Jim: Ben, we’re two days into 2009 and I never got a best-of list from you, what’s going on?
Ben: It really isn’t that much, but I’ll write some of my thoughts about my lists if you want.
Jim: Go for it!
Favorite Albums of 2008
11. Fall Out Boy, Folie à Deux
10. PlayRadioPlay!, Texas
9. The Hush Sound, Goodbye Blues
8. Steel Train, Trampoline
7. Valencia, We All Need a Reason to Believe
6. Fire in the Hole, Love & Malice
5. Jack’s Mannequin, The Glass Passenger
4. The Matches, A Band in Hope
3. Forgive Durden, Razia’s Shadow: A Musical
2. Lydia, Illuminate
1. Underoath, Lost in the Sound of Separation
Nice, no Lil’ Wayne or TV On The Radio. You also went Top-11, way to think out-of-the-box!
First and foremost, I cheated just a little bit. Steel Train’s Trampoline actually came out in 2007, but I found out about the band in the summer, and I got the album in August, so I am counting it. I also decided that bands simply shouldn’t be allowed to release albums in December. That is partially why Fall Out Boy’s album is randomly #11.
Yes, technically, in the list-making world their album came out too late in the year to be considered a Top-10 candidate for 2008. The almighty Dave Powers cuts off his list the first week in December. But back to your commentary please.
I think that Valencia released one of the best pop-punk albums of the last five or so years. It irks me that bands like Metro Station and The Maine are finding the success that bands like Valencia deserve. It also annoys me that a talented band like Fire in the Hole remains unsigned and unheard of when pieces of garbage like Sonny are getting major record deals.
Then there’s Thomas Dutton of Forgive Durden. He decided to do what every musician does when three members quit the band, write a musical. Razia’s Shadow is really a full-on musical that features guest vocals from Greta Salpeter, Max Bemis, Brendon Urie, and several others. The storyline is actually pretty easy to follow, unlike some other concept albums (Coheed and Cambria).
Lydia and Steel Train are two bands that (I think) the ‘indie kids’ would really enjoy. Steel Train play a type of indie-pop with a fair amount of classic rock influences. Unfortunately for them, they are signed to the most well known independent-pop-punk label in the country, Drive-Thru Records. Lydia is a pretty tough band to describe. I’d recommend them if you like Copeland, Death Cab for Cutie, soothing songs, female backup vocals, clean guitars, lots of layers, and relaxing music.
There isn’t much to say about Underoath. You pretty much either like them and their genre of music, or you don’t. I feel kind of bad for people who don’t, because Lost in the Sound of Seperation is one of the most complete albums I heard all year long. Spencer Chamberlain and Aaron Gillespie are an incredible duo.
Favorite EP’s of 2008
5. Automatic Loveletter, Recover EP
4. People in Cars, Uninvent
3. Straylight Run, Un Mas Dos
2. Deas Vail, White Lights EP
1. You, Me, and Everyone We Know, So Young, So Insane
Juliet Sims from Automatic Loveletter has one of the best voices I have ever heard. Same goes for Wes Blaylock from Deas Vail. Straylight Run didn’t lose a step after vocalist and keyboardist Michelle DaRosa left the band. And last but certainly not least, You, Me and Everyone We Know is giving away their album for free. If for some reason you don’t already own it, what are you waiting for?
That’s the second You, Me, and Everyone We Know plug you’ve given them this year. They owe you a gold record (although, they may never get one if they keep giving away their albums for free). How ’bout songs? You have a list for that category as well? (I love asking questions I know the answers to.)
Favorite Songs of 2008
15. Anberlin, “The Resistance”
14. Death Cab for Cutie, “I Will Possess Your Heart”
13. Deas Vail, “Balance”
12. Lydia, “Hospital”
11. PlayRadioPlay!, “Loco Commotion”
10. The Matches, “Point Me Toward The Morning”
9. Valencia, “Holiday”
8. You, Me, and Everyone We Know, “Happy Birthday”
7. Fall Out Boy, “What A Catch, Donnie” (ft. Elvis Costello)
6. The Hush Sound, “Honey”
5. Forgive Durden, “The Spider and The Lamps” (ft. Max Bemis)
4. Jacks Mannequin, “Miss California”
3. Gnarls Barkley, “Run (I’m A Natural Disaster)”
2. Paramore, “Decode”
1. Underoath, “Too Bright To See, Too Loud To Hear”
Wow, you are lovin’ Underoath! (I can’t say anything though, cause I showered Weezer with the same amount of attention in 2008). I’m glad Gnarls Barkley and Death Cab For Cutie made your list, and I also like the fact that some youngsters are going to get turned onto Elvis Costello via Fall Out Boy. Thanks for the list Ben, I love the different point of view! Now get cracking on your list for 2009.