Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Best of 2008: albums

1. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend Ever wonder what Paul Simon's Graceland would've sounded like if it was produced by Wes Anderson? Here you go. Really, there's not one clunker on this album, a winning mix of orchestral indie sensibilities and afro pop.
2. Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight Just a stunning album from start to finish. Highly recommended for fans of heartfelt music, casual cursing, and thick Scottish brogues.
3. Steve Poltz - Traveling/Unraveling This is sort of a cheat, since I'm counting both of his '08 albums as one. Each of the singer-songwriter's albums are great. Whittle them down to their best songs and you have a remarkable album.
4. She & Him - Volume One Albums by actresses-turned-singers usually end up to be huge messes, but Zooey Deschanel - with help from indie hero M. Ward - bucks the trend by keeping things simple and organic.
5. Mates of State - Re-Arrange Us This married duo gave their sound a little more intimacy by switching from organs to pianos, but luckily they still kept the wonderful, hooky melodies.
6. Neon Neon - Stainless Style This concept album about auto magnate John DeLorean (think Back to the Future) sounds uncannily like it was made in the 80s. Love it.
7. Los Campesinos! - Hold On Now, Youngster/We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed Another two album cheat, but I find this Welsh band's combination of indie pop, singalong choruses, and glockenspiel (!) to be utterly irresistible.
8. Hayes Carll - Trouble in Mind Though "She Left Me For Jesus" got all of the attention, the rest of his album holds up just as well, including his twangy cover of one of my favorite songs (Tom Waits' "I Don't Wanna Grow Up"). I wish more country music sounded like this.
9. Lenka - Lenka Unabashed pop fun. That is all.
10. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges After years of writing them off simply because of their name (I thought they were a whiny emo band), this is my introduction to their music. Other reviews have stated that this album doesn't "sound" like MMJ. So, I guess my favorite MMJ album - which includes "Librarian," a lovely song about my fetish of choice - isn't a MMJ album, after all.

In a first for the Micah World Best Of, I'll post the rest of my rankings in the comment section, so as not to clutter up this post. Keep in mind that I excluded from consideration EPs, Christmas music, compilations, stand-up/spoken word discs, and albums that I feel that I didn't listen to enough to give an informed spot on the list.

Simply awful:
Scarlett Johansson - Anywhere I Lay My Head
At least try to sound interested, hon.

Disappointments from favorites:
Del the Funky Homosapien - Eleventh Hour
Dido - Safe Trip Home
The Fratellis - Here We Stand
Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
Smoking Popes - Stay Down
Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak

Welcome back, cutter:
The Cure - 4:13 Dream

Best backstory:
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Boy dissolves band, breaks up with girl, and gets sick. Boy retreats to Wisconsin cabin for three months. Boy emerges with a very pretty album.

Best soundtrack:
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
"Dracula musical!"

So retro they're nowtro:
Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It
Al Green - Lay It Down
Tom Jones - 24 Hours
Sharleen Spiteri - Melody

Screw you, music industry:
Paul Westerberg - 49:00
A full length album for only $.99! I just wish it wasn't one long track.

Kick-ass shows:
Gogol Bordello
Steve Poltz
Michael Ian Black & Michael Showalter


Micah said...

And the rest:

11. Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords
12. The Killers - Day & Age
13. Butch Walker - Sycamore Meadows
14. The Fratellis - Here We Stand
15. Mike Doughty - Golden Delicious
16. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals
17. R.E.M. - Accelerate
18. Weezer - Weezer (Red Album)
19. Eef Barzelay - Lose Big
20. Cadence Weapon - Afterparty Babies
21. Elvis Costello - Momofuko
22. Kate Nash - Made of Bricks
23. The Cool Kids - The Bake Sale
24. Robyn - Robyn
25. The Roots - Rising Down
26. The Cure - 4:13 Dream
27. Nine Inch Nails - The Slip
28. The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing
29. Sharleen Spiteri - Melody (import)
30. Q-Tip - The Renaissance
31. Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
32. The Magnetic Fields - Distortion
33. Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It
34. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
35. Delta Spirit - Ode to Sunshine
36. Blitzen Trapper - Furr
37. Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold
38. Matthew Sweet - Sunshine Lies
39. Jack Johnson - Sleep Through the Static
40. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
41. Moby - Last Night
42. Murs - Murs For President
43. Flogging Molly - Float
44. Skillz - The Million Dollar Backpack
45. Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I-IV
46. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
47. City and Colour - Bring Me Your Love
48. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Sunday at Devil Dirt
49. Al Green - Lay It Down
50. Del the Funkee Homosapien - Eleventh Hour
51. Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak
52. Snow Patrol - A Hundred Million Suns
53. Dido - Safe Trip Home
54. Lykke Li - Youth Novels
55. Plants and Animals - Parc Avenue
56. The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust
57. Smoking Popes - Stay Down
58. PlayRadioPlay! - Texas
59. 1969 - Maya
60. M83 - Saturdays=Youth
61. Duffy - Rockferry
62. Adele - 19
63. Tristan Prettyman - Hello
1,587. Scarlett Johannson - Anywhere I Lay My Head

jasdye said...

hell, i don't think most pro-critics would put out such a comprehensive list. i think all of paste mag came out with a top 60 altogether.

so, you got that going for you...

SBN1 said...

pfft! music...we want the COTY results made official.

Micah said...

jasdye - So, Micah World > Paste? Sweet!

One of the only upsides to my job is that it allows me to be on autopilot, thus giving me lots of music-listening time.

SBN1 - I clearly laid out the ground rules in the CotY nominating post. Once that's off of the front page, the Secretary of State will certify the winner and then I'll announce the Crush.

Voting is expected to be over tomorrow (I'd think, but you never know with Blogger), so everyone exercise your rights if you haven't already.

Anonymous said...

Ah, my year is now complete! Thanks Micah. :)

Micah said...

Ha ha. I had a feeling you'd surface for this post. Hope I turned you onto a new album or two.

And no one's going to give me any love for that Cure line? That actually made me laugh when I wrote it. But I'm a sucker for terrible puns.