Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best albums of 2008

So it is the time of the year again where I'm listing the best albums of the year. This time it's made easier for me as on the right side of this blog I have a list of music that I bought this year. It's been a remarkable year for my music-buying habit, because I bought so little this year. I guess I became more selective when buying music, and I also was saving up so I tried to restrain myself (which I did successfully).

Based on the list I bought 29 albums that were released in 2008. I'm picking the top 5, otherwise I might as well review all 29 albums.

Anyway, here are my Top 5 albums (in the order that I bought them):
  1. We Started Nothing - The Ting Tings. A guitarist with White as a surname, singing, backed by a drummer. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? But unlike The White Stripes, in this band the genius is behind the drums. And doesn't sing. No blues based rock backed by fundamental drumming, just beats and rhymes filled by fundamental jangling guitars. It makes you move, it makes you dance, it makes you want to know what her name is. Pure unadulterated pop, just how I like it.
  2. Viva La Vida And Death To All His Friends - Coldplay. I know, Coldplay might be boring, but they are still one of the biggest bands in the world and I am still a fan and they keep bettering their previous albums. Viva La Vida is grand in every sense of the word. Shame about the customes that they wear these days, but as far as their music goes, this is Coldplay at their best.
  3. Partie Traumatic - Black Kids. Reggie Youngblood (Balck Kids vocalist) was born when The Cure was at the top of their game. 20-odd years later, Black Kids re-invent The Cure. But instead of being on downers, now they made it on uppers. Yes, Reggie Youngblood sounds almost identical to Robert Smith, but instead of crying of pictures of lost loved ones, with this album you can dance (still, albeit, dancing after lost loved ones).
  4. Perfect Symmetry - Keane. The intro of the first song will get you going. You'll be transported to some 80s disco night and it keeps going. It's cheerful, it's melodic, it's good. After being bitter in The Iron Sea, here they come up nicely.
  5. Only By The Night - King Of Leon. As you can see I just bought it a couple of days ago. I bought it because it was voted by Q as the best album in 2008. At first I was thinking, if it was, why have I not heard any of the songs on the radio? Turns out I had (it was Use Somebody), but I just didn't recognise it as Kings Of Leon. The album is Great. After a couple of listens, I'm hooked on Sex On Fire and Use Somebody already. And the whole album is great to listen to. You can tell the Followil clan has grown up, you can hear it in the music.
One special mention though: Chinese Democracy by Guns N Roses. It's not in the best album list this year, hell, it's not even on GNR's Top 3 albums list (and they only made 5 albums). But still an achievement. The last time GNR released a studio album it was 1991 (Use Your Illusion I and II - not a double album, just two albums released on the same day). Seventeen years have gone past where Axl Rose recorded, fiddled, fired, re-recorded, fired more people, fiddled more with the making of this album. Seventeen years and almost $14 million and a whole lot of musicians (most of them were fired in the process). Even an ardent GNR fan will have problems naming the current GNR line-up.

The album itself sounds like it was made over 17 years. Overproduction to the limit, where every single gap is filled by everything and the kitchen sink. Songs that sounds like it was 1994 or 1999. Sounds that made Prodigy big and that made Prodigy sink. And Axl still wailing away.

I bought it because I just had to. I'm sure most people did as well. After all, somebody must appreciate 17 years of hard work (and not to mention 17 years of waiting by the fan).

What's your Top 5?


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