Eclectic Vibes: The Best Albums of 2008 According To Me
There is nothing like a good album. No, what you kids call albums now are nothing but five singles, and the shit in between. I mean albums. 2008 was interesting for music, Britney Spears made a real comeback, Beyonce got all gay on us, Kanye got all T-Pain on us, and seemingly everybody got all Change on us. If 2008 was bad for music, it was shitty for albums. This list of 25 dope albums is my ode to the dwindling format. Albums may not be in full strength but as long as artists like the ones in this list continue to create, the album will never die. Take that iTunes!
Honorable Mentions: Ashlee Simpson- Bittersweet World, Lucinda Williams- Little Honey, Robin Thicke- Something Else,
25. Corinne Stevie- The Oddity
This is not just because I know her. And she’s signed to Nouveau Music. I have loads of friends who do music and I don’t like it because it’s not good. I like her music because it’s good. “The Oddity” is dope and best of all free. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, click here. I know it’s a shameless plug, but oh well.
24. Lady GaGa- The Fame
What I like about Lady GaGa is the nostalgia I get from her music. She’s bringing back a time when pop music was as innocent as it was addictive. On “The Fame” she impersonates the best of Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Christina Aguileria, Gwen Stefani and Fergie and it works brilliantly.
23. Lil’ Wayne- The Carter III
Most Hip-Hop heads will send me mad spam because Weezy is not at number one. But I can justify this. “The Carter III” is not an album. It’s more of a retail-mixtape: a bunch of good songs mixed with some sub-par songs thrown together at the last minute. Sure, the last half is amazing, but that can’t make up for the random first half. I agree it deserves to be recognized, but it’s not a amazing album, it’s a disc with a couple amazing songs and some just okay songs.
22. John Legend- Evolver
“Evolver” is the album everyone was waiting on John Legend to make because as Dre says “you gotta step from behind that piano sometime.” The album is great, the production is intense and the album flows well. If you haven’t heard get it now.
21. Britney Spears- Circus
“Circus” could have been much better. If she included more Danja and a couple full-fledged Neptunes tracks I think this album could have been immaculate. But, it is what it is. And it’s not bad, it’s just not everything it could be. But it still deserves to be on this list. Check out my full review of “Circus” here.
20. P!nk- Funhouse
“Funhouse” is part break-up part drunken stupor and breakups make good albums–just ask Kanye. This moody album is great for anyone still remotely interested in rock music.
19. The Killers- Day and Age
The Killers are one weird band. They went from 80’s New Wave to Alteratnive Rock to Pet Shop Boys impersonators and it works. Regardless of who The Killers are they make good music, and particularly cohesive albums and that’s great. “Day and Age” may not be as good as “Sam’s Town” or even “Hot Fuss” but it’s still pretty darn good.
18. Jason Mraz- We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.
Jason Mraz gets a kudos for being himself. I love everything about this album, from the zany album art to the quirky title, to his rapping that could give Weezy a run for his money. Jason Mraz is a male Fiona Apple, and that’s more than a compliment.
17. Madonna- Hard Candy
Yeah, so of course “Hard Candy” didn’t live up to the expectations. The album cover is horrid and a great example of bad photoshop skills. This paired with Tim’s lackluster production and the tracks Justin Timberlake and Madonna worked on with the “super-producer” seemed lazy at best. But, the Pharrell produced tracks bump! “Heartbeat” “She’s Not Me” “Incredible,” these are all fire joints. Despite the blunders “Hard Candy” is still grade A pop.
16. Solange- Sol Angel and the Hadley Stret Dreams
I always knew Solange was talented. With production from Mark Ronson and appearances from Bilal and Q-Tip Solange creates a timeless sound mixing Supremes like old school tracks with a tinge electronica and dance. Check out “T.O.N.Y.” or “Would Have Been The One” or my personal favorite “Cosmic Journey.”
15. Gnarls Barkley- The Odd Couple
Gnarls Barkley is amazing. “The Odd Couple” continues their whimsical sound and still manages to step forward.
