Our Top Albums of 2008

The Year 2008 is halfway over.  With that in mind, we figured we'd discuss what we thought were the top 10 albums of the year so far.  Note: Though we loved In Rainbows, we're not going to include them in this, since it was considered by many (including us) to be the best album of 2007 already.  Anyone who didn't hear it by the end of last year obviously wasn't paying much attention.  Anyway, here goes...

1. Narrow Stairs, Death Cab for Cutie
Ben Gibbard and the gang rightfully start off this list with their best work since Transatlanticism.  The album maintains the somber mood which Death Cab always keeps, while still delivering a bright sound at the same time. Remorse never sounded so good.

Top Track: Cath...

2. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
Indie, Baroque-inspired, afro-beat pop?  A year ago, nobody would have a clue what you were talking about.  Now, chances are people would start up a conversation with you about Vampire Weekend, those Columbia University over-privileged youths who are about to be launched into the MTV stratosphere by the head ass clown himself, Pete Wentz, & Co.  Until that nightmare fully takes shape though, enjoy all the fun this band has to offer.

Top Track: Oxford Comma

3.með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, Sigur Rós
Hopelandic (n.): a term used to describe the gibberish sung by the band Sigur Rós (Wikipedia paraphrase, 2008). What the band lacks in grammatical structure and normal lingual conventions though, they have in sensibility, and their concept for the post-rock genre which they are near the forefront of. Oh, and they like being naked a lot too...weird.

Top Track: Ára bátur

4. The Odd Couple, Gnarls Barkley
To be honest, we felt St. Elsewhere was kind of hit-or-miss, but this album is a triumph, through-and-through. If you're looking for something easy and enjoyable to listen to, find yourself a copy of this energetic and intelligent recording. You won't be disappointed.

Top Track: Going On

5. Elephant Shell, Tokyo Police Club
Another fun record for this year. These Saddle Creek-ers have a similar sound to Death Cab for Cutie, sans regret, but with a great dose of energy. The record is a quick listen, but chances are, you'll just hit repeat when it's over anyway.

Top Track: Your English Is Good

6. Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends, Coldplay
At first we thought that Chris Martin was trying to desperately to make his own Kid A, to which I would have laughed. However, it ends up it bares little resemblance to Radiohead's fourth studio album, and instead simply sound like Coldplay going in a different direction. This could all change if it ends up they stole "The Songs I Didn't Write" from Creaky Boards though (haha...sorry, had to mention it).

Top Track: Viva La Vida

7. Falling Off The Lavender Bridge, Lightspeed Champion
Dev Hynes is one weird dude. That said, he knows how to make music, and make it well. Though admittedly whiny at times, it doesn't feel wrong to like it, and it doesn't feel wrong to say that it sounds right. He's also honest, which is getting harder and harder to come by these days. His penchant for profanity also seems to be a positive, rather than a negative, and doesn't take away
from anything.

Top Track: Midnight Surprise

8. Weezer (Red Album), Weezer
When first hearing Pork and Beans", we were ecstatic. The return of the old Weezer, a return to what made them great (or at least good), and their re-establishment in the hearts and minds of music aficionados everywhere. And then, of course, I heard the rest of the album. What used to work as "so bad, it's good" now functions as "so bad, it's still just kind of bad". Outside of the previously mentioned Pork and Beans, there are smatterings of positives here. Enough to get it onto this list, but not enough to get it onto the year-end list, I'm sure.

Top Track: Pork and Beans

9. Water Curses, Animal Collective
Either this is on here or N*E*R*D's new album gets thrown a bone. We decided that "Water Curses" (the song) alone, gave this four-track release enough street cred to make the grade and get on the top 10. All the songs are a bit stripped-down, reminiscent of their pre-Strawberry Jam style, and all of them get you thinking, which we believe is one of the main purposes behind their music.

Top Track: Water Curses

10. Tha Carter III, Lil' Wayne
I'll usually truly enjoy one new hip-hop record per year, and since we won't count Gnarls Barkley as hip-hop, I guess this is Lil' Wayne's lucky day. Great rap acts usually weed out the hit-or-miss type stuff by the third album, and for the most part, Weezy delivers, save a song or two. He is a great rapper though, so at least he's got that up on one Kanye West.

Top Track: Mr. Carter

And there it is. If you wanted to know, N*E*R*D's Seeing Sounds was #11. Also, just a note: we don't endorse MySpace, but had to use it as the link for some of the artists who didn't have songs up from their respective new albums on Last.FM. Enjoy, and see you on Wednesday.


Heath D. Williams said...

Solid list. My Top 10:

1. Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
2. Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
3. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals
4. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
5. Coldplay - Viva la Vida
6. She & Him - Volume One
7. Beck - Modern Guilt
8. Lil' Wayne - Tha Carter III
9. Albert Hammond, Jr. - ¿Cómo Te Llama?
10. Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I-IV

Melody said...

I've been meaning to get a bunch of these albums so I'm glad you guys put some up here, because a bunch of them were pretty debatable for me (like Coldplay. not a huge fan, I'll admit, but I do like their single). Good to see Lil' Wayne up on here, I'll admit I do like him. A little. Can't wait for Wednesday!

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Chris said...

Seems to be too many negative comments for a top 10 list. The last few albums seemed to make it solely by default, which makes me think that you were making a top 10 from a sampling of only 15 or so. Probably would've been more effective as a top 5.

By the way, I'm probably going to end up criticizing just about everything you write, John.