The best of 2008 mix tape
2008 was always going to seem like something of a let down after the juggernauts of 2006 and 2007, but it was a pretty pedestrian year for music on its own. When the primary description you read about a year is something along the lines of “it was a great year for disco” I guess that is to be expected. The year is not without its charms, but there wasn’t a ton of depth beyond what’s included here and I really can’t think of much of anything that is missing that I feel bad about excluding. (All of 2007-2008 has an asterisks though since Radiohead’s sublime In Rainbows isn’t available on the service).
Constructive Summer – The Hold Steady
This is a great THS song, but I’d probably include it even if it were garbage just for the line “Raise a toast to St. Joe Strummer / I think he may have been our only decent teacher.” Amen.
The Rip – Portishead
Portishead’s 3rd was really the only truly great record that came out this year. Pretty amazing stuff.
White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes got a ton of attention, much of deserved, but giving us Father John Misty as a solo artist is probably their greatest achievement.
This is How You Spell “HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics” – Los Campisenos!
I truly dig Los Campisenos!, and this song deserves to be remembered both for its frankly amazing title and the epic spoken word bit that shouts out a “final, fatal Live Journal entry,” which is just about as quintessentially late 2000s as you can get.
Teen Creeps – No Age
I had forgotten about this little gem until putting this list together, so it was nice to rediscover this record along the way.
Lights & Music – Cut Copy
See the line above about this being a good year for disco.
Agoraphobia – Deerhunter
I’ve never quite completely bought in on Deerhunter, but this is a pretty good song (and album, Microcastle), I must admit.
Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros – Flight of the Concords
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Flight of the Concords, but when what is essentially a comedy album is one of the best records of the year, then it’s probably a sign that it wasn’t that great of a year for music. That being said, the loaded pause and throat clearing after “I’m the Hiphopopotamus, my rhymes are bottomless” is one of the best lines ever. Be more constructive with your feedback!
Dancing Choose – TV on the Radio
As much as I claim not to be that much into TVOTR, I think this is the third or fourth song of theirs that’s made a mix tape, so maybe I am a fan after all.
In the New Year – The Walkmen
There is no question, though, about my love for The Walkmen. Another great song and really good album from them.
Breathe Something / Stellar Star – Flying Lotus
Just a sonic trip of a tune. Flying Lotus makes the most consistently interesting, genre-hopping records in recent memory.
Cold Son – Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
This isn’t particularly great, but pretty good Malkmus is more than good enough for me.
Bang On – The Breeders
Again, not the best Breeders record by a long shot, but pretty dang good Breeders blows most records out of the water.
Sausalito – Conor Oberst
A pleasant, jaunty little gem of a tune.
Gamma Ray – Beck
Beck’s world must be a really interesting place to live. Or maybe just visit once in a while.
Carpetbaggers – Jenny Lewis
Elvis Costello drops by and helps elevate this one above the rest of a pretty average record by Jenny Lewis’ standards.
Hollow Man – R.E.M.
After the unmitigated flaming disaster that was Around the Sun, it was extremely reassuring for R.E.M. to come back with a record like Accelerate. Not nearly a great R.E.M album by any measure, but they set the bar for that description impossibly high. I really love this tune regardless of when it was released though and consider it one of the two or three best of their post-Bill Berry output.
I Stand Corrected – Vampire Weekend
Ok, Vampire Weekend’s debut record isn’t nearly as good as was claimed when it was released, and sometimes their music is way overly precocious and pretentious, but this is an undeniably great song. No matter how much you may want to punch each member of the band in the nose.
There you go. A solid, entertaining, and ultimately somewhat forgettable batch of 18 songs. Here’s the Spotify playlist for your listening subscribing pleasure.
Which one of your favorites did I leave out?