It’s been a pretty solid year. Either that means there’s a lot of great music coming out these days, or I’m just too hip for my own good. I’m guessing the former. Nevertheless, Pete asked me to share my best from 2008, and I am happy to do so! Earlier this month, I posted the tracklist to my annual year-end mix (with notes) over at my own blog, and last week posted a companion podcast (with minimal overlap). My comments here may be minimal only to prevent redundancy, but please feel free to stop by Gonzo’s Music-O-Rama.
Also, these numbers do not necessarily correspond to rank.
Albums of the year:
1. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular ::This would have been on my 2008 cd until I found out it was actually a 2007. I later found out the digital edition came out in 2007, but the hard copy hit shelves in 2008. Ergo, it is an omission from my initial list for which I’ve been making atonement ever since.
2. Santogold – Santogold :: My pick for album of the year. Diverse, well produced and well executed. Comparisons to MIA are pretty superficial – their music for the most part is quite dissimilar, as evidenced by Santogold’s penchant for rock/new wave song structures.
3. Jamie Lidell – Jim ::Though less varied than Multiply, Jim is perhaps a more solid album. Jim‘s all-out soul revival gets the feet tappin’ and the fingers snappin’. My only concern is his next step – it seems to me you can only do the all-out retro thing for a very limited time and have it be interesting.
4. CSS – Donkey
5. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War ::Possibly the most underrated album of the year.
6. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours ::2008: New Order breaks up, Cut Copy carries the torch.
7. Ratatat – LP3
8. Pop Levi– Never Never Love
9. She & Him – Volume One
10. The Atlas Sound – Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel ::I actually liked this better than the Deerhoof record.
Songs of the Year:
1. Ladytron – “Ghosts”
2. Crystal Castles – “Crimewave”
3. Cut Copy – “Lights & Music”
4. M83 – “Kim and Jesse” ::This is one that I admittedly got into only recently. The album didn’t grab me on first listen, but after some replays, it – and this track especially – are ranking highly in my book.
5. The Ting Tings -“Shut Up & Let Me Go”
6. Love is All – “Wishing Well”
7. Snoop Dogg – “Sensual Seduction”
8. Santogold – “L.E.S. Artistes” ::The entire Santogold album is great, and was the soundtrack for many runs this summer. While “L.E.S. Artistes” is a critique of the art/hipster scene, I have a Nike commercial in my head built around the chorus.
Cover Songs of the Year:
Santogold – “Guns of Brooklyn”
Take one of my favorite Clash songs, have one of my favorite artists of 2008 sing it, and have Diplo produce. GOLDEN.
She and Him – “You Really Got a Hold On Me” :: I love covers where the artists really make the song their own. Such is the case here. The Miracles version is an undisputed classic, and perhaps the most famous cover (The Beatles) is stylistically true. Yet here we have She & Him fitting the song into the context of the album’s laid back, alt-country-pop style. It sounds so much more desperate and haunting in this version. I love it. They also do a great laid back rendition of The Beatles’ “I Should Have Known Better.”
Disappointments of the Year:
Guns n Roses – Chinese Democracy :: As Michael indicated, this may be an obvious choice. I guess this isn’t really a disappointment in that it met my very low expectations.
Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple
We are Scientists – Brain Thrust Mastery
Best Live Show of the Year:
Chromeo: 9:30 Club, Washington DC 10/4/08 :: This what immediately came to mind when prompted for the best show of the year. Chromeo’s 2007 release Fancy Footwork was one of my favorites last year, and I knew I had to catch them live. They were great – performances were spot on, they were as cheeky and entertaining as you’d expect, and played the entire album. See my full review here.
Other shows of note:
Jamie Lidell Abbey Pub, Chicago 6/4/08
CSS – 9:30 Club, DC 12/20 [review forthcoming!]
Best New (to me) Artist:
The Mighty Hannibal ::Late in the summer, I was introduced to King Khan and the Shrines, a tongue-in-cheek garage band. I saw an interview where they hung out with The Mighty Hannibal, of whom I’d never heard. But I was curious, given my penchant for 1960s soul. I heard the album Hannibalism! and fell in love with it immediately.
The Birds :: No, that’s not a typo. The Birds were the first band Ronnie Wood recorded with. Great British garage/beat rock.
Bonde do Role :: More recent, a great Brazilian electro-funk outfit.
Here’s looking to a funky 2009, Ickies!