I’ll start by saying this: Paste’s Top 50 of 2008 offers surprises. To get a quick glean of what I mean, take a look at number 50, then close your eyes and peer at number one. What happened? Now go back and check out what is or isn’t happening in between. If you recall, last year they awarded the top spot to the National’s fourth album, Boxer. This year it goes to a debut. But not the debut you’re thinking. Give you a hint: You’re not going to guess it. In other news, it’s cool to see Torche in there even if they should be (way) higher. Now see for yourself.

50 TV On The Radio – Dear Science (Interscope)
49 Sandra McCracken – Red Balloon (Towhee)
48 REM – Accelerate (Warner Bros.)
47 Laura Marling – Alas, I Cannot Swim (Astralwerks)
46 Lykke Li – Youth Novels (LL)
45 M83 – Saturdays = Youth (Mute)
44 Kathleen Edwards – Asking For Flowers (Zoë)
43 Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer (Roadrunner)
42 Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down – We Brave Bee Stings & All (KRS)
41 The Tallest Man On Earth – Shallow Grave (Gravitation)
40 Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords (Sub Pop)
39 The Dodos – Visiter (Frenchkiss)
38 Jamie Lidell – Jim (Warp)
37 Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit – A Larum (Lost Highway)
36 The Bridges – Limits of the Sky (Verve)
35 Colour Revolt – Plunder, Beg and Curse (Fat Possum)
34 Torche – Meanderthal (Hydra Head)
33 Santogold – Santogold (Downtown)
32 Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (Drag City)
31 The Walkmen – You & Me (Gigantic)
30 I’m From Barcelona – Who Killed Harry Houdini? (Mute)
29 Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)
28 MGMT – Oracular Spectacular (Columbia)
27 Liam Finn – I’ll Be Lightning (Yep Roc)
26 Lee Ann Womack – Call Me Crazy (MCA Nashville)
25 Mugison – Mugiboogie (Ipecac)
24 Santogold & Diplo – Top Ranking? (Mad Decent)
23 Mates of State – Re-Arrange Us (Barsuk)
22 No Age – Nouns (Sub Pop)
21 The Raveonettes – Lust Lust Lust (Vice)
20 Hot Chip – Made In The Dark (Astralwerks)
19 Gentleman Jesse and His Men – Introducing Gentleman Jesse and His Men (Douchemaster)
18 Death Cab? for Cutie – Narrow Stairs? (Atlantic)
17 Bonnie ’Prince’ Billy – Lie Down In The Light (Drag City)
16 My Morning Jacket? – Evil Urges (ATO)
15 Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! (Mute)
14 Langhorne Slim – Langhorne Slim (Kemado)
13 Ida Maria – Fortress Round My Heart (Waterfall/RCA)
12 of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping (Polyvinyl)
11 The Hold Steady – Stay Positive (Vagrant)
10 Deerhunter – Microcastle (Kranky)
09 Lucinda Williams – Little Honey (Lost Highway)
08 Sun Kil Moon – April (Caldo Verde)
07 Girl Talk – Feed the Animals (Illegal Art)
06 Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
05 Okkervil River – The Stand Ins (Jagjaguwar)
04 Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar)
03 Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (XL)
02 Sigur Rós – Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust (XL)
01 She & Him – Volume One (Merge)

The reasoning behind She & Him:

Maybe it’s just a sweet little folk record — a tiny, flawless diamond. Or maybe it’s a pristine distillation of harmony and craft; 50 years of songwriting experience served up on a spinning silver platter. Either way, it’s our album of the year. Produced with touches of girl-group splendor and arranged with a dreamy, old-fashioned vibe, She & Him’s debut couldn’t be more adorable.

Adorable. It’s interesting to note that they’re not so into Brooklyn noise-pop a la Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts. Or fellow Brooklynites High Places. Or, etc. You can read the rest of the write-ups at Paste.

Comments (187)
  1. Heather  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    Mostly a solid list. I really didn’t like their pick for number one… I love Zooey Deschanel and really wanted to like the She & Him stuff, but I just didn’t. Oh well. Glad to see R.E.M. on there, and also Colour Revolt (they’re from my home town! :D). They just gave Anathallo’s Canopy Glow a 92 and would have loved to see that make the list but I guess it’s a little too late in the year. ;)

  2. Heather  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    I also LOVE Jamie Lidell’s Jim and am glad that made an appearance! I forgot that in my gummy awards voting! :P Whoops!

