20. Pink – Funhouse
Okay, so granted, it wasn’t perfect (read: Glitter In The Air was a piece of shit), but when it was good, it was REALLY good. It was a mainstream break up album, but at the same time, it felt a little more awareness and self-effacing than most of its kind.
19. Estelle – Shine
Sadly, in the wave of Brit Neo-Soul, there’s really only been one black female artist. And wouldn’t you know it, she’s also the best. And Duffy, take note: It takes a shit load of talent to sample George Michael and make it work.
18. Sam Sparro – Sam Sparro
Never heard of him? Well, that might be because Sam Sparro put out some of the (literally) gayest music of the year. Imagine The Scissor Sisters times ten. But if songs like the irresistible Black & Gold prove anything, it’s that we know how to make some bitchin’ dance tracks. And it also doesn’t hurt that he’s five kinds of sexy.
(Quick lil' aside, but I just found out that Katy Perry did a cover of Black & Gold. So to Ms. Perry, I say: I will not rest until I personally see to it that you die in a fiery car wreck. Consider this your first and only warning, whore.)
17. Sia – Some People Have Real Problems
It may be missing some of the subtlety and emotional depth of her previous work, but most of Sia’s best work can be found on this album. The lyrics may have taken a back seat, but Sia’s voice itself is fucking brilliant, and more than makes up for some of the more cringe-inducing lyrics.
16. R.E.M. – Accelerate
You would pretty much be justified in calling this a comeback album, especially after 2004’s Around The Sun, which admittedly, sucked the bag big time. Hey, Guns N’ Roses: suck on that, ya Best Buy peddlin’ a-holes!
15. Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue
Oh, how I loves me the Jenny Lewis...The Rilo Kiley frontwoman’s second solo album continues with Jenny’s signature high-brow country. Oh, and did I mention that there’s a duet with Elvis Costello on the album?
Yup, savour that one for a little while.
14. She & Him – Volume One
Zooey Deschanel’s film career might be going down the shitter, but at least she’ll have her music career to fall back on. A throw back mix of originals and covers, it might be in Deschanel’s best interest to either pick some better movies, or put M. Ward on speed dial.
13. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
Oh, what a fucking confusing album this was. In between lyrics about Orville Redenbacher popcorn, martians and periods lies one of the most unique and bizarre acts of clusterfuckery you’ll ever listen to. Also, there’s a decent chance you will never again be able to eat a lollipop.
12. Ra Ra Riot – The Rhumb Line
These guys are probably amongst the new artists of 2008 you’ve never heard of, probably because the reccomendatiosn were drowned out amid the buzz for Vampire Weekend and Black Kids. Actually, they sound a bit like Vampire Weekend, only, you know, better. Also, Dying Is Fine makes me squee on the inside.
11. Lykke Li – Youth Novels
A friend of mine sent me so songs from Lykke Li sometime in the spring, and I thought they were pretty amazing, but not sure how the full album would work out. Well, if I could create a time machine, I would go back in time and kick my own ass for thinking such thoughts. Who else could make a lyric like “For you I keep my legs apart” sound so sweet and innocent?
10. Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer
The Dresden Dolls singer’s first solo album, produced by Ben Folds, proved just how much ass a girl with armpit hair and no eye brows can kick (answer: a lot). With songs about a woman whose husband dies, only to receive his Torso, and another about school shootings named after an obnoxiously popular video game, very few people would consider putting Amanda Palmer down for a dirt nap.
9. Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
Fun Fact: I bought the Deluxe edition because it came with a book written by Slug. And yes, it was totally worth the five extra bucks. Where Lil Wayne’s work was eclectic, Atmosphere’s lyrics are far more subdued. The album features what are easily the most well written, profound and insightful lyrics you can hope to find this year.
8. Robyn – Robyn
Robyn is the perfect pop album. You cannot and will not find another collection of bubblegum pop that could so much as hope to come close to what Robyn is. I bought it in May, and listened to it for well over three months on an almost endless loop.
7. Nine Inch Nails – The Slip
If Radiohead has taught us anything, it’s that the best music usually costs nothing. Originally a digital release that I snagged for free (Weee! Thanks!), it’s pissed off, angry, and yet so very club-friendly. Oh, and with thanks to Agent Bedhead...
Also, Trent Reznor has GUNS. Seriously, me wantee.
6. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)
I told a friend about this album, and all he could say is “She’s still around? I thought she retired.” Well, my apologies to him (you know who you are, and there’s a good chance you’re reading this. Hi!), but if the sweet, syrupy, funk-infused album is any indication, Badu won’t be stpping for a while, nor should she. It’s an album infinitely sexy, while still poignant and political.
5. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
This may just be the fact that I’m currently wang deep in snow, but Bon Iver’s debut, recorded over the course of three months of winter in a cabin, perfectly captures the feeling of winter: a little morose and icy, but with enough moments of warmth and hope to keep you going.
4. Portishead – Third
Okay, so I wasn’t really old enough to fully appreciate Portishead. As in, I spent a portion of the 90’s as a toddler, wearing a diaper and Hooked on Phonics. But still, after playing some catch up with Dummy and Portishead, listening to Hunter made me go all squee on the inside. The stuttering Machine Gun alone made me wish that I had been born a decade earlier. But not really.
3. Sam Roberts – Love At The End Of The World
Funny what a crumbling environment and a new daughter can do to someone. Sam Roberts’ third outing combines the anthemic arena rock he’s famous for with the most insightful lyrics of his career. It’s a spoonful of guitar riffs to help the medicine to go down. Quick aside, but now that he has a kid, does that officially make him a DILF? I think so.
2. TV On The Radio – Dear Science
What the fuck kind of music is TV On The Radio? Beats the fuck out of me, but good luck trying to figure out Dear Science. I know everyone is making a big fuss over how it’s a celebration over the end of the Bush administration, but the best track, Family Tree, a piano-and-string driven dirge about an interracial couple backed by lyrics about the days of lynching and segregation, may very well be the best song of the year.
1. Santogold – Santogold
M.I.A. comparisons be damned, Santogold is the tits. An underappreciated mix of ska, electronica and reggae, the album is stylish and so sexy, there’s a decent chance you’ll either get a boner or moist panties (my apologies to the Pajibettes). If you don’t buy this album by the time I get back from vacation, I will personally come to your house and smother you with a goddamn pillow.
You have been warned.