Best Albums of 2008

We talked about doing this as a podcast, and several other ideas were floated, but in the end we decided just to post this discussion between some of us about the best albums of the year.  Tell us about your own nominees or vote on the ones we mention.  Read the full discussion (with some small edits for clarity and content by an authoritative editor) after the jump.  Also relevant to this discussion are previous 2008  music posts located here, here and especially here:

Supergenius:  I’ll start off the conversation with a couple of my favorites from
this year, with more to follow once you haters tear my picks apart.  I
have to say that 2008 was not, overall, much of a landmark in terms of
music.  [editor's note: SG doesn't really like music]

1.  TV On The Radio: Dear Science.  For a couple of my favorite bands,
2008 was when the band started to go mainstream; their first albums
were a bit wild and inconsistent, and 2008 showed a second album with
far more consistency if a bit mellowed.  Dear Science is a bit like
that; TVOTR’s Return to Cookie Mountain was a big mess of crazy sounds
that really worked, while Dear Science is a big mess of not-as-crazy
sounds that still works pretty great.  It isn’t edgy or
hard-to-listen-to like the former album.  Instead this one lulls you
in with some great beats.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCcEg0tok8o

2.  The Smiths: The Sound of the Smiths.  Yes, it’s a best-of from a
band that has like a million best-ofs, but it has a lot of rare tracks
and a sweeping scope to its 2-cd set that I think for the first time
really shows how great Morrissey/Marr truly were.  The more I think
about it, the more The Smiths seem like one of my all-time favorite
bands and definitely the kings of post-punk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8fL99LPz8g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGnjrTkv1gs

I have a couple of others to mention, but that should get the ball rolling.

Brian V:

My not-in-any-order favorites:

1. Jay Reatard: Matador Singles 08
2. Hank IV: Refuge in Genre
3. Times New Viking: Rip It Off
4. Deerhunter: Microcastes/Weird Era Cont.
5. Menahan Street Band: Make The Road By Walking
6. Ladyhawk: Shots
7. Dungen: 4
8. Greg Dulli: Live at Triple Door
9. Andrew Daly: Nine Sweaters
10. Black Mountain: In the Future

SG:  I’ve heard great stuff about the Deerhunter album, but I’ve found them
a bit bleak.  What’s Microcastle like?

Also, I’m sure Susan will now start gushing about Ladyhawk, but I don’t get it.

BTD Greg:  I’ll go you one better.  I’m sure Susan and others will start gushing about Kings of Leon, but I don’t get it.  In fact, I heard “Sex on Fire” on the radio, and thought it was one of the worst things I’ve ever heard.

What?  This isn’t where we complain about music we don’t like?

Oh, sorry.  [editor's note: Greg is very, very sorry indeed]

Brian V:  I don’t find Deerhunter particularly bleak. Their touchpoints are
obvious (first 2 Roxy Music LPs and Eno solo stuff) and there’s some
50s stuff happening on the new one, so you’ve gotta like that stuff or
it’s not going to work for you.

I probably like Ladyhawk as much as or even more than Susan. I at
least have the excuse of a Neil Young obsession.

Susan M:  My husband says Ladyhawk sounds just like Sugar. I definitely hear a
huge Bob Mould influence on the singer. Probably why I love them.

They’re a bit of a grower, though, I guess. What’s not to love,
though, honestly?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7w_j0NEw3EE

Brian V:  Your husband may have a problem with his ears. They sound just like
Sugar? I can see being able to detect their fingerprints or something
like that, but just like them? Really?

Susan M:  His words: “These guys sound like Sugar. Whenever I hear them I just
want to put on Sugar.”

Funny, years ago I remember saying to him that Overwhelming Colorfast
sound just like Husker Du and whenever he played them I just wanted to
put on Husker Du.

[editor's note: Susan always says that Interpol sounds just like Joy Division.  Are you detecting a pattern?  Paging Dr. House!]

Brian V:  Anyway, we can agree that Ladyhawk is awesome.

