Best-of lists are all the rage in December (and annoyingly, now November as well) and all Paxites (in addition to some dude I don’t know) beat me to the punch in posting their lists. A multi-part best songs series, while fun, would just be redundant, so I’ll spare you and focus on things that Pax, Perry, FA, and the good doc missed or undersold, along with my own lists at the end, for posterity’s sake.
Without further ado, the best things in music in 2008, according to the Padre and his gaggle of female admirers (who shamelessly do what I say).
Lil Wayne’s lyricism. Pax didn’t give him enough due, and though the album was crazy-hyped, I feel like people are forgetting about it on their year-end lists. It’s Tha Carter III, bitch.
Weazy F. Baby, Esq.
Initially, I was going to make a gigantic list of the best lines on the album, but I realized that the list would have about 100 selections, and that most of them don’t translate well to print because the charm is in the way Weazy morphs his voice around the words. My favorite one lately has been in “Phone Home”:
Like Mr. Clean with hair
No break lights on my car-eer
I never had life and I never had fear
I rap like I’d have died and gone to heaven I swear
And yeah-r I’m a bear
Like black and white hair
So I’m polar
And they can’t get on my system cause my system is the solar
I am so far from the o-thers I mean others
I done eat them for supper get in my spaceship and hover
I love it. And I think it’s a “Lost” reference, which is fantastic.
You can look all you want, but Lil Wayne is far from y’all
The Dodos’ tuning. The songs on The Dodos’ album Visiter all have a crazy vibe and sort-of tribal drumming, but the album gets its charm from being a collection of oddly-tuned guitars and patterns. For instance, the best track, “Joe’s Waltz,” sounds a bit John Mayer-y through the first few strums, until the semi-tuneful piano keys and odd background harmonies twist it into something else. The whole album is pretty imaginative, and the songs often go off into odd directions while not sounding hacky.
Jay Bennett’s resurrection. I’m just happy he didn’t kill himself after being kicked out of the best band in the world.
Late 2007 discoveries: The Avett Brothers and Joe Purdy. Major hat tip to Pax. I listened to this album for a good portion of the spring, giving me a late start to ’08. Well worth it — I still can’t get enough of these guys. Another friend tipped me off to Purdy, who’s most famous for the “Just Can’t Get it Right Today” song you heard in that gas commercial. He’s awesome.
Zooey Deschanel’s angelic ascent into my life. I’ve looked into this, and as it turns out, you cannot in fact make love to someone’s voice. I have MIT working on it though.
Shameless Zooey photo
Coldplay’s return to semi-goodness. Coldplay became an A-Rod-like battering ram from hipsters and even fairly mainstream music fans. I don’t know how people suddenly decide that someone sucks, but everyone collectively decided after A Rush of Blood to the Head (which has a bunch of great songs) that they had sold out or something. Um, it’s Coldplay. They’re an anthemic U2ish band. They were never anything else — there were plenty of soaring choruses on Parachutes. Anyway, after X&Y‘s bullshittery, their album this year was a nice return, and the producer change was much-needed. Lots of reviewers said the U2 homage was too close, and maybe it was, or maybe the reviewers are miserable douchebags. Either way, Viva La Vida was a surprisingly pleasant listen. It’s not great, but it’s digestable.
I’m an optimistic person, but I have a few things that need to have expletives thrown their way:
808s and Heartbreak. Fuck you, dickwad. Autotune can suck my balls, and if you don’t start rapping again I’m going to set your face so that you can make “Through the Wire II”, except at the end of it your throat explodes and we never have to hear you again.
My Morning Jacket. Yes, the band, not the album. Why? Because I think they suck now. I’m starting to doubt that I ever actually liked them. Jim James sucks. Pax correctly pointed out that he just flat can’t sing. I loved seeing them live, but I can’t listen to the recording of it. Evil Urges opened my eyes. Maybe I should be happy about it.
“Guys, my mic is off…did you accidentally unplug it? Guys? Guys?”
The radio. I’m not one of these people who is too good for the radio. 2007 was a great radio year. I listened to our generic pop station and generic rap station for lots of my commutes and was pretty happy most of the time. This year? Other than Lil Wayne (who was conveniently on 94.5 every 15 minutes when Tha Carter III was released) and one TI single, I’m not sure I liked anything else that got radio play.
Unreleased Wilco tracks. Please God don’t let them head down this path any longer.
“Magick”. Dear Ryan, you will never recreate the unabashed awesomeness of “Halloweenhead.” Please don’t try. And everytime I listen to this song I get Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” in my head because of the Turn the radio on/turn the radio up part. And that’s a better song. Love, Padre.
Alright, with all that out of the way, let’s go to the songs and albums list. There’s tons of overlap because, as mentioned, the radio was weak. I didn’t get as much greatness out of Paste samplers either, so I wound up loving a handful of albums and their best songs. As with last year, I’m just going with arbitrary numbers that reflect the songs that meant the most to me, condensing to leave out some big-time albums (if I did a top 50, you’d see most of Volume One and Tha Carter III, which is boring.
TOP 28 SONGS
28. Romantica — The National Side
27. Coldplay — Lost! [update: ht/ FA]
26. TI — Whatever You Like
25. Jay Bennett — Hank
24. Blue Giant — Target Heart
23. Ra Ra Riot — Each Year
22. Backyard Tire Fire — The Places We Lived
21. Okkervil River — Lost Coastlines
20. Sigur Ros — Festival
19. Langhorne Slim — Rebel Side of Heaven
18. The Dodos — Fools
17. Dr. Dog — The Breeze
16. Albert Hammond, Jr. — GfC
15. Ryan Adams — Sink Ships
14. Conor Oberst — Danny Callahan
13. Lil Wayne — Mr. Carter
12. The Dodos — God?
11. Conor Oberst — Get-Well-Cards
10. De Novo Dahl — Shout
9. Dr. Dog — From
8. The Dodos — Joe’s Waltz
7. Bon Iver — Re: Stacks
6. Lil Wayne — 3Peat
5. The Wood Brothers — Lovin’ Arms
4. She & Him — Black Hole
3. Bon Iver — Skinny Love
2. She & Him — Sweet Darlin’
1. Lil Wayne — A Milli
TOP 6 ALBUMS
6. Conor Oberst — Conor Oberst
5. The Dodos — Visiter
4. Dr. Dog — Fate
3. Bon Iver — For Emma, Forever Ago
2. Lil Wayne — Tha Carter III
1. She & Him — Volume One