Saturday, December 20, 2008

2 0 0 8

I could’ve pulled an Ebert this year, but that just wouldn’t be very satisfying, so here’s another somewhat arbitrary ranking of ten great albums from the past 12 months:

[1] M83 – Saturdays = Youth
The best thing since the “Time After Time” dance sequence in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.

[2] Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Virtue rewarded.

[3] Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
Pleasuredome II.

[4] Sun Kil Moon – April
Not as transcendent as 2003’s Ghosts of the Great Highway (one of the best albums of the decade), and doesn’t contain any stone-kold Kozelek klassikz like “Katy Song” or “Carry Me Ohio,” but April is still very much like a tree, in the summer, under whose languid boughs a sun-dappled dreamer can while away the precious hours (kidding).

[5] Secret Shine – All of the Stars
2008 was a great year for the 80s, and an even better year for the 90s. Case in point: authentic shoegazing masterpiece circa 1991 from Secret Shine, today!

[6] R.E.M. – Accelerate
Words, with the possible exception of “better Stipe-ocalypse,” can’t describe my reverence for R.E.M. This could have been total crap and I’d still love it. How can I convince you now that it’s actually really good?

[7] The Magnetic Fields – Distortion
This could also have been crap, so on and so forth, but Stephin Merritt’s songwriting formula (a wicker basket of wit + a measure of melody) has not failed him yet, not even when he gives it the Phil Spector treatment.

[8] Wye Oak – If Children
More vintage 90s in this horrible age of abuse and decay. If this band has a personality, I haven’t figured out what it is yet, but no matter, because they make totally irreproachable music.

[9] The Rosebuds – Life Like
2007’s “Get Up Get Out” was lovely; here’s a whole album of dark (yet sweet) pop songs, with a little bit of North Carolina grotesquerie (the type I’ve read about in Southern Gothic novels) creeping in at the edges.

[10] The Wedding Present – El Rey
The best Los Angeles album since Possum Dixon’s Star Maps (sorry, Celebrity Skin)—but setting aside, this is just another delightful dish of Gedge, best served Albini.

For the record, there were another 19 albums this year that I liked “a lot” and 11 that I liked “quite a bit” (not to mention all the stuff taking up space on my computer that I haven’t even played yet). I’ve never heard so much good new music in the span of a calendar year. Most of it has been supplied by WMCN, and I’m starting to wonder how I’ll survive when I leave this place… Onward to 2009!

(Have a top ten of your own? Post it here, or send it to Maybe we'll compile them or something.)


Blogger aaron said...

i'm pretty sure you know how i feel about all but two of these albums, so i will note only that:

•in this horrible age of abuse and decay, it's good to know that records are sounding ok
•there will be no overlap b/w our top 10s, tho "el rey," "life like," and "accelerate" are my 11, 12 and 14
•"if children...", as everybody knows, was actually released in 2007:

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone whose new music is also supplied (indirectly) by WMCN, I will be bereft of joy come May 2009...

That said, here's a 2008 Top Ten:

1 Fleet Foxes-Fleet Foxes
2 Death Vessel-Nothing is Precious Enough for Us
3 Jeremy Messersmith-The Silver City
4 Jenny Lewis-Acid Tongue
5 Cut Copy-In Ghost Colors
6 Magnetic Fields-Distortion
7 El Perro del Mar-From the Valley to the Stars
8 M83-Saturdays=Youth
9 The Wedding Present-El Rey
10 Springhouse-From Now to OK

4:59 PM  

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