The Last Drop

Reviews and Clues on Music That Matters (to me)

Top Drops: 2008

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After much (unneeded) suspense, I’ve made up my mind. Here’s to the year that brought on my unabashed love of folk and dance music. Good music lives on. However, I will openly admit I missed out on a lot. So much so that there will be a heavy addendum of postings in early 2009 of all the albums I should have bought in 2008 (nice doing business again, Amoeba!). Furthermore, some of them would have easily made the list. I was just too stubborn to give in to popular demand (funny, I can dish out the peer pressure, but I guess I can’t take it…). This year, I didn’t have an abundance of “fall in love with” albums. Thus the list is kept to just five. However, the five on the list were in such super rotation, I would have easily worn through the grooves if they were vinyl. Again, hold that dial for the follow up posts for 2008 Best Buys I Should Have Bought.

Notable Mentions:

Panda Bear, Person Pitch – A Best Buy I Should Have Bought from 2007. One of the linchpin moments where music from the ’60s actually made sense to me (see also Natalie Portman’s boyfriend). While I may find it difficult to stray into Animal Collective’s realm, I fully support Mr. Lennox as a psychedelic Brian Wilson impersonator. And Panda Bear’s are so cute.

Beyonce, B’Day – Yet another relic – from 2006! – that did not see the backlight of my iPod until Feb 2008. But what a showing! By far, the best workout album one could ever own. 8 absolute bangers of upbeat, ridiculous funk and 2 ballads that manage to fit in with the “sweat out your perm” tempo. Or should you just pat your weave…Before Sasha Fierce represented all of the single ladies, she snuck out early, took over Beyonce’s body, put on her Freak Um dress, and hit the town to B’Day.

5. Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago – Technically a 2007 release, but people really didn’t start digging him until ’08. If only isolation could always sound this good. I’m thinking about locking myself in a cabin this year just to see if I can come up with anything even a tenth as good as this album. Album Memory Moment – 3 days of rain in Istanbul. Being cooped up in a hostel with no where to go makes an irreplaceable atmosphere for enjoying Bon Iver. That’s not to say that he can’t do happy songs (Lykke Li can drag it out of anyone I guess). But his take on a bad end to a relationship is not to be missed.

4. Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple – Controversial, yes, I know. The sophomore album that took a turn to the dark side. But the turn made the album (and the artists) more accessible. Sure, I would love another “Crazy”, but I sure didn’t mind “Who’s Gonna Save Your Soul”. As cliche as it is, I enjoyed the maturation of the duo. Not everything has to be a sizzling upbeat funk head rush. Furthermore, I actually found solace from the lyrics this time around. Album Memory Moment – Being robbed in London. The first album I listened to after my laptop was taken. I think I hit repeat on “A Little Better” 10 times. And it made me feel that way.

3. Jamie Lidell, JimYou knew it was going to happen. I don’t even know if I have to explain this. Alls I can say is that he’ll probably end up being my baby’s daddy. I saw the tour for this album twice. Twice. I saw Jamie Lidell more than I saw my own parents last year. It’s just not right. But if it’s wrong, then I don’t wanna….you know the rest. Album Memory Moment – Lake Windemere, Lakes District, England. I had Jim on blast the entire weekend of hiking. Note – hiking in England apparently means walking through farmers’ backyards. All of the “trails” looked like cattle paths. Y’all best get that sorted. Talk to Jamie, he’ll Figure it Out.

2. Fleet Foxes, Fleet FoxesThe nail in the folk coffin. If “White Winter Hymnal” hadn’t ruined my life last year, I might have never bought this album and left this group off the list altogether. All the hype was building to a Vampire Weekendesque burn out. But (and I repeat) then there was “White Winter Hymnal”. By far, the most delicious song of the year, full of resplendent harmonies and a meandering yet hopeful melody. The kicker – an entire album of loveliness. This was a well deserved buzz band with extreme potential. Album Memory Moment – My first 10 miler. Listening to folk. Yeah, it’s that transcendent. I normally need a red bull and a swift kick in the butt but the folksy glee from these boys was enough to carry me (at least half way – I’m way too slow).

Top Drop. Girl Talk, Feed the Animals – Annie Clark’s charming yet thick melodies owned my heart last year, but I became a sucker for this mashup masterpiece. Truly, the most frequented album in my collection of last year. There are countless moments when I just ruminate on a particular bit of cleverness (Lil Wayne over Sinead O’Connor is just touching, Kelly Clarkson over Head Like A Hole actually creates the angst KC was looking for). The fact that a mashup artist can make a compelling album is a pretty amazing feat, particularly an artist who’s live shows are outrageously inventive and interactive. And it ends with Journey. Seriously, what more do you want? Album Memory Moment – Don’t touch his Nike Air Force Ones. He stripped down to his skivvies when I saw the show in London. Rather, people clawed at him and tore off all of the appropriate bits until he was left with just his briefs and his Nikes. One kid tried to be clever and take his shoes. Not wise. Greg jumped on his back, put on a mean half nelson, and wrestled the onlooker to the ground until he got his shoe back. We all have are limits. Thank God Greg Gillis’ are few.

Written by TopDrop

January 12th, 2009 at 6:38 pm

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  1. […] working on getting out reviews from early releases from 2009. At least I’m not as bad as last year. Anywho, I am particularly satisfied by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s re-emergence as the crowned […]

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