top albums 2008 pt. 1

January 7, 2009

i actually got my computer back really quickly, thanks to the fastidious workers over at the apple store in westlake ohio.  but instead of talking about movies, let’s talk about music.  the best music….of 2008.

first what i was disappointed by and therefore will not be making my list…

saturdays=youth – m83

weezer (red) – weezer

make it happen – nizlopi

15. attack & release – the black keys

the black keys’ 2002 debut release the big come up, was a real mind blowing album.  i was blown away by the sound that two guys could make.  their follow up to that was thickfreakness which i thought really blended a more studio sound with their roughneck recordings from the big come up.  but on the next two, gone were the fuzzy recordings, the strained vocals, and the obvious lack of professional equipment that made them so great in the first place (even if they weren’t recorded in a real studio).  2008’s attack and release pairs the duo up with producer danger mouse and for the first time they actually recorded in a real studio.  but in a strange turn of events, going into the studio has helped them find part of the sound they lost on their previous two efforts.  they get back to more soulful hooks and add a dark dimension to the songs (that i’m really attributing to danger mouse’s presence).  it’s nowhere near as good as the bands first two albums, but is definitely a step in the right direction.


14. loaded – the wood brothers

and now to a two man band (though not really) with a much different (but still bluesy) sound.  the wood brothers first album ways not to loose was one of my favorites of 06, and they keep it going this year.  it’s a country album that’s equal parts blues, funk, jamband, bluegrass, and folk.  it’s a real american album, blending everything that’s great about music and doing so in a well balanced manor.  plus oliver wood’s vocals are sick.


13. the way i see it – raphael saadiq

i don’t know if you could tell by looking at me, but i’m a huge motown fan.  so it was a big surprise to me to find this album a contemporary 60s/70s motown album.  saadiq sounds like he went solo from the temptations, but infuses this with some contemporary feeling.  whether it’s collaborating with jay-z or joss stone, 2008 popular music is always just below the surface on an album that buries itself in old school r&b.  saadiq takes all this to make one of the most fun albums of the year (and i would think one of the more radio-friendly but i’m not really one for the radio anyways).


12. welcome to the welcome wagon – the welcome wagon

i read an article in paste magazine about the welcome wagon, and that it was sufjan stevens who discovered them and signed them, then went on to produce what sounds just like another sufjan stevens album (and that’s not a bad thing).  the sweeping melodies and the huge sounding harmonies make steven’s influence undeniable.  the husband and wife combo makes pseudo gospel/folk songs heavily influenced by their faith and their heart.  and i think those are the best albums to listen to.  these are people singing about something close to their heart and their passion shows.

11. the sparrow and the crow – william fitzsimmons

fitzsimmon’s third album i think shows a gigantic leap forward in his song writing capabilities.  his first two albums had their moments, but i think suffered from too much of one thing.  he seemed to resort to the same melodies and riffs over and over again.  but with the sparrow and the crow, he seems to be maturing as and artist.  his songs are more fully realized and the album feels much more complete then the first two.  his soothing voice and the very understated guitar and instrument work make a real soothing album, and i can’t listen to it without smiling.

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5 Responses to “top albums 2008 pt. 1”

  1. magnus3000 Says:

    that black keys record has been criminally under-listened by me last year.
    Personally I’m was so underwhelmed by the new m83, that I’m considering whether I actually do like the band and “Run Into Flowers” was just an lucky accident.

  2. johnheberle Says:

    i think there’s a lot to like about ‘dead cities, red seas & lost ghosts’. before the dawn heals us a little less (but there are a few songs i really love). everything else is pretty much a miss.

    unrecorded is really great.


  3. […] January 8, 2009 i’m writing up what i think are the best albums of the year.  as always these are not opinions but stone cold facts.  check out 15-11 right here. […]

  4. ladylynn631 Says:

    Glad to hear your computer is fixed.

  5. johnheberle Says:

    thanks ladylynn. i actually had to take it in again recently. my battery is really messed up.


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