Maybe I need to revisit the Sugar catalog.  [editor's note: coincidentally, "The Sugar Catalog" was my nickname in high school]

Susan M:  I think it’s the guy’s voice that seals it for me w/Kings of Leon. The
song “Closer” is really nice and creepy, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOg1YfapEd4

SG:  So Susan — Ladyhawk and Kings of Leon win it for you?  Any others?

Susan M:  Okkervil River – The Stand Ins is really good:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXVEY4xF64A

And My Morning Jacket’s Evil Urges:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5Es1flO_2M

Melvins – Nude With Boots. Their most accessible album to date:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-tdSPX5S6M

Howlin Rain – Magnificent Fiend.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n02IgP-vWZo

I think Mountain Goats “Lovecraft in Brooklyn” might be my song of the year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biLDAznGUN0

Brian V:  The Howlin’ Rain album Susan mentioned would be #11 on my list (or
might replace the Black Mountain).

BTD Greg:  I’m really bad at these kinds of things because I just don’t listen to enough new releases to form a valid opinion.  [editor's note: BTD Greg's comments should be ignored from this point on]  However, I think Vampire Weekend deserves a mention.  Although I can understand that they might not be everyone’s cup of tea, they are one of the most original and exciting bands I’ve heard in a while.  I also think I Love Math’s Getting to the Point is Beside It is pretty great.  Accelerate is a strong album and definitely REM’s best in a decade (which almost sounds like faint praise).

Other stuff relased this year that I’ve listened to bits and pieces of that I’ve really liked include MGMT and The Silver Jews.

Susan M:  The Silver Jews is good.

I forgot to mention Bonnie Prince Billy’s latest. I haven’t gotten too
into his other stuff, pretty typical indie singer-songwriter doing old
traditional American tunes, and when I want that stuff I tend to put
on Songs: Ohia. But Billy’s new album is live and it’s really
great—mostly I like it because it sounds a lot like Magnolia
Electric Co. Ha.

(Songs: Ohia is Jason Molina; Magnlia Elec Co is Jason Molina.)

Brian V:  Is Bonnie Prince Billy Will Oldham?

Susan M:  Yeah.

Brian V:  I’m not much into Oldham’s music, but I admired his performance as
Henry (the guy claiming to be Daniel Plainview’s half-brother) in
There Will Be Blood.

SG:  Accelerate definitely deserves some credit, although like you I
wonder whether I just like it because so much else from REM over the
last 10+ years has been tepid.

Susan M:  [to Brian] I didn’t know he was in that movie. I don’t know much about him. I
just know this live album is better every time I hear it.

I’m such a sucker for a fiddle. I love his back up singers too though,
and the flute.

Brian V:  He wasn’t really in the movie – just some guy that looks like him.

It’s tough to convey sarcasm over the email. Sorry about that.  [editor's note: Brian's comments should be ignored from this point on]

SG:  Let me throw out another couple of candidates:

–Sigur Ros, Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust: look, I don’t know
what they’re saying, and as usual they’re atmospheric and moody, but
this album is the most mainstream and accessible the Icelandic
powerhouse has ever been.  It has a number of good beats to it, and
was refreshing and well-crafted.

-Neil Young, Sugar Mountain-Live At Canterbury House 1968: possibly
the best recording I’ve ever heard from him.  He’s a wonderful
songwriter, and though he’s one of those singers you either love or
hate I happen to love him.  The album sounds like it was made
yesterday instead of 40 years ago, and has all the on-stage banter,
etc. from this incredibly intimate little concert. (you can listen to
the full album stream online at NPR:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97253221

Also, here’s what the gurus from All Songs Considered thought were the
best of the year:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97939029

Brian V:  I think some of those song picks might’ve been responsible for the NPR
layoffs. Holy moly.

Though I just got it, I’ll go ahead and add Communion by The
Soundtrack of Our Lives to my list.

