These are the runners up to my top 20 favorite albums of 2008, in no particular order, I present numbers 43 to 21 on my list:
Ben Folds – Way to Normal – Not his best album, but pretty amusing in spots. Plus the title track will now be my theme song for every car ride to visit my sister in Normal, IL.
Ra Ra Riot – The Rhumb Line
We Are Scientists – Brain Thrust Majesty
The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing – An album of power-pop that was so infectious, the guy/girl duo got Rage Against the Machine fans who were willing to spend 8 hours baking in the sun to dance and clap along to their set at noon at Lollapalooza.
Spiritualized – Songs in A & E – I didn’t expect to like this one much, but it’s impressive. Kind of like Pink Floyd, if they all made an album after spending a year recovering from a near-death experience in the hospital.
Tokyo Police Club – Elephant Shell - Almost all of the songs sound identical on this, but it doesn’t matter, they all sound great
Jack’s Mannequin – The Glass Passenger – The first album back for mainman Andrew McMahon after recovering from leukemia, still manages to be relentlessly sunny and upbeat through much of the album
Fujiya & Miyagi – Lightbulbs - "Vanilla, strawberry/Knickerbocker glory." How can you argue with lyrics like that?
The Gutter Twins – Saturnalia – A very welcome return to form for Greg Dulli, with great assistance from Mark Lannegan
The Futureheads – This is Not the World – Somehow this was ragged on by their former champs at Pitchfork, but I like this one more than their previous albums. Moves at a breakneck speed and barely lets up throughout.
Rise Against – Appeal to Reason – Another solid set, but getting a little repetetive
The Wombats – A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation - “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” is the best tongue-in-cheek dance song of the year (ignoring all of the Girl Talk cd anyways)
Snow Patrol – A Hundred Million Suns – Not quite up to par with their two previous albums, but still pretty good in spots.
The Tossers – On a Fine Spring Evening
Albert Hammond Jr. – Como Te Llama?
Kanye West – 808’s & Heartbreak – It’s really like listening to one half of a couple venting after their breakup, but the passion keeps it interesting.
MGMT – Oracular Spectacular – Sadly their set at Lollapalooza proved that about 75% of the credit for the quality of this album belonged to producer Dave Fridmann. Still a solid album.
Lykke Li – Youth Novels
Ladytron - Velocifero
M83 – Saturdays = Youth – This was a case where my appreciation for the album was much greater after seeing the band live. “Graveyard Girl” was one of my favorite songs of the year.
She & Him – Volume One – My girlfriend Zooey had to make it on the list somewhere. I’m sure she’ll be very flattered.
1969 – Maya – It’s a shame that Butch Walker doesn’t put out his best material under his own name anymore. The opening track “Wreck Me” is better than anything on his last two solo albums
R.E.M. – Accelerate – A good reminder that when they want to rock, R.E.M. can still make a very solid album
Soon to follow: my favorite albums of 2008, numbers 1 to 20