Top 20 Albums of 2008

They still make CDs?

They still make CDs?

After the banner year in music that was 2007, I suppose it was inevitable that 2008 would be a let down. And it was. It’s not that there wasn’t any good music released this year; after all, I was able to come up with a full list of 20 (unlike with 2006, where I wimped out at ten). But there was a lack of greatness this year, with albums that rank very highly this year that would have ranked much lower the year previous. In fact, until I seriously started to think about how this list would shape up, many of the albums on it had failed to grab me throughout the year. In part, this has more to do with the fact that I spent the year listening to older music, but still, if I loved these albums like I loved the ones that topped last year’s list, I would’ve taken notice much earlier. The result is a list where I’m more comfortable with the bottom half (20-11) than I am with the top half. Not because the albums at the bottom are better (if they were, they’d be higher on the list), but because those albums feel like 20-11-type albums, whereas the albums that place highly on this album don’t really feel like high placing albums, but this year they are.

That said, these are all good to very good albums, and to prove it, I’ve included playable songs from each album. If that’s not enough to convince you click on the (more…) link, then there’s a good chance you don’t like my writing. And who needs you?!?
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Playlist: 18 Great Songs to Appear in Commercials

No, they aren't all from Apple commercials

No, they aren't all from Apple commercials

I don’t watch a lot of commercials, since almost everything I watch (aside from sports) is from my DVR, but even with the small amount of commercial breaks I tolerate, I’ve noticed that a lot of the music I listen to has been showing up in advertisements. Some music snobs look at the increased presence of indie rock in commercials with disdain, rejecting artists that choose to allow their music to be used in ads as sell outs. To those people, I can only say: grow up.

We live in an age where many music fans get their music without paying for it, where radio playlists have been reduced to about 25 songs a day, and the channels on television that used to play music videos now play reality television instead. So if a band feels the need to get a guaranteed pay day for their efforts, while taking a shot at exposing their music to a wider audience, who are we to begrudge them (of course, there are some that can’t enjoy any music that is exposed to wider audiences, and to them I repeat: grow up).

So inspired, I decided to make a playlist of songs in my collection that have appeared of late in commercials. I call this mix “Commercial Songs that Aren’t Necessarily Commercial”. Click on the link to see the full track list, along with clips of the commercials in which they appear.
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Top 10 Albums of 2006

After much deliberation and last-minute cramming of 2006 albums, I’ve decided to commit to my top ten albums of the year list. This list was harder for me to make than last year’s top twenty, as this hasn’t been a banner year for music. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been some good albums this year, but no great ones. At this point, I’m not sure any of the albums on this list would get five stars were I to review them. Things could always change of course, as I spend more time with a particular album, my appreciation of it could change, or an album I’ve yet to have heard may be a five-star effort.

But I did my best to listen to as many albums that I could (well, of bands that I would be interested in, no sense in checking out the best the world of country has to offer, for instance). So I feel pretty good about the make-up of my list as it stands right now.
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