Best Songs of 2008

I realize that yesterday I went to the trouble to explain the arduously long process of putting together the end of year “best of…” music without actually sharing my picks for 2008.  It wasn’t simply an oversight.  No, instead I saw the opportunity to turn one post into two!  So, yesterday was devoted to the background – the context – without which one wouldn’t have been able to actually appreciate the list for what it is…  brilliant.

For the sake of full disclosure, this list may not actually be best.  I shared that one of the things that made this year different was that Bobby and I collaborated on a disc.  We listen to quite a bit of music together and we felt that it wouldn’t quite be fair to each other to vie for the same songs.  The CD that we put together was by all accounts an elaborate process.  Venn diagrams were necessary.  Lots of give and take.  Some of my very favorites of the year went to our best instead of my best.  But in the end, it was the right thing to do.

Anyway, what you see below is my best.  Our best will more than likely be the subject of some future post.

You may want to check back here occasionally, as I will try to include the actual music and not just the track listing.

Bon Iver / Lump Sum – When I first heard a song by Bon Iver (re: stacks), I appreciated their unique sound. Who knew they would become the musical sensation of 2008? The whole album is great. They are great. This song is really great.

Greg Laswell / I’d Be Lying – Loved it from the very first listen. It had a certain quality about it though that I couldn’t explain, and Bobby suggested that it was something that would be a soundtrack to a tv show. And then we discovered that it was indeed used on some tv show that I still can’t remember the name of despite the fact that Bobby has told me fifteen times.  Won’t you let me match your stride, I can slow down if you want to, we can handle it side by side.

Wild Sweet Orange / Ten Dead Dogs – More like Wild Sweet Awesome.

Fredrik / Alina’s Place – Sigur Ros? No. Influenced by the same mysterious northern Arctic environment? Likely.

Motel Motel / Coffee – I like coffee. Holding on to things I cannot change.

Ray LaMontagne / I Still Care for You – I might have a man crush on Mr. LaMontagne.

Fields / Skulls and Flesh and More – This one is just filling some space.

The Avett Brothers / St. Joseph’s – These guys were on heavy rotation at the house. Thanks to Sam and Afton (their biggest fans) for turning me on to them. It’s not where I am, it’s who I’m with.

Josh Garrels / Don’t Wait for Me – I don’t really like most Christian music. Either too shallow or too predictable… usually both. Josh is neither.

Sigur Ros / Flotavik – I don’t understand a thing they are saying…  still incredible.

Mates of State / You Are Free – A little 80’s synth goes a long way with me.

The Rosebuds / Life Like – This song with its driving beat and heavy reverb makes the mix so that I can maintain the facade that I’m a manly man.

Annuals / Down the Mountain – Best I can tell this song’s about skiing. Fun, huh? My mouth filled with blood. My collar bone caved in. Sounds like fun.

Two Hours Traffic / Stuck for the SummerI will let you sing my song, if you can relate. Let you get the lyrics wrong. They are not that great.

The Bell / On and On – I probably heard this song one hundred times last summer after our iPod was stolen and it was one of the songs on the TWO cd’s we had in the brown van. Affiliated with a soda drink. Sell out. Sell out. No time to think.

Anathallo / Cafetorium – This band made a bunch of “best of’s,” I think. They make good music. Their name is derived from the Greek and can be loosely translated “resurrection.” They are also from Chicago, but first from Michigan.

TV on the Radio / Family TreeWe’re hanging on the shadow of your family tree.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin / Some Constellation – I think some bands would find their time well spent thinking up a better name for themselves.

Rod Thomas / Debris – This is a pretty song. Depressing, but pretty.

William Fitzsimmons / I Don’t Feel It Anymore – I’ve tried really hard not to like his music. I heard it first about a year ago and thought, “whispery vocals? Sufjan has that covered. Big beard? Sam Beam’s is bigger. Lilting female vocalist duet? Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan, check.” And yet… we’ll fall just like stars being hung by only string. This may be the best track on the entire mix.

Priscilla Ahn / Dream – She’s the woman singing on the previous song.

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