The list parade continues, this one from the other side of the pond. NME’s top 50 includes folks you’d expect it to include (Verve, Oasis, Spiritualized, and other British bands), but it also has surprises. So far it’s the first we’ve seen that charts Scarlett Johansson (brave). They also give deserved respect to Fucked Up. It’s interesting what a label change will do: When Fucked Up released the truly awesome Hidden World in 2006, the mainstream media didn’t give a shit, but with their move from Jade Tree to Matador for their second full-length, it’s suddenly OK to like the kids. Asides aside, the top 10 is where things get strange, at least to the ears of this Yankee … though no. 1 and no. 2 belong to bands who live in that American city called Brooklyn.

50 Heartbreak – Lies
49 Bloc Party – Intimacy
48 Ida Maria – Fortress Round My Heart
47 The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound
46 Blood Red Shoes – Box Of Secrets
45 Black Keys – The Attack & Release
44 Lykke Li – Youth Novels
43 Black Kids – Partie Traumatic
42 School of Seven Bells – Alpinisms
41 These New Puritans – Beat Pyramid
40 The Kills – Midnight Boom
39 Chairlift – Does You Inspire You
38 Beck – Modern Guilt
37 Primal Scream – Beautiful Future
36 Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight
35 Cass Mccombs – Dropping The Writ
34 Los Campesinos! – We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
33 Deerhunter – Microcastle / Weird Era Cont.
32 Mogwai – The Hawk Is howling
31 Coldplay – Viva La Vida
30 Hot Chip – Made In The Dark
29 Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
28 British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
27 Hercules And Love Affair – Hercules And Love Affair
26 Verve – The Forth
25 Portishead – Third
24 Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
23 Scarlett Johansson – Anywhere I Lay My Head
22 Oasis – Dig Out Your Soul
21 Lightspeed Champion – Falling Off The Lavender Bridge
20 Spiritualized – Songs in A and E
19 Fucked Up – The Chemistry of Common Life
18 Late Of The Pier – Fantasy Black Channel
17 Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
16 Ladyhawke – Ladyhawke
15 Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of Understatement
14 Laura Marling – Alas, I Cannot Swim
13 Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
12 Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
11 Neon Neon – Stainless Style
10 Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires
09 Kings Of Leon – Only By The Night
08 Mystery Jets – Twenty One
07 Santogold – Santogold
06 Metronomy – Nights Out
05 Foals – Antidotes
04 Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
03 Glasvegas – Glasvegas
02 TV On The Radio – Dear Science
01 MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

Well, congrats to them for not randomly sticking Lil Wayne on there.

Comments (72)
  1. Chadams  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    Doesn’t look too bad, ScarJo & VW may be sitting too high for some (myself included). I like that Friendly Fires is making a high appearance, though.

    And yes, Why?’s “Alopecia” is not there. Thought I’d point that out for those looking for that album in specific.

  2. Marc  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    I honestly like this list more than a lot of the other lists which got already posted… strange.

  3. Here here! I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised by this list. If they had included Born Ruffians somewhere in there (preferably instead of Scarlett Johansson [though Falling Down isn't all that bad] or Black Kids) then they would have represented my musical trifecta of the year in this list (and it would be the only list to have done so). Surprising

  4. winton  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0


  5. interesting that they included the second los campesinos! album, I think they are the first to do that, no?

  6. glad to see crystal castles placed so high on the list… even if it didn’t necessarily deserve it.

    • Johnnyboy  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

      Your logic lacks… um… logic.

      • i think the logic would be: i really loved the album. i realize that it wasn’t the most proficient or cohesive. i’m glad to see it getting some love on this list. not terribly difficult to understand.

  7. Robert  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    By this point, it’s becoming predictable what albums are going to be on these lists.

  8. bookwibble  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    MGMT is way too high.

    And I believe this is the highest I’ve ever seen Dear Science.

  9. Lightspeed Champion, wow.

  10. Edwin  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    Nice to see Late of the Pier getting placed high.

  11. Craig  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    It has to be said this is the strongest list so far and it at least differs a bit more than the others. Loving high places for friendly fires, glasvegas and foals.

  12. genevieve  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    1-10 is the best 1-10 i have seen so far. i don’t think mgmt should be #1, but most of those albums in the top are really good or at the very least solid.

  13. 1234  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    Yay Ladyhawke!

  14. JM  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    Gang Gang Dance!!!!!!!!!

    Nice to see Spiritualized, though.

  15. MGMT is just right. woo. not a bad list except black kids and scarlet johanson

  16. Michael_  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    I think the comment about Fucked Up is so true. “Hidden World” was solid through and through, but it seemed anyone who seeked it out already had a penchant for hardcore and knew Jade Tree to be a quality label. At this time last year, their friends PIssed Jeans were sitting pretty as the best new hardcore band just because they are on Sub Pop, another “acceptable” label. Whatever, though. Fucked Up and Pissed Jeans are awesome.

  17. eddie  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    Man. I haven’t read the NME in so long.

  18. Jhon  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    Foals getting TONS of love from NME. The position of that record alone shows that this list is ass-backwards.

