Albums of the year 2008


Nov 5 2008, 9:49

right, I'm gonna get this in before all the mag end of year lists, so I'm not just reciting what middle-aged hacks at Uncut think is hip this year. I tend to veer between British 'alternative' rock/'Merican 'alt-rock' and 'alt-country' for want of better pigeon-holing labels, so here goes.

I read someone on here did a top 200. That's just plain ridiculous. So here's My Top 10

1For Emma, Forever Ago-Bon Iver
Shock of the year. where did this come from? Who cares? The dude spent a winter in a log cabin and produced the most achingly beautiful record of the year. An instant classic!

2.The Seldom Seen Kid-Elbow
These likeable guys release a carreer best which scoops the Mercury Music Prize this year. Couldn't have happened to a nicer set of blokes, and more importantly, a fucking corking album. Guess they can't play the 'underdog' card anymore.

3.Fleet Foxes-Fleet Foxes
More hirsute bearded men here (to go with Bon Iver) with pastoral inclinations. Great mixture of Brit and American folk rock with killer harmonies. Love it.

4.Forth-The Verve
How many people were nervous when it was announced that they would release new music after more than a decade? All was fine when we heard 'Love Is Noise'. McCabe and the awesome rhythm section on hand to make sure this didn't sound like another Richard Ashcroft solo album.

5.Cardinology-Ryan Adams and The Cardinals
This hasn't been off the turntable (if we still used turntables) for the last few weeks. Have no clue if it got good/bad reviews, it's just awesome, much better than his previous efforts with Neal Casal's men. 'Fix It' is just sublime.

6.Songs In A&E-Spiritualized
JSpaceman comes back from a near-death experience, with his Acoustic mainline gigs in mind, to release his most cohesive set of songs since, well, a long time. That's not to say the last couple of albums haven't had their moments, on the contrary. This one just seems to hang better together.

7.Dig Out Your Soul-Oasis
Somewhat predictably, this makes the list. people say 'they're back'. i don't know where they went, but if it makes people happy to dismiss their whole output post-What's The Story......, then so be it. They are indeed back, and Liam's skill as a songwriter is a joy to behold. 'Uh-oh, Lennon pastiche' say the critics. 'Fuck off' say I. I actually think it's the critics who need to 'get some new material', but there you go.

Yeah, I fell for the hype, but this time it was justified. A great, great sound, a Spectoresque wall of sound with almost impenetrable Glaswegian vocals, lawd knows what the Americans will think of this. Not quite the album of the year, then, as NME predicted, but pretty damn close.

9. St. Jude-The Courteeners
Not really enjoyed the success that their rent-a-gob leader Liam Fray predicted, but it's been one of my most played albums this year, and I never seem to tire of its Smiths-meets-The Libertines tunes. Saw them twice this year. There was blood.

Oracular Spectacular-MGMT
Tough to name my last one, but this shades it by an inch. Another one that was on constant rotation throughout the first half of the year. Pop music at its very best, not to mention, weirdest. There's no filler on this one, and it contains 3 of the year's most memorable songs, namely 'Kids', 'Time To Pretend' and 'Electric Feel'.

All in all, a tad predictable, but a great album's a great album, so fuck it.

So, no room for Kings of Leon , then? Seems not, but honourable mentions go to them, plus:

Primal Scream, Portishead, Vampire Weekend, Goldfrapp, The Hold Steady, The Last Shadow Puppets, Okkervil River, Crystal Castles, Ladyhawke, Santogold, Beck, The Felice Brothers and The Walkmen and any others I may have forgotten. I'm sure there are many.



  • Irryco

    Wasn't Bon Iver's album really released last year, 2007, and rereleased this year? Great album anyway.

    Nov 5 2008, 20:46
  • mikesjrobinson

    Yeah, it was released this year (May I think, but who's being pedantic?) in the UK, my motherland. We like to be a bit behind! xx

    Nov 5 2008, 23:42
  • pennyeileen

    I would have to throw Sigur Ros in there too :)

    Nov 6 2008, 0:02
  • mikesjrobinson

    Chuck it in then!

    Nov 6 2008, 0:03
  • eagleheartt

    You seriously need to listen to Robert Forster's new album. Also, the new albums by Firewater, Drive-by Truckers & Night Marchers. Only For Emma and Seldom Seen Kid are noteworthy here, the rest of them are quite average.

    Nov 8 2008, 23:48
  • mikesjrobinson

    LOL, it's not a list of what's supposed to be cool, it's an honest list of what are MY favourite albums this year. It wasn't comiled solely for your critique, strangely enough. I'm sure people will wait for Pitchfork to make their end of year list before they make theirs. Those the brokes. I could make a list of 'noteworthy' albums quite easily. But that'd just be pretentious . Fortunately I don't let the music press dictate my taste. Cheers for the recs though, you're right about Drive-By truckers' latest, forgot about that one.

    Nov 9 2008, 13:32
  • zealota

    umm, where are the racs? is this a snob club? released in May.

    Nov 21 2008, 14:48
  • mikesjrobinson

    Make your own list, luv. This is mine, obviously!

    Nov 21 2008, 14:53
  • thisisall1word

    Not heard the Oasis one but I like a lot of your list (we will dissagree over the Verve!) - MGMT has, I think been my #1, or in the top 3, even though I suspect them of horrible and trendy things. Ida Maria LP is just simple unchallenging pop-punk rock and roll and I really fell in love with it. Fleet Foxes is a grower! 1st listen was a bit meh but now lots of the tracks induce wide grins. The Glasvegas one hasn't consistently wowed me although it contains moments of pure joy and tenderness, I might have to find room in the top 20 for it. You will have to check at the end of Dec/Jan to see if the list still stands or if something creeps in. Good work anyhows!

    Dic 2 2008, 22:40
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