2008 Top 50 Songs (50-26)


Dic 15 2008, 19:07

Last year Feist and Battles ran away with the best tracks of 2007. This year, my 2nd,3rd and 5th most scrobbled tracks taken from 2008 albums these past 12 months didn't even make the cut!! Even so, skimming over last year's choices, there doesn't seem to be as much quality this year. Before we get started though, let's give a little love to some tracks which juuuuust missed it:

Honorable Mention
Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches
So much sass, so much bubblegum and plenty of "lol" in the verses to keep you entertained long past the 2:37 running time.
My Morning Jacket - Librarian
Worthy of a mention just for the use of "interwebs" in a completely serious tone. This slightly creepy ode to the sexy librarian bookworm is A+
Amanda Palmer - Another Year
Amanda stole the show when it came to epic piano ballads in 2008.
Guns N' Roses - Madagascar
15 years folks...
Girl Talk - Like This
If only for the last 55 seconds, your mind tries to convince you that mixing Lip Gloss with One isn't the greatest thing in the world, but you know it's right and natural...
Thrice - Come All You Weary
2nd most plays this year and didn't even crack the top 50, still a great tune from Dustin and Co.
Q-Tip - Gettin' Up
Yep, Tip's still got it

And now for the actual list:

50) Nine Inch Nails - 34 Ghosts IV
Ghosts I-IV was a daring piece of work, even if it was only released on a short run for die hard fans. The fact that Trent personally poster part of it on The Pirate Bay was even bigger, as it signaled a new era of interaction with the fans. Even if it was just PR work, it still proved to be great. "34 Ghosts I-IV" is the magnum opus among all of the ambient instrumentals in Ghosts, and got a well-earned Grammy nod.

49) ASHES dIVIDE - The Stone
Billy Howerdel has struggled ever since Maynard put him aside and A Perfect Circle is no more. Billy has the songwriting chops, has this single attests, but his voice leaves a lot to be desired. He soars to anthemic lengths in this song, but in the end you still feel like the song needs something to get over the hump. Even with its shortcomings, The Stone is a great song that could have been greater had rock radio not died years ago...

48) The Red Connection - Blood Party
Local band here, with a quick 2 and a half minute burst of pop/punk/rock with one of the catchiest choruses you'll ever hear sung in the Caribbean.

47) One Day as a Lion - Wild International
Can I just say how great it feels to hear Zach De La Rocha's voice again? Because it is. While the Rage reunion got all the headlines, Zach and acclaimed drummer Jon Theodore released this low-key EP, satisfying (though just for a brief moment) the thirst of fans waiting for something new from the controversial frontman. Zach raps with careless disregard over Jon's booming drumkit and some seriously distorted keyboard licks. Rage may not release anything new, but fans still await plenty more from Mr. De La Rocha.

46) Thrice - Silver Wings
Silver Wings is a beautiful sonnet crafted on top of a swirling beautiful keyboard and programming layers. The same band and turned around and unleashed hell on hard rock with the Fire EP last year, lulled the world to sleep with an gorgeous ballad on the Air EP.

45) Kanye West - Paranoid
Mr. West's foray into AutoTune adventures was hit and miss (mostly miss), but it's hard to complain seeing as the whole thing was driven by his search for catharsis after his breakup and the death of his mother. Paranoid retains a little bit of the rapping, and plenty of the singing, but it works as West spends the first half on the song bursting with line over line over a hooky beat taken straight out of 1989. Kid Cudi provides a contrast to Kanye,and the song would have ranked higher on this list but the second half just wanders around with Kayne and Kid probably looking at each other in the booth wondering what to do and how to end it....

44) Metallica - The Unforgiven III
I told myself I wasn't going to put it...but oh well. After the intense suffering the band put everyone through with St. Anger and Some Kind of Monster, even a halfhearted "new" Unforgiven was gold. And it was nice seeing Mr. Hammett rip a new one.

43) The Raconteurs - You Don't Understand Me
Consolers of the Lonely was more hit or miss than its predecessor, but when Jack White, Brendan Benson and Co. got it right, they absolutely lit it up. You Don't Understand Me scores its tail of woe and misery with gorgeous piano notes and Patrick Keeler's rich cymbal blasts and full to the brim drum tones. The final part in which the same two piano notes are played faster and faster finish up a great song.

42) TV on the Radio - Golden Age
The Guardian put it best IMO: Although the lyrics were often playfully oblique, Dear Science was still a timely album. Here was a multi-racial band releasing a record on the eve of Obama's election victory with lyrics critical of the Bush regime yet full of hope for the future." Golden Age is certainly put center-stage, opening its arms as Tunde Adebimpe's vocals quiver under D.A. Sitek's brilliant production work.

41) The Dresden Dolls - Boston
2008 was Amanda Palmer's year, with the release of her own acclaimed solo album, and the Dolls' b-side album "No, Virginia". The strong collection of tunes was rounded out by one of Palmer's best ballads, a melancholy tribute to the city filled with her usual sharp wit and swirling vocals going from joyful singing to a tiny whisper in your ear.

40) Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Come On Over (Turn Me On)
How Isobel Campbell does it, I'll never know. She literally gets inside Mark Lanegan and finds the perfect songs for him to take over. Her quivering is quickly overpowered by his gravely deep baritone, and the song inevitably turns dark and the strings valiantly flow in and out of the vocals and a guitar plucks madly in the background. With a bassline reminiscent of Portishead's Glory Box, the ominous pace is kept like it right to the very end when Lanegan and Campbell deliver the song's main seductive line...

