I Am Mike and this Is My Heart (mrjackwhite) wrote,
I Am Mike and this Is My Heart

The Year That Was (Musically Speaking)

If there's one thing I can say about my listening tastes in 2008, it's that it was dominated by energetic and/or happy music. I still appreciated my share of quieter music (Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes), but they just couldn't hold my attention for as long as those albums which had some life and spark to them. Maybe next year things will change.

Top 5 Albums of 2008

1. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping

A cacophony of sexual indie-rock-disco songs for the ADD generation was, apparently, just what I needed to survive the bulk of my first term. I often lose track of where songs start and end, but it doesn't matter. There are an incredible number of hooks and memorable lines, most notably the "pleasure-puss" chorus in "Plastis Wafers." It's almost an hour long and I can still listen to it straight through. Really wish I could have seen them in Toronto.

2. Born Ruffians - Red, Yellow and Blue

This album decimated my iTunes playlist (probably because the song files would not go onto my phone). "Badonka Donkey" was the most played song of the year at 64 times (The next closest was at 39 - "Barnacle Goose"). It's in no way a perfect album, but was great for whenever I needed a pick me up and showed a creativity that wasn't fully evident before. It also has a beautiful love song ("Little Garcon, Little Fille") stuck right in the middle to break up the franticness of the rest of the album. I never thought I would like them, but they've won me over.

3. Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

When I first heard Los Campesinos!, I was surprised they were signed to Arts & Crafts. They were so emo and juvenile, trying to be some artsy band when they really weren't. My thoughts have obviously changed (though I think it's still weird they're on A&C). They are still very close to being emo, but the lyrics... well, they can make my cringe at times. Maybe it's that the songs are just much better arranged on We Are Beautiful and they're doing interesting things musically. I don't know what's changed, I just know I loved this album.

4. Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns

The fact that I haven't had this album for very long makes me wary of putting it at #4, but I'm going to anyways because this album is THAT FREAKING GOOD! It's a beautiful elegy to a province, but I'm not sure if it's a theme they will continually be able to revisit. "Edmonton" is steadily creeping up in play count, so much that I'll probably never be able to hear it a year from now. I don't understand how they're still unknown. It should have been the year of the RAA, not Crystal Castles.

5. Lightspeed Champion - Falling Off The Lavender Bridge

How does an ex-member of Test Icicles write a fantastic album that's part acoustic-pop and part alt-country? And one that is so self-deprecating and honest?

The Rest
Jason Collett
The Hold Steady
Plants and Animals
TV On The Radio - this one's becoming a grower that I might love in a month
Vampire Weekend

Sorry I Didn't Have Time For (Please Get Your CDs To The TPL)
The Bicycles
Katie Stelmanis
Two Hours Traffic

The Disappointments
My Morning Jacket
Tokyo Police Club

She & Him
Vivian Girls
(There are probably lots more, but they've already been banished from my memory)

Added To The Canon
Boxer and Alligator by The National

Great Songs From Mediocre Albums

Bon Iver - "For Emma"
Death Cab For Cutie - "Cath..."
Fleet Foxes - "White Winter Hymnal"
Frightened Rabbit - "Poke"
Glasvegas - "Geraldine"
Kate Nash - "Foundations"
Kathleen Edwards - "I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory"
Land of Talk - "Some Are Lakes", "Death By Fire"
Lykke Li - "Little Bit", "Dance Dance Dance", "Time Flies"
Okkervil River - "Calling and Not Calling My Ex"
Shearwater - "Rooks"
Thao Nguyen - "Beat (Health, Life and Fire)"
Times New Viking - "(My Head)"
The Walkmen - "In The New Year"

The Old Stuff
This year I spent of lot of time falling in love with soul music, the Shangri-Las and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, not to mention fully completing my lover affair with My Morning Jacket. I don't remember life before any of these things, now. Needless to say, they were the Dark Ages. I'm also starting to see what's great about Belle and Sebastian, thanks to The BBC Sessions.

2009 (Looking Ahead)
Emmy The Great
M. Ward

These three records might switch the tide next year and I'll be loving all things quiet and understated. Hopefully they don't disappoint like Hayden and MMJ.

Best Book
Paul Goes Fishing by Michel Rabagliati. His drawings are perfectly suited for a story that yearns to go back to simpler times. Things take a surprising turn near the end, one that almost had my crying in Chapters. Yup, it's that good.

Reading Franny & Zooey in February with a blizzard raging outside was also wonderful. That experience now has me reading novels more often and I'm happy because of it.
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