My top ten albums of 2008

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Dic 15 2008, 21:27

I write a monthly column for my high school's newspaper, entitled Hyperbolic Histrionics. For the December issue, I chose to compile a list of my favorite albums of the year.

1 Why? - Alopecia
It's not that Alopecia is unclassifiable, rather that each track challenges preconceptions founded by its predecessors, sidestepping convention but maintaining the band's signature for the subtle theatrical and sometimes discomforting honesty. It seems that, after a slew of releases from and equally formidable array of projects and aliases, mastermind Yoni Wolf has finally perfected his blend of monotone/singsong hip-hop, unparalleled wordplay and impossible payoffs. The instrumentation is unique and, despite itself, infectious, and low points are exceedingly difficult to find. Opener The Vowels Pt. 2 doesn't hesitate to light a fire under the ass of the listener ("I'm not a lady's man, I'm a landmine"), one that will not be doused for the ensuing forty-five minutes. Other highlights include Fatalist Palmistry, the catchiest and most indie-accesible cut, and The Fall of Mr. Fifths, minimalist but compensated by wink-and-a-nod lyricism that's surprisingly quotable. Alopecia has some of the best flow of any album this year, less of a playthrough than an invitation into the well-lit corridors of a jaded but, in the end, goodhearted songwriter.

2 TV on the Radio - Dear Science
It seems that TVotR really can do no wrong. Emerging from the dust of an album that topped many, many year's best lists (Return To Cookie Mountain), Dear Science strips away some of the band's denser aspects but loses none of the broodiness in translation. Nobody would have guessed that Tunde Adebimpe and the rest of the Brooklyn-based outfit would craft anything even remotely danceable, but that they did, and to great success. Where Return polarized audiences, providing them no suggestions as to what to do with themselves while listening to the heavy-stacked noise anthems, the new record proclaims, without uncertainty, that it wants you to groove.

3 Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances
Titus Andronicus is angry, and they rock like it. Only the first song, Fear And Loathing In Mahwah, Nj, cleverly belies their raw hatred for, seemingly, everything, beginning with lo-fi guitar-and-voice. Midway through, however, a mob wails "fuck you," and the band is off with gigantic guitars and crashing percussion that takes a breather no more than once or twice. For all its primal force, the band simultaneously proves their intellectual mettle, peppering their fury with Shakespearean passages and literary references. This is mosh-pit music for English majors, and it's a breath of fresh air.

4 Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
5 The Dodos - Visiter
6 Islands - Arm's Way
7 Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
8 MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
9 Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
10 M83 - Saturdays = Youth

Honorable Mentions
Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell
Margot & the Nuclear So and So's - Animal!
The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust
Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago*

*Incredible, but technically released in 2007; rereleased with wider distribution in '08. Would otherwise have been in top 5.

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Any personal favorites, disagreements or albums that you feel are criminally absent? I'm always open to hear your thoughts!
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  • ano_molly

    I should probably save my opinions until I actually know what I'm talking about in the list's wider context, but I was surprised when I was editing your article both at the high placement of Vampire Weekend and the comparative ignominy of Animal! ...

    Dic 16 2008, 3:12
  • adverseentropy

    I would agree with you completely, but to be honest my final consensus of Animal! contains a degree of disappointment. I suppose it's debatable as to whether or not anticipation and expectation should factor into one's opinion of an album, and I admit that to meet mine would require some divine intervention, but I have no choice but to say that it's 'not as good as Dust.' Plus, it seems that Richard has sort of gone off the deep end. I still stand by the album - it's just not top-ten material for me.

    Dic 16 2008, 3:25
  • HerbieBirdsfoot

    good choice on Why? Flying Lotus could have been higher though. That album blew me away

    Gen 22 2009, 5:46
  • adverseentropy

    I had just started listening to it when I published the article. It would probably have been higher. You should check out Burial if you haven't.

    Gen 23 2009, 3:37
  • HerbieBirdsfoot

    that I will, is it a lot like flying lotus? And if you enjoyed Flying Lotus check out this guy dadelus.

    Gen 23 2009, 4:33
  • adverseentropy

    Yeah, he's more dubstep but has the same sort of grimy, offtempo thing going on. I'll look at Dadelus

    Gen 23 2009, 5:56
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