I can’t say this was the best year for new music, especially since some new albums were pushed into 2009. But I did get a chance to listen to a bunch of new albums in the last month or two of the year, and thought I’d put together a list of my favorite new music from 2008.
Mind you … some of these albums are not new. But they were new to me in 2008, so they deserve a shot at being listed.
1. Viva La Vida, by Coldplay
I was a bit leery before this album came out. The previous release had some great songs, but the album was not better than the sum of its parts. I was glad to see they were working with Brian Eno on Viva La Vida, and wasn’t disappointed with the results. I just listened to this one again over the weekend, and it’s as good as I recall. And Prospekt’s March, the new EP, is also pretty good.
2. Day and Age, by The Killers
This is one of the CDs I just got for Christmas, and the one I’ve been listening to the most. It’s a great bounce-back after Sam’s Town, which was good enough … but nothing special. I’ve listened to Day and Age 5-6 times now, and each time a new song jumps out at me. This is the album I want to listen to each day when I first fire up iTunes.
3. The Great Big Sea, by Beat Radio
I don’t even know how to describe this album or band. The vibe I get from them is a group of guys playing together in a garage, or maybe in a small club with 30 people watching. It’s small music, and I mean that in the best way. Some of the songs are kinda strange. Quirky, even, in a good way. It’s very unique pop music. I hate to compare, but I suppose these guys are in the same neighborhood as Death Cab For Cutie. “Ancient as the Stars” is one of my favorites; I have three different versions of it — demo, regular, and alternate. You can download a bunch of their songs for free, even.
4. Poison Kiss, by The Last Goodnight
You probably remember the song “Pictures Of You,” which was used in a commercial for … HP printers, I think. (?) Very catchy pop tune, and the whole album is pretty much like that. Some of the tracks are on the sappy side, but I like “This Is The Sound” and “Stay Beautiful” a lot.
5. Streets Of New York, by Willie Nile
Really couldn’t decide what should go at No. 5 here, but this album kinda stayed with me for most of the year. I don’t know much about Willie Nile, but he’s a pretty clever songwriter and these are catchy pop tunes. (Much like the last two albums I’ve listed.) “Cell Phones Ringing (In the Pockets of the Dead)” is a typical song title.
- A Hundred Million Suns, by Snow Patrol — Got this one right when it came out, but it’s never been a must-listen. I don’t think it’s as strong as their previous album.
- David Cook, by David Cook — Don’t laugh, this is pretty darn good. Sean got it for Christmas, and I’ve been listening to it, too. If it wasn’t so new, this one might end up at No. 5 above.
- Eleven Songs, by Luka Bloom — Another one that I haven’t owned long enough, but Luka’s albums are always good. “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You” is the standout song for me.
What were some of your favorite albums that discovered in 2008?
Killers. Check. Coldplay? I’ve been unable to listen to them since I saw them live in Dublin. I’ve never been so disappointed with a band, and although I checked the new album out, I may have listened to it twice and walked away. Now the new Snow Patrol? I find it’s leaps and bounds over the last one, and was frankly quite bored the last time out except for the song with Martha Wainwright. This new album really brought me back…The rest of your list? Really stuff I’m not familiar with…but I’ll have to check out.
R.E.M. Accelerate. “Nuff said :.)
In total agreement with you about 2008 not having been a stellar year for new music. If I switch out a couple track on Viva La Vida for a few on Prospekt’s March I’d put Coldplay on my top ’08 list. Vampire Weekend self-titled, The Ting Tings We Started Nothing , Santogold self-titled, Mop Mop Kiss of Kali, Beth Rowley Little Dreamer, Adele 19, Elbow Seldom Seen Kid, Fleet Foxes self-titled, and Snow Patrol Hundred Million Suns sums up the year. You might like the Beth Rowley, she does an awesome job covering Bob Dylan’s I Shall Be Released.