14. J*DaVeY- The Beauty in Distortion/Land of the Lost EP
I’ve had both of these EP’s for a while, I think even before 2008, but since they released it in 2008 officially on iTunes I thought it was worth mentioning because it was one of the better releases this year. J*DaVeY may be in label limbo, but this release proves they can and will do well given the chance too.
13. Beck- Modern Guilt
Beck’s new album caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting it, but I was amazed with it. Produced by Danger Mouse, “Modern Guilt” is a musical about what happens to aging hipsters. Beck battles with growing up throughout the album, and if you’ve heard “Sea Change” you know Beck is like Mary J. Blige–an artist at their best when their sad. 12. Q-Tip- The Renaissance For sheer audacity of coming out with an album Q-Tip deserves to be on this list. But “The Renassiance” is dope because it’s an anomaly existing outside of the mainstream but digging a niche out for itself. It’s dope.
11. Nouveau Riche- Longtail EP
If you have never heard of Nouveau Riche you need to. The album is cohesive and the group are in their own lane. They’re part The Roots and part Fiest added with a brooding so sexy it’ll make Madonna blush.
10. N*E*R*D- Seeing Sounds
Pharrell can do no wrong in my eyes. And “Seeing Sounds” is no different. Whether you’re partying or just chilling out this album has all emotions covered. And the production is top notch–of course it’s The Neptunes.
09. Ratatat- LP3
Aspiring Emcees will be happy to know that “LP3” is all instrumental and filled with goodies to spit, sing, snarl, get high or whatever you want to do with.
08. Adele- 19
Adele’s voice is beautiful and she knows how to use it. While she is mostly somber she does have her upbeat tracks and the mixture is incredible. Her rendition of “Make You Feel My Love” is as dope as the rest of the album.
07. Kanye West- 808’s And Heartbreak
Okay I take back everything I ever said about Kanye West. Well not really, I still think he’s a pretentious asshole. But, after listening to the first track on his latest album “808’s & Heartbreak,” I realized he’s a talented pretentious asshole. And that’s all right in my book. Check out my 808’s And Heartbreak review here.
06. Sia- Some People Have Real Problems Sia has an amazing voice and this album got me through 2008. Check out “Academia” a track which features backing vocals by Beck.
05. Brandy- Human
Brandy’s “Human” is an album that dares to be R&B, like real R&B, in a time where R&B has turned into a jumble of T-Pain, Autotune, and Single Ladies. Brandy doesn’t record often but when she takes a trip to the studio she makes it count. Check out my full review here.
04. Girl Talk- Feed The Animals
I didn’t realize how dope Girl Talk was until I interviewed him for Art Nouveau Magazine. Hip-Hop ain’t dead. And anybody looking for where Hip-Hop is living right now, don’t look to the north or south, or east or west, or even Weezy. Hip-Hop lives in Girl Talk. Check out “Feed The Animals,” please. It’s the most pure ode to Hip-Hop without being annoying I’ve ever heard.
03. Portishead- Third
Anything worth waiting for has to be good. And anything as good as Portishead’s “Third” is worth waiting a decade for. If any group or artist is changing the sound of music it is definitely Portishead. Just listen to the intricate song patterns they choose. Just listen to the thumping “Machine Gun” for reassurance.
02. Janelle Monae- Metropolis
On my original list I didn’t include Janelle Monae. I’m not sure why, but it’s definitely worth it. Despite being only seven tracks, six if you take out the intro, “Metropolis” is one of the best albums this year. It’s immaculately produced and a clear consise thought. I’m proud of Janelle and everyone at Wondaland.
01. Santogold- Santogold
If you’ve heard Santogold’s album you aren’t shocked at it being at #1. This is what an album should sound like. Songs that work together, never clashing, to create one seamless idea or thought. Santogold’s album works in that all the songs are distinct enough to stand alone, but work together to create a bigger body of work. From ska-punk to dub, she has it covered. And while some genre bending artists look a little faux, this comes off as authentic. Santogold’s album is the best album of the year. I encourage anyone to find something more cohesive and tight and great anything better.
Note: I initially did a mini version of this last back in August when it became apparent that the best of 2008 was behind us. I did add a bit to this list such as Kanye, The Killers, and P!nk for instance. Here are the best albums of 2008 according to me. What do you think should have made the list that didn’t?