Pitchfork’s Top 50 Albums Of 2008

It’s almost January, which means we’ve seen plenty of Year End Lists. A few offered ridiculous #1s (and numbers in between), but they all have at least one thing going for them: They’re slightly different, even if at times it seems like every music writer in the the world owns an iPod that only allows the same 50 records to be played over and over. To the matter at hand: You’ll see a bit of a correlation between Pitchfork’s top 50 albums and their 100 Tracks Of 2008, but tracks are different than albums, so there’s no real reason for their to be that much overlap. This list includes a couple of my own favorites in the 45-50 range (Crystal Stilts, High Places) and also gives deserved nods to Fennesz, Fuck Buttons, Vivian Girls, and especially Grouper, Fucked Up, and Gang Gang Dance. But hey, still no metal — like no Krallice, Enslaved, Nachtmystium, or even Torche and Harvey Milk, who both had to content themselves with an Honorable Mention a couple days ago. (Full disclosure: I write about metal for Pitchfork, but did not vote in this list … obviously.) While we’re talking about things that are missing, keep your eyes peeled for Will Sheff. But hey, the band at the no.1 spot looks awfully familiar.

50 Ponytail – Ice Cream Spiritual
49 Crystal Stilts – Alight Of Night
48 High Places – High Places
47 The Tallest Man on Earth – Shallow Grave
46 Beach House – Devotion
45 Lykke Li – Youth Novels
44 Marnie Stern – This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That
43 Shearwater – Rook
42 Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Lie Down in the Light
41 David Byrne and Brian Eno – Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
40 The Very Best – Esau Mwamwaya & Radioclit are the Very Best
39 Times New Viking – Rip It Off
38 The Bug – London Zoo
37 Grouper – Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill
36 Wale – The Mixtape About Nothing
35 Girl Talk – Feed the Animals
34 Arthur Russell – Love Is Overtaking Me
33 Frightened Rabbit – Midnight Organ Fight
32 Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
31 Fennesz – Black Sea
30 Los Campesinos! – Hold on Now, Youngster…
29 The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
28 Flying Lotus – Los Angeles
27 Max Tundra – Parallax Error Beheads You
26 Atlas Sound – Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
25 Titus Andronicus – The Airing of Grievances
24 Gang Gang Dance – Saint Dymphna
23 Hot Chip – Made in the Dark
22 Santogold – Santogold
21 Kanye West – 808s and Heartbreak
20 Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing
19 The Walkmen – You & Me
18 The Mae Shi – HLLLYH
17 Fucked Up – The Chemistry of Common Life
16 Vivian Girls – Vivian Girls
15 Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
14 Air France – No Way Down
13 Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)
12 Lindstrøm – Where You Go I Go Too
11 Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
10 DJ/rupture – Uproot
09 Hercules and Love Affair – Hercules and Love Affair
08 M83 – Saturdays=Youth
07 Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
06 TV On The Radio – Dear Science
05 Deerhunter – Microcastle / Weird Era Cont.
04 Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
03 No Age – Nouns
02 Portishead – Third
01 Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant EP/Fleet Foxes

That’s right, readers, you agreed with Pitchfork. Read the accompanying blurbs here. I like Scott Plagenhoef’s thoughts on this years Gummy-winning Most Overrated Act:

In a time when other populist groups like Spoon, Arcade Fire, and the Hold Steady– potential radio staples at certain points in rock history — have commercial ceilings somewhere between “an appearance on ‘SNL'” and “gold record,” I can’t find myself rooting against Vampire Weekend’s relative success.

Anywhere near a gold record is probably too optimistic, but point well taken.