Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best Music of 2008: Part 6 (10-6)

10. The Hold SteadyStay Positive

Stay PositiveThis marks the third consecutive album for this band that's landed in my year-end top ten. That's a pretty remarkable achievement, leaving them one short of the record of four held by Steve Earle. Earle's streak of four straight releases, covering the five-year period from 1996 to 2000, occurred entirely in the pre-downloading era, though. For that reason, The Hold Steady's streak is all the more impressive, but they're not alone. In fact, they are one of two artists to reach the distinction in 2008 alone.

9. Sun Kil MoonApril

AprilMark Kozelek puts his reverence of Neil Young on full display here by including five songs that break the seven-minute mark. Actually, despite my love of epic songs, this one may have been in the top five had it been edited down to a little shorter than its 74 minutes. Still, for as long as it is, it captures and holds my attention, with barely an uninteresting moment. Highlights include guest appearances by Will Oldham and Ben Gibbard.

8. Okkervil RiverThe Stand-Ins

The Stand-InsOkkervil River is not the other band to extend their top ten streak to three this year. Of course, they topped 2005's list, but last year's The Stage Names finished at #12. I honestly feel that they have another record that's as good as, if not better than, Black Sheep Boy in them. I suppose those are pretty lofty expectations. In the meantime, I'll continue to settle for excellent albums like this one.

7. The Mountain GoatsHeretic Pride

Heretic PrideLast year, seven of my top ten albums were by artists who had never before achieved that honor--and I use that term loosely, of course. This year, The Mountain Goats are one of only two first-timers in the top ten. Somehow, I have the feeling that this one will be the biggest surprise to those who are quite familiar with my taste. In fact, the top five seem to me as though they're about as predictable as they could be. Still, you'll have to wait until tomorrow evening to find out.

6. Mates of StateRe-Arrange Us

Re-Arrange UsMates of State are husband-and-wife team Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel, the latter not being the same guy who was one of six pitchers to save games for the Tampa Bay Rays this year. The album's first track, and my personal favorite, is testimony to the idea that music is about the listener's personal experience. It's more important that "Get Better"--which includes the sing-along lyrics "Everything's gonna get lighter, even if it never gets better"--was my ultimate antidote to a bad mood this year, than is the fact that it's really about household color schemes.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see your top 5, Chuck. I got a little lazy and never finished mine. I admire that you have done such a kick ass job at really writing yours. Hope you have a Happy New Year. I am definitely gonna make a CD of my faves for this year and hope you make yours, too. A good swap would be in order.