Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Best of the Year 2008: Albums

Annually reviews some pop culture and ranks a best in categories like film, music and television. This year is expanded to include critiques. This.... is.... 2008!

The notion of an "album" is to make something bigger than just a group of songs--"the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts". And although some may think the album is a dead format, it isn't. It's not going to disappear. I can walk over and touch my albums, because they do exist. Hell, vinyl still exists. There's not much more intimate a thing to do than listen to a weird non-single by a band.

MGMT: Oracular Spectacular
"Time to Pretend" is an anthem for all those people who ignore the politics and the tragedy of being American, and instead look to the horizon with a positive vibe. Just watch their music videos if you're depressed. "Kids" reminds me of children's programming from the 70s, where utopian life once existed.

Guns N' Roses: Chinese Democracy
I had to include this for fear of the wrath of Axl. Who knew that a band without Slash, Duff, Izzy and Matt Sorum had legs...

Nine Inch Nails: The Slip
Although a booming intro and a radio-friendly middle give this release a name, the soul of the album really exists in the latter tracks. "Lights in the Sky" and "The Four of Us Are Dying" break new ground for a 20-year career of big beats mixed with piano tinklings. Every Halo that Reznor puts out is worth its weight in gold. Ghosts I-IV is the only real exception to the rule.

***** 2008 BEST ALBUM *****
TV on the Radio: Dear Science,
It's energetic but at the same time soothing to hear while in a bathtub. Every track could be a single on the college radio, and yet they all seem to blend together. I can't really describe the sound of the album.


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