SG:  Yeah, some of those picks were head-scratchers to be sure.  Others I’d
never heard of.  Mates of State sound pretty good.

a random John:  Finally someone mentions something I’m interested in.  [editor's note: arJ is a well known Mates of State groupie]

MCQ:  I’ll put in my vote for Kings of Leon for Album of the Year.  I think you have to get past “Sex on Fire” to really get to know that album.  I like that song, but it’s far from the best on the album.  I would suggest “Crawl” and “Use  Somebody” as the two best, but I like every song on the album with the exception of “17″.  It’s very rare for me to find an album where so many songs are that good.  Seeing them in concert this year sealed the deal for me.  They are it.
 
Also in the top five are Elbow, Augustana and The Raconteurs.  The Killers are in my top ten, as are Snow Patrol.

SG:  The Killers in top ten albums of the year??  Come on!  [editor's note: Supergenius's comments should be ignored from this point on]

MCQ:  Did you actually listen to the album SG?  Sometimes that helps.

SG:  Aw, I can’t resist tweaking a fanboy!  I listened to it and thought it
was a solid pop album, above-average but nothing particularly
noteworthy. I guess they have never struck me as having any particular
depth to them that I wouldn’t also see with say Coldplay. 

Clark:  I’ve not listened to enough albums to have an opinion.  But Kings of
Leon is pretty good as is that Neil Young album SG mentioned.  [editor's note: Clark gets it half right] 

MCQ:  [to SG] Wait a minute, now you’re equating the Killers with Coldplay?  You are seriously pissing me off, SG.  I demand satisfaction!  Would you like to die by pistol or sword?

Brian V:  You want satisfaction? Then stop listening to The Killers! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! 

(I have never heard The Killers) 

[editor's note: duh]

MCQ:  In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably admit to a little bias:  I have a small family connection to The Killers and because of that, I have a soft spot in my heart for them.  I am trying to exploit this connection to get an interview with Ronnie Vanucci for KB, but so far, no dice.
 
On second thought, Damn The Killers!
 
All kidding aside, Day and Age [their new album] is not my favorite album.  I really liked Sam’s Town but it seems to me that they abandoned that road in this new album and made a throwback effort to recapture the mascara-wearing days of yesteryear.  I can’t necessarily blame them for that, because Hot Fuss was a great album too.  I still like Day and Age enough to put it on my top 10. 

Susan M:  My favorite song on the KoL album keeps changing; the whole album is great.

The new Killers I haven’t heard. But I prefer Coldplay.  [editor's note: sigh]

MCQ:  Susan, amen amen amen on KoL.  Have you heard any album recently that held your attention as well or was as consistently great?  I haven’t.  Not in years.
 
But Coldplay?  Really?  Do this for me, compare Sam’s Town with X&Y  (track by track), then compare Day and Age with Viva La Vida.  Take your time.  Linger a while.  I think in the end you will agree with me:  The Killers are more creative and a lot more fun.  I don’t know what happened to Coldplay after Rush of Blood to the Head, but I’m thinking it may require an intervention.  [editor's note:  I'll tell you what happened, Chris Martin got married.  To Gwyneth Paltrow.  Coincidence?  I think not.]

Susan M:  I don’t really know any of those albums except for Rush of Blood.  [editor's note: Susan's comments regarding Coldplay and The Killers should be disregarded and Susan should be burned at the stake]

Albums better than or as good as KoL in the last two years (not to be
snotty, just in case you want to check them out) [editor's note: uh-huh]:

Ladyhawk – Shots**
Okkervil River – The Stand Ins
Your Black Star – Beasts*
Yeasayer – All Hour Cymbals
Tegan & Sara – The Con*
Pride Tiger – The Lucky Ones**
Next Hundred Years – Obese Momentum*
National – Boxer*
Low – Drums and Guns**
Jose Gonzalez – In Our Nature**
Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog**
Dax Riggs – We Sing Only of Blood or Love*
Band of Horses – Cease to Begin**

* Bands I think you’d be most likely to enjoy.

