December 15, 2008

Top 35 Albums from 2008

Here are the results of the 2008 Quickcrit Survey. The survey asked contributors, readers, and friends to list:

• up to 10 favorite albums from 2008
• up to 5 favorite songs from 2008
• up to 5 favorite albums released before 2008
• their favorite concert
• and their biggest disappointment

115 different albums made at least one person's list. These are the top 35 albums, all chosen by at least two people. 21 of those were reviewed earlier this year. The rest of our favorite albums will be posted tomorrow, followed by our favorite singles, non-2008 albums, and concerts later this week.

Thanks to everyone who participated.
  1. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
    “Check out the singles ‘Flume’ and ‘Skinny Love’.” -April
    “Precious.” - HotCatato
    “Another surprising album. In a year where many hours were filled with reading and library time, ‘For Emma’ and I built an extremely intimate relationship from early in the year to date.” -Nightrain
    “Reserved for after sunset or the coveted Sunday afternoon playtimes.” - Tex
    “Good for moping about the house, feeling bittersweet and introspective.” -Thecranewife

  2. Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight
    I really had to consciously make myself stop listening to this record for fear that I would ruin it for myself. ‘Head Rolls Off’ is so damn good...” -ancientindianwizard
    “This album stands alone at the top for me this year. There is a lot to like: the accents, the strummy guitar, the impassioned lyrics, and the imperfect, yet honest & heartfelt vocals. This is an album for all moods, and certainly one that rises above the other offering of 2008 for its vigor and passion. Bravo!” -Nightrain
    “This album is sweaty and honest. This band has a music video with little kids dancing. This band is Scottish.” -Thecranewife
    “Nightrain suggested this CD on quickcrit and it quickly became one my favorite albums to listen to at work.” -ve1cro

  3. Sigur Rós- Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
    “My sleepytime album of the year. A track called ‘Gobbledigook"’? Awesome!” -ancientindianwizard
    “Saw this Icelandic band at the Greek Theater in about acid flashbacks.” -April
    “I had to copy and paste the album title. Doesn't matter if I don't understand what they're saying, still a wonderful album.” -HotCatato
    “It's Sigur Rós, you either love it or you don't, is how I feel. Plus, a video with nakey people running about the forest.” -Thecranewife

  4. TV On The Radio - Dear Science
    “I think they are just getting better, or maybe just poppier.” -awmercy
    “Awesome. No need to discuss this further. Still sour about missing their live show, though. Hmph.” -Mona
    “Funky, buzzing, body-moving catchiness that is expected of these Brooklyn-based artistes.” -Nightrain
    “I want to like them more than I do BUT they do make great videos and that sold me...” -Rain
    “While not my favorite of their albums, (Return to Cookie Mountain changed everything for me a few years back), the third full length from TOTR was nonetheless a well done, much anticipated release. I have a crush on these guys.” -Tex

  5. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
    “Saw them twice this year, the first time was an insane show at The Avalon, then they closed out the Rock and Roll Means Well Tour at The Wiltern, not as good as the Stay Positive show, but the DBT/THS jam at the end was fuckin' sick.” -Doctor Diggs
    “A great album to accompany this past summer!” -Jennifer
    “Fuck yeah! That is all I have to say about that.” -Nightrain

  6. Kings Of Leon - Only By The Night
    “‘Closer’ rules.” -April
    “Always solid, the Kings of Leon deliver perhaps their best album to date. They cannot be denied!” -Nightrain
    “Awesome band, solid album.” -sandenuts

  7. Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
    “Party jams to the max. This guy ripped my LastFM top artists a new one, quickly climbing the charts with no end in sight. This music is like crack, except it's the opposite of whack. As in, it's good.” -Mona
    “Keep the dance party going!” -Rain
    “I know I've found a great album when it makes me consider taking drugs for the sole purpose of listening to it on drugs.” -Tex

