Due to my insane life, this post has been running a bit behind. I’m sure you’ve all been sweating it out, just sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what my top ten albums of 2008 are. Fear not, they are finally here (and yes, I’m joking about the “edge of your seat” stuff). To be honest, this was a bit of a down year as far as I’m concerned. There were only a couple truly stand-out albums this year, in my opinion, so take that into account when reading through this year’s list. Without further adu, here we go . . .
10. Family Force 5 – Dance or Die
If you know me at all, you probably know that I hated FF5’s first album. However, they caught me off guard this year with their infectious dance rock album. Cheesy? Yes. Over the top? Most of the time. Gets stuck in your head for days at a time? Absolutely. My guilty pleasure of the year.
9. Jonezetta – Cruel to be Young
Jonezetta took quite a turn with this album, leaving behind their up-tempo dance rock for a sometimes-coldplay-esque rock sound that is significantly less in-your-face than Popularity was. The result may be tough to swallow upon first listen, but after a few spins, this disc grows on you and leaves you wondering where Robert Chisholm and the gang will head next.
8. Deepspace 5 – Bake Sale
This was supposed to be just an appetizer for the full length album that was to drop in late 2008. It didn’t, but Bake Sale serves to tide us over until more music leaks from the DS5 camp next year. A bit scatter brained at times, Bake Sale still features many of the dopest emcees in hip hop and, of course, fresh beats from Dust and the gang. 2009 Should be a huge year for Deepspace 5.
7. The Academy is – Fast Times at Barrington High
What happens when 5 guys in their twenties attempt to write an album about high school for their third album in order to maybe break into the mainstream? This album. It’s not as bad as it sounds though, and although Fast Times did nothing to vault the band into stardom, it does provide some catchy and satisfying songs to chew on for the next year and a half.
6. Braille – The IV Edition
It’s not often these days that a hip hop album lives up to its unruly hype. This album did though, much to the excitement of the Christian hip hop community. Braille may be one of the most talented emcees in hip hop today, and you can’t escape the creativity and heart that goes into his music. With any luck, perhaps Braille can continue to make waves, even beyond the Christian realm, and help bring hip hop back from the dead.
5. Relient K – The Bird and the B-Sides
Since when does 13 brand new songs count as only an EP? The Nashville EP, one half of The Bird and the B-sides, is an incredible collection of new music from Theissen and the gang. Each member of the band took a shot at song writing on this one, and although each song differs, it still seems to work as a whole. One can only expect greatness from the full-length to come next year.
4. Anberlin- New Surrender
Anberlin broke into the mainstream this year with their first album on Universal-Republic. Unfortunately for long-time Anberlin fans, it’s a step down from their last album, Cities. The good news is that it’s still Anberlin, so it’s still pretty awesome. The remake of The Feel Good Drag anchors the album with other catchy tracks like Breaking and Disappear serving as soon-to-be radio hits.
3. Panic at the Disco – Pretty. Odd.
This album did not fair so well for the Panic guys. Unfortunately for them, the 16-or-so-year-olds who went crazy over their first album weren’t ready for the change that came with Pretty. Odd. A sound that is at times reminiscent of the Beatles, is a bit intriguing and perhaps subconsciously catchy. In a day in age when everyone is releasing the same album again and again, perhaps a band that’s willing to turn back the clocks and pay homage to the sounds that defined today’s and yesterday’s music is more cutting edge than we realize.
2. Copeland – You Are My Sunshine
Copeland came out of nowhere this year to release a new album on a new label with a tad different sound. The first track on the album, Should You Return, grabs your attention as Aaron Marsh’s vocals are spot on and haunting. Throughout the album, Marsh’s songwriting and singing is nothing short of incredible, and although they take a bit slower pace than their recent material, You Are My Sunshine is easy to fall in love with and enjoy whether the sun shines or not.
1. Underoath – Lost in the Sound of Separation
As many of you know, I’ve anticipated this album since June 20, 2006, when Define the Great Line changed my view of music. Lost in the Sound of Separation does not disappoint. If you can’t at least appreciate Underoath’s mind-boggling genre stretch that continues album after album, you must at least be able to hear that this band is musically better than just about everyone making music today. It’s ear shattering from the first note of Breathing in a New Mentality and spine tinglingly delicate with Too Bright to See, Too Loud to Hear. Aaron Gillespie’s vocals take a back seat on this album, but his drumming is spectacular. Spencer roars over the hurt and pain that comes with addiction and sings of the redemption that comes through Christ. I’m not sure if I can say that this album is better than Define or not, but I can say that this is AT LEAST the best album in music since Define the Great Line and I can’t wait to hear what’s next.
Most Anticipated of 2009
3. The Almost
4. Pigeon John
5. He is Legend
Oh, and Arrested Development the Movie :o)
Have a great 2009!