Best and worst of 2008


8 Ene 2009, 0:55

2008 was a great year for music - lots of exciting new projects and bands that blew me away, plus some great ones that surprised everyone and returned after a decade or more in hibernation.
Compiling a list of what I thought were the best albums released last year was a painful process, as a lot of great work was released last year and it was difficult to pick just 50 of them. Even more difficult was the process of ranking them.
This is the first time I didn't split the list into two parts (like I did in the previous years, into heavy and light(er) stuff). The reason for this lies behind the fact that I found it impossible to justify why a certain album fit into one category more than the other. Nothing reflects this better than the Crystal Castles and Portishead albums - usually electronica would automatically fit into the light(er) category, but anyone who has heard these two albums knows they are anything but light.
Anyway here they are, 50 of the best albums released in 2008, according to me:

01. Best albums:
1. Portishead - Third
One of the most influential groups of the 90s came out of retirement to scare the shit out of everybody. I was a huge skeptic when it was announced, thinking nothing could surpass their previous work, but they managed to prove me wrong. It's definitely a challenging listen – an attack of dark, noisy and industrial compositions by mastermind Geoff Barrow accompanied by Beth Gibbons sounding like she's on the verge of a nervous breakdown. They definitely weren't holding back when making this one, as there isn't a single second of relief for the listener in between the moments of pure terror. Album of the year? Album of the decade!

2. Meshuggah - ObZen
I loved Catch-33, but for the majority it was a difficult listen, even by Meshuggah standards. obZen is more direct and varied than its predecessor, but at the same time still incredibly heavy and technical. They managed to join everything that was great about their previous work and make it even more brutal and complex. This album is the culmination of everything they've done in the last 15 years, it's what they've been working towards throughout their entire career.

3. Mogwai - The Hawk is Howling
Holding the emotional impact and subtlety of their earlier work and the dynamic and complexity of their later albums, The Hawk is Howling combines the best of everything Mogwai have to offer – in their best work since CODY.

4. Beck - Modern Guilt
5. TV on the Radio - Dear Science
6. A Silver Mt. Zion - 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons
7. Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
8. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
9. Opeth - Watershed
10. Bloc Party - Intimacy
11. Gnarls Barkley - The Odd Couple
12. Boris - Smile
13. The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath
14. Hot Chip - Made in the Dark
15. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
16. Foals - Antidotes
17. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
18. Made Out of Babies - The Ruiner
19. Cult of Luna - Eternal Kingdom
20. Duffy - Rockferry
21. Glasvegas - Glasvegas
22. Earth - The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull
23. Cursed - III
24. Burst - Lazarus Bird
25. These Arms Are Snakes - Tail Swallower and Dove
26. Torche - Meanderthal
27. The Verve - Forth
28. Bloodbath - The Fathomless Mastery
29. Moby - Last Night
30. The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement
31. Mourning Beloveth - A Disease for the Ages
32. Katalena - Cvik cvak!
33. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
34. No Age - Nouns
35. God Is An Astronaut - God Is An Astronaut
36. Genghis Tron - Board Up the House
37. Skepticism - Alloy
38. Primal Scream - Beautiful Future
39. Chris Eckman - The Last Side Of The Mountain
40. Eagles of Death Metal - Heart On
41. Zach Hill - Astrological Straits
42. The Haunted - Versus
43. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard - The Dark Knight OST
44. Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules And Love Affair
45. The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
46. The Gutter Twins - Saturnalia
47. Psycho-Path - The Ass-Soul Of Psycho-Path
48. Dub Trio - Another Sound Is Dying
49. Intronaut - Prehistoricisms
50. Communic - Payment Of Existence

02. Disappointments/worst albums:
- Kings of Leon - Only by the Night
One of the most promising names in rock become just another copy of U2. Thanks, but no thanks.
- Coldplay - Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
If even Brian Eno can't save them, nothing can.
- Cryptopsy - The Unspoken King
Tech death kings now playing predictable deathcore? No thanks. They should've called it quits when Lord Worm left the band.
- The Killers - Day & Age
I've been defending Sam's Town ever since it came out, and I still believe it's better than their debut, but this one just doesn't click with me.

