MOTM’s Best Albums Of 2008

So here they are, my most-loved albums of 2008. As always, no numbers, just the different categories… each of these could be a number 1 of its own! Here we go:

Best Rock Album:

British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
A welcome return; BSP mix to-the-point indie-rock with great melodies and there’s only one thing to reply to the album title: Yes, I do!
Best Indie-Pop Album:

Nada Surf – Lucky
Probably the first album of 2008 that I really loved. See These Bones and Are You Lightning are two of my favourite songs of this year, and their concert in October was just amazing!
Best Club/Dance Album:

Yoav – Charmed And Strange
Absolutely cool, and it has that certain something that makes you come back to this album over and over again.

Best Comeback Album:

James – Hey Ma
Although not quite the class they showed back in their heydays, but a more than welcome return from one of my favourite Britpop-bands.

Most Elegant Album:

Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
Sadness has seldom sounded so depressing and positive at the same time. Friend Of Ours is one of the most touching singles of the year, and I still can’t get enough of One Day Like This.

Best Folk Album:

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Hard to miss this one in 2008; you can find it on top of many best-of-lists this year, and it really is a very special album that united critics and listeners alltogether.

Best Electronica Album:

Veto – Crushing Digits
Last year it was Duné, this year it’s their fellow Danes from Veto. Catchy and energetic ElectRock that instantly makes you want to get up and dance!

Best Summer Album:

This Is Ivy League – This Is Ivy League
This one should really have gotten more attention in 2008. A collection of uplifting, catchy and witty songs that should leave no one cold. It worked for me!

Best Progressive-Rock Album:

Steven Wilson – Insurgentes
Porcupine Tree-mastermind Steven Wilson‘s first solo effort is as creative and interesting as all the output of his band, but still maintains a very distinctive feeling. More of that, please!

Best Dreampop Album:

Moi Caprice – We Had Faces Then
After last year’s solo-album from singer Michael Moller, Moi Caprice return to form with another album full of dreamy melodies… fits perfectly into their previous work!

Best Indie-Turned-Major Album:

Competing here are four bands that started off as indie-favourites and made it really big during the last years. The contestants are:

Travis – Ode To J. Smith
Keane – Perfect Symmetry
Coldplay – Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
The Killers – Day And Age

And the winner is:

Coldplay – Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends

Travis made a welcoming return to their rock-orientated roots, while Keane and The Killers could have made one great album if they’d put their best songs from their albums together. So it’s Coldplay that surprised me the most by not just taking their stadium-rock-direction from X&Y any further, but also injected some great new influences into their sound. Well done!
Best Swiss Album:

Mañana – Interruptions
Although the competition was not that big, the debut-album by these young lads really showed off their talent. The little brother of Mew!

Best Melancholic Album:

Choir Of Young Believers – This Is For The White In Your Eyes

A highly talented Danish band; the indie/folk-mix on this debut album promises a bright future.

Best Special Edition:

Three contestants here: the Kent Box Set 1991-2008, Marillion‘s double-CD Happiness Is The Road and Steven Wilson‘s first solo album Insurgentes. All three are wonderfully designed, and made the heart of this old music lover beat faster. And the winner in this category is:

Steven Wilson – Insurgentes

Honorable mention: the 1000 series from Shelflife Records. They manufacture great 7″-singles, a bonus CD and free MP3-downloads of all these songs, and packed them in stylish wrappings… a perfect addition to every music-collectors shelf. Looking forward to the 2009 releases!

And the best of the rest:
Albums that made a big impression on me, but just missed a tiny thing to be in the top spot:

Sigur Rós – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
It includes two new SR favourites (Festival and Ara Batur), but Takk remains my fav album.

Delays – Everything’s The Rush
A great effort from the Brits; includes some great new tunes (One More Lie In, Keep It Simple).

Neon Neon – Stainless Style
Told Her On Alderaan
is a perfect synth-pop-hymn, but there’s stuff on here that is simply unlistenable!

Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs
Close, but no cigar; it failed to convince me overall, but also includes some great work.

Spleen United – Neanderthal
Same here; the debut was smashing, this was just ok.

Anathema – Hindsight
The accoustic versions of their greatest hits are a very pleasant affair, at least most of them.

Calexico – Carried To Dust
Back to form for Calexico; not yet Feast Of Wire form, but on the right path.

Gladshot – Burn Up And Shine
A surprisingly good debut from this New York duo; a name to keep in mind!

Washington – Rouge/Noir
A very difficult album by the Norwegians, but also very rewarding once you get your head around it.

Your Vegas – A Town And Two Cities

Catchy and uplifting songs that you can listen to over and over again; a close contender for debut of the year.

Disappointments 2008:

Portishead – Third

yes, they might have defined Trip-Hop 15 years ago; and yes, they might be a cult-band. But I still think that Third is just plain boring…

Polarkreis 18 – The Colour Of Snow

Lost a lot of the debut’s charm; and it’s a bit sad that a remix from a Danish band outshines each and every song on the album.

Kind Of Girl – Lonely In A Modern Way

Perfect melodies, great songwriting, but hugely overproduced. Less would have definitely been more!

Bloc Party – Intimacy

Hype 1: it came, it played, it went… and it did absolutely nothing for me.

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

Hype 2: same here… nothing that I haven’t heard before (and better, for that matter!)

And that’s it. Oh, wait… there’s still the Best Album Of The Year missing. Well, you might remember last year’s battle, and it looks like I have the same again this year. So a bit more patience is in order; the contestants are getting ready as we speak, and you will get to see the fight soon!

Until then, I wish you a very merry Christmas time!

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