Saturday, January 03, 2009

My Favorite Albums of 2008

I just got back in town last night and have not had much time to do any kinda blogging over the last couple of weeks.   This is my glance back at my favorite albums of 2008.

I  cannot get over this album.  I was not a Coldplay fan until this album came out.  And I had no intention of downloading it till some friends I trust told me to get it.  So I downloaded it the week it came out early in the summer and I still listen to all the time.  I never just listen to part of it.  It is a complete album and should be listened to straight through.  I now have all of Coldplay's albums but this one will always be singular to me.

A pastor, whose blog I read regularly wore me down over about 6 months talking about the virtues of this album.  I respect him enough I finally decided I should really give it a shot.  This album is like no other album I have (although the Fleet Foxes is close).  It is simple, stark and full of warmth.  Julian Vernon wrote and recorded this album while shut up in a cabin during the Wisconsin winter.  You can hear the snow fall and then crack under your weight.  You can feel cool breath of vernon and the resounding crackle of the hearth in the melodies.  I love to listen to this album while sitting in front of the fire on a cold night with a hot beverage.  I assume I will be listening to this one for years to come.

Speaking of albums I will be listening to for years, add this one to the discussion.  The only reason I did not list this album at number 1 is I just got it recently.  Full of infectious melodies and phenomenal lyrics, Ryan Adams' newest effort is simply flawless.  I simply cannot get enough of Ryan Adam's music these days.  One of the things I love about Ryan Adams is he is so different from almost every other songwriter I have listened to.  Every other songwriter looks out the window of his/her house and sees the problems of the world.  Ryan Adams looks in the mirror.  He is not a believer and if you listen to his other albums you will hear lots of rough language.  But I do not mind, I do not want or need saccharine-sweet songs about life and pain. I need doses of reality and this album is full of reality.  Cardinology is also full of passion and compassion for hurting people.  He hurt himself a a lot with his drug and alcohol abuse and chronicles his own suffering and his empathy for those still suffering in the final song.

This is not necessarily my style of music but I really like The Killers.  I liked their first two albums but I really like their newest one.  Big melodies and superb vocals make this album easy to listen to over and over.  If you like the '80s and want it to come back, The Killers new album is for you.

The first time I listened to She and Him, I could not get over how familiar the voice was.  I kept asking, "Where have I heard her before?"  I did some research and found out she was the love interest of Will Ferrell in Elf.  Weird.  But this is a great album demanded repeated listens.  She & Him are Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.  She sings beautifully and he plays magnificently.  Volume One is described as a love letter to the musicians who inspired it - it is full of great songs. 

I am a sucker for a great female voice and Duffy has a one of the best voices I have ever heard.  This album sounds like it could have been released 40 to 50 years ago.  Very Dusty Springfield-like, this collection of songs has few if any miscues.  After I downloaded it back in March, I probably listened to it constantly for almost a month.  As much as I admire the talents of Amy Winehouse, Duffy is in my opinion full of all the vocal talent of Winehouse without all the self-destruction.  As a side not, I do like Adele's 19 but it has just not grabbed me like Duffy's Rockferry.

Geez I love this one.  If I had not just downloaded it on Christmas day and listened to it for the first time a few days later, I would rank it higher.  I tell ya, I cannot get my head around this one.  Everyone compares them to Springsteen but they remind me of Social Distortion meets Westside Story for some reason.  The songs are really amazing, one after another.  This is one of those albums I love to listen to all the way through and I cannot feel good about it till the last note is hit.

Ummm, its Van Morrsion.  


Todd Pruitt said...

I have not heard the new Ryan Adams yet but you convinced me. I am a fan of his other stuff. Heartbreaker is still a great listen.

Anonymous said...

This is the third time I've heard the name Bon Iver this week. I am going to take your cue on that one. Thanks!