** Albums I think are better than KoL.

MCQ:  Susan, of those, I know: Tegan & Sara (saw them live too), The National, Iron and Wine, and Band of Horses.  I like them all, especially The National and Band of Horses, but I still like KoL better.  I have heard Ladyhawk, Low and Your Black Star.  Don’t hate me, I’m just not that into them.

SG:  For you Tegan and Sara lovers, how about Santogold?  A pretty fun
little album in a year that otherwise was a bit introspective and
depressing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwNkuw-YTVo

by the way, that  is an example of a great, great song where the video
can quite possibly kill all interest in the song forever.  Listen
first, but don’t look at the video!

BTD Greg:  When did Tegan and Sara go from being kind of cute and adorable to downright scary?

Just wondering.

SG:  Yeah, Tegan and Sara got a little edgy on their last album.  I thought
it worked for them, but it might burn off.

So the reader poll at NPR is now in, thousands of responses, and here
are the top 5 artists/albums of the year, in order:

1.  Fleet Foxes
2.  Vampire Weekend
3.  Bon Iver
4.  TV On The Radio
5.  Death Cab For Cutie

Holeee cow is all I can say.  I’ve listened to three of those albums
completely.  Vampire I’ve heard chunks of.  Bon Iver I’ve only heard a
couple of tracks.  I gotta say that’s an odd top 5.  [editor's note: dude, it's NPR!]

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98092448

Susan M:  Fleet Foxes are good but maaaaan, they want to be My Morning Jacket.  [editor's note: here we go again]

Tegan and Sara are edgy? Huh? What did I miss?

SG:  a LITTLE edgy.  They’re still pretty mainstream!

I don’t hear the Morning Jacket comparisons with Fleet Foxes.  They’re
far more introspective and quiet.  MMJ’s latest (which is a nice
little 2008 album, btw) shows them getting a more conventional,
broader sound.

Susan M:  MMJ have changed a lot from album to album and even sound really
different song to song on the latest. But they still sound like MMJ.
And so do Fleet Foxes.

Listening to Bon Iver on NPR and liking it. Typical indie
singer-songwriter stuff so far, but good.

BTD Greg:  I was making more of a crass comment on their appearance than on their music.

Not one of my better moments.  My bad.  [editor's note: we'll be the judge of that, Greg]

Susan M:  At least they’re not wearing corpse paint. 

arJ:  Or a sage grouse on their shoulders.

MCQ:  Um, that would be a pheasant, John, so shut it!

arJ:  Well it is one unlucky bird, whatever it is. 

[editor's note: arJ is making a moronic joke about Brandon Flowers' highly fashion-forward attire.  Please ignore him.]

Susan M:  You know I would rank the new KoL above the new Okkervil River, but
the more I listen to the new OR the more I love it. And the growers
are the ones with staying power. I worried as soon as I heard it that
KoL would get old. It’s too fabulous from the get go. If that makes
sense.

I’m barely even starting to get into the Okkervil River lyrics. Love
these lines:

You’ve got outsider art by an artist who arguably kidnapped a kid on your wall,
while your designers have slyly
directed the eye down clean lines in your well-lit hall.

You’ve got taste, you’ve got taste,
What a waste that that’s all that you have.

MCQ:  Interesting.  I haven’t heard Okkervil River yet, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about them.  Other artists that has had a lot of attention are TV on the Radio and Fleet Foxes.  I have listened to both of these and I have to say that I am at a loss to explain why others are finding them so appealing.  It’s a complete mystery to me.
 
KoL hasn’t gotten old to me yet.  I think it’s going to be one of those albums I appreciate more as time goes on.

SG:  By the way, here’s Nic Harcourt’s top ten of the year.  I bought the
Mates of State album the other day and I am loving it.  More than any
other album this year is has an ongoing theme and narrative coherence.
 It’s highly enjoyable.  They have a blog that is pretty entertaining
as well: http://www.babble.com/CS/blogs/bandonthediaperrun/default.aspx

[editor's note: SG also forwarded a message from his contact at Subpop]:

Fleet Foxes have a couple more notable events happening this week, so
mark your calendars!

