Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Top 5 Albums of 2008

Artist: TV On The Radio
Album: Dear Science
Genre: Indie Rock
Sounds like: America in 2008
These Brooklynites greeted our historical year with awe and responded with some art-rock party music. Call it the audacity of hope. Producer-guitarist Dave Sitek streamlined and deepened the band's fusion of doo-wop, punk and soul; there are swooning ballads, wind-whipped funk and even a Tom Petty bite. Be sure to listen closely though, there's a lot going on here that only reveals itself with time.

Artist: Lil Wayne
Album: Tha Carter III
Genre: Southern Rap
Sounds like: The best rap album of 2008. Period.
"Next time you mention Pac, Biggie or Jay-Z/Don't forget Weezy Baby," croaks Lil Wayne. This is just one of Lil Wayne's punchlines that hit the mark, however his greatness lies not just in what he says, but in how he says it. I don't know how this weed smoking troll-of-a-man does it, but he's a virtuoso of variations in mood and meter, tone and timbre that mark him, as much as any singer, as one of 21st-century pop's great vocal stylists. Oh and most importantly; don't forget to pack your subwoofer.

Artist: Metallica
Album: Death Magnetic
Genre: Thrash Metal
Sounds like: Agression and escalataion
Critics have called this Kirk Hammet's revenge and I can't agree more. The guitars are back in full force - monsterous riffs, chuga-chuga palm mutting and wah-wah infused solos. They may be old timers, but they've proven they can still rock in vitally violent way. Metallica finally sounds like Metallica again.

Artist: Portishead
Album: Third
Genre: Alternative Rock/Trip-Hop
Sounds like: A mysterious psychedelic rock album
11 years in the making, this is the most effective and all the while challenging music you will listen to this year. AllMusic went on to say: "It demands attention, requiring effort on the part of the listener, as this defies any conventions on what constitutes art pop apart from one key tenet, one that is often attempted yet rarely achieved: it offers music that is genuinely, startlingly original."

Artist: B.B. King
Album: One Kind Favor
Genre: Electric Blues
Sounds like: B.B. King outside his comfort zone
One Kind Favor is a celebration of life with all of its ups and downs, filled with heartbreak but also great joy, which is precisely what B.B. King's best music has always been. His style and tone has changed though, the most radical since the success of The Thrill Is Gone back in 1970. At 83 years old, this singer-guitarist proves once more why he remains one of America's living legends.

Honorable Mentions:
Dido Safe Trip Home
Girl Talk Feed The Animals
Kings of Leon Only By The Night
Nine Inch Nails The Slip
Santogold Santogold
Taylor Swift Fearless
Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend

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