39) Eagles of Death Metal - Wannabe in LA
The Devil pretty much knocks it out of the park with this party anthem to living fast and dangerous in LaLa land, pretty much guaranteeing you'll get off your feet to dance seconds after the main riff kicks in. The track also contains a reference to Natasha Schneider of Eleven and QOTSA fame, who died this year after battling cancer.

38)She & Him - Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
I can never have too much Zooey Deschanel, and after a disappointing performance in the box office this year (damn you M. Night!) it was still nice to curl up on the couch and listen to her semi cute laments of love lost and crushed alongside music veteran M. Ward. This song takes the top prize because of Zooey's coy singing style and the brilliant instrumentation she's backed with.

37)R.E.M - Living Well Is the Best Revenge
After years of living blandly, REM got their sense of urgency back and let the amps rip louder than 5 with Accelerate. This song served well as the opening track as Peter Buck churns some fat chords while Mike Mills gives the song some impressive bass work while peppering the chorus with his always amazing harmonies. Good to have you rock again boys...

36)My Brightest Diamond - From the Top of the World
Shara Worden didn't set the world on fire with her latest work, but a few nuggets still stood out. This gorgeous ballad relies on sparse but lush instrumentation and Worden's beautiful vocals. A guitar here and there, bass and drums extremely muted with a few strings along the way make for a nice trip to and from the top of the world.

35) My Morning Jacket - I'm Amazed
It may not be entirely rooted in the past, but it's still MMJ. Jim James' vocals still sound anthemic, you can still feel hints of reverb, and the guitar work is very impressive. A very well crafted tune with plenty of the good catchy.

34) The Mars Volta - Ilyena
Omar and Cedric reeled things back for The Bedlam In Goliath, losing the extreme grandeur that muddled Amputechture and left it without any true highlight. This song and a few others brought back shades of DeLoused while creating new voyages, thanks mostly to Thomas Pridgen's more frantic and helter-skelter drumming. He does however keeps things from veering too far off-track, and with a great chorus and a nice funky outro, Ilyena easily beats anything Amputechture spat out.

33) Cat Power - Metal Heart
Chan Marshall covered everyone including herself for The Jukebox. Metal Heart first appeared on Moon Pix. The Jukebox version cleans up the production while giving it the Dirty Delta touch, and Marshall's voice has much more emotion poured in (take it with a grain of salt of course). The last two minutes are intense and great though, regardless of which version you listen to.

32) Deerhoof - My Purple Past
Not quite the pop explosion that was +81, but still top notch. The drums ricochet off weird angles, and the guitars(now a duo) come at you from both sides crunching away with passion.

31) MGMT - Kids
This track is a perfect marriage of synth goodness and pop wonder. The verses are danceable and the chorus makes you want to raise your hands with joy. The whole song is a rollercoaster ride, and just when you think things slow down, the drums hook you back in for one last joy slide.

30) Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma
I don't usually focus a lot on the lyrics on first listens, but the lyrics of Oxford Comma caught my attention quickly. "Is he really talking about Lil' John? That Lil' John?" Yeah he is, and an abundance of other things including "lying about how much coal you have", which is one of those things you'll hear if you're in a certain elite tax bracket. But still, it doesn't come off as snobbery because Ezra Koenig sings it matter-of-factly, like we're part of the club, or sharing an elaborate joke with us in confidence. That's part of the charm of the song, along with the brilliant instrumentation

29) Robyn - With Every Heartbeat
Robyn's latest album is a pop masterpiece which will probably live on for years to come as a standard, raising the bar of what good pop music can accomplish. Unfortunately it will probably also go mostly under the radar on this side of the Atlantic, which is a huge shame. Inspired by The Knife, and with some crafty production by Kleerup, Robyn sings her heart out about just that: love lost and possibilities. If it weren't a slow jam it would probably explode in the clubs.

28) TV on the Radio - Crying
Well...I guess I didn't think it out thoroughly because two TVOTR songs are in the top 50, but none will crack the top 25. Still though, Dear Science, is an incredible album where every track was pretty much perfection manifested through music. While they may not be instantly catchy to the mass, they'll probably last longer than half the songs about to be featured in the rest of this year-end countdown. The last half of this song absolutely kills!

27) Coldplay - Lost!
Chris Martin's (in)ability to write nothing but the blandest, general and boring lyrics in the history of the world keep this song from going higher up the list. And even though I dislike Coldplay, this song (and Strawberry Swing) impressed me because of their wonderful instrumentation, arrangement and vocal melodies. But alas....the lyrics...

26) Guns N' Roses - Shackler's Revenge
Again, 15 years folks! Yeah expectations were pretty high, but that will subside in due time. On first single, this song seems like a pretty horrible offender. But give it a couple of spins and its charms will start to unfold. Axl Rose starts off with a low growl, but lets loose with his trademark high pitched whine once the chorus comes in, which even with all its industrial trappings is pretty reminiscent of classic era GNR. And while it's not Slash, Bumblefoot and Robin Finck (and I guess a little Buckethead too, why not?) give the song a distinct guitar direction foward. The sooner you admit that this ain't your big brother's GNR, the better it will be for you to move on to the new era.
In the end the song is insanely overproduced with Axl trying to wrap a million ideas into one. But hey, that's been GNR for the past how many years???

In the next few days: the top 25!


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