The band will be performing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien tonight
(December 16th)
http://www.nbc.com/Late_Night_with_Conan_O%27Brien/calendar/index.shtml

Starting today, Fleet Foxes are being featured as part of MySpace’s
year-end “50 Albums You Should Know From 2008″ http://www.myspace.com/
 As part of this promotion, you can find the full album stream of the
band’s self-titled debut on the Fleet Foxes’ MySpace page
http://www.myspace.com/fleetfoxes  all day today and tomorrow.

Also worth mentioning – Fleet Foxes are in at spot #7 on the Best
Reviewed Albums of 2008 on Metacritic.com
http://www.metacritic.com/music/bests/2008.shtml

As always, you can find all the album assets (cover art, band photos,
free downloads, etc) for Fleet Foxes on their artist page
http://www.subpop.com/artists/fleet_foxes

MCQ:  That metacritic page is fascinating, especially this part:
 
Artists Appearing on Multiple Top Ten Lists Above:

Dear Science, by TV On The Radio
Third by Portishead
Only By The Night by Kings Of Leon
Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes
Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne
The Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow
Oracular Spectacular by MGMT
Saturdays=Youth by M83
London Zoo by The Bug
Volume One by She & Him

I like this info because you can dismiss any one list as being idiotic or prejudiced, but it’s harder to dismiss high rankings by multiple publications.  Based on this, I’m going to listen to Portishead, MGMT, and She & Him (which I previously dismissed as vanity project by Zooey D.) for the first time and I’m going to give TV on the Radio and Fleet Foxes another chance. 
 
I also feel vindicated to see KoL and Elbow on this list!  Yeah, baby!
 
Anybody know anything about M83 or The Bug?

[much later]  Ok, I listened to some of M83 and The Bug.  M83 is a throwback to 80s synth pop, which I never liked even back then, but which sounds actually unobjectionable, if a little dated and fluffy, now. 
 
The Bug is definitely not my thang, but if you’re into violent and profane british dubstep, you may want to give it a listen.

[editor's note: In conclusion, as you can plainly see, the KB consensus is that Kings of Leon have the best album of 2008!!!] 

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48 thoughts on “Best Albums of 2008

  1. What’s BT?

    I didn’t realize this whole conversation was going to be posted. Did anyone actually read it all?

    BTW, Mr Editor, you’ve got Brian V saying something that was actually said by BTD Greg. The line about Tegan & Sara being scary. (I doubt Brian V even knows who they are.)

  2. PS I know I’m always complaining about bands sounding like other bands, but that’s because they do! There’s nothing original being done anymore. I keep waiting for someone to do something really cool, like making really heavy, doom-metalish hip hop. That would be sick.

    All we get is rehashed 80s stuff.

  3. Susan, I didn’t know that was the plan either, but we ran out of time to do anything else. I think it works, however, and hopefully it’s entertaining.

    The editor has apparently now fixed that comment.

    As for your, ahem, condition, I’m not really qualified to comment medically, but surely there’s doom-metalish hip hop being produced somewhere.

  4. I didn’t realize this conversation was going to be posted either. Oh well, I stand by what I wrote. I guess.

    Our readers will be glad to learn that I’m even more snarky in semi-private conversations than I am on the blog.

  5. Now now Susan there’s a lot of rehashed 70′s and 60′s stuff too.

    But I do think this is why I don’t get excited looking for new bands. I can put my large playlist on random and get some really good stuff as is. That said I kind of dug some of the tracks from Vampire Weekend and Kings of Leon. Plus I downloaded this large indie mix. I’ve gone through and deleted the stuff I don’t care for but there’s a surprising amount of stuff I dig.

    Part of me is as interested in finding music I’ve missed the past years as in discovering “new” bands.

