I've come to the end of my list of the best songs of 2008 which is topped with these 10. The list is made up of a few new acts, a few that have been on the scene for the last few years and two that have been doing their thing since I was just li'l Greazy. I've been waiting along time for the group at #1 to get back to the top of the rock world, and in '08 they did that in triumphant fashion.
10) James - Hey Ma. Anyone who ever heard James' famous 90's track "Laid" either loved it to pieces or hated it. Their '08 effort is a bit more down the middle musically, but certainly has a strong message. It's only an anti-war/protest song if you take the time to listen to the lyrics, but that is easy to forget because it rocks so hard.
9) Tom Gabel - Anna is a Stool Pigeon. I listened to the campus radio station all year, and just about the only song I was introduced to that I dug was this tale of big government setting up a leftist nut job. I still can't stop listening to it, even though I didn't hear it for the first time until about two months ago, it has to be in the top 10. In times like these, we need more music like this.
8) Jenny Lewis - Jack Killed Mom. I first heard this song back in March of '06 at a show Lewis did in Baltimore. Sometimes you only have to hear a song once to know that you love it, and that was the case with this one. I thought it might make it onto the Rilo Kiley's last disc, but it has a more fitting home on Lewis' '08 solo release.
7) Kati O'Toole - Move. This is another song that I was hooked on the first time I heard it. O'Toole is an unsigned act who I saw as part of an opening act for Missy Higgins in Philadelphia and Baltimore. I've also enjoyed her newly released EP, but I keep coming back to this upbeat little number about keepin' on keepin' on.
6) Operator Please - Yes Yes Vindictive. This group of Aussie youths really knows how to push the balls to the wall. Normally that would be ping pong balls (as in their most famous single "Just a Song About Ping Pong) and I'm happy I got to hear them on Triple J, the Australian national youth radio network.
5) Vampire Weekend - A-Punk. A lot of people think of this song like a big greazy cheese steak. You really enjoy consuming it, but it makes you sick after a little while. For some reason (maybe because I rationed out my listening) I haven't gotten tired of it at all. In a lot of ways this will be the song that most says 2008 as a whole to me, because I listened to it throughout the year.
4) The Wombats - Let's Dance to Joy Division. If A-Punk says 2008 to me, This tune, and this whole record for that matter, say May of 2008 to me. Or more specifically, Driving through the Outback and along the Great Ocean Road in Australia with Inky. We picked this disc after reading about the group in an Aussie music mag, only to find out that despite being named after a native of Oz, these boys are from Liverpool. But that didn't stop us from making this uptempo record the soundtrack of our month in Oz.
3) Be Your Own Pet - Twisted Nerve. Another Year, another phenomenal release from this 20-something group from Nashville. Sadly, it will be the last, since the group broke up this summer. It's another all around great record from a few punk prodigies, and this was the best track on the disc. I just hope that Jemina is back with another group, or as a solo act, soon, because she is too big a deal to be over at 20.
2) She & Him - Sentimental Heart. Not only do I think that Zooey Deschanel has a great voice, but I think she is one hell of a songwriter as well. Volume 1 is filled with differing types of songs, all exceptionally well done, but this slow track, with it's light strings and piano is the one that really jumped out at me. I just pray that there's a Volume 2 in our future.
1) R.E.M. - Supernatural Superserious. I had all but written off the boys, er, men from Athens, but I'm glad I rolled the dice on their most recent offering. Accelerate is filled with classic R.E.M. sound. So much so, that if you told me these were all tracks written in '92 but not recorded till today, I would have believed you. As Michael, Peter and Mike each get closer to 50 it's great to see that they can still bring it just as well today as they did in the 80's or 90's.