  8. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
    “If you are on the fence, see them live.” -awmercy
    “According to iTunes, I only bought 11 albums that were released in 2008. This is the one I've listened to the least -- other than No. 11 which was the new NIN album, which is "meh" -- and I can't say I've liked anything I've heard a lot. Still, it's decent and therefore good enough for me to list, I guess.” -Jeremiah

  9. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins
    “Hearing Will Sheff explain the story behind "Starry Stairs", which consequentially is related to "Savannah Smiles" from the Stage Names, really changed my world. I was both excited and completely depressed at the same time. I sat in the dark and listened to both songs several times. Heavy times. Great album. "On Tour With Zykos" is great too.. One drunken night I made a great comparrision (in my head) of Okkervil River to John Steinbeck. I'm still backing that.” -ancientindianwizard
    “The soundtrack to my South American adventure this summer.” -HotCatato
    “If I had gotten to these guys in time, the last album would have made the list last year certainly. Hard not to get swept up with the rises and falls of these songs.” -Jeremy

  10. Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
    “An acquired taste.” -Ari
    “Consistent mid-tempo country rockers are the best vehicle for Berman's witty observations and off-kilter narratives, and this album's full of 'em. With wife Cassie Berman also front and center, they put on the show of my year anyway.” -Jeremy

  11. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash
    “Great guitar work on this one.” -Ari
    “Amazing. Never gets old.” -Jennifer

  12. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
    “I'm waiting for the theatrical rendition.” -Ernesto
    “This was a given, considering I saw them live 3 times this year and hung out with them at their last show. Drunken fools, but brilliant musicians. I highly anticipate their newest LP... whenever that will be. Sigh.” -Mona

  13. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
    “"Who gives a fuck about an oxford comma?" Time to break out Struck & White.” -awmercy
    “I really liked their stuff when I first heard it and this could end up being one of the albums that sticks with me through the years, but my instant smittenness wore off after a few listens.” -Jeremiah
    “Fun indie pop. Easy on the ears. Feel-good music.” -Mona

  14. The Envy Corps - Dwell
    “I told ya'll when I review this album it would be on year end list. Love these dudes.” -ancientindianwizard
    “Numerous mornings, I have woken up humming their songs. The entire album is a real treat - excellent recommendation AIW!” -ve1cro

  15. Walkmen - You And Me
    “Killer new album.” -April
    “If you don't listen to the walkmen you should start right now.” -Ari

  16. David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
    “I think I may have said this in my review but this album feels like an old friend.” -ancientindianwizard
    “This is what you've been waiting for from byrne and Eno.” -Ari
    “David Byrne is a total f*#cking genius, and Brian Eno isn't too shabby. This album is fabulous and absurd, and keeps Eno's weirdy electronica in check.” -Thecranewife

  17. Radiohead - In Rainbows
    “Saw Radiohead on my 30th B-day at the Outside Lands Festival.” -April
    “Weird and good as usual.” -Ari

  18. The Black Keys - Attack & Release
    “The Black Keys are so consistent that it is not surprising that this album rocks. They slow it down a bit on some track and even that works really well. The dynamic duo strikes again.” -Nightrain
    “What can you say about the boys from Ohio? Fucking talented.” -sandenuts

  19. The Streets - Everything Is Borrowed
    “By now I'm such a Mike Skinner fan it's ridiculous. While some might not be as into him getting all introspective I can't get enough of it.“ -ancientindianwizard
    “A thoughtful and rather existential album. The title track gets me teary.” -Thecranewife

  20. Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Lie Down In The Light
    “Yeah, it's beard-o folkcore but it still can turn that frown upside down.” -Rain
    “A great upswing for Will Oldham. Also, His was one of the most enjoyable acts at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park this year. It certainly didn't hurt that his crew handed out Kazoos to the crowd that said ‘Bonnie Prince Billie -- Blow Me.’ It is one of the great regrets in my life that I didn't obtain one of those.” -Tex

