This is technology mixed with a band. I decided to start my Best Of 2008 lists with the important one, my favorite songs of the year. The 19 songs below fit on an 80 min CDR. Not necessarily singles, these are the tunes I most loved in 2008. As always, thanks to everyone who read my blathering throughout the year. I got many of them from you.
Note - the first two songs are the Top 2, but the others appear in the order they do on my iTunes '08 playlist.
1 A&E Goldfrapp UK SONG OF THE YEAR
I knew it the first time I heard it (which was technically 2007), that no song in 2008 would come close. Maybe it was the line "Is it true the things you say that you don't do / Why don't you ring?" Let's just say I lived that and never expected that ice queen Alison Goldfrapp would be the one to prick my finger and make it bleed. Fast forward to 12/08, I'm over the situation but never the song.
2 The Loving Kind Girls Aloud UK
A dream collaboration with Pet Shop Boys. What does one say about a song so sleek and beautiful? Vocally, this one goes to Nicola and Kimba for their part: "I'd do anything / Sing songs that lovers sing." And tell me how many of you have played this going to work "somewhere on a Monday morning"?
and the other greats of the year...
3. This Is Life Grace Jones UK
I love that Grace's first song in 17 years began with the lines, "This is my voice, my weapon of choice." It has some of the best lyrics this year, with imagery ranging from covered wagons to being locked up in a basement. Listening to this track as you march through the city will actually make you cooler and tougher. WWGD? Take no prisoners, take no shit.
4. Black And Gold Sam Sparro AUS/USA
Can you think of a more perfect debut single that led to... nothing? Poor Sam - he deserves better. It's The Curse Of A Classic. Whatever, the toothy hottie will be able to live off this disco soul throwdown for many years. Best intro for a single this year, lasting almost a minute.
5. Stamp Your Feet Donna Summer USA
Another absurdly good comeback (album review). This song was almost embarrassingly current - I could do without the "you got game!" bridge. A song that actually lives up to its title, Stamp Your Feet will be noted for the lyrical hook of the summer: "Make a big-ass sound."
6. Not A Love Song Uh Huh Her USA
Berlin lives! LA new wave restored! The single of summer that wasn't a hit, but this is the kind of guitar'n'synths track that makes me want to tie a cherry stem with my tongue. That's all I'll say. I wanna waste another day.
7. My Delerium Ladyhawke NZ
I love a rock chick. This record came out of nowhere, literally (New Zealand) - I became obsessive with Ladyhawke, who crafted a Pat Benatar rave-up with a lush, angular breakdown in the middle. I owe this one to Adem. xo
8. Viva La Vida Coldplay UK
Who had not written Coldplay off after the overplayed, commercial X&Y? And then this, their best song since Yellow. Chris dropped the seriousness and did gorgeous pop music again. Seesaw strings, choral oohhhhs and bonus points for the booming timpani. Chill inducing.
9. The Start Of Something Scott Simons USA
West Virginia cutie writes a crisp, autumnal pop/folk song that should have been a #1 hit. I wouldn't be surprised if this song gets re-released in 2009 and licensed to every hit TV show. I should add that it was the soundtrack to the blog post I most liked (on this blog, that is) in 2008.
10. The Sailor Song The Gadsdens UK
Jody Gadsden's vocals make my hairs stand on end. He is the best male voice to emerge from 2008 and when they finally release the album, I hope The Gadsdens will leave this mix alone. I love way it breathes - there's a nice, airy reverb and the twilight strings are lovely.
11. Hometown Glory Adele UK
Or maybe this song has the best intro? I can't remember a time when a debut single moved me so much on first listen. This was the year I moved to DC and these lines became my mantra: "I like it in the city when two worlds collide." It captures everything that is right about a city and, in the age of Obama, we love cities again.
12. Soon We'll Be Found Sia AUS
I always wondered if Sia could every match Breathe Me. Her new album did that several times over. This song is notable for it's optimism, the ease with which it slinks between seductive and wanting and the beautiful orchestration. The vocal is what I'd call "master class." Sia is major.
13. Let It Go Will Young UK
Speaking of master class vocals, Will Young has THE most yearning "it's doomed" song this year. Like Scenes From A (Bad) Marriage, the song is a diary of disorientation. And just listen to the final 20 seconds and how mournfully he sing/talks the title.
14. The Greatest Day Take That UK
There's only so much pessimism one can emit and in the middle of annus horribilis came the greatest surprise I can remember in my adult life - November 4, 2008. Sure, this song lacks any discernible structure or verses, but it's so completely HAPPY. "And the world comes alive!" Up With People, you tired wheezers.
15. Miles Away Madonna UK?! USA
The disappointment of Hard Candy is blunted by this slice of Madonnarama, which bears all the hallmarks of the old crone's greatest talents, most notably in the lovely hook: so far away, so far way. It also has the finest fade-out on a song in 2008 - the last beepy minute.
16. Before The Worst The Script UK
Yah yah yah, the Maroon 5 of the Temple Bar set. Whatever, this is the most insanely catchy hook of the summer. Collapsing relationships would almost be bearable if this song were their soundtrack. So start a fight with your lover and play this a few times!
17. Closer NeYo USA
Baldy put on his Sinatra hat and headed to the gay disco to experience a Europhic Moment. And, sir NeYo, when you sing that "she wants to own me, to control me" I assume by "she" you mean "he"? You just can't. bring. yourself. to say it.
18. Tell It All Lorraine the grave
Let the lyrics say it, Prop 8: "I don't mind if they're laughing at us / They just wish they were as brave as us / It's not their business what we do / Just swear you'll never let them get to you / We'll run away and I'll kiss you in the light of day / We won't have to wait until we're alone at your place/ We'll live to tell it all."
19. Cosmic Journey Solange and Bilal USA
How in da hell did this happen? Solange Knowles creating the most ambient 6-minute lovers' anthem of the year? Caught between earth and atmosphere, the final song on Solange's album morphs from a space-age hippie ballad to a weed-laden techno raver for UFO geeks. I wanna go go go.