Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Favorite Albums of 2008 (Part 1)

Dice's Favorite 10 Albums of 2008
(These are, in order, the 10 projects I enjoyed the most that I heard for the first time in 2008)

Making this list is probably the most difficult of all for me.  I am a song guy at heart.  It seems to me that the ranking favorite "albums" is quickly becoming like starting a "plus size" store and calling it "Fat Chicks".  You could do it, but your time might be better invested elsewhere.  Still, some groupings of songs did manage to snag my interest enough in 2008 to give them a listen to more than once all the way through.  These were they.

10. Galactic Conquest (Eleventyseven) - I was actually debating this or Stellar Kart's latest as the album to squeak onto the list.   And the truth of the matter is that the albums are strangely interchangeable right down to the guys standing on the cover in an environmental milieu (Stellar Kart went with the surf theme).  Both bands play with elements of techno, punk and pop succeeding well enough in each.  At the end of the day Galactic Conquest feels like a more complete album and takes the slot.

9. Jordin Sparks (Jordin Sparks) - Count me surprised on this one.  Maybe it's just because she holds a special place in my heart, after bringing my blog it's largest number of hits ever (I casually asked how tall she was in an Idol blog, and suddenly became the go to place for Idol related altitude measures)  but I think she has put together quite a fantastic collection of songs on this album.  Embracing a smooth pop sound is perfect for her voice and brand, and I look forward to seeing where it leads in the future.

8. Unbreakable (Fireflight) - Fireflight makes great music.  Every song on this collection is accessible, passionate, and even singable.  It's all too rare to find a true rock band that understands there is nothing wrong with a great hook and a solid melody.  Each song seems to find a nice balance, and though nothing on this album is truly astounding, everything on this album is truly excellent.

7. Pocketful of Sunshine (Natasha Bedingfield) - My favorite thing about Natasha's music, and it is in full evidence on this album, is that she isn't afraid to say things completely counter cultural.  Sure, the music if fun and practically the epitome of Pop, but it's songs like Angel, which takes the whole idea of "my man better treat me like an angel", and turns it into "I'm going to be an Angel for my man" that make her so appealing.  It's refreshing, clever, and very well produced I might add (in fact I'm pretty sure I just did), enough so that I keep coming back to it to hear it anew.

6. Rock What You Got (Superchick) - It's hard to believe it, but these guys and gals are celebrating a decade of making great music this year.   This album is number four during that time and shows the same ingenuity and spark that S-Chick launched with last millennium.    Much of this is due to founder Max Hsu, who (though he doesn't tour with them) is responsible for many of the bells and whistles that make these songs so fun to listen to.  In my mind the music finds that perfect balance between experimental and accessible and is a blast to bob your head to from songs one to done.

#5 through #1 tomorrow!