I did it in 2004
It’s that time of the year again.
My Top 5 10 Albums of 2008!
I have decided that picking 5 this year was just too hard, so here’s 10 of my fav’s!
It’s been another great year of music. From the Electronic goodness of Cut Copy and MGMT to the Rockelicious licks of The Living End and Cog, I feel that 2008 is probably going to be remembered for the domination of a little Sydney duo called The Presets.
They played in Washington DC a couple of times when I was over there and I didn’t ever catch them. I am regretting that now as they have become one of the biggest Aussie bands in ages.
2008 will probably also go down as the year that the ‘new’ Guns ‘n Roses album Chinese Democracy somehow finally got made, and then Axl Rose went missing. (Yes I bought it. How could I not??)
As far as touring bands went, my favourite gig of the year would have had to be seeing Rage Against the Machine at the Big Day Out in January. Just amazing to finally see them live after falling for them in my impressionable teens, and getting a potty mouth in the process.
So here it is, my 10 favourite albums of the year and why!
10. Gyroscope – Breed Obsession
This 11 year old Perth band blasted through the gates at the beginning of this year with Snakeskin which was actually in last years Hottest 100. I love their live show, which I have seen twice this year. My favourite on the album has to be All In On One which has a great hook and made me listen to the rest of their album. Unfortunately I have a feeling this album will be hard to top after it’s taken them a few tries to get this far, but here’s hoping they can stick around a while yet. I think they just have to stop taking themselves quite so serious as well. Lighten up fella’s!
9. Metallica – Death Magnetic
New albums from Metallica and Guns n’ Roses in the same year? What, are we back in 1991? Anticipation for the new Metallica release was probably just as big as the gunners hype, but the end result was worth the wait for these ageing rockers. The Day That Never Comes was the fist single I heard of this album and it’s 8 minute running time was enough to make me relax. Metallica are back. Let’s just delete Load, Reload and St. Anger from the annels of time and we have our Metallica back. There’s enough old school Metallica on this album to keep you going including All Nightmare Long, My Apocalpyse and Judas Kiss. The only song you really need to skip is Unforgiven III. What were they thinking?
8. Weezer – The Red Album
They are back! Not that they really went anywhere. Weezer just seem to pop up every year or 2 with another catchy, fun, rocking album. Troublemaker starts this album in tradition Weezer fashion. Would you call it Pop-Rock? Alt-Rock? Grunge-Rock? They have never really departed from their grungey early 90’s roots. Their roots are even documented in the cute little tune, Heart Songs.
“Back in 1991/I wasn’t havin’ any fun/Till my roommate said/Come on and put a brand new record on/Had a baby on it/He was naked on it/Then I heard the chords/That broke the chains/I had upon me”
Pork & Beans, Everybody get Dangerous. 2 more songs that really put this song in my favs of the year. Check it out. Tell me you don’t smile!
7. The Herd – Summerland
As soon as Howard and his reign of terror ended in this country I eagerly awaited the next ‘Herd’ album. Being the political beast that they are I expected something punishing and we got it with The King is Dead. That song is probably in my Top 10 of the year, but it’s not just the parochial soap-box songs (ie. 20/20) that make an impression on this album. I loved Zug Zug and Toorali. The premier Hip Hop troupe in this country keep plugging on and with the inclusion of Jane Tyrrell on vocals makes them all the stronger in my opinion.
6. Jack Johnson – Sleep Through the Static
Have you ever been lying by a pool in Mexico soaking in the ozone covered rays intoxicated with beer, tequila and sunburn whilst listening to Jack Johnson on your iPod? Well, my friend, you are missing out. There is NO better sun soaking, beer drinking, chillaxing music than our Hawaiian friend Jack Johnson and this album is no different. I love the title track, and even though a lot of his songs seem to blur into one after a while, there is a distinct feeling that this man just doesn’t give a crap. He’ll be happy to keep doing what he’s doing whilst surfing and living it up with his bucket of money in Hawaii. I mean, damn, I would.
5. Cog – Sharing Space
When I was invited to see Cog live earlier this year I wasn’t expecting a whole heap. I didn’t really know their first album that well, and I had never really thought about seeing them before. I went along not expecting too much, but I was BLOWN AWAY. I immediately got their first album, played it to death and then yearned for the new stuff. Their 2008 effort just blows their debut out of the water in my opinion, but that’s not saying their first effort wasn’t great as well. Get this. The opening song, No Other Way, goes for 10 minutes, but not once are you hoping for it to end. Then you get pelted with Are You Interested?, What If and Bird of Feather before you even get to take a breath. Man it’s good, and seriously, see them live if you can. I just hope they don’t wait another 3 years for the next one.
4. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
Electronic music was something that infiltrated my iPod a lot this year. Cut Copy is something that slithered into my head more and more as the year went on, culminating with seeing their show at Trackside last month. Heart on Fire woke me up to this album, but there are so many more great tunes that gnaw away into your head the more you listen to it. When I saw them live, I saw people with their hands up dancing away that I never thought would dance. They just get you moving like that. Unfortunately for Cut Copy, they have been in the shadow of The Presets for much of 2008, but they have combined to make this year a great one for nerdy electronic keyboardists.
3. The Living End – White Noise
The Australian music scene would have mourned the passing of this great band if they’d gone through with their splitting up before producing this album. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved every Living End album that has been made, but this one stands out above the last couple as a Rock n’ Roll masterpiece. They still have the ability to rock out with every song they write. Solid writing, amazing musicianship (Chris Cheney has been voted Australia’s best axe-man) and never taking themselves too seriously make The Living End endearing to the Australian public. White Noise has been their flagship song of 2008, but seriously Raise the Alarm and Moment in the Sun are superior songs and are probably up there with some of their debut album stuff. You’ll even hear a Billy Joel-esque ranting tune (a’la We Didn’t Start the Fire) in 21st Century. Top stuff!
2. The Presets – Apocalypso
What can be said about 2008 for The Presets. They smashed through the commercial radio and tv barrier with My People which was nowhere near their greatest song on this album. They probably even got under people’s skin with that song, but you just had to listen to This Boy’s in Love and Yippyo-ay to discover how good these guys yet. I didn’t even believe the DJ’s on JJJ when they were sucking the cocks of Julian and Kim earlier in the year, but once you put this album on repeat for a week or so you’ll figure it out. I even got my daughter singing along to them after 10 minutes in the car!
1. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
I already went on about these guys earlier in the year, but they were worthy of it. For me, 2008 was the year of MGMT. Don’t get me started on the fact I couldn’t get tickets to see them TONIGHT. *Sigh*. If you don’t know who they are, they are from New York, they fiddle on keyboards but play with a full band in concert. They have a distinctive sound that may turn you off at first, but just listen a little more. Listen to the layers and the sounds that they mix together. Listen to Time to Pretend and tell me it’s not a great song. Listen to the piercing keyboards on Kids and tell me you don’t hum that tune in your head all day. Then there’s Electric Feel which is best played in a dark room very very loud. Dang. Why didn’t I pay $150 for an ebay ticket tonight??
There you have it, my top 10 albums of 2008. Honourary mentions have to go to Josh Pyke for his new opus Chimney’s Afire, The Raconteurs (Saboteurs in Australia) for Consolers of the Lonely, The Ting Tings for We Started Nothing, The Grates for Hearts Lost, Teeth Won and the Kings of Leon for Only By the Night.
Unfortunately Chinese Democracy just misses out.
Maybe next time Axl….