We haven’t been slow in getting out our best of 2008 lists; we’ve just waited for everyone else to give their best effort before we put forth the answer key. The format’s a little different this year. Each of us will offer only 3 albums (gold, silver, bronze) as our best albums of the year. We’ll then offer winners in other categories, created by us individually. Our 18-track 2008 mix tapes will follow. Sorry this is pretty bare bones with no pictures, links, etc. I just needed to get this up; will try and add frills later. Without further ado.
Gold – Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
Haunting and beautiful, sparse yet full of sound, calming yet intense, Bon Iver put out the best album of the year. I think I already really liked this album before I even heard a song when I heard the back-story of Justin Vernon holing himself up in a cabin for the winter, hunting deer for food and recording this gorgeous album. Each song is well-crafted and they fit together perfectly. Every time I listen to this album I have a new favorite song. I predict this being my favorite album for a long time. Best listened to on vinyl while drinking a Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale.
Silver – Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Afro-pop, chamber-pop, ska, joy, energy, youthfulness, Cape Cod, all wrapped up for your listening pleasure. Prediction: their next album is going to be just as good. Best listened to on a road trip in the summertime in a Sienna mini-van.
Bronze – Sigur Ros – Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust
Prettiest album of the year; huge sounds. Can’t comment on the lyrics because Sigur Ros sings in their own language translated as “Hopelalndic.” Dead serious. Look it up. I find it awesome because lead singer Jónsi Birgisson's voice just becomes another instrument, meshing with the music as he sees fit. Also, buying this album increased my collection of Icelandic music by 100%. Best listened to on a long-run in northern Michigan.
Best Track Names: The Walkmen – You & Me
If I ever make an album, this is what I would want to name my songs. I would have bought this album without hearing a song just based on the track listings. Also, two tracks have parentheses tracks, which I like (question for discussion: what is the best track ever with a parentheses in the title? Mine’s probably Rosalita (Come Out Tonight). Little D’s is probably Over My Head (Cable Car), by the Fray. He loves the Fray.)
The track names (and this is a great album as well):
1. Donde esta la Playa
2. Flamingos (For Colbert)
3. On the Water
4. In the New Year
5. Seven Years of Holidays (For Stretch)
6. Postcards from Tiny Islands
7. Red Moon
8. Canadian Girl
9. Four Provinces
10. Long Time Ahead of Us
11. The Blue Route
12. New Country
13. I Lost You
14. If Only It Were True
Album I Won’t Be Able to Hold Off Buying Much Longer: The Killers – Day & Age
Everyone’s ragging on the Killers these days, but hey, maybe they just wanted to make some anthemic synth-pop that sounds a lot like Belinda Carlise; and maybe I’m okay with that. I’ve only heard two songs off this cd, Human and Spaceman, and I friggin love them both. I’ve had the mouse over the “buy this album” button once or twice; it’ll happen one of these days.
Best Album to Put On When You Have a Lady Over For a Mexican-Themed Dinner: Calexico – Carried to Dust
I would characterize this album as latin mysterious twang. “Slowness” is a beautiful number accented with some slide-guitar. Start making your move here.
Best Newcomer: Basia Bulat – Oh My Darlin
My early pick for album of the year, but was beat out. Pretty melodies, an auto-harp, and a beautiful, unique voice. Her next album will make waves.
Best EP of the Year: Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons – Cabin Ghosts
Partly recorded live at what sounds like a coffee shop in his hometown, this EP is a folk-record with soul. Beautiful songs and the kid can sing. Can’t wait for the full-length.
Most Arrogant Album of the Year: The War On Drugs – Wagonwheel Blues
A three-minute instrumental track, a song clocking in at 9:57, and a song called Needle In Your Eye #16. Arrogance. I do really love this album though. Bought it on vinyl. Gets better with every listen.
18 Tracks ( played in this order)
1) In the New Year - The Walkmen - You & Me
*It’s gonna be a good year.
2) Arms Like Boulders - The War On Drugs - Wagonwheel Blues
*Highway 61 Revisited…revisited. (I’m sure someone has used that line before, but I’m claiming it as my own)
3) Mexico City -Jolie Holland - The Living and the Dead
*Jolie Holland adds the number of quality songs about Mexico.
4) Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur - Sigur Rós - Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
*Happiest song of the year; but what would you expect from a band that sings in hopelandic.
5) Lights Out –Santogold –Santogold
*Sounds a bit like Cyndi Lauper…and by that I mean awesome.
6) Ready for the Floor - Hot Chip -Made In the Dark
7) In the Night - Basia Bulat -Oh, My Darling
*Best song of the year, hands down.
8) Half Asleep - School of Seven Bells -Alpinisms
*Postal Service beats, beautiful tune.
9) Play Your Part (Pt. 1) - Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
*Who knew you Lil’ Wayne and Sinead O’Connor went so well together.
10) Straight To Video- Chris Koza -The Dark Delirious Morning
*Minneapolis artist makes classic pop single.
11) That's Entrainment - Van Morrison -Keep It Simple
*It’s really hard for Van Morrison to produce a bad song.
12) On My Side - Cory Chisel -Cabin Ghosts
*Prettiest song of the year.
13) Skinny Love - Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
*This song cuts to the core.
14) Lost Coastlines -Okkervil River - The Stand Ins
*Classic Okkervil…complete with oh, oh, ohs…
15) Kids –MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
16) St. Peter's Day Festival - Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
*This album was really close to being awesome. This song is.
17) A-Punk - Vampire Weekend
*My two year old cousin dances to this song. So do I.
18) Human -The Killers -Day & Age
*I kept trying to take this song off my list. Sorry.