Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Music highlights of the year

The best songs (and albums) of 2008:
  • Coldplay - 42 (epic haunting track), Yes (love the low tone vocal), Viva la Vida (track of the year) and Death and all his Friends (best rhythm riff of the year), album of the year and the best band in the world today
  • Kaiser Chiefs - Never Miss a Beat, best catchy song, incl. best lyric "what do you want for tea ? I want crisps", plus best small club concert
  • Oasis - The Shock of the Lightning, still cheeky and still rocking, now with psychedelic backdrop
  • The Fratellis - Tell Me a Lie, many fab tracks on the album, top band I still want to see live
  • Glasvegas - Geraldine, you can feel the angst on the Scots' guitar strings
  • The Dears - Crisis 1 & 2, dark and moody layers from Montreal, perhaps summing up the somber moods of 2008
  • Beth Rowley - Sweet Hours, simply a beautiful voice
  • Duffy - Warwick Avenue, tough job selecting just one track off this fantastic album, sadly, the wee gal isn't so engaging live
  • TV on the Radio - Shout me Out, complex sounds massively varied across tracks and album
  • Kings of Leon - Crawl (best guitar riff of the year - even versus AC/DC), wonderful, mature 3rd album from Tennessee boys, I'm converted and sold, hallelujah
  • AC/DC - Rocking all the Way, the list really wouldn't be complete without wee Angus
  • The Heavy - Our Special Place, eclectic album, better beats than sound-a-like Gnarls B
  • The Streets - I Love You More (Than you Like Me), Brit rap joy, album also includes must-mention clap along track Heaven for the Weather
  • The Killers - Human, quirky pop brilliance, looking forward to the big show in January
  • Neil Diamond - The Power of Two, heart felt lyrics beautifully produced from old timer
  • Jason Mraz - Lucky, super sappy duet with beach girl Colbie C
  • Elbow - On a Day Like This (anthem of the year), pastoral, emotional with strings
  • MGMT - Time to Pretend - thank you Strombo for the early tip
  • Black Mountain - Queens will Play, retro rock done right by Vancouver scruffs
  • Morcheeba - Thumbnails, deep late night instrumental electronica
  • Thievery Corporation - Hare Krsna, surprise new inventive exotic grooves from one of my early electronica faves, looking forward to seeing them live in February
  • The Kooks - Do you Wanna, sing it loud, straight up pop Rock
  • The Last Shadow Puppets - My Mistakes Were Made for You, keeping Monkey fans happy with superb Turner lyrics
  • Razorlight - Wire to Wire, passionate sounds from the rocking lads
  • Travis - Chinese Blues, the album is still growing on me, great come-back-from-the-dead rich sounds
  • Vampire Weekend - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, last minute addition - rating and classification not quite dry, tip from my bro and making a few critic best ofs, punchy indy tracks with weird hint of Paul Simon.
I started making the list thinking 2008 was just an average music year, but now having sampled all the tracks above again, I have to say 2008 was a fantastic year for new music.

As most of you know I'm a big Brit music fan, but surprisingly a quick tally across the globe shows a healthy 11 of the 26 artists coming from North America.

Some one-hit wonders of 2008:

  • Ray Lamontagne - You Are the Best Thing, I love horns and a rough voice, may be more goodies on the CD, but this track is standout
  • Black Kids - Hurricane Jane, gentle sounds with urban feel
  • Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet about me, fantastic musical and vocal trip from a very young lady
  • Sonya Kitchell - Here to There, beautiful Canadian voice rolled into a landscape piece
  • Usher - What's your Name, guilty hip hop pop find from Victoria Secret show
Old stuff rediscovered and/or triggered by new releases:
  • Joy Division - Atmosphere, early new wave beats with ill-fated lyrics
  • Primal Scream - Some Velvet Morning, one of my favourite dance tracks but the Kate Moss vocals wasn't the kicker
  • Brazilian Girls - Don't Stop, very catchy and toe tappin' tease
  • The Wombats - Moving to New York, original version plus Paul Van Dyck Remix, nice find of missed hipsters of 2007
  • Susan Tedeschi - Share Your Love with Me, you gotta have some lady blues in your mix
  • The Dears - Lost in the Plot (best old track discovery), no that's not Morrissey singing
  • Just Jack - Life Stories, great Brit hip hop chappy pop grooves
Concert highlights:
  • Oasis (Virgin Festival) - lived up to the reputation and hype and then some
  • Kaiser Chiefs (Mod Club) - lots of bawdy fun and bouncin', almost helped surf Ricky over to the bar
  • Coldplay (Air Canada Centre) - magnificent show, energy, lighting and a lively crowd
  • Morcheba (Opera House) - groovy scene showing class electronica performance with lots of guitars
  • The Kooks (Mod Club) - always lots of fun, even with a broken ankle
  • Duffy (Mod Club) - clean sounds from the tiny Welsh chantreuse, but I found her stage presence a little uncomfortable - still on the list because she just sounds fantastic
  • John Mayer (Molson Amphitheatre) - for saying we were seated way back, the sound and performance was top notch
Apologies for the no-link post, but it would have taken me just too long to put it all together and I wanted to complete while I was in the groove. But you can listen to many of the tracks and artists on my latest Finetune playlist 2008 Big Update.


Carolyn said...

Neil Diamond? Do you have a substitute/guest writer sitting in for you today? Not a name I ever would have expected to see on your list.

How's the MacBook working out?

PJMixer said...

I really liked his early stuff and his more recent albums, plus his voice instantly takes me back to Singapore in 1975. Music triggered memories are always solid.

Mac is coming along, taking a little while to negotiate some basic navigation stuff and file management but progressing nicely.

PJMixer said...

Just coming out of the Christmas fog and beginning to realize I've missed a few...

The Courteeners - brilliant album with the beautiful ballad "Please Don't". Inexcusable missing this one.

Goldfrapp - nice warm vocals nestled in some interesting grooves.

Serena Ryder - I find her voice a little gritty, but I like the songwriting and earthy sound.

I'm sure there will be a few more still to come.

Suze20TO said...

I was waiting for you to add what you missed...can't believe you initially forgot The Courteeners. Did you forget another little Brit band that was voted #1 album and #1 track by Q Readers?
Actually, I'm glad you don't like it as so many of my faves are on your list...if you had it, it would almost make my list unecessary...almost!

PJMixer said...

Last update on the list I promise...

Adele - I'd forgotten her album was a 2008 release, love her voice

Brand new additions from 2008 albums I missed first time around:
Estelle - just downloading 10 of the 12 tracks today from her last album, love the Brit accented street sounds; Ladyhawke - (re)newed wave, fem style

Psychedelic new beautiful hippy fair weather melodic sounds: Fleet Foxes, The Accidental and Jim Noir

Moby - interesting urban beats and samples, club vibe.