Sunday, December 21, 2008

Top 20 Albums of 2008

20) Lenka (Lenka)
Bright, breezy and sweet pop that could be a little twee for some but had me under it's spell.

19) She Ain't Me (Carrie Rodriguez)
To carry on from the theme of the last entry, if you were disappointed by Sheryl Crow's 2008 efforts, Carrie Rodriguez should certainly cheer you up. Proof that even in these days of cookie-cutter Nashville stars there is still some genuinely emotive Country music knocking about.

18) Not In A Million Years (Beangrowers)
Not the most original album of 2008 I would have to admit but when a band makes as much good use out of it's influences as this, it would be churlish to complain.

17) New York City (Brazilian Girls)
The party record of the year. The fact that the singer Sabina Sciubba sings in at least four different languages on this record only heightens the "anything could happen" feel of the record.

16) Synthetique (Prototypes)
French pop always comes up with something good and this year's electro-goodness came courtesy of Prototypes. There wasn't an album this year that mixed electro-pop, 60s rhythms, folky guitars and punk crunch quite so effortlessly.

15) Curioser (Kate Miller Heidke)
If you spent some part of 2008 lamenting the fact that Natasha Bedingfield had sold her soul to American airplay demographics, you should find some solace in the Australian Kate Miller Heidke. Absolutely barmy, the former opera singer never forgets that its the tunes that make a pop album.

14) Jukebox (Cat Power)
Largely cover versions this may have been, but it was inimitably Cat Power all the way. Proof that she's a genuine talent.

13) Flight Of The Conchords (Flight Of The Conchords)
A comedy record it may be, but it's put together with such obvious affection for the songs that they are sending up that it actually gets better with repeat listens. The only down side is that it can't compete with the sheer genius of the TV show.

12) Get Awkward (Be Your Own Pet)
They annoyed me in concert in 2008, but that doesn't change the fact that this album is a stomper.

11) Sound Soldier (Skye Sweetnam)
It may have been a 2007 album in North America, but it's later release dates elsewhere meet my criteria for this list! Mental bonkers pop that never forgets that pop music is supposed to be fun, which was even more welcome in the year that Girls Aloud went a little too serious.

10) Me And Armini (Emiliana Torrini)
Taking the best bits of her two previous albums and merging them into one great big ball of delight. "Big Jumps" especially is one of my favourite tracks of the year.

9) Rockferry (Duffy)
Adele may get the critics vote (unless you count me as a critic...) but Duffy was the people's choice. Arguably had the year's greatest collection of singles, but there's more to enjoy on the album as well.

8) Pretty Runs Out (Amanda Shaw)
Praise the lord that Amanda Shaw failed to grab the role of Hannah Montana because this major label debut was blissful. Much more than a mere fiddle player, Shaw proved here to be quite the talent, merging Louisiana Jazz with Nashville Country to great effect.

7) I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too (Martha Wainwright)
Some decried that this was more "commercial" than her debut effort, but it was no less effective for that.

6) Alas I Cannot Swim (Laura Marling)
Stunning considering her age, which makes you wonder that if she can be this good now, just how great could she be in the years to come.

5) Count To Ten (Tina Dico)
Ignore anything you may find from 2006 about her on this site as I've finally realised just what a great singer/songwriter Tina Dico is. Count To Ten was her best yet. It was so good that my next door neighbour popped his head over the garden fence when I had this on to ask who it was.

4) Another Country (Tift Merrit)
No one in the UK buys her records, but that's their loss. This was a delightful album borne from serious personal heartbreak. But it never wallows in sorrow and tugs at your heart strings until you have no option but to fall completely for it.

3) Ladyhawke (Ladyhawke)
Paris Is Burning underwhelmed me which kind of led me to dismissing the whole idea of Ladyhawke for a while. But once I got the album I was firmly under her spell. "Electropop" didn't get any better than this in 2008.

2) Acid Tongue (Jenny Lewis)
People who know me are probably sick to death of me praising Jenny Lewis. But she is delightful. Upon reflection I think that Acid Tongue is even better than Rabbit Fur Coat, which is high praise from me indeed! What amazes me about this album is the sheer amount of variety it has on it, without ever missing a beat.

1) Tales Of Silversleeve (Cathy Davey)
Released in her native Ireland in 2007, this only got an official release in England in 2008. So that's why it's in my list. And to be honest, it was the front runner for my number one spot from the moment I heard it. The opening five tracks are probably the best stretch of songs I've heard on an album all year and there is little appreciable drop in quality from there.

1 comment:

Lauren Busch Singer said...

Nice list! If you like the sweet sounds of Amanda Shaw, you must check out her rendition of "Garden Song" on FUNKY KIDZ. This unique compilation features Amanda, along with 11 other of Nawlins' finest, doing fun filled covers of classic kids songs we all know and love (Zip a dee doo dah, Yellow Submarine, etc.) Perfect for the kid in all of us. WWW.FUNKYKIDZMUSIC.COM