Lists, lists, lists. Seems like everyone and their brother make an end-of-the-year best-of list. Well I'm no different. BUT instead of falling into the hype of who critics say was the best, I am making a list of the albums I actually bought this year. Because if an album was supposedly so great, then I would have bought it and enjoyed it. So here you go, the best 10 of 2008 that you can actually listen to.
10-The Bird and the Bee Sides- Relient K
Relient K has been regrouping after losing a member and has come out of it even better than before. This album is two in one; it has a lot of demos, b sides, and other rarities, which aren't really that great. BUT the new stuff called The Tennis EP is Relient K at a whole new level. They embrace a little southern twang in their sound with banjos sprinkled throughout Where Do I Go From Here, and let everyone have their turn taking lead vocals to some surprising results, such as the rollicking The Last, The Lost, The Least. Relient K- Myspace
9-Viva La Vida- Coldplay
I did not enjoy Coldplay's last album X&Y. It was too much of the same. I was hesitant to pick up Viva La Vida, but after hearing the epic nature of the title track, the pounding Violet Hill, and the very melodic Strawberry Swing, I knew this wasn't the same Coldplay. Sure it is still piano driven music, but Chris Martin's delivery is lower and even the instrumental Life in Technicolor is mesmerizing. It lands at number 9 on my list because the album is very uneven. But the good outweighs the bad.
That album cover could have been enough to drive me away, but I'm glad it didn't. While the songs are very hit and miss, when Weezer is on their game, you get epic songs like Dreamin', which changes tempo and even has birds chirping on it. Sure Pork and Beans was classic Weezer, but what we haven't come to expect from Rivers and the guys is a change in song structure. The Greatest Man That Ever Lived not only has different song structure but has every single music genre included in it. A great album that shows some real growth. Weezer- Myspace
Dubbed as her most personal yet, Sheryl Crow shines on the bouyant Love Is Free. She tackles everything from the price of gas, to the war in Iraq, to her newly adopted son, and her break up with Lance Armstrong. Each song has a great hook and meaningful lyrics to back it up. A solid effort from an artist who put out the most relevant album of the year. Sheryl Crow- Myspace
6-Vampire Weekend-Vampire Weekend
A very different sounding band that mixes African drum beats and reggae into a pop/rock sound that was made for lazy days. A Punk is one of the best songs to come around in years. Vampire Weekend gets style points for finding the perfect sound to accompany you at the beach. Vampire Weekend-Myspace
He may get no respect because of his 90's rep, but Gavin Rossdale knows his way around a hook. Wanderlust is filled with straight forward rock and he is not apologizing for it. There are the required ballads but these are not sugary or sappy in any way. On the track Frontline, Gavin wonders why he is still living his rock lifestyle on the road with a wife and kid at home. Excellent album for someone who's more famous for his wife than his music. Gavin Rossdale- Myspace
4-Pretty.Odd.- Panic At the Disco
Who knew dropping the '!' from their name would cause such an uproar. But if that is what it took to get Panic to refine their sound, then it was worth it. Pretty.Odd. is filled with catchy songs from beginning to end. Here they sound like they have finally discovered The Beatles, and are showing their influences in their music. They go from kooky circus music, to folk, to pop, and back again, all the while proving it doesn't matter if you left out the excitement from your name. Panic At the Disco- Myspace
3-Dig Out Your Soul-Oasis
Who still cares about Oasis? After Wonderwall didn't they break up? Well, I still care and no they didn't. Dig finds Oasis getting their swagger back with their best album since What's the Story (Morning Glory)? First single The Shock of the Lightning, proves that they are ready to take America radio back, if only we would let them.
2-Whisper War- The Cab
Never has an album been so great from the first song to the last. I mean it, every song has a killer hook, interesting arrangements, and great lyrics. Now don't get me wrong, this is very much a pop/rock album and band. They understand that songs at their very heart must have a great melody. And you get that with The Cab in spades.
The Cab- Myspace
1-Only By the Night-Kings of Leon
I've always liked some of their songs, but never an entire album. The Kings finally got it right when they backed away from the sloppy playing and singing and accepted who they were. With Only By The Night, the Followill boys achieve a zenith in music- great melodies, interesting vocals, solid songwriting, and accessibility. Kings of Leon are reaching for the back of the stadium and beyond on soaring tracks like Sex On Fire and Use Somebody with the latter finding them at their most vulnerable. The best album of 2008. Kings Of Leon- Myspace