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Monday, December 29, 2008

The Top 31 Albums of 2008 (Pt. 2)

#20: Ladytron: Velocifiero - For all the praise poured on Ladytron over the years, it wasn’t until Velocifero that I really think I figured out what the band was all about. Does that mean I absolutely adore it and listen to it a few times a week? Hardly. But for once, I can say that Ladytron is enjoyable if you’re in the right mood. That mood doesn’t come around too often, but every now and then you just want some thick, wet....synths. What? What did you think I would say?

#19: Headlights: Some Racing, Some Stopping - Headlights’ debut album was a masterpiece of indie rock with some really catchy and meaningful songs. In 2006, it easily made it into my Top 10. This year, the band tried something different, which is always appreciated. They took off a bit of the polish, focused in more on a particular sound, and took Erin Fein off of lead vocals quite often. The result is a satisfying album that is just barely outdone by its predecessor.

#18: Dieter Schoon: Lablaza - If there’s one album in the Top 20 that absolutely no one has ever heard, it’s probably this one. Do yourself a favor and download “The Harbour’s Cold” or “Jethead” and find out what you’re missing. Lablaza is a inventive vision of electronic music that deserves to be heard outside of the artist’s native Sweden.

#17: Crystal Castles: Crystal Castles - I should make myself absolutely clear when I say that Alice Glass is an absolutely worthless piece of garbage. Well, her vocals at least. For as brilliant as Crystal Castles’ debut is, there are just moments when she comes in and ruins everything with her whiny screams. Fortunately, tracks are more than skippable, and if you do yourself the favor of not loading those songs on your iPod you’ll find that the rest of this album is absolutely amazing. This coming from a guy who up until about a year ago swore off of most types of electronic music.

#16: Sia: Some People Have Real Problems - Sia’s third LP is easily her best, and fortunately, her most commercially successful. Throwing away much of the melancholy from her past albums, Sia returned with a triumphant, exuberant record that displays the full talent of her voice and, in my book, clears her a spot right up towards the top of the greatest vocalists of all time. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, if only on the inside, and you’ll keep listening to it for months. Just an awesome album.

#15: My Morning Jacket: Evil Urges - Note to Jim James: lose the falsetto, it doesn’t work. Honestly, MMJ’s frontman’ s vocals were sketchy enough as it was, but the Prince impression is severely lacking. The best moment’s from Evil Urges were reserved for when the band was doing what they always do; play great, southern-tinged rock music.

#14: The Notwist: The Devil, You + Me - In my review for this album I stated that it doesn’t necessarily succeed expectations as much as it does defy them. I’ll stick to my guns on that one, for as much as The Devil falls short of the band’s 2002 masterpiece Neon Golden, it is still an amazing album that I think most were not expecting. The band’s addition of strings and prominent guitars make for an interesting if not entrancing listen.

#13: Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes - If there were one reason why you should read this list, it’s for this: Fleet Foxes is not #1. Take a deep breath. Get it all in there because you won’t see that often in 2008. Now I loves me some Fleet Foxes, that’s why they beat out some of my favorite bands to make it this far on the list, but their debut is not the perfect album that many are making it out to be. It is focused, moody, it makes you feel like taking a trip to Appalachia, but as far as bringing out emotion, action, thoughts out of the listener, there are others that just did it better this year. They are as follows....

#12: The Streets: Everything is Borrowed - Sometimes music critics just sort of blow my mind. For they most part, they had nothing but praise for Mike Skinner’s first two LPs and nothing but disdain for his last two. I’ll go ahead and advocate the opposite, because to me, the artist has finally come into his own. He’s finally making songs that are more universal, more catchy, could actually be considered hip hop. Everything is Borrowed is far from perfect, and it may not be as emotionally gripping as his past albums, but to call it a dud would just be an injustice.

#11: Portishead: Third - The only album I rated with a 9 this year that fell out of the top 10, Portishead’s comeback album still deserves a hell of a lot of credit. Were I a depressed college kid, this album would have easily been closer to the top of my list. But 2008 was a good year for me, and I found myself happier than I’ve been in quite a few years. As such, it doesn’t seem right for me to move this album higher when I just couldn’t devote myself to the doom and gloom that it bleeds. Still, if you find yourself with black hair, black clothes, and a razor blade fantasy, check it out. At least you won’t be 100% stereotypical.


Anonymous said...

Alice Glass sounds great on "Tell Me What To Swallow" and "Courtship Dating". You have to appreciate that their screamy demos (included on the album) created the buzz which allowed them to put out the album.

Cale said...

Agreed. As seen in my Top Songs list, "Courtship Dating" is great, and Alice sounds great. I never understood why the screaming demos caught on with anybody. My guess is that it couldn't be Alice...the rest is just mindblowing though.

permafrost said...

Could'nt agree more with the Dieter Schoon: Lablaza pick.

Out there, in the best possible way.