  3. GBE  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    No School of Seven Bells? I absolutely adore that record.

  4. Chris  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    You quiero The Renaissance. Donde esta?

  5. zach  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    03. Vampire Weekend?!? Are you kidding me?

  6. dusee  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    No Chinese Democracy? This is an outrage, an absolute outrage I tells ya.

  7. Hmmm…all in all the list isn’t that bad, but She & HIm? It’s almost like they just gave up. Talk about an album destined for #51.

  8. Jay  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    ra ra riot should have been on there too. otherwise pretty solid list.

  9. bucky  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    no Dr. Dog? Calexico? Giant Sand? Cardinals? Oasis? Verve?

  10. Where is my homegurl Jenny Lewis? How outraged I am :(

  11. drab  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    what a shit list

  12. pbbltt  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    2008 was a shite year for music. all lists should be trimmed to top 20.

    mags make money off ads, not newsstand sales, so that’s not why shim’s on the cover. and half the bands you mention aren’t in paste’s demographic, like portishead or deerhoof or ‘dance’ music. sigh. silly consumers.

  13. Poo Face  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    bands? no bands? band? why arent there bands? bands? this band? lists?

  14. nicolas cage in a bear suit  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    I have concluded that there are simply some things i will never understand: the “Twilight” phenomenon, the tuck rule, math, Drinkability…
    Which is why i’ve stopped trying to understand this need for self-described “indie rock” publications to bow at the altar of Lil Wayne.

  15. With all the other folk/freak folk/songwriter albums on their list its surprising to me that they didn’t pick Department of Eagles even in the top 50…

  16. Jeff  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0


    • phan  |   Posted on Dec 16th, 2008 0

      Yes, I agree. Where is “FATE” by DR. DOG ?? It got great reviews, and the band performed live at Paste. Relix magazine did a 10 page spread and put them on the cover as the next greatest American band, Many are very angry that Dr. Dog was left off the lists. Even Rolling Stone wrote great reviews oabout “Fate”, then, just left them out. Looks like all of these lists are copied and just scrambled from the Pitchfork (devil) lists..

  17. bon iver should be #1 in my opinion

  18. Girl Talk and TV on the Radio should swap places. Emliana Torrini’s and Copeland should replace Flight of the Conchords (more comedy than music) and Lil Wayne (just doesn’t fit here). Cheers to Bon Iver & Sigur Ros. My Paste subscription was free, otherwise forget it.

  19. allah  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    Cut Copy!!!??!??!? Anywhere?!

  20. eperusse  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    ah, bland, followed by more bland, followed by predictable. does a pair of slippers come with this list? why is bland considered so good these days?

  21. kevin  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    only three of my top ten are anywhere in this top 50. lack of mountain goats and kaki king are both ridiculous.

  22. fearlessweaver  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    It’s almost as if year-end lists are subjective. Good thing there is such a thing as an objectively best album of the year, and that YOU are the one to tell us what it is. Congrats!

  23. Wow. She and Him. Really? Did Paste even listen to the album? I’m a huge fan of M. Ward and I’d have a really hard time putting this in the top 20 albums of the year. Yikes.

  24. monkey  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    i’m just glad this list hasn’t polarized opinions and brought out the list happy freaks on stereogum. i’m also really glad this is the LAST best of list we’ll see this year.

  25. I’m not surprised that Deerhoof, Portishead, and Why? didn’t make the Paste list, but they would be in my top 25. I AM shocked that Spiritualized, both Los Campesinos! albums, Ra Ra Riot, and The Black Keys didn’t make the cut…

  26. Paul  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    No love for the ruby suns?

  27. radio zero  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    where is third eye blind? queen w/ paul rogers? reo speedwagon? what year is this? and why am i naked and lying on the hood of my station wagon?

  28. rabble rabble rabble.

    glad to see thao and the get down stay down on there.

  29. conrie  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    past magazine, come the fuck on.

    I can’t wait to not hear about She and Him anymore. No. 1 over hyped let down of 2008 is more like it.

  30. dan  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    Wolf Parade?! silver mt zion?

  31. LQ  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    how is everyone getting a free Paste subscription? please share the knowledge

  32. Liam  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    UGGH. White people strike again.

  33. glad silver jews made it on, but no love for the new Malkmus album?

