My Favorite Albums of 2008


Passing the torch: The New French Funk.

Don’t look to me to identify trends or propagate cultural narratives. Aside from the hammiest fists (Young Jeezy’s The Recession), I see no link between, say, Crystal Castles’ fractured electro and our ‘fractured’ economy. Just because something sounds angry doesn’t mean it’s angry at the state of things, or nostalgic because it’s nostalgic for better times.

I just like to listen to music, lots of it (about 70 new albums and 700+ tracks this year), and then classify it, not to propose some objective measure of quality, of course, but to give the reader—who, in general, I hope, listens to less music than I do (and less neurotically)—in the face of an overwhelming amount of media, a sort of triage according to which he or she can fashion his or her listening habits, provided that he or she respects my taste. And if he or she reads my blog, don’t think that I’m presumptuous for, um, presuming so.

As usual, don’t be offended if I can’t stand your favorite band. Some just rub me the wrong way. I don’t like TV on the Radio’s po-faced self-importance or ‘urban electicism’ (although I love Vampire Weekend’s urbane electicism) and I don’t like bleating (Wolf Parade), banshee-like (Fucked Up) vocals. (The latter is a pity; an instrumental version of the album would be great!)  I’ve listened to Bon Iver several times and I can’t remember a single song on it. I don’t know why I dislike MGMT; maybe I’m too big a fan of Midnight Vultures-era Beck.

In the spirit of transparency, I’ve listed not just my favorite albums, but every album I heard this year (and I listened in full at least twice to the ones that appear here, no matter how painful it was). I considered commenting on each one, but other, better writers have already done so on other, better written sites. I’m not someone who condemns writing about music (much less dancing about architecture), but nothing I could say would be too edifying.

The categories generally indicate that I didn’t find much of interest to me (Constellation), that there were a few appealing aspects but its overall effect was less than transcendent (Bronze), that it was a pretty damn good album that I can really get behind (Silver) but lacking in that special something that would put it among my favorite albums of the year (Gold). I’ve left off my list of re-issues, but I highly recommend the Dennis Wilson album and demos, the Steinski retrospective, and the totally awesome Big Star & co. collection, Thank You, Friends.

Here’s a mix for you! If you missed my first report on the music I liked in 2008, you can download Vol. 1 of the KLB’s 2008 Mix here. Make sure you honor the sequencing (which you can see after the proverbial jump in the comments section).

Download KLB’s 2008 Mix, Vol. 2

* * *


Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago
Fuck Buttons, Street Horrssing
Fucked Up, Chemistry of Common Life
Magnetic Fields, Distortion
MGMT, Oracular Spectactular
Ponytail, Ice Cream Spiritual
Shearwater, Rook
The Very Best, Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit are the Very Best
Wolf Parade, At Mount Zoomer
TV on the Radio, Dear Science


Alex Moulton, Exodus
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Lie Down in the Light
Cut Copy, In Ghost Colors
Deerhoof, Offend Maggie
Department of Eagles, In Ear Park
The Dodos, Visiter
Dominique Leone, Dominique Leone
Erykah Badu, New Amerykah: Part One
El Guincho, Alegranza
The Fall, Imperial Wax Solvent
Fennesz, Black Sea
Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP
Hercules & Love Affair, Hercules & Love Affair
Lil’ Wayne, Tha Carter III
Lykke Li, Lykke Li
Nick Cave, Dig Lazarus Dig!
Nomo, Ghost Rock
Pattern is Movement, All Together
Quiet Village, Silent Movie
Santogold, Santogold
Spiritualized, Songs in A & E
Times New Viking, Rip It Off
Vivian Girls, Vivian Girls
White Denim, Exposion
Young Jeezy, The Recession


Black Mountain, In the Future
The Bug, London Zoo
Diplo & Santogold, Top Ranking
DJ/Rupture, Uproot
Final Fantasy, Plays to Please/Spectrum, 14th Century EPs
Grouper, Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill
High Places, High Places
Hot Chip, Made in the Dark
Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak [Laure’s least favorite album of the year]
Kelley Polar, I Need You to Hold On…
M83, Saturdays = Youth
Matmos, Supreme Balloon
No Age, Nouns
Paavoharju, Laulu Laakson Kukista
Philip Jeck, Sand
Portishead, Third
Sorcerer, White Magic
Stereolab, Chemical Chords
The Walkmen, You & Me


Animal Collective, Water Curses EP
Atlas Sound, Let the Blind Lead…/Orange Ohms Glow EP
Beach House, Devotion
Boris, Smile
Crystal Castles, Crystal Castles
Crystal Stilts, Alight of Night
D. Lissvik, 7trx + Intermission
Deerhunter, Microcastle/New Weird Era
Dungen, 4
The Hospitals, Hairdryer Peace
Lindstrøm, Where You Go I Go Too
Little Joy, Little Joy
Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
Sebastien Tellier, Sexuality
Studio, Yearbook 2
Windsurf, Windsurf EP

Runner-up: Air France, No Way Down EP

Album of the Year: Gang Gang Dance, Saint Dymphna

* * *


~ by ohkrapp on February 18, 2009.

2 Responses to “My Favorite Albums of 2008”

  1. tracklist:

    kelley polar ‘a feeling of the all-thing’
    vivian girls ‘such a joke’
    santogold ‘lights out’
    little joy ‘with strangers’
    gang gang dance ‘vacuum’
    alex moulton ‘l’arc en ciel’
    the hospitals ‘getting out of bed’
    deerhunter ‘agoraphobia’
    dungen ‘maleras finest’
    gang gang dance ‘house jam’
    grouper ‘heavy water/i’d rather be sleeping’
    dominique leone ‘conversational’
    atlas sound, ‘valley of the saroos’
    crystal stilts ‘the city in the sea’

  2. The Walkmen, You & Me


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