  21. The Heavy - Great Vengeance And Furious Fire
    “This was certainly the surprise and a top recommendation of the year. Thanks Nuts for the stripclub-soul!” -Nightrain
    “Stand out tracks, great breakout album, can't wait to see what comes next from them...” -sandenuts

  22. Erika Badu - New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War
    “This is one bad ass lady.” -April
    “Interesting bits, tight arrangements. Well done overall.” -Kevin

  23. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III
    “Good stuff, usually don’t like his stuff but came good this time.” -David
    “It's no Da Drought III, but its Lil Wayne so I like it.” -HotCatato

  24. Portishead - Third
    “Saw Portishead live in Florence, Italy in April. OMG.” -April
    “Never saw this album coming and it was a pleasant surprise.” -Rain

  25. Santogold - Santogold
    “Amazing creativity, style for days.” -sandenuts

  26. Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
    Funnest album.” -HotCatato

  27. Islands - Arm's Way
    “Very weird. Very catchy.” -HotCatato

  28. Sun Kil Moon - April
    “I only wish I was unhappier so that i could really throw myself into this album.” -Rain
    “A wonderful album to fall asleep to at night. Honestly, I don't think that I have ever made it to the end of the CD!” -ve1cro

  29. James Hunter - The Hard Way
    “I've got to thank NPR for turning me on to this record. A great album for lazing around the house on a Saturday morning.” -ancientindianwizard
    “Just a sucker for good old rock and roll and the people who do it well.” -sandenuts

  30. Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
    “Connor Oberst being anywhere near my list is amazing to me. I never was much of a Bright Eyes fan but this album really got me. Listen to it while driving highway 1 between San Francisco and Santa Cruz.” -ancientindianwizard

  31. Destroyer - Trouble In Dreams
    “My favorite weirdo. Thanks Dan Bejar for soundtracking many of my trips down whiskey lane.” -ancientindianwizard
    “Odd. Canadian. Poignant. I like to listen to this album on the bus.” -Thecranewife

  32. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Sunday at Devil Dirt
    “I love their music as well as Lanegan's voice. It sounds a bit spooky, but in a good way. Although I found this one late in 2008, I think it will rise to the top of my 2009 playlist for sure.” -Brasilliant
    “Beauty and the Beast...” -Rain

  33. Ladytron – Velocifero
    “Same ol', same ol' 'tron.” -Ernesto
    “Hungarian chicks with a British Electro Pop sound? I'm in.” -sandenuts

  34. Mars Volta - The Bedlam In Goliath
    “Most innovative band in 08'.”-sandenuts

  35. The Raconteurs - Consolers Of The Lonely
    “A very entertaining album with all sorts of things going on. An album that I continue to revisit and enjoy.” -Nightrain

Next up: The rest of the best albums from 2008.


ancientindianwizard said...

wow! so f'ing rad.. I'm really excited to go through and get some new music and re-try some albums that I didn't give a fair shake. Sweet work on incorporating the comments! This list is just as eclectic and exciting as I'd hoped it'd be!

awmercy said...

I definitely went back and revisited the top 3, which I hadn't listened to all that much. My love of Frightened Rabbit continues to grow.

Just wait until you see tomorrow's list. It catches just about every other cool album.

ve1cro said...

Reading this has been the highlight of my day. It's so much fun. Thanks and well done!

Thecranewife said...

Yes! And, I can't believe I forgot to add Girl Talk to my list!

awmercy said...

Man, are we the only place that treated MGMT as a 2007 release? I was just comparing our Top 35 to some other lists and bunch have it listed. I swear it was released last year.

sandenuts said...

Wow, this list fucking awesome! I can't wait to check out these bands. And I must say, seeing some other best of the year lists, in comparison, Quickcrit's is the best.

awmercy said...

Whittling it down to 10 albums was rough. At least most of the albums that almost made my final cut ended up on someone else's list.

Nightrain said...

"Oracular Spectacular" is the first major label studio album by Brooklyn based indie rock band MGMT, released digitally October 2, 2007 on Columbia Records.

Does anyone still really care about anything other than the digital release? Not me.