songs, from the most not-stoopid band around.
(Note: This is not the album with “2AM”, that is from 2007’s Chronchitis)

Photobucket 10. Coldplay – Viva La Vida
All I can say about Coldplay is this. #1, I think it was Rolling Stone Magazine that says they are the biggest band in the world #2, the people of “40-year-old Virgin” think that they’re gay and #3, they make pretty good music. Every song is epic and I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a fan of Coldplay.

Photobucket 9. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
The band was an indie hit that was introduced to me, via Mtv and KROQ by their first single, “A-Punk”. I was intrigued by the baseline, their lyrics, and the bouncy vibe their music gives off. The album became an indie hit, and after only reading good things, I dove in to their debut album. These ivy-league college guys were influenced by African popular music mixed with Western classical, which doesn’t mean squat until you actually listen to it.

Photobucket 8. The Fashion – The Fashion
Sheer boredom during a class break in college was how I found this band. Playing random music online, I stumbled upon the opening to their first single, “Like Knives”, and became a fan. The album is filled with an array of hard-to-label genres that went completely “under the radar” to the rest of the world.

Photobucket 7. Lykke Li – Youth Novels
First off, it’s pronounced Leekee Lee. This Swedish sensation carries a truly unique sound that was another hit among those in the indie music world. I’d describe her music to be filled of danceable, subtle beats, bouncing under her angelic, soft fragile voice. Her song, “Little Bit” was used in a Victoria’s Secret commercial, and got a lot of play on Indie 103.1.

Photobucket 6. kanYe West – 808’s & Heartbreak
The only thing about the person Kanye West that I like, is that he doesn’t apologize for anything. This is nothing like any other album West has released, because its straight up – not hip hop. Some say the audio-tone voice things is lame, I think he’s just trying new things. The beats are hipster-ready, electronic, and pop-tastic which may take a couple listens, but I appreciate kanYe’s diversity.

Photobucket15. Estelle – Shine
Estelle captivated my attention with “American Boy” early this year. Her album is like a tasty, soulful collection of R&B with collaborations that really impressed me. She is the most versatile “London Chick” to come from R&B in a long time, and she was worth the wait. Even though this is her second album, Estelle truly makes great choices with some of the best songs Will.I.Am has produced along with collabos from Cee-Lo, Sean Paul, Mark Ronson, and John Legend.

Photobucket4. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
Let me start off by saying that I don’t think Weezy is the best rapper alive. He is definitely somewhere in the top 5, and I give him much praise after listening to this album. The way he delivers his rhymes are what, I think, set him apart from Jay-Z, Biggie, Snoop, etc. His voice reaches levels of charisma that fit with every vibe of each song on Tha Carter III.

Photobucket 3. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
Undoubtedly, my favorite new band of the year. I read a lot about this young duo from NYC, and their story is pretty interesting. More importantly, the music they released this year has set a tone for the future of indie music. Synthesized-pop, electronic-funk, and future-disco are all adjectives I’ve heard to describe their sound, and they still don’t do justice to how brilliant, innovative, and catchy this group is. Listen to “Electric Feel” once and if you’re not hooked, clean your ears.

Photobucket2. Santogold – Santogold
You’ve heard some of her songs on commercials, seen a snippet of her video “L.E.S. Artistes” inbetween shows on Mtv, and if you still haven’t listened to this album, you owe yourself the favor. Think Gwen Stefani combined with the 80’s punk/new wave of Debbie Harry, with a sprinkle of M.I.A.’s creativity, and you have 11 of the sickest tracks with the most unique sounds in music today. She’s versatile, got great hooks, and beats that draw you in. I believe in Santogold.

Photobucket1. Radiohead – In Rainbows
So, technically, this album was availabe in 2007, but wasn’t officially released in stores until this year. It is so good, that I’m carrying it over for this year’s #1 album. If you already like Radiohead, then this album will not dissapoint. If you’re not a fan, or haven’t listened, Thom Yorke and the guys made an album that brings joy, pain, melancholy, intrigue, and sincere creativity that’s absolutely worth a listen.


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December 19, 2008

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