The Best 10 Albums of 2008

If 2008 stands for anything in music, it’s the unabashed sampling of other artists’ music, and the blending of styles of music historically thought incompatible.  Artists this year have finally brought together hip-hop and electronic in to a form not just describable as ‘club’, and brought this mix to the pop scene.  We’ve seen 60s rock mixed with 80s dance, 70s funk mixed with indie rock, and 90s gangster rap has met 60s folk.  I like this trend, and I think that will show in this Top Ten list.

10. Kanye West – 808s and Heartbreak

I wasn’t going to say anything about the bottom 5, so I’ll be brief.  A lot of people are going to criticize me for throwing this album on our top 10, but fuck you – ‘best’ is both a loaded and subjective term.  Few albums have sparked the conversation this album has this year.  How many times have YOU bitched about the autotune?

9. Sigur Ros – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

8. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

7. Portishead – Third

6. M83 – Saturdays=Youth

5. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

Few albums have shaped pop and electronic this year as much as MGMT’s first major studio album.  For me it embodies much of the moment in electronic music right now, including its popularization in North America, and the blending of genres.  Kids is going to be a classic track, and Time to Pretend is addictive.

4. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours

Cut Copy really paved the way for a lot of artists with their prior album Bright Like Neon Love.  Their new album is an improvement on that success, using the fashionably popular blending of styles, including 80s dance, house, and a sort of 60s folky-psych sound.

3. Girl Talk – Feed the Animals (you choose your price!)

If it hasn’t become obvious that the popular style in 2008 was the blending of styles and genres, this album clarifies.  Greg Gillis’ album showcases his vast knowledge of hip-hop, funk, rock, and electronic and blends more styles and genres than probably have ever been (successfully) blended – it uses at least 200 samples from what I can tell, though it is no doubt much higher than I think.  This album is AWESOME.

2. Santogold – Santogold

What a release for Santogold – her debut has gotten wide critical acclaim and has launched her in to collaborations with the best producers in the world.  What’s more, her interesting vocally driven tracks are incredibly remixable, and will without a doubt be popping up in new forms on the internet for months to come.

1. Sam Sparro – Sam Sparro

Sam Sparro’s eponymous debut is our album of the year for a few reasons.  I’d like to say that it wasn’t totally because of the mega-hit Black and Gold (and it’s not), but it certainly didn’t hurt.  There are few tracks I enjoyed this year as much as this one.  Aside from other hits Too Many Questions and 21st Century Life, the album is overall just plain enjoyable and listenable from front to back.  It is a masterful blend of funk, electro, and 80s dance that is unique and compelling to listen to.

[audio:Kanye West – Welcome To Heartbreak Ft. Kid Cudi.mp3,Sigur Ros – Gobbledigook.mp3,Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma.mp3,Portishead – Magic Doors.mp3,M83 – Graveyard Girl.mp3,MGMT – Kids.mp3,Cut Copy – Hearts On Fire.mp3,Girl Talk – Set it Off.mp3,Santogold – Creator (vs. Switch And Freq Nasty).mp3,Sam Sparro – Black And Gold.mp3]

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