From Oracular Craptucular to Evil Urges to Vomit: The "Best" of 2008 in music

As promised, in this week’s Flashback Friday, I look back on the year’s “best” music in 2008. I am using quote marks because this is according to a few different sources: NPR Listeners, Spin Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine, Editors, and Pitchfork.

These 10 (arranged not on basis of which one is better, but just luck of the draw) kept coming up in poll after poll, so I thought I’d just give you my initial reaction to them, since I have heard none of these albums previously and only two of the bands ever: Metallica and Coldplay. The name of the band is first with the name of the album, second. The only reason I say that is because like me, you might be confused which is which.

10. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular (Last FM)

“Let’s make some music, let’s make some money…I’ll shoot some heroin,” is all I need to hear from the group’s first track, “Time To Pretend.” Bad synthesizer music, Flock of Seagulls on drugs.

9. Portishead – Third (Last FM)

“Silence” is the title of the first song off this album. Cue the squeaky bedsprings, then drum machine. Nice beat, but when does the song begin? Two minutes in, no vocals. Next song: “Hunter”. The Wife calls “unholy alliance of Coldplay and Black Sabbath.” Personally, I wish it was that good. I might listen to a little more of it. Addams Family music. Click…next….

8. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges (YouTube)

Doesn’t seem all that evil yet. Oh, wait, there’s the vocalist. Jerry Garcia if he had been castrated. Got it. Click…next…

7. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (NPR)

Song: “A Punk” Protopop punk, with Christmas music thrown in. Reminds me of a calliope, and not in a good way. Hey, hey, hey. The Wife: “Bastard child of Jack Johnson, Tom Petty and The Kinks and not in a good way.”

6. Metallica – Death Magnetic (YouTube)

The only group so far that I can actually listen to more than one track. One good hard rocking song in “All Nightmare Long” (video below) and then standard fare in “Unforgiven III” (necessary, probably not really) and “The Day That Never Comes”. Thumbs up. Definitely would like to hear more, but then again, I’m a Metallica fan, and I’ve actually heard of them, unlike the other poseurs.

5. Santogold – Santogold (YouTube)

Santi White (Santogold) is hard to classify. I had a hard time picking out which track to showcase because each is so different. I showcased the weird dance track “The Creator” on the link, but the “Light Out” video below reminds me of the B-52s or The Go Go Girls, I’m not sure which.
Listen and see for yourself.

I might consider getting this album.

4. Coldplay – Viva La Vida (YouTube)

I own one album by this group, “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” and I think it’s the only one I “need” to own. It doesn’t sound like they’ve broken any new ground here, plus I think The Wife’s analysis of Chris Martin’s voice: “It sets my teeth on edge”: is really becoming true, if it weren’t already true previously. “I like him less now that he admitted to ganking a Jeff Buckley song.” The Wife keeps up on the news more than I do.

3. Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter III (YouTube)

With songs like “Lollipop” (see video above, if you dare), “Pussy Monster” and “Got Money”, this one is anything but subtle. Enough said.

2. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (YouTube)

“Are they supposed to be the neo-Beach Boys or something? Does all their crap sound like that?” The Wife’s analysis. Couldn’t agree more unless I were under the influence of heavy duty drugs AND alcohol, then I’d agree vociferously. Get back to me around New Year’s (at least for the alcohol portion of it).

1. TV on the Radio — Dear Science

Hearing one of their songs, I was not impressed, but then I heard these two:


The Wife’s (as usual) unsolicited analysis: “That’s annoying.” Me? I don’t know. It was like a bone caught in my ears. What can I say? If not a member,you can register, you don’t even have to have a blog and you’ll receive no spam– even though, as Monty sings, it is lovely and wonderful.

If looking for another recent music-related post, check this one out about favorite Christmas comedy songs and Ozzy Osbourne. Surprisingly, there is a connection between the two.


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