  19. ryuk  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    Isn’t this the first year-end list that does not include that Lil’ Wayne garbage?

  20. xxy  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    And is the bon iver a re-release? because it definitely came out a year ago, but it’s on everyone’s list!

  21. Will2  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0


    The best list yet.

    • yes! the best list i ‘ve ever seen in this year. almost perfect list except Scarlett. anybody like rarariot, islands,death cab, flight of conchords should be placed on her rank.

  22. Gary  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    where are the walkmen on these lists?

  23. preston  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    ive decided if a list is going to include bon iver as a 2008 album it better be number one

    this list is far to british for me to take it seriously

  24. All in all, it’s a bit better than I could have imagined. Some nice surprises, expected crappy albums… but the Top part reads as their favorite artist to hype.

    Which it’s somewhat expected, after you’ve been shoving these acts all year long, they feel is a MUST to place them very high.

  25. Jon  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 0

    Scarlett Johansson beat Deerhunter.
    ‘nough said.

  26. higgledypiggledy  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    Did this list just win best list of 2008?

  27. fatefellshort  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    Best damn list this year. Glado to finally see a publication putting Mystery Jets on the top 10, ’21′ is the most fun record out this year.

  28. um  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    This is another horrible list. What is wrong with some of you.

  29. notlovingit  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    No Raconteurs? No Ryan Adams? No Death Cab, no She and Him, No Islands, No Hold Steady My comment could go on forever. I suppose I’m not exactly privy to what they listen to across the ocean.

  30. yay  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    Nice to see Lightspeed Champion getting some love :)

  31. David Byrne & Brian Eno.

    Missing from almost every year end list. Given the critical reception for the album and 50 slots, I don’t think it’s a matter of relative quality. Just plain weird.

  32. woofie  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    Finally MOGWAI!!!

  33. Ah, the forward thinking modern best of 2008 “we’re all cool here” issue…. complete with old ’90s band reunion on cover. There’s something wrong here.

    Interesting that the editors feel their readers need the reunion pointed out twice on the cover – “Blur are Back!” & “Blur Reunited!” Oh and exclamation marks on both in case you didn’t pay enough attention to their excitement!!

  34. apart from their confusing love for Glasvegas/MGMT/Kings of Leon/Coldplay?!?!?.. this list is surprisingly strong.. although not ordered particularly well.

    and kudos for including the FAR SUPERIOR Los Campesinos! album

  35. Black Jesus  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    No Hold Steady?? Fuckin Brits……

  36. roni  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    seriously, scarlett jo’s album? no hate, but i doubt it deserves to be in the best.

  37. Tito  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    As not an Arctic Monkeys fan, let me assure you: that Last Shadow Puppets record warrants a listen. It’s like a forward-thinking soundtrack to a 60s spaghetti western.

  38. nate  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    I am kind of surprised that the Paul Westerberg record has been completely absent from all lists this year. I would think it would crack the top 50 of someone’s list.

  39. livves  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    good to see that every list is missing out on the truly special undeground artists right now. btw, what does fucked up’s label choice have to do with anything, their music has always been middle of the road punk. listen to sex vid instead.

  40. I nominate the NME for worst music mag. I used to buy it way back in the day, but it’s such an embarrassment. Trust me, MGMT is going down the tubes hard. And Scarlett, really? The Verve? Oasis? Some editors look back fondly on 1995.

  41. i love los campesinos

  42. who cares  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    they hate rap music

  43. I am glad to see that The Gaslight Anthem is being shown some respect on this list, but where is The Hold Steady’s “Stay Positive”. There is no way they should be left off of anyone’s best of 2008 list.

  44. Glasvegas don’t deserve to be on any list. Especially at number 3.

  45. Tito  |   Posted on Dec 13th, 2008 0

    Don’t you hate pants?

  46. BA  |   Posted on Dec 13th, 2008 0

    MGMT’s album was the worst thing i’d heard all year. I mean i lterally took it out of my cd player while driving on the interstate and chucked it out the window it was so bad. i ‘m not even kidding.

  47. sonam_mcrgurl  |   Posted on Dec 13th, 2008 0

    happy to see the kills and santogold. the rest of them that i know on the list, i like but i’m not a fan of.

    ALSO, some critics joke about scarlett johansson’s tom waits cover album, but I quite like it. I don’t love it soooo much that it be this high on the list, but i’m proud of saying that it was a good album none the less.

  48. First shout out to School of Seven Bells. I’m impressed, especially because it’s the NME. But where is Burial?

  49. cleo nail  |   Posted on Dec 14th, 2008 0

    glad to see mgmt as number one, amazing album…
    bit suprised to see tv on the radio as number two, i think vampire weekend or late of the pier could have taken that slot. also, black kids, really? theyre terrible! but im extremely happy not to see the ting tings up there… white denim could have made the list with workout holiday…but all together its a good list :)

  50. i’m so sick of mgmt. srsly. the album has like three songs that are really catchy initially but become rather annoying after a couple listens. maybe seeing them live (twice, at lolla and opening for beck) helped me realize that these guys bother me.

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