    BTW BT = Bit Torrent.

  6. I sometimes feel like I’m from a completely different planet than music fans like you guys. I consider myself a music nut (and a metal-head), but I consume and digest music about 10 times slower than this panel seems to.

    For instance, I’ve been listening to Opeth’s Watershed for a solid month now, and I feel that I’m finally starting to get it, to know where the artist was coming from. It’s not that I think my musical choices are more complex than those mentioned here, and I hope it’s not that I’m just dense. I think I tend to listen to an album until I like it – which I think works because I’m pretty picky about genres and artists. When a talented musician agonizes over every tone and note of a release for weeks and weeks, I just feel like I need to give it lots of time to sink in.

    As a semantic aside, why do people always want to make art a competition? Doesn’t “Our Favorite Albums of 2008″ get the message across with less arrogance than “Best Albums”? (No hard feelings – I certainly didn’t get the feeling that any of you consider your opinion to be the final word on some music’s value.)

    Thanks for all the recommendations! Reviewers: I’ve been in the mood for some mellow music with pretty female vocals and some instrumental depth. Do any of the bands above fit in that category?

  7. Oh I also forgot to include this question from BTD Greg:

    Did GWAR release a new album this year?

    The answer is no. So we can all sleep easier now.

  8. Hmmm, Charlotte Gainsbourg was my favorite of those.

    I discovered Neko Case this year. Everyone else seems inadequate now.

  9. Note to the editor: Interpol does sound just like Joy Division. I’ve been trying out the Interpol song PDA on Rock Band 2, and the trick to pulling off the vocals is to try to channel the spirit of Ian Curtis. I’m almost positive that’s what the singer is doing.

  10. Hi-larious. Thanks for posting it McQ. I tried listening last night to Bon Iver but fell asleep. I suspect this may be the point.

  11. My favorite non-Neil-Young-releases of 2008:

    Okkervil River, The Stand Ins
    Silver Jews, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
    Mountain Goats, Heretic Pride
    My Morning Jacket, Evil Urges
    She and Him, Volume 1
    Sigur Ros

  12. Kwk. I re-discovered Neko Case. I had some of her solo stuff and stuff with other bands before. I’ve been getting bigger into her (and also Low) this year.

    I’m digging some of the other choices people have mentioned – especially that second song by Jenny Lewis that Steve mentioned.

  13. BTW, Mr Editor, you’ve got Brian V saying something that was actually said by BTD Greg. The line about Tegan & Sara being scary. (I doubt Brian V even knows who they are.)

    You are correct. I thought about pointing that about but I thought my comment might get ignored since I seem to have hurt someone’s feelings with my comments about their favorite band.

    BTW, I have since heard the Killers. A track from their new album.

  14. I’m using these posts as a list of stuff to try out. My favorites this year were Vampire Weekend and the Killers, but I’ve also only heard of about 105 of what everyone’s talking about.

  15. SG: Yeah, it’s a good album. The first three songs are almost great, until the mouth trumpet starts, nearly ruining “This is not a Test.” Some nice 70s revival, Ronstadt-y vibes, much like the new MMJ. Compares pretty well to Jenny Lewis, actually.

  16. My faves for the year would be:

    Torche, Meanderthal
    Girl Talk, Feed the Animals
    Black Mountain, In the Future

    There are a bunch of other albums that I should have listened to more but didn’t get around to.

    My biggest disappointment of the year was The Sword’s God’s of the Earth. Not a bad metal album per se, but a let down after the avalanche of riffs on their debut album.

  17. Susan, it’s OK to admit that you don’t have enough skill to play The Killers on Rock Band. We understand. For those of us who rock the star power, however, The Killers are awesome.

  18. I’ve been trying out the Interpol song PDA on Rock Band 2

    That song is sooooo dang fun to play on guitar, it’s just sick.

  19. Susan M: it probably doesn’t help that The Killers are painfully hard to sing on Rock Band; Flowers is just all over the place with his vocals.

