It seems like everyone else is doing top Albums of 2008, and it also looks like I don’t have many (or any!) of those albums. I guess I’m just not with it music-wise anymore. But I thought it would be fun to do my own list, so here are my top albums of 2008.
- These are albums added to my Library in 2008, not that were released in 2008, so my list will of course look much different than most others.
- I used both objective and subjective criteria to rate these. Objective criteria are my play counts. Subjective criteria are my ratings and just thinking about where the album should be in the list.
- This was much harder than I thought! While these are definitely my favorite albums of the year, it was not easy to pick a clear winner and there is often not much differentiation between the rankings.
1. Trans-siberian Orchestra, Beethoven’s Last Night. (2000)
This may seem like a quirky pick, but I love TSO, which is evident as they are my number 3 top played artist according to my playlist counts on ilike. That’s incredible since 3 of their 4 albums are Christmas albums (and I typically don’t play them year round!). Beethoven’s Last Night is a fascinating rock opera, and if you go for that kind of thing, this album MUST be in your library. The story line is great, and all the “riffs” of Beethoven’s classics (and Mozart too!) and how they are interwoven into the music are fantastic.
2. John Foreman Winter/Summer/Spring EPs. (2008)
Part of a larger group of 4 EP’s, the other one was released in 2007 (and added to my library in 2007). All 4 EP’s are fantastic, though my favorites are Summer and Fall. Foreman is a prolific writer, and all of his songs tend to strike a chord with me lyrically. This EP set is a nice break from Switchfoot (which is still one of my favorite bands) and allows Foreman to explore different sounds that don’t really fit the Switchfoot image.
3. Future of Forestry. Self titled EP and Twilight. (2006 and 2007)
I’m including both the EP and the album, but Twilight has all the songs of the EP and more. All of these songs are excellent, and this may be the “rockiest” sounding of all the albums in this list.
4. The Avett Brothers, Four Thieves Gone. (2006)
Home of my #1 played song in 2008 — “Left on Laura Left on Lisa.” The Avett Brothers are nothing if not quirky, but they have quickly become one of my favorite bands. Their sound defies categorization. While their early work could possibly fit under bluegrass, their later work doesn’t fit anywhere. But as singer/songwriters, they are awesome.
5. Okkervil River, The Stand Ins. (2008)
Great singer/songwriters… Each song is its own story, often fun, sometimes serious, always engaging. One review I read compared them to The Counting Crows, but I am not so sure I agree with that. CC are definitely darker, and mostly seem more personal/related to Adam Duritz, whereas Okkervil River seems more like stories written about others (though often sung in 1st person).
6. Mark Knopfler and Emmy Lou Harris, All the Roadrunning. (2006)
If you take the (somewhat) “soft rock” sound of Dire Straights, countrify it a little, and add a fantastic female vocal, you have this album. Great sound, great songs.
7. The Avett Brothers, The Gleam II. (2008)
One of my top 3 songs of the year, “Murder in the City,” is on this EP. These songs are somewhat more subdued than most other Avett Brothers Albums, but they continue to grow on me.
8. Radiohead. In Rainbows. (2007)
I guess I’m a little late, as this was #1, or at least top 5, in many top album lists last year. This is really the odd ball out in my list musically (partially because it is popular, but also because of the sound), but the music is good and often quite innovative, in my opinion.
9. Bon Iver. Forever Emma, Forever Ago. (2007)
This has one of the strangest sounds of all, and I have listened to it a ton, but still have not really explored the lyrics like I normally do with my favorite music. Sometimes that comes with time, as I hear the sounds over and over, and eventually am more drawn into the lyrics. I don’t know if that will happen here or not, but I still like the sounds.
10. Sera Cahoone. Only as the Day is Long. (2008)
This is another along the lines of Bon Iver at #11 above… I’ve heard this many times, but have not really listened (dug into) it… But the sound is soothing and relaxing, and maybe I’ll get into the lyrics when the time is right.
11. August Rush. (2007)
Great movie, and there is enough decent music on the album to make it onto this list.
Honorable Mention: Led Zeppelin. Mothership. (2007).
Somewhat of a sentimental pick… I got this for $4.99 on Amazon, even though I already have all of their music. But since they once dominated my listening, back in late high school and most of college, I am putting this in as an “honorable mention.
And here are my top played songs for those songs added in 2008:
And top played artists (all-time):
(this will be interesting to compare against next year…)