Sunday, 7 December 2008

My Top 10 Albums of 2008

I'm pretty new to blogging, but certainly not to music. I guess blogging's just a way of sharing my music taste with everyone else... hopefully I can keep it up.

Right, I'll start from number 10 and work my way up...

10. Pendulum - In Silico
Pendulum have got a whole heap of coverage this year, with a few very radio-friendly singles such as "Propane Nightmares". The album marks the band's (yes they're a band now) change in direction from the rather underground drum n' bass on "Hold Your Colour" to the stadium rock-influenced material that they have been producing. The album progresses from very rocky "Showdown" to the heavily trance influenced "The Tempest", which personally, is the highlight of the album. Most of the songs now have lyrics, which is a breath of fresh air, and also an excellent move on the popularity front, one of the reasons they have become so popular recently.

9. Boys Noize - Oi Oi Oi Remixed
Oi Oi Oi was a brilliant album, which i purchased this year. Unfortunately i found out it was actually released last year so i couldn't include it... This collection of remixes and rare material however, definately deserves to be counted as an album in it's own right. Some of the songs on the original album are so hard and noisy that i would have thought it would be impossible to remix them. The results are on the most part excellent however... Featuring some of French House's best DJs, this compilation is great. Feadz' backwards mix of Lava Lava "Aval Aval" put a whole new funky side to BN. Also changing the original a lot, Apparat smoothes out Shine Shine beautifully, but it is the new song My Head (remixed by Para One) which stands out the most. It's full of raw energy, with a fast tempo which means that it is impossible not to tap your foot, combined with Para One's Dudun-dun style randomness.

8. Nine Inch Nails - The Slip
Trent Reznor returns with his second free download of 2008, the first being the concept album "Ghosts". The Slip returns to the conventional album of songs, along the lines of With Teeth or Year Zero. "Letting You" is an assault on the speakers, heavy with distorted synths and pounding drums. At the other end of the spectrum, "Lights In The Sky" is heavily reminiscent of "Hurt" and "Corona Radiata" is full of very ambient, drifting melodies, along the lines of Ghosts. The album is well crafted and a pleasure to listen to.

7. Coldplay - Viva La Vida (or Death and All His Friends)
This album is sure to be on most people's list for the top 10 albums of 2008, but that's because it is a brilliantly written piece of music. Chris Martin is undoubtedly one of the best songwriters the UK has seen in this last decade, and this album will be the height of their career. Every song on the album is listenable, which, compared to some of their earlier work (X & Y) is great... Most of the songs however, aren't just listenable, but excellent! The singles obviously stand out, but my favourite is definately Death And All His Friends, it's a very well written, soothing song, with a powerful breakdown towards the end. I also particularly enjoyed the intro (Life In Technicolor) and its counterpart outro.

6. The Whip - X Marks Destination
The Whip haven't got as much attention as some other Electro artists this year, but having followed them from early 2007, i was pretty impressed by their album. Opener Trash builds tension for the rest of the album, and is also a corker of a disco tune. Blackout and Sister Siam provide the main songs on the album, with obvious hooks and tunes, but make for great party songs. My favourite on the album is Throw It In The Fire, the last track. The song progresses from relatively sparse at the beginning to a huge layered end, with a catchy tune and singable vocals.

5. Does It Offend You, Yeah? - You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into
I had been waiting for the DIOYY boys' debut for quite a while, and it definately didn't disappoint! The album is full of REALLY CATCHY songs and more talkbox than you could shake a stick at! The songs tend to all be very harsh noisy electro rock, with occasional calm moments such as Dawn Of The Dead and Epic Last Song. The most memorable song on the album is the major single We Are Rockstars, which hits pretty hard, but the very short Attack Of The 60ft Lesbian Octopus is definately the highlight... It's an album obviously inspired by thriller films, and definately is just as exciting!

4. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
This band totally capture the 80s, with complete accuracy. The album is a very flowing piece of work, with various interludes which bring the track count to an impressive 16! All the "real" songs on the album are very catchy, although some of the lyric writing is a bit dodgy... I guess that's to do with all the 80s influences! The two main singles, Hearts On Fire and Lights And Music, both work on a very effective buildup then breakdown arrangement, which makes them very club-friendly. My favourite however, is Out There On The Ice, which has some synth lines which were in my head for literally weeks!

3. Sabrepulse - Turbo City
Now I know that hardly anyone will be blogging about this artist. Video Game Music is not entirely popular with everyone, and not even classed as "real music" by some... However, this gameboy-toting Scot is an exception to these laws. He writes intriguing tunes, with intricate, weaving melodies, sometimes closer to classical music than dance. I was one of the few to be able to download this album from his Myspace before it sadly got hacked and deleted, but I'm very glad i did. It's a brilliant album, such an improvement on his past albums, which seemed to just be discordance for the sake of it, this contains some great tunes, in Gare De Europa, The Manhattan Transfer, and slower, pizzicato-strings sampling Milotic, my personal favourite.

2. Sam Sparro - Sam Sparro
Everyone knows Black And Gold. It's a frankly awesome song... but what surprised me is that Mr. Sparro's Album is brilliant as well! The second single, 21st Century Life is a great disco tune, with pretty good lyrics. Sam also has some excellent pop songs on the album, which move a bit away from the disco theme. Cottonmouth is a slow Rn'B song about being thirsty, and the hidden track Still Hungry is a smooth jazz track which is particularly relevant to the Credit Crunch, being about trying to to eat having no money. My favourite is the catchy dance-pop song Pocket, about not trusting people, and keeping "your friends close, and your enemies in your pocket".

1. Deadmau5 - Random Album Title
Earlier this month, I went into a large chain record store in order to buy my random album of the month. having no previous knowledge of Deadmau5 other than he produced progressive house, i chose the album on the title alone, because I thought it was quite fitting! It turns out he is a genius. The entire album is brilliant, mixed together as if he is playing a DJ set, the songs flow into each other perfectly. The first track (Sometimes Things Get, Whatever) is very reminiscent of Benny Benassi, but don't let that put you off. The bass frequencies roll around close to the subsonic, and at points the record sounds like a pounding techno set. however, this is counterbalanced by the frankly brilliant pieces later on in the album, which sound much more euphoric, for example the saga which is Faxing Berlin, or the awesome piano-based Arguru. For me though, the highlight is the erratic Slip, which plays on discordance in the uplifting melody, coupled with somewhat confusing syncopation. I would definately say that this is my Album Of 2008, just because I have listened to it continuously since I bought it, and still am amazed!

I hope you found my list helpful, and i hope to do more posts soon!