Thursday, 18 December 2008

What Is The Best Album of 2008?

I really wanted to do a top 5 albums of 2008. Every magazine / website / blog has done one to at least 50. All I wanted was 5. I asked 68 people for their top 5 in order to get some balance – the NME did so with their writers and metacritic did it with every review available – and no one would commit to an order of preference. I completely understood when Dan and I were pushed provide our own submissions.

The problem with, and beauty of, this method was that the selection was pretty broad including artists I’d never heard of, records I’d decided I just wouldn’t like, some obvious inclusions, drum and bass, releases from 2007(?), and John Legend. I certainly didn’t predict the results.

I’ll cut to the chase. The list.

The Album of the Year!!

TV On The Radio ‘Dear Science’

Second Best Album of the Year!!

Gang Gang Dance ‘Saint Dymphna’

Third Best Album of the Year!!

Abe Vigoda ‘Skeleton’
Fleet Foxes ‘S/T’
Lil’ Wayne ‘Tha Carter III’
Metronomy ‘Nights Out’
MGMT ‘Oracular Spectacular’
Santogold ‘S/T’
Vampire Weekend ‘S/T’
Zombie Zombie ‘A Land For Renegades’

Fourth Best Album of the Year!!

Benga ‘Diary of an Afro Warrior’, Born Ruffians ‘Red, Yellow, Blue’, Danny Byrd ‘Supersize’, Death Cab For Cutie ‘Narrow Stairs’, Deerhunter ‘Microcastles’, Elbow ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’, Empire of the Sun ‘S/T’, Flight of the Concourds ‘S/T’, Goldfrapp ‘7th Tree’, Grace Jones ‘Hurricane’, Harvey Milk ‘Life… The Best Game In Town’, The Hold Steady ‘Stay Positive’, John Legend ‘Evolver’, Jose James ‘Dreamer’, Justice ‘The Cross’, Kanye West ‘808s & Heartbreak’, Kings of Leon ‘Only By The Night’, Langhorne Slim ‘S/T’, London Elektricity ‘Syncopated City’, Marnie Stern ‘This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That’, Neon Neon ‘Stainless Style’, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds ‘Dig Lazarus, Dig!’, Radiohead ‘In Rainbows’, Rosin Murphy ‘Overpowered’, These New Puritans ‘Beat Pyramid’, Veronica Maggio ‘Och vinnaren är’, Vetiver ‘Thing of the Past’, White Denim ‘Workout Holiday’, Why? ‘Alopecia’

That's right, 29 albums drawn for 4th place.

What is clear is that 'Best of...' lists are a good example of bad journalism, wasting ten pages in an issue of The Word or NME just to rehash reviews from earlier in the year. You never agree with their No. 1, often it's tough to agree with anything in their top 5 depending on the publication, even when it's unbiased - metacritic summarised Coldplay as the best album in 2008 and it's not even in our list neither is Bon Iver.

Hopefully what our list will do is remind some of us of those albums we never got round to getting - I finally bought Neon Neon after weeks of drifting in and out of Sister Ray Records - and convince us to give some time to those we cast aside - I will give Fleet Foxes a chance, I promise.

Thank you so much to everyone who dedicated 5 minutes of their time.


Helen Jaques said...

I agree with your "bad journalism" comment. All the "Review of 2008" and "Best X of 2008" articles are generally pretty boring - I know what happened in 2008, I was there! An easy way to fill 5 pages without doing any original writing I say.

Despite that rant, I still feel the need to add my two pence. Probably Mystery Jets "Twenty One", Radiohead "In Rainbows" or M83 "Saturdays = Youth" for my best album of 2008.

If you give Fleet Foxes a chance (defo a top 5 for me), I'll persevere with TV on the Radio - deal?

Richard Anderson said...

oh shoot, sorry helen, blame dan for not getting your top 5, it took him 5 goes at giving one up himself.

We'd have seen a bit of a mix up in the order with your 5.