20081215

The Top 50 (or 60) Songs of 2008


I like to make lists. I wouldn't say I'm a compulsive list-maker, but I do enjoy the feeling of putting down a litany of items onto a piece of paper, physical or virtual. I like to look at my lists and hold them in my thoughts, much like I might hold an after-dinner mint in my mouth, letting the particles slowly dissolve to mush in order to more greatly appreciate the sum of their parts. As a sports-fan, I live for a few times of the year (CFB Bowl Season (Hokies in the Orange Bowl!), March Madness, Super Bowl weekend), but as a music-lover, I live for December when I finally get to sit down with this elephant that's been hiding in the corner for all of 2008 and systematically begin to pick his brain. It's always fun, always difficult (like picking a favorite child) and rarely a unanimous decision between the hemispheres of my head, but this list will always remain intact as a snapshot of 2008, seen through my eyes this day, the 12th of December. I hope you enjoyed 2008 and its bounty of music as much as I did. Thanks for reading...

Disclaimer #1: I don't like having multiple songs on the list by the same band, there's just too much great music out there to recognize and it's so obviously biased towards favorite bands to pick multiples of their songs. Therefore, I just pick my favorite song off the album and toss it in here.

Disclaimer #2: As stated previous years, the "calendar year" release structure is a sometimes-fuzzy concept. Often records are independently released one year, then picked up for national (or international) release the next year. I'm honestly fine with counting the album amongst either year, but never on both years. Thusly, Bon Iver (a near universal top 10 pick of magazines and bloggers everywhere this year) will not appear here because he was in my top picks of 2007 (God, what an amazing album though). Also, MGMT's "Kids" was released first on Jan 1, 2005, then again digitally last October and then finally on physical CD this January. It's amazing how old "one of 2008's best songs" is, isn't it? But I digress...

These 10 songs just missed the cut and I thought you might be curious who was on the bubble...
60. The Helio Sequence - Can't Say No
59. Ida - Lover's Prayer
58. Mas y Mas - Hi - [mp3]
57. These United States - First Sight
56. Elbow - The Bones of You
55. Ben Sollee - Change is Gonna Come
54. Ben Folds - Effington - *
53. The Virgins - Rich Girls
52. Inara George & Van Dyke Parks - Duet
51. Annuals - Confessor

The Top 50
50. Winterpills - Beesting
49. Y'all Is Fantasy Island - With Handclaps
48. The Rosebuds - Life Like
47. Young Coyotes - When I Was In the Fire
46. Flight of the Conchords - Ladies of the World
45. Surrounded - Safe Tomorrow Sun
44. Sunny Day Sets Fire - Smallest Heart on Earth
43. Samamidon - Sugar Baby
42. Kaki King - Life Being What it Is
41. The Do - Stay (Just a Little Bit More)
40. Death Cab for Cutie - Grapevine Fires - *
39. The Broken West - Perfect Games
38. David Karsten Daniels - That Knot Unties?
37. Port O'Brien - I Woke Up Today
36. Supergrass - When I Needed You
35. Francis and the Lights - A Modern Promise
34. Tingsek - Let It Shine
33. Chris Bathgate - Yes, I'm Cold
32. Chris Walla - Sing Again
31. Fleet Foxes - Blue Ridge Mountains
30. Kings of Leon - Manhatten
29. Chris Merritt - The Long Road - [mp3]
28. The Weepies - Can't Go Back Now
27. Vetiver - The Swimming Song
26. What Made Milwaukee Famous - Sultan
25. Colour Revolt - What Will Become of Us? - Georgia rockers got mad love from the Paste Top 50 (#35)
24. The Dodos - Fools
23. Vampire Weekend - Bryn - Hype can be a dangerous thing, as these hipsters can attest. They dial down the afro-pop to acceptable (and downright enjoyable) levels for this one track.
22. Guillemots - Get Over It
21. Tokyo Police Club - In a Cave
20. The Streets - On the Edge of a Cliff - * - the "profoundly simple story of your seredipitous existence" [10.7]
19. The Morning Benders - Patient Patient
18. Thao Nguyen & the Get Down Stay Down - Swimming Pools - "disarming, adorably fragile" [1.11]
17. Margot & the Nuclear So-and-So's - As Tall As Cliffs
16. Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin - Modern Mystery - * - immaculately crafted indie-pop.
15. Mates of State - Get Better
14. Nada Surf - I Like What You Say
13. Passion Pit - Sleepyhead
12. Adele - Hometown Glory
11. Ra Ra Riot - Too Too Fast - *
10. Copeland - Should You Return
9. Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
8. Ray LaMontagne - Let It Be Me - With a deep sigh at the outset, Ray LaMontagne is again the voice of longing and timeless love.
7. Frightened Rabbit - Heads Roll Off
6. MGMT - Electric Feel - "hip-stuttering synth-glam gem" [4.14]
5. Sam Sparro - Too Many Questions - * - Help, somebody, the dance floor is on fire.
4. Q-Tip - Gettin' Up - The former Tribe Called Quest frontman picks up sticks like it's still 1988.
3. Jamie Lidell - Wait For Me - * - Mr. Lidell is not getting the cred he deserves elsewhere, but I'll make up for it here. This kind of soul is in short supply.
2. Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream - "infinitely cool" [9.15]
1. Shearwater - Leviathan Bound - * - Everything about this song, from the tack-struck piano wires to Jonathan Meiburg's floating falsetto, has reverent weight. The pacing is impeccable, the restraint impressive, and the result palpable. Feel the texture of an angel's sleeve, people.

See Also:
The Top Albums of 2008, 2007 and 2006
The Top Songs of 2007 and 2006

*Since Blogger decided to delete the first posting of this list, without reason or announcement, I removed almost all of the mp3s (all of which had been posted here before and can be found on a number of other blogs whose posts are not deleted). And if you happen to work for Blogger and are reading these words: Go f*ck yourself. Thank you for stealing all the joy out of something I've worked so hard on for the last 2.5 years.

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