Saturday, 10 January 2009

Top 50

Oh yeah sweet jesus they should re-name the first half of January 'top 50 time', every single publication, website and critic worth its weight in promotional frisbees feels compelled to put into order the albums that happened to have a release date within the same 12 month period. It's amazing. How can one album, one artist, some up an entire year? It's like saying "What mood were you in in 2008?" the answer is always going to be "lots of different ones", "but what was your TOP mood of the year?"... its stupid. But whatever, who cares, it does give a good idea on who actually made a decent record, and its an excellent way to make sure you didn't miss any good records while you were too busy working/masturbating/drinking/fucking another year away. If you can't be bothered to look around to see who 'won' 2008 I've compiled some edited highlights for you here, as well as coming up with my own top 10.

At first I thought that Rolling Stone, in a bizzare attempt to stay on-top of the ever changing musical climate, had asked Brad Pitt to pick their top 50 albums of the year for them. Luckily I was mistaken and they stayed very firmly IN 'the box' by asking all their critics instead. TV on the Radio came out on top, with their latest 'dear science' (as an interesting side note, did you know that during the Concrete and Glass festival in October the venue that TV on the Radio were supposed to play fell through, so they were hastily re-booked to play at Cargo?!) although the whole top 50 completely discredits itself with the inclusion of Kaiser Chiefs at 21 and the Jonas Brothers at 40, seriously. TV on the Radio also top the lists of The Guardian, Spin, the New York Times and no doubt countless more. The other big contender for 'winner' of 2008 has to be Fleet Foxes, who sail to the top of Pitchfork and Mojo's lists and generally show up a lot in most peoples top 5/top 10, coming in at 2 in Rough Trade East, Filter and Q. They also notably top the Hype Machines list of Albums. Although I love the Fleet Foxes record, its a pretty depressing thought for me that it could in some way "sum up" 2008, as nice as it is I dont think 2008 was that chilled out. Other albums that seem to be featuring way more in these lists than they were on anyone I knows i-pod are Portishead's 'Third', Bon Iver's 'For Emma, Forever Ago' and that Glasvegas record, all of which I think are only in matching the depressed mood of the journalists doing the lists wondering if they were going to have a job when they came back to work in January. One of my favourite and most agreeable top 10's is from the NME who are one of the only publications noting the GENIUS of the Mystery Jets record, and reppin Friendly Fires as a late contender and Metronomy to boot. At the top of their pile is MGMT, which when I think back through the year is one of the only bands who I think i've truly started and ended the year with. They've had a constant stream of big singles so they've been constantly on the radio, and to be fair the album doesn't have a bad track on it. They've also still got huge remixes coming out of their tunes, most notably 80kidz and Soulwax's efforts on 'kids', which shows a continued interest in them by them kids in the clubs (and them kids on the blogs).  Away from the album and to the live circuit I saw them in tiny venues in Texas at the start of the year and then in huge tents at V and Reading in the summer, which is always amazing to see a band do, in fact, the hype and the atmosphere watching them at SXSW was amazing, we had to break into the gig through the backstage door and pretend to be the official film crew for them ha, there was literally 500 people outside trying to get in. I discussed this whole thing last night with Kieran from the View, and he's also saying that MGMT is up there as one of the best, and in the Hype Machine's end of year charts they are officially the most blogged band of the year. So yeah, NME, I think you might be right, MGMT is my album of the year. Here is an attempt at the rest of the top 10.

1.MGMT - Time to Pretend
2.Mystery Jets - 21
3.Late of the Pier - Fantasy Black Channel
4.Friendly Fires - Friendly Fires
5.Hot Chip - Made in the Dark
6.Cage the Elephant - Cage the Elephant
7.Weezer - The Red Album
8.Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
9.Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
10.Kings of Leon - Only by the Night

Oh god that took forever and I'm sure I've missed something obvious. Also fully not caring that that could actually have been the NME top 10, not trying to look cool those are the albums I've enjoyed the most and listened to the most in 2008. As an extra note I might edit this upon hearing the records that have been in lots of lists that I haven't heard yet (TV on the Radio, Lil Wayne, Bon Iver) and other records that I just haven't got round to picking up yet (Laura Marling, Santogold, No Age)...

So come on then, what's your top 10? or just top record of the year? What did I miss (other than that SICK Jonas Brothers record - thanks Rolling Stone)?


Beefcake said...

1.Kings of Leon-Only by the Night
2.Skream-Skreamism Vol 5
3.Benga-Diary of an afro warrior
6.Roots Manuva-Slime & Reason
7.Mystery Jets - 21
8.Beck-Modern Guilt
9.MGMT- Oracular Spectacular

There weren't any great metal or electro records last year. this year looking forward to the rusko album and the dre one (if its drops) oh and blueprint 3

fuck lil wayne

Russ Tannen said...

Comments from my status update that I though should be added to this instead of lost -

Theo Bennet at 17.58 on 10 January
Sigur ros - ded sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust
vampire weekend - vampire weekend
mgmt - orcular spectaular
cage the elephant - cage the elephant
this town needs guns - animals

Russ Tannen at 18:08, on 10 January.
i'm downloading that sigur ros record at the moment, will check out this town needs guns. nice one.

Kevin Macey at 18:11, on 10 January.
MGMT number 1

Russ Tannen at 18:12, on 10 January.
it was a well thought out decision

Theo Bennett at 18:12, on 10 January.
yeah the sigur album is amazing. deffo check this town, they are quality. indie math rock kinda thing.

mgmt are something else

Ross Lines at 18:12, on 10 January.
kings of leon - only by the night
the fireman - electric arguments
ill bill - hour of reprisal
chase and status - more than a lot
moby - last night

Annabella Elisabeth Bassett at 18:20, on 10 January.
in no particular order:
lil wayne - the carter III
Mystery Jets - 21
late of the Pier - Fantasy Black Channel
deerhunter - microcastle
foals - antidotes
lykke li - youth novels
crystal castles - crystal castles
santogold - santogold
semifinalists - 2
ladyhawke - ladyhawke.

Theo Bennett at 18:21, on 10 January.
benga - diary of an afro warrior

Russ Tannen at 18:25, on 10 January.
haha did they really call the Chase and Status record More Than a Lot. Shit I forgot the Ladyhawke record.

Fiona Haines at 18:48, on 10 January.
Kings of Leon, Martha Wainwright

Kevin Macey at 18:55, on 10 January.
Where's gang gang dance? and of Montreal?

Russ Tannen at 19:28, on 10 January.
oh god. This is too hard.

Anonymous said...

I can't even remember what I was listening to as the begginning of last year which means it clearly can't have been anything worth listening to.

Big fan of Only by the Night too and have stuck to listening to Erykah Badu, New Amerykah throughout last year.

808's & Heartbreaks make it into my list of dissapointing releases.

Best track of 2008? Can't choose... probably something by Santogold although the album eventually got on my nerves.

LTB said...

Midnight Boom - Kills. Not outstanding, but it made me smile and dance quite a bit this year. And that is important right.

bonnie said...

listen to pro tools by gza loads and quite into black diamond by buraka. Health's record is amaaazing, glad they popped up this year. my favorite is gospel bombs by vincent, vincent and the villains.. although it was a year or two late and they're not together anymore :(

got tv on the radio if you want it russ

Russ Tannen said...

I havent heard the whole Health record yet.

I downloaded TV on the Radio, it is awesome but it still wouldn't have made my top 10.

Vincent came out in 07 no?

middleton said...

this whole debate has left me with a massive list of albums to download and a feeling that i've missed out or overlooked tonnes of great music in 2008.
or maybe i haven't and you all just have shit taste?
soon find out.

bonnie said...

not really into tv on the radio. nice background music.

&vincent was released in march last year... i know..

james you should of filled us in with all the dubstep and grime fresh from hypem haha

Metros No.1 Fan said...

more money less grief? possibly im bias though..

middleton said...

they don't really put much grime on hypem, probably cause theyre all racists who wank over minimal.
also, dubstep is like totally for white middle class kids, and im like totally against that..
jah for i
stay bless

bonnie said...

3 opinion posts in one day eh james?

Anonymous said...

Fair enough you admitted that this could easily have been the NME Top 10, but don't you think that makes the whole thing slightly futile? No one wants or needs to see a regurgitated list of the best mediocre records of the year.

My top 2 of last year were Wolf Parade-At Mount Zoomer and No Age-Nouns.

Beefcake said...

oh i hate white middle class kids as well jeez

Russ Tannen said...

It doesnt make it futile. I'm saying that these are NOT medicore records.

I also hate white middle class kids ha

Anonymous said...

yeah but they are mediocre. period.

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