top albums 2008 pt. 3

January 14, 2009

continuing with the best albums of 2008.  as always catch up if you’ve missed the start of the list…



and now the most eagerly anticipated moment of the year so far…the top 5:

5. only by the night – kings of leon

kol’s last two albums have been their best.  many of their die hard fans would tend to disagree with that statement saying that their first two were the best, but for me those albums were nothing new.  i’ve heard garage band, southern rock, all that stuff before.  but with because of the times kol took a very very interesting step into something i’m not sure i’ve heard before, and that was with the song “on call”.  they continued that with this years only by the night.  it’s a step into these dark soundscapes, filled with soaring guitar riffs, and lead man caleb’s pained screeches just sear into my memory.  you may think that the last two albums have been polished version of a radio friendly band, but “use somebody” is intensely more interesting than anything they have ever done before.

“off in the night while you live it up, i’m off to sleep

waging war to shape the poet an the beat”

4. fleet foxes – fleet foxes

the best appalachian folk album of the year comes from a group situated on the west coast.  their songs are reverb clad, filled with larger than life vocal harmonies, and reminiscent of simpler time (i can’t be sure that the time was actually simpler, i didn’t live there.  but that’s what everyone says right?).  they utilize the story-telling method of songwriting to perfection.  they seem to come together perfectly as a band, and hit the notes exactly the way they wanted to.  peckinfold is a beast at the beginning of white winter hymnal, and on the closing oliver james.  his voice fits their musical stylings perfectly.

3. viva la vida – coldplay

i feel like i might loose some music credibility with the final part of my list, including something as broad as a coldplay album on the list.  but really these guys are about as great as it gets.  a rush of blood to the head is my 2nd favorite album of all time, and viva la vida is a return to their musical creativity.  where i think they really went astray with x&y, using very heavy synth and very (very) radio friendly songs.  my favorite song of that albums was the stripped down kingdom come, and while nothing on this album could be considered “stripped down” they hit a consistent musical tone throughout that really struck a chord with me.  they’ve always been compared to U2, but i never really saw it until this album.  the booming drums, the soaring guitars and vocals.  great.  this definitely feels like their largest album and even if it’s not there best, it’s a step in the right direction.

2. volume one – she & him

if i knew that m. ward was  releasing a new album in 08, i would have been excited.  if i knew that zooey deschanel was going to release an ablum in 08, i would have been intrigued and excited.  if i knew that zooey deschanel was going to team up with m. ward to release an album, i would have died.  i don’t know what it is, but the pairing just seems to make perfect sense to me.  i noticed (probably with the rest of the world) that zooey had an amazing voice in the christmas classic elf, but she’s been one of my favorite actresses since her turn in almost famous.  i think most girl-led folk bands fall into the trap of being too cutesy, to fiest-like, and end up being tired cliches.  but zooey brings a throw-back style to her singing. she’s able to blend very old school country/folk melodies and make them sound contemporary.  the video for why do you let me stay here pretty much sums up my thoughts on why they are awesome.

1. for emma forever ago – bon iver

there’s nothing i can say about this album that will remotely do it justice.  let’s just say that for emma forever ago has found a place in my favorite albums of all time, and a place in my heart (ok that sounded really dumb, but it’s true).  justin vernon is able to emote every single feeling of rejection and pain, and ultimately happiness that he was feeling whilst recording the album.  he recorded the entire album by himself, and he did so on a retreat into the woods of wisconsin after breaking up with his band and his girlfriend.  how hot is that?  he doesn’t have the greatest recording equipment.  he doesn’t have the greatest guitar or other musical instruments.  but what came out of that 3 month stay in the cabin is the most emotionally charged, heart felt, bring you to tears and then make you cry even more, album of the year.  i was just absolutely blown away by every track on this album, and the more i listen to it the more i’m convinced that bon iver is going down as one of the greatest artists ever.  i am seriously starting to question if there’s anything more beautiful than re: stacks.  i don’t think there is.  unless you’re talking about his follow up ep blood bank and the amazing song woods.  then maybe.


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