Here are 20 of my favorite songs released in 2008. As usual, I’ve agonized over this list and have changed it numerous times. Like always, I only picked one song per album (otherwise artists like Bon Iver & Robert Forster would just completely dominate this list) and they’re only loosely ranked by preference.
So for better or worse:
1. MGMT – “Time to Pretend” from Oracular Spectacular
[audio:01 – Time to Pretend.mp3]
The first 60-ish seconds of this are irresistibly awesome.
2. Bon Iver – “For Emma” from For Emma, Forever Ago
[audio:08 for emma.mp3]
Possibly my favorite album of the year.
3. Langhorne Slim – “Rebel Side of Heaven” from Langhorne Slim
[audio:02 Rebel Side Of Heaven.mp3]
This dude isn’t always consistently great, but I dig a lot of this album and this song in particular.
4. Port O’Brien – “Fisherman’s Son” from All We Could Do Was Sing[audio:03 – Fisherman’s Son.mp3]
5. Robert Forster – “It Ain’t Easy” from The Evangelist[audio:09 It Ain’t Easy.mp3]
6. TV on the Radio – “DLZ” from Dear Science
“Never you mind, death professor” isn’t a particularly stunning line on paper, but it’s killer in this track.
7. Mates of State – “Get Better” from Re-Arrange Us[audio:GetBetter.mp3]
8. Spiritualized – “You Like You Cheat” from Songs in A&E[audio:0103 Spiritualized – You Lie You Cheat.mp3]
9. M.I.A. – “Paper Planes” from Kala
[audio:MIA – Paper Planes.mp3]
“Everyone’s a winner!” Between this and Coldplay I might as well just admit that I’m a radio Top 40 fanboy with terrible taste.
10. M83 – “We Own the Sky” from Saturdays = Youth[audio:07 we own the sky.mp3]
11. Pete Molinari – “I Don’t Like the Man That I Am” from A Virtual Landslide
[audio:Pete Molinari_A Virtual Landslide_09_I Don’t Like The Man I Am.mp3]
It was a toss-up between this and “Sweet Louise,” the only other good song off this album.
12. The Avett Brothers – “Murder in the City” from The Second Gleam[audio:The Avett Brothers – Murder in the City.mp3]
13. Ray LaMontagne – “You Are the Best Thing” from Gossip in the Grain
[audio:01 You Are the Best Thing.mp3]
I’m starting to accept the fact that Ray peaked with Trouble.
14. Blitzen Trapper – “Furr” from Furr
Reminds me, in content, of TV on the Radio’s awesome 2006 single “Wolf Like Me.”
15. Islands – “Creeper” from Arm’s Way[audio:05_-_creeper.mp3]
16. Vampire Weekend – “Walcott” from Vampire Weekend[audio:Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend – 10 walcott.mp3]
17. Fleet Foxes – “White Winter Hymnal” from Fleet Foxes
It just might be time to turn over the My Morning Jacket train to Fleet Foxes and Band of Horses since Jim James & Co. have clearly lost the plot.
18. The Hold Steady – “Magazines” from Stay Positive
[audio:The Hold Steady – 9 – Magazines.mp3]
Maybe fighting with M.I.A. for the year’s best chorus.
19. The War on Drugs – “Taking the Farm” from Wagonwheel Blues[audio:takingthefarm.mp3]
20. Coldplay – “Death And All His Friends” from Viva La Vida
[audio:10Ã‚Â Coldplay – Death And All His Friends.mp3]
Good enough for Brian Eno, good enough for me.
Most Disappointing Albums of the Year: My Morning Jacket (!), Ray LaMontagne
Supposedly Great Albums I Won’t Ever Listen To: Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers
Grossly Overrated Albums: She & Him (I’m looking at you, Paste)