I know we’re not out of this year yet but I couldn’t let that stop me from sharing my views on some of the best music from this year.
I told myself before doing this I would only do my top 10 favorite albums but this soon developed into 40+ so I’ve reduced back down to 20. Lots of artists/albums have slipped through the net despite being pure class such as Coldplay, Radiohead, Alphabeat, Sigur Ros, and Noad & The Whale to name a few but I had to stick to my guns and personal preferences.
Here are my top 20, in no particular order, enjoy…
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago – This isn’t an album that I have found particularly easy to appreciate since it first came to my attention earlier this year, but after persistence and repeated listening whilst trying to keep an open mind, I have finally realised exactly why all of the critical acclaim has been lavished on this album. It is, quite simply, a great piece of work.
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes – This is certainly an interesting album but it will not be to everyone’s taste. I recommend that you forget the hype and just listen to it – this is one of those albums that you will either love immediately, or not. I would say that it takes a few listens and is well worth the effort.
Foals – Antidotes – When I first heard Foals, I didn’t think much of them, but when they released Balloons, I started to rethink. On first listen, I wasn’t too impressed, but like always I give it another listen, because I am not usually impressed with most albums on the first listen. But after the 4/5th listen, I really noticed how good this album is. They are definitely playing the music they want to, that is pure and not trying to sound like everything else, and it is that that makes it so great!
Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend – This album is absolutely brilliant! I love the lyrics! They are deep, perceptive and fun. The sound is infectious and life loving! Buy this album and it will brighten up your day whenever you listen to it!
Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid – Winning the Mercury Music Prize for this album was a great moment for Elbow and, as far as I am concerned, it was a worthy winner, although it has caused me just a little bemusement as their last album, ‘Leaders Of The Free World’ was pretty much just as exceptional as this one.
MGMT – Oracular Spectacular – A truly amazing debut album and one of my favorite albums of 2008. Stand out tracks are ‘The Youth’, ‘Time to Pretend’, ‘The Kids’ and ‘Electric Feel’ The whole album can be listened to again and again as the tracks never seem to get old. BUY IT NOW OR YOU MIGHT AS WELL START LISTENING TO CLIFF RICHARD, WEAR FLAT CAPS AND START SMOKING A PIPE!!!
Kinds Of Leon – Only By The Night – This is probably one of the most anticipated albums of 2008. ‘Because of the Times’ has sent Kings of Leon deservedly into the big league and is one of my top albums of 2008 and they really are looking like a world beating band.
The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age Of Understatement – This is a very solid album, surprisingly good considering it’s only a ‘side project’. You don’t need to be an Arctic Monkeys or Rascals fan to appreciate it, though if you don’t like Alex Turner’s voice then it won’t be for you; he takes on the majority of vocal duties.
Lightspeed Champion – Falling Off The Lavender Bridge – Brilliant album from an excellent musician… maybe even album of the year?! ‘Midnight Surprise’ and ‘Galaxy of the Lost’ are very infectious, great songs.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! – For a band that has been around for over 25 years to produce a 14th studio album of this quality is nothing short of astounding. You really should listen to it!
Black Kids – Partie Traumatic – They seem to have managed to create an album jam packed with singles; ‘I Want To Be Your Limousine’ manages to revive disco and bring it bang up to date with its funky baseline and sleazy lyrics. Singles ‘Hurricane Jane’ and ‘I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance’ are stand out tracks and sit happily alongside the gyrating ‘Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo)’. This album is a fantastic debut from a promising new act.
Santogold – Santogold – I got this album for two reasons. Firstly, for the song ‘Creator’ from the VO5 adverts and secondly because I found her voice and style on ‘Creator’ very similar to that of M.I.A. At first I was disappointed but I pressed on, as always, and listened to the album all day and it evolved into something quite impressive.
Late Of The Pier – Fantasy Black Channel – OK, this is gonna sound a bit like something David Brent would say, but imagine you were baking a musical cake. Your ingredients are: a bit of Sparks, a tad of Bowie, a pinch of Devo, a helping of Gary Numan, some Queen, a taster of Justice, a hint of Japan, mix up with a dose of Nik Kershaw flavored with Gary Glitter and bake for 40 minutes. The result is a sweet sounding mixture of acoustic satisfaction that you will devour until the last crumb. Fantastic!
Cajun Dance Party – The Colourful Life – I got hold of this album earlier in the year and it has been hard to stop listening to ever since which is the best compliment I can give it. Only 9 tracks but all are quality – this album brings the sun out and sounds fresh!
Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Into – After reading various reviews, I was a little bit nervous about this but I’m so glad I got it anyway! This is pure electro rock gold! A perfect mixture of styles such as those of Daft Punk and Justice. If you like electro, or most forward moving indie bands (i.e. Foals) then you’ll love this! Not for everyone thought!
Estelle – Shine – With this album I told myself I was only going to give it one listen and if I didn’t like I would file under ‘never listen to again/erase’. So imagine my shock when I discovered that this album is actually very good, American Boy is such a funky song. Just love it.
Kimya Dawson – Hidden Vagenda – Simply a beautiful little set of melodies as well as sticking it to the government in her own personal style. I first heard of Kimya Dawson through the Moldy Peaches and although this isn’t as bouncy as their stuff, it is still constantly on my IPOD, especially when I just want to relax. Her voice is so beautiful and delicate and will calm even the most angsty person into feeling sedated. I thoroughly recommend this album!
Los Campesinos – Hold on Now, Youngster… – The album is full of perfectly sculpted indie classics. The highly charged, energetic songs are witty, creative and in all honesty brilliant songs leap at you like that first pint of Lager after a long week at work, slap you hard in the face, smile, and invite you to join their party – riotous tunes from start to finish.
Pendulum – In Silico – Some people make me sick! The people who slated this album and gave it crap reviews are the same people who are not very open minded and cannot listen to an album without immediately classing it as a certain genre. This album is brilliant, and has a great mixture of rock riffs and drum and bass beats. Definitely check it out.
These New Puritans – Beat Pyramid – This is surely one of the most intriguing prospects that this year has offered. Although supposedly an indie album (and this is part of its charm – it manages to be weird without being experimental and remains accessible), Beat Pyramid shifts illogically between electronica, indie dance, muffled field recordings, concept album stylings, angular hip-hop and eccentric post-punk. Baffling yet charming.
I expect to have lots of debates over the coming weeks regarding some my choices here so feel free to praise/slate my taste through this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What Others Thought: