Top 2008 Albums

I haven’t voted in Pazz & Jop since the Voice‘s shoddy expulsion of Robert Christgau, but I still enjoy compiling my top ten albums at the end of the year.

1. Girl Talk, Feed the Animals
2. School of Seven Bells, Alpinisms
3. Santogold
4. Lil Wayne, Sandwiches & Cats
5. R.E.M., Accelerate
6. The Raconteurs, Consolers of the Lonely
7. Portishead, Third
8. The Ting Tings, We Started Nothing
9. MGMT, Oracular Spectacular
10. Randy Newman, Harps and Angels

Some of my opinions of these albums are probably situational: the first time I heard Girl Talk was in the middle of a white-out dust storm at Burning Man this summer, drinking tequila while wearing goggles, and it didn’t seem like any piece of music could be better or funnier. With Randy Newman, I ripped the album to my iPod and listened to it while I was walking the dog in my neighborhood, and it felt like a long phone conversation with a good friend I hadn’t talked to in years.

The Lil Wayne album is a bit of a cheat: it’s a compilation my friend Rob made for me. (The name comes from the jewelbox Rob put it in, previously holding a CD by Michael Showalter, who I assumed was a bad cabaret singer with a title like that–turns out he’s a comedian who used to be in the State.)

For me, 2008 was filled with good albums but no extraordinary ones. I felt spoiled by the abundance of music I enjoyed, even if I didn’t hear anything that rocked me as hard as Kala did last year. For several months, my leading contender for album of the year was Mates of State’ Bring It Back–but then I found out it actually came out in 2006. Oh well. I love it anyway.

posted 5 January 2009 in Tasty Bits and tagged , . 4 comments

4 Comments on Top 2008 Albums

  1. Chris M. Says:

    With the Idolator poll down for the year, I’ve gone back to Pazz & Jop — here’s what I submitted:

    1. TV on the Radio, Dear Science
    2. Hot Chip, Made in the Dark
    3. Portishead, Third
    4. Erykah Badu, New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)
    5. Ne-Yo, Year of the Gentleman
    6. Vampire Weekend
    7. Santogold
    8. MGMT, Oracular Spectacular
    9. Duffy, Rockferry
    10. Kanye West, 808s and Heartbreak

    Top single was M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” — I dunno how anyone picks anything but that song; it defined the year — with Rihanna’s “Disturbia” my (close, personal) second.

    I do enjoy Girl Talk, but I liked Night Ripper a bit better, and I generally find Mr. Gillis produces an excellent product but isn’t doing anything revolutionary with mashup per se. But I guess I’m slightly in the minority in that assessment (cf. Xgau, Jody Rosen).

    Also, as long as I’m taking potshots: I am a pretty serious Jack White fan, but as far as I’m concerned he’s been in a noticeable slump for a couple of years now — both the second Raconteurs album you namecheck above and the sixth Stripes album felt rushed and odds-and-sodsy to me. I feel like he hasn’t done anything all that good since Broken Boy Soldiers or truly brilliant since Get Behind Me Satan. I suppose it’s a mark of how highly he is esteemed that his output continues to receive Top 10 placement by scores of critics every year. (I did grow to like the Racs song “Old Enough” this year, but that’s more of a Brendan Benson showcase.)

    That Lil Wayne title is awesome. He’d totally name a mixtape that.

  2. Gavin Says:

    I saw a really good Raconteurs show this summer at the Greek; if I hadn’t caught it, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the album as much as I did.

    I totally share your misgivings about Feed the Animals–in many ways, I find it big and dumb and obvious. But after listening to it more, I’ve decided those qualities are not only part of the point, but part of the pleasure. It’s like, I dunno, a good Ramones record.

    Scraps had my favorite critical response to your #6 album. “I have a really radical opinion about Vampire Weekend,” he told me.

    “Yeah? What is it?”

    He shrugged. “I think it’s okay.”

    Anyone else have a top ten to share?

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  4. Rob Says:

    Amazing list, thanks Gavin! What a year for music, it’ll probably take me another year to catch up. Here’s my top 10, with my favorite song from each. . . Number One shouldn’t count, since it’s technically a 2009 release, but it would be ridiculous to pretend it wasn’t by far the most-played album in this apartment last year.

    1. Franz Ferdinand: Tonight (“No You Girls”)
    2. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks: Real Emotional Trash (“Elmo Delmo”)
    3. Ponytail: Ice Cream Spiritual (“Beg Waves”)
    4. Girl Talk: Feed The Animals (“Hands in the Air”)
    5. Nick Cave: Dig Lazarus Dig (“More News From Nowhere”)
    6. Ne-Yo: Year of the Gentleman (“Miss Independent”)
    7. Lil Wayne: Sandwiches and Cats! I love that. (“Let The Beat Build”)
    8. Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago (“Flume”)
    9. The Hold Steady: Stay Positive (“Sequestered In Memphis”)
    10. Of Montreal: Skeletal Lamping (“St. Exquisite’s Confessions”)

    I love that Randy Newman album too! My favorite is “Potholes.”

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