By Lacey Jane Pappas
On the eve of 2009, I thought I’d share some of my favorite sounds of the last year. Though the year is (almost) up, it’s not too late to give some of these beauties a good spin. Then tell us some of your favorites, too, and preview my all-inclusive playlist here.
10. Jenny Lewis: Acid Tongue
This album features great storytelling and what’s perhaps my favorite song of 2008 altogether: the title track, “Acid Tongue.” The melody is catchy and the chorus is beautiful—much like the rest of the collection.
9. Flight of the Conchords: Flight of the Conchords
If you’re a fan of the show, you already know how crucial these clever tunes are to each episode. On their own, the songs are smart both lyrically and musically, and the album has grown into my go-to CD whenever I’m in need of a good laugh. (And for the record, I’m a bigger fan of Jemaine.)
8. Death Cab For Cutie: Narrow Stairs
As a longtime admirer of Death Cab, I always get excited for their new releases. Admittedly, it took me many listens to warm up to this album, but I soon came to love the always-reliable, sophisticated song-writing.
7. Thao: We Brave Bee Stings and All
This collection came out early in the year and was one I was slow to listen to. Soon, I realized that Thao’s imperfect voice, accompanied by staggered, bluesy rhythms made for a new, refreshing sound.
6. Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend
These boys have topped many best-of lists for 2008. For me, it comes down to Vampire Weekend’s refreshing and reinvented pop vibe, reminding us of long-ago influences like Paul Simon and the Beach Boys. It’s a happy album that can be listened to on repeat.
5. Nada Surf: Lucky
Ever since Nada Surf’s release of “Let Go,” I’ve been a sucker for this group’s beautiful melodies. It’s easy for this band to get lost in the indie-rock shuffle, but if you focus on them alone, you’ll soon find a favorite.
4. Someone Loves You Boris Yeltsin: Pershing
This band-with-a-long-name runs a gamut of soundalikes from Weezer to Rogue Wave, but they’re talented enough to stamp it and make it their own. “Pershing” is a good, catchy collection, even if it takes some getting used to.
3. She & Him: Volume One
What a lovely project this turned out to be! (Did we expect any less?) M. Ward and actress/songstress Zooey Deschanel—soon to be Mrs. Ben Gibbard—released this charming album. Influenced by that smooth, 1950s girly-pop music that’s hard not to enjoy, each and every song leaves you with a smile.
2. Mates of State: Re-Arrange Us
I fell hard and fast for this album. Not only was it on constant repeat throughout summer, it also joined me at the gym. The fast-paced rhythms and sing-along lyrics stick with you, and leave you tapping your feet.
1. Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago
I’ve got a weakness for beautiful ballads, and this track-list is packed with them. Justin Vernon created a romantic album filled with fragile but genuine songs. If you’re new to the group, debut “Skinny Love.” It’s a good representation of the album as a whole.
Now, you tell me. What were some of your 2008 favorites? And here’s to an even better 2009!