  34. Frankie V  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    It’s funny to see the token Lil Wayne in there.

    “See black people? We’re “down” with yall.”
    — Paste

  35. Nathan R.  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    Lil Wayne? Come on. The whole I-like-lil’wayne-because-it’s-ironic thing is getting old. Whoops, You’re soooo unpredictable, Mr.Critic(i.e.Pitchfork,paste,etc.) what will you do next?

  36. xxy  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    please tell me how TVOTR was number 50? And a mixtape beat them!? Paste=balls


  38. team poop  |   Posted on Nov 21st, 2008 0

    haha m83 #45 …. ok paste – you got us! where’s the real list now?

  39. Will2  |   Posted on Nov 22nd, 2008 0

    No Coldplay at all?

    Yes they’re extremely popular, but since when was that a fault?

  40. i pass this list and waiting for next year. maybe better…

  41. Robert  |   Posted on Nov 22nd, 2008 0

    For all the pressure Coldplay faced when making their followup to X&Y, I think they should be rewarded for succeeding like they did in Viva la Vida. Maybe not a classic like Martin hoped, but succeeding in accomplishing their goals. It’s a top 50 record of 2008 in my opinion.

  42. Marc  |   Posted on Nov 22nd, 2008 0

    I thought at the end of November people will actually acknowledge the greatness of the Vampire Weekend-Album and forget about the backlash but it seems we have to wait some more months…

  43. pablo  |   Posted on Nov 22nd, 2008 0

    I’m really surprised that the Shearwater album, “Rook”, didn’t get any attention from Paste. It seems up their alley: great songwriting, just a dash of edginess.

  44. Zooey Deschanel is adorable. The album, meh.
    The Dodos and The Walkmen should be in the top ten!

  45. No Kings of Leon? Blasphemy. I bet they’ll make it on the NME list, because…uh…you know..they’re big in England.
    In all seriousness, no Portishead? Burial? Cut Copy? Lame…

  46. mandy  |   Posted on Nov 22nd, 2008 0

    i’m surprised by the lack of Abe Vigoda’s ‘skeleton’ which is as good, if not better than ‘Nouns’ also Laura Marling is far better than the albums of a similar genre on the list. she & him shouldn’t be anywhere near the top when laura marlings at 47.

  47. Emily  |   Posted on Nov 22nd, 2008 0

    Come on guys, this will probably be one of the better year-end lists out there. I mean seriously, has anyone see Blender’s? At least most of the albums here are listenable.

  48. adam  |   Posted on Nov 22nd, 2008 0

    I love how everyone vents so much- this is all about YOUR opinion. Everyone has different taste, you aren’t SUPPOSED to agree with everything.

    Fact is, too many of these albums are fantastic to call this a shitty list.

    Why so much Lil’ Wayne-bashing though?

    And I am a tad surprised about the lack of Coldplay, I hope Pitchfork makes a statement and places them high, but pitchfork is WAY too pretentious.

    And no praise for Panic at the Disco from anyone so far…their album is phenomenal (along with Phantom Planet’s).

    • Cale  |   Posted on Nov 22nd, 2008 0

      You’re right Pitchfork will not put Coldplay anywhere near their list.. But not because they are pretentious.. Its because the are fucking terrible!!!!!!!!!

      Lil Wayne is awesome though… Phantom planet?? Panic At The Disci?? HOw many records have you heard this year???? 9??

  49. Most of you realize just how much Pitchfork influences your musical thinking, right? I feel like a lot of people here are talking about this like Paste is the vanilla latte of music magazines, and it’s one of my favorites; with that in mind, I’m sorry I’m not as hip as you are.

    With that being said, She & Him shouldn’t be #1, and a number of acts shouldn’t have even been considered for this list (MMJ, Of Montreal, I’m From Barcelona).

    But to each his/her own.

    • Cale  |   Posted on Nov 23rd, 2008 0

      Paste is the Vanilla Latte of music magazines…. Its the perfect magazine for people who live earnest, boring music… People looking for something to listen to while waiting for the next Bob Dylan record to come out… Skeletal Lamping is awesome!!!! and BTW ONE of the writers at pitchfork hated it…

      Paste is perfect for peopl just getting into good music… But certainly not Bible.. Like it or not, no website has better taste in music than Pitchfork…. And thats just the way it is…

  50. What about Wolf Parade’s ‘At Mount Zoomer’ ?

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