Like last year, I put together a quasi-objective list of my favorite music of 2008. The list is based largely on what I actually listened to (via iTunes playcounts) rather than what I wished I listened to. This year had several followup albums that were mildly disappointing compared to how much I liked previous albums, from the likes of Death Cab, The Hold Steady and Kings of Leon. Still some good finds, but like with this year’s movies, overall not the best year in recent memory.
Honorable Mentions: Gaslight Anthem's The '59 Sound is straightforward, and perhaps not very interesting, but enjoyable. I've liked Okkervil River's The Stand Ins but haven't loved it the way I did The Stage Names. I came across Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago only recently, but it has been getting heavy rotation recently as "good winter" music.
- M83, Saturdays=Youth - expansive, synth-driven wouldn't usually be my thing, but makes for great life-soundtrack music.
- Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak - surprisingly melancholy & atmospheric for Kanye, but it works (even with the overused auto-tune effect). At least as a studio album, his performance on SNL was less than amazing.
- Tilly & the Wall, o - sure they likely appeal to 15-year-old crowd and were even featured on the 90210 remake, but I can't help tapping along with songs like "I Found You".
- Raconteurs, Consolers Of The Lonely - solid, well-built rock and I like the layering and instrumentation.
- Cut Copy, In Ghost Colours - again, I would not have though more synth-pop would end up as one of my favorite albums. However songs like "Strangers in the Wind" are infectious and even the more clubby tracks like "Lights & Music" are fun.
- Beck, Modern Guilt - the album has a throw-back sound that makes it feel of a skinny-tie era. Made for an infectious summer soundtrack.
- Sigur Rós, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust - my favorite Sigur Rós album in a few years thanks to the dynamic range on songs like "Vid spilum endalaust" and "Gobbledigook".
- Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend - over-hyped but it is certainly an enjoyable 31 minutes of college rock.
- Girl Talk, Feed the Animals - lots has been written about this album, but when it works it is greater than the sum of its samples. At times it can be distracting when I'm trying to identify all the references.
- Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes - a beautiful and uniquely blended sound, perfect for Sunday mornings with a cup of coffee and laptop open to a "newspaper". </ul>