03. Refused to listen:
- Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy
For me, the Guns N' Roses ended with Axl playing a piano and using an orchestra on Use Your Illusion I. They were a completely different band from then on, one I haven't listened to in years, and well... I don't intend to change that now.
- Metallica - Death Magnetic
I listened to The Day That Never Comes and it sounded like a bad cover band trying to recreate the sound of the first four albums.
And I read this:
'Nuff said.
- Queen + Paul Rodgers - The Cosmos Rocks
Three words: Freddie is dead.

04. Best shows:
- 1. Mogwai @ WUK, Vienna, Austria (14.11.)
- 2. Animal Collective @ Menza pri koritu/Metelkova, Ljubljana (16.10.)
- 3. Qui @ Menza pri koritu/Metelkova, Ljubljana (12.09.)
- 4. A Silver Mt. Zion @ KUD FP, Ljubljana (18.10)
- 5. Mondo Cane @ Piazza Santo Stefano, Bologna, Italy (18.07.)

05. Biggest suffering:

Nightwish, Pain @ Hala Tivoli, Ljubljana (04.03.)

Someone gave me a ticket for this, so I thought I'd go check out Pain, since I'm a big Tägtgren/Hypocrisy fan. Pain weren't all that bad, something you'd see on MTV, industrial pop rock aimed at teenagers... but I know I'd be pissed off if I actually paid for the ticket. I'm a bit disappointed in Peter, but I'm sure that'll go away when the new Hypocrisy album comes out.
Still, if Pain were mediocre I don't know what to say about Nightwish. They've been going downhill since the Wishmaster album (not that they were that great back then), but they are nothing but complete crap right now. I thought I hated Tarja and her pretentious/exaggerated pronunciation, but nothing prepared me for how bad the new one is. "Bland" isn't the right word, but it's the first word that comes to mind. Tarja at least had some range. I got the hell out of there after three songs cause it made me physically ill - I think this is what they were playing to the prisoners in Guantanamo to break them.

Anyway, if I forget about this painful experience, it was quite a great year, and with everyone from Isis, Mastodon, Slayer, Anathema and Katatonia to Queens of the Stone Age, Franz Ferdinand, Animal Collective and The Prodigy recording new albums, it looks like 2009 is gonna be even better.


  • neechee1985

    New-release-wise, shouldn't forget Merriweather Post Pavilion, expected to be the best AC album... Saw live bits on Youtube, very promising. January 20th!!

    8 Ene 2009, 8:51
  • damien_thorn

    @Layingblack: It's true. It's the first time I walked out of a show before it ended - something I thought I'd never do - but I guess there's a first time for everything :) @neechee1985: didn't you like see live bits of the new album uhm... live? :) But yeah, thanks for reminding me, can't believe it slipped my mind :$

    8 Ene 2009, 9:14
  • neechee1985

    I found it hard to form an opinion when I first heard some of the new stuff live... Got a much better impression later, after a few listens :-) To tell you the truth, I downloaded the leaked version, but haven't listened to it yet, I already feel so dirty... :-D

    8 Ene 2009, 9:29
  • deemmon

    good job!

    8 Ene 2009, 18:02
  • Chris_Simpson

    omg damn right about only by the night my thoughts exactly just like U2

    8 Ene 2009, 21:54
  • neechee1985

    hah, correction, now it's perfect!! xxx

    9 Ene 2009, 16:34
  • pajk

    da nau use poanglježen... še vedno čist impresioniran nad količino in izborom glasbe, ki je uspeš pšoslušat. da pa najdeš 50 albumov v enem letu... luštna lestvica, sam mogoče preveč "light" izbora =p

    10 Ene 2009, 13:40
Ver todos (8)
Dejar un comentario. Entra en o regístrate (es gratis).