Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Revisiting My 2008 Top 10

Well friends, we're within 2 months of Top 10 season, and I decided there was no time like the present to revisit what I submitted for 2008 and see how everything holds up. Was I astute? Pretentious? Drunk? Let's find out...

10. The Tallest Man on Earth- Shallow Grave
I discovered this days before making my list (props to Quinapalus) and impulsively put it on my list based on lust alone. Well, I still like it, but the lust has worn off. Great guitar/banjo playing and the best pseudo-Bob Dylan persona Sweden could ever hope to produce, but ultimately most of the songs sound the same. Verdict: CUT

9. The Week That Was- The Week That Was
Another record I learned about via a fellow kittybrain. This time it was Tex Plush. This album has aged strangely for me. It has my single favorite song of 2008, "Scratch the Surface," but this album is no longer my 9th favorite of last year. Verdict: CUT

8. Vampire Weekend- Vampire Weekend
I still don't understand what business I have liking this band, given their hype and cutesy songs about summering in the Vineyard. They also rip off Paul Simon. But they do all this stuff so well! Still, 10+ months later, they don't hold up as #8. Verdict: CUT

7. Wye Oak- If Children
Loved this record, which I discovered randomly on eMusic. (Anyone still a member?) They quickly released a follow-up, and that one is in contention for this year's list. It sounds a lot like this one, but that's a good thing. Verdict: KEEP

6. Sun Kil Moon- April
This one holds up well. I haven't listened to it as much as I'd like to, but when I put it on, the songs nonetheless sound immediate and familiar. And I'm certain I haven't even played it 10 times. Not the zenith of Kozelek's career, but very good and was still among the best I actually heard last year. That said, I've since heard more stuff from last year... Verdict: CUT

5. Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago
This record is still really good, although I think half of its merit lies in its last song alone. To clarify, however, that last song is amazing. Verdict: KEEP, but drop further down the list.

4. REM- Accelerate
Not top-tier REM, but easily in their second tier along with Life's Rich Pageant and Out of Time. And as their "hard rock" albums go, it's superior to Monster, (which itself is underrated.) Verdict: KEEP but drop further down.

3. Bob Dylan- Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8
Someday Baby, Dreamin' of You, God Knows, Series of Dreams and the live version of Ring Them Bells have haunted me all year. It compensates for his merely pretty good new album plus the bizarro Christmas disc he just put out. This record has really held up. Verdict: KEEP and move up.

2. School of Language- Sea From Shore
Still the discovery of last year for me. Again, thank you eMusic. A totally random find and a great one! Verdict: KEEP

1. Guns N' Roses- Chinese Democracy
At the risk of pulling a Jay Bennett, I'm going to quote myself here: "Out of 14 songs, it had zero duds, 2 tracks that didn't hold up (Scraped and Sorry), 2 tracks that were interesting but overwrought (Madagascar and This I Love) and 10 fucking amazing songs that are going to join Axl Rose's canon. Yes, he is a ridiculous individual who screwed himself over by refusing to publicly promote the album, but he's a very gifted musician. Time will be kind to this record."

I stand by that review. Verdict: KEEP

So what got left off? I had given honorable mentions to
Deerhunter, Deerhoof, American Music Club, the Hold Steady, Shearwater, Drive-By Truckers, Andrew Bird (Soldier On EP), Gutter Twins, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks. I also never heard Sea and Cake, Pavement (Brighten the Corners reissue), Calexico, Ryan Adams, TV on the Radio, the Roots and Dr. Dog.

Since 4 slots opened up on my list, I get to pick replacements from this list (because I said so) and the first 3 are Sea and Cake, Dr. Dog, and TV on the Radio. I hadn't heard any of these when I made my list last year, and I feel the desire to edit to reflect their greatness.

The last record I'll add is Bonnie "Prince" Billy's Lie Down in the Light, which didn't affect me the way it did Tex and others, but it has held up well during 2009. And Beware, which really feels like a companion piece, is definitely in contention for this year's list.

So, with that said, here is my revised list:

10. Dr. Dog- Fate
9. Wye Oak- If Children
8. Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago
7. Sea and Cake- Car Alarm
6. Bonnie "Prince" Billy- Lie Down in the Light
5. REM- Accelerate
4. TV on the Radio- Dear Science
3. School of Language- Sea From Shore
2. Bob Dylan- Tell Tale Signs
1. Guns N' Roses- Chinese Democracy

Top honorable mentions to Sun Kil Moon and Stephen Malkmus (whose album has also held up well over the past year).


Quinapalus said...

On your recommendation, I sought out the last song from that Bon Iver album on youtube, and actually really liked it! I haven't had the patience to even make it all the way through any other song from that album, and have never understood what the big deal was with that guy. But I'm glad you pointed me to that one.

drischord said...

Aw crap. Forgot Marnie Stern, which I also didn't hear until 2009. I don't know if she would have made the list though, but she also gets top honorable mention. I think the Roots probably do as well-- they might have even made the Top 10 if not for their insistence on dumb skits.

Quinapalus said...

Dumb skits? There are only 2 skits on the most recent Roots album: one of them is the intro to the whole album, and the other one is just a bonus track! It's not like they interrupt the flow...I don't see how you take off points for that.

drischord said...

I stand corrected. There are only 2. Still just missed the list for me.