  20. We can play online, Xbox 360, though. We don’t have it for the Wii. Heading out of town now for a few days, so if you reply I’m not ignoring you.

    And BTW, my kids will cream you.

  21. Our Rock Band 2 for Wii got quite a workout last night for New Year’s Eve. I haven’t tried playing online yet, but I’ve heard it works really well. (You have to exchange friends codes and all that.) The Silversun Pickups song, “Lazy Eye,” is really fun to play/sing.

  22. We haven’t got that song Greg, so our song list must be different. We have Xbox 360 too Susan so you’re on! Me and my kids against you and your kids. You can even pick the first song. Let me know when you’re back in town and the showdown will commence.

  23. Besides, in spite of Johnny Marr’s involvement, the songs, though better than the Sire releases, don’t hold a candle to the original Rough Trade recordings. They appear to have been compressed and loudened (is that a word?) removing quite a bit of the original complexity. And to show that I’m not entirely horrible, my favorite Smiths youtube clip, from 1986, in their prime.

  24. Uh, the songs on the Smiths new release, duh. I blame stupidity. Mine. Heaven knows I’m miserable now.

  25. I want to add another Smiths YouTube clip for the song “Barbarism Begins At Home” – though the recording/sound is so clean I almost wonder if it is really live(?):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_T1NE4Q2BI

    I went to iTunes and it seemed the only Smiths recordings they were offering were from “The Sounds of the Smiths.” I’m not sure what kind of arrangement the former band members have with iTunes, but there should be a lot more offerings than just a compilation album.

  26. djinn,

    I don’t really care about sexual preference when I’m deciding what music to listen to. A lot of openly gay people have produced fantastic art. But your point about overcompression is a valid one. Overcompression is the bane of modern music.

  27. Thanks for your guidance, djinn. I’m currently removing all traces of Elton John from my music collection.

    BTW, your complaint has reminded me that Cox also has Marfan syndrome, which I find equally disgusting. Just to be sure I don’t vomit whenever I look at my book collection, I’ve thrown away my copy of David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln.

  28. djinn, your first comment is inappropriate and has now been removed. I have zero tolerance for gay-bashing or any other sort of bigotry, so you can knock it off or find another place to comment.

    Besides, Greg and Brian are correct that if the sexual orientation of the artist is an issue for you, you are not going to find much art of any kind that you can appreciate.

  29. My favorite albums of the year (in no particular order)…

    TV On the Radio — Dear Science (agree that it’s a step down from Cookie Mountain, but a step down from Cookie is a huge leap up for most other bands)

    Conor Oberst — self titled (more or less Bright Eyes-ish, though a little more country)

    James — Hey Ma (been a big James fan since ’88 and Hey Ma is wonderful)

    the Cure — 4:13 Dream (need to listen to it more, but like what I’ve heard… sounds like Wish-era Cure)

    Ryan Adams and the Cardinals — Cardinology (continues his comeback since ’07′s Easy Tiger with another strong album)

    Coldplay — Viva la Vida (Coldplay is the Jay Leno of music… high ratings, massive popularity, but no critical respect. That said, Viva la Vida is their best album, thanks in large part to Brian Eno)

    Snow Patrol — A Hundred Million Suns

    the Verve — Forth

    MGMT — Oracular Spectacular

    Adele — 19

    Nada Surf — Lucky

    Other 2008 albums I’ll probably like, but haven’t checked out yet:

    Nick Cave
    The Hold Steady
    Portishead
    Paul Weller

  30. “Other 2008 albums I’ll probably like, but haven’t checked out yet:

    Paul Weller”

    Gotta say, not my favorite. Solid, good, but he has better.

  31. Pretty much every comic fan knows it will be back in some form,
    but it’s a big step for Marvel to once again close off one of
    their long-running, high-numbered books. softie   softly   sogged  
    soigne   soiled   soiree   sokols   solace.
    If you have any questions or concerns feel free to leave a comment.

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