It's about that time again. We have gone through our catalogs, checked our playlists and compiled what we think were the Top 25 best albums of 2008. Putting these together is never easy but after some rearranging and heavy discussion we finally found the order we were comfortable with. Quality of an album obviously plays a huge factor but we also take into consideration how much we personally enjoyed an album in the long run. Guilty pleasures included. We think its a decent list and we are sure we will get some comments on what we missed or what was too high or too low but that's kinda he point of these things right? Here we go...
You can also check out our [Best of 2006
] and [Best of 2007
1. TV on the Radio :: Dear Science
From the start you could tell this was going to be a special album. As soon as the chorus breaks out during the song Halfway Home you almost instantly want to hit repeat and listen to it over and over again. Golden Age played perfectly into the political changes we were going through
(like it or not) and DLZ is by far the song of the year.
2. The Black Keys :: Attack & Release
This album was #1 till Dear Science was released. And it was almost heartbreaking to move it down. You get everything on this album. Hard rock, blues, and production from Danger Mouse who's style is peppered throughout the album but not overwhelming. Their ability to create a proper blues album is what should be commended though.
3. MGMT :: Oracular Spectacular
This one was tough since we have had the album since last year. But the album was technically released in January and they basically owned 2008. We knew the album was fantastic but never thought they would rise the way they did. Time to Pretend was that great song you couldn't stand anymore by the end of the year but they also had some other great tracks. Of Moons, Birds & Monsters is a real hidden gem on the album.
4. Vampire Weekend :: Vampire Weekend
We are going to catch such shit for this but this album is really damn good. They won me over after seeing them live the second time and it made the album a lot more enjoyable. It's the end
of the year and about time for the inevitable backlash but I still love the album. Every single song is good, even Blakes Got A New Face.
5. My Morning Jacket :: Evil Urges
The band went all "Prince" on this album and kinda freaked out a lot of their fan base. That doesn't change the fact that it is a great album. Very experimental and a lot less hard than previous releases. This album was pretty much all I listened to for a month after seeing them at the Austin City Limits taping.
6. Lil Wayne :: The Carter III
I love this album, it is truly a guilty pleasure. But aside from that it is kind of genius. "A Milli" is the song of the year in my eyes.
7. Foals :: Antidotes
Imagine a british band moving to Brooklyn, hooking up with producer Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, then firing him and self producing and a little dance rock masterpiece. That's exactly what happened and we are greatful. They also were one of the best live performances we saw all year.
8. We Are Scientists :: Brain Thrust Mastery
This band kicks ass and is so underrated. This time they deliver an album rich in an 80's feel. The tracks are addicting. That mixed with such great songwriting made an almost near perfect album. They got experimental on this album and for that we are thankful.
9. Beach House :: Beach House
I caught on to this band late but after the first listen I was hooked. The songs are so simple at times but still so entrancing. The album clocks in at a little over 30 minutes and leaves you wanting so much more.
10. Lykke Li :: Youth Novels
Youth Novels is one of the best pop albums of the year. She hooked up with fellow Swede Peter, of Peter Bjorn and John to create this album. Its dreamy, experimental and most importantly it's clever.
11. Kanye West :: 808's and Heartbreak
I thought the vocoder gimmick was going to kill this album for me but it didn't. West was bold to strip down his production for this album and even though it was dark it was still exciting. The drum patterns and simple beats make this album flow very well. I am listening to it at this very moment.
12. The Presets : Apocalypso
People slept on this album. While everyone was caught up in loving fellow Aussies and tour mates Cut Copy the duo recorded an album that was a lot more consistent than their previous release Beams. It's relentless dance music.
13. The Raconteurs :: Consolers of the Lonely
Extremely underrated. I don't know if it's the side project tag or what but they released another stellar album. Impressive considering it was done in secret in a matter of weeks and then just released as quickly. I have said it before but Brendan Benson is the heart of this band. His songwriting and vocals really make this album.
14. M83 :: Saturdays = Youth
The French electronic duo hooked up with Sigur Ros producer Ken Thomas for their fifth album. The results are a beautiful album laced with dark drony guitars to compliment the synth pop sound. Loved it.
15. Santogold :: Santogold
Taking a break from co writing for such big names as The GZA, Lily Allen and grrr Ashlee Simpson. Santi White put herself at the forefront for this debut. The production is top notch and pretty much every track could be a single. This year she will be working with both the Beastie Boys and David Byrne.
16. Fleet Foxes :: Fleet Foxes
The five piece really burst onto the music scene this year and deliver this perfectly poppy folk album. If there was a best new artists on this list Fleet Foxes would be it and were sure we will get questioned on why they aren't higher up the list. Mostly because folky music isn't usually my thing. I will make an exception though.
17. Little Joy :: Little Joy
A result of Fab Moretti of The Strokes spending a little too much time in LA, hooking up with Binki Shapiro and maybe being restless from his time off. All of which turned out to be a good thing. Frontman Rodrigo Amarante steals the show. Such a perfect fall album.
18.Q-Tip :: The Renaissance
A true return to form. This is the Q-Tip solo we have been waiting for. The production is top notch and his flow is dead on. He is come of as an elder statesman of hip hip without sounding dated or untouched. Hip Hop artist who want a longer shelf life should take note.
19. The Last Shadow Puppets :: The Age of the Understatement
Alex Turner takes time off from fronting Arctic Monkeys and delivers this brilliant side project with frontman Miles Kane from UK band The Rascals. A more mature collection that took some time to get into. I ended up loving it.
20. Shearwater : Rook
In 35 minute's Shearwater deliver an album that sounds haunted . Mixed with horns, organs and very intense drums. It was a real coming out for this Austin based band who then went on to open for Coldplay.
21. Beck :: Modern Guilt
In a little for 30 minutes Beck manages to add to his already impressive catalog. This album wa
s the result of sessions with Danger Mouse and you can really see the production style come across.
22. Hot Chip :: Made in the Dark
You want to dismiss them as a simple synth band and then they deliver this album filled with
ballads that are so simple but so brilliant. Then just when you are almost sad there isnt a party you get "Shake A Fist" and it's breakdown. Easily one of the best dance tracks of the year.
23. DeVotchKa :: A Mad and Faithful Telling
DeVotchKa has always done the gypsyish-rock sound, and in their last album "How It Ends" they added a poignant string section. Well, they do one better in "A Mad and Faithful Telling," a gloriously energetic, sepia-toned ride that juggles rock, pop, Eastern European dance, and a tinge of that heartbreaking orchestral music. As it makes you laugh and breaks your heart, DeVotchKa turns out their most balanced, polished album to date.
24. Sleepercar :: West Texas
Jim Ward (ATDI, Sparta) stripped down his sound and created a love letter to his West Texas roots. We have the same hometown so I don't know if that made it resonate for me. But he must have done something right, an opening slot for Coldplay came shortly after.
25. Albert Hammond Jr. :: Como Te Llama
Hammond has obviously been restless with his time off from the Strokes. His second album was not as easily accessible as his first but did show his maturity in both songwriting and arranging. After a few listens the album really begins to grow on you.
Agree or Disagree? Leave a comment below.