Monday, December 15, 2008

Well I guess I'll start this thing out!

Well Merry Christmas to you all and I hope you all had a great 2008.  Personally it's been a wonderful year for me complete with getting married to most amazing woman I've ever met and getting to do a little travel to the Bahamas, Canada, Montana, and Washington.  Still enjoying teaching at a charter school, and just started writing an occasional review for a website  

Anyways, enough with the personal update and onto the music...  I felt like there were a lot of good spins out there this year, but quite a few disappointments as well.  Regardless here is my top 10:

10. Metallica- Death Magnetic
It was nice to see a band finally do what the fans wanted and go back to their roots.  This one rocked a lot harder than anything they put out in the past 17 years and it was a surprising comeback album. 
Standout track: "The End of Line"  

9. Ray LaMontagne- Gossip in the Grain
Not my favorite Ray album, but it's still up there for this year.  Not sure what he was trying with "You are the Best Thing", but the rest of the disc was pretty decent. Props for trying something new though!
Standout Track: "Winter Birds"

8. Counting Crows- Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings
My first CD I ever bought was August and Everything After in 8th grade, so it's always nice to see what Adam Duritz is up to.  Pretty solid effort from the Crows and a fun contrast between the two halves.
Standout Track: "Washington Square"

7. Weezer- Red Album
Loved the first 6 songs on the disc and the the last few, but just couldn't get used to hearing anyone singing but Rivers.  I like the idea of giving the other guys a chance, but save it for an EP!  Flawless album aside from those songs though, in my opinion!
Standout Track: "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived" 

6. Joshua James-  The Sun is Always Brighter
I caught on a little late to this great artist, but he warranted quite a few listens this year.  Nothing too new exciting about him, but he sure puts out quality music.
Standout Track: "Today"

5. Joshua Radin- Simple Times
Another folksy Joshua?  Yup!  Radin put out a great album this year and I really appreciated it a lot more after seeing him play in Santa Barbara a few months ago. If you've never listened, he's got some great mellow tunes to listen to on a rainy day (like today!)
Standout Track: "They Bring Me to You"

4. Kanye West- 808's and Heartbreaks
Although it was a very different album and entirely recorded with auto-tune, I thoroughly enjoyed Kanye's new CD.  I guess getting dumped by his fiancee and the death of his mother knocked his ego down a few pegs and gave him some perspective.  I loved the beats and lyrics like "Chased the good life my whole life long, look back on my life and my life gone...where did I go wrong?" 
Standout Track: "Welcome to my Nightmare"

3. Jon Foreman- Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer
Lead singer of Switchfoot's ambitious attempt at capturing the 4 seasons in 4 6-song EP's turned out very well in my opinion.  Fall was my favorite season, but each one brought new instruments and new sounds to add to a year of great music.
Standout Track: "Your Love is Strong"

2. Jason Mraz- We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things
Perhaps the greatest male voice out there in music today, Mraz put together a great CD with a fun sound.  Most people probably got sick of hearing "I'm Yours" over and over, but you have to admit it was really stinkin' catchy!  
Standout Track: "Live High"

1. Coldplay- Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends/ Prospekts March
Ok, so Martin may have ripped off Satriani, but even Johnny Cash ripped off "Folsom Prison Blues"! "Viva La Vida was still my favorite song of the year and quite brilliant.  Overall I love this CD and the EP that just came out and I beleive it was the one CD that lived up to the hype.  
Standout Track:...forget it, just download the whole thing!

Alright there they are...probably too poppy for most people's taste, but I look forward to reading other posts and trying out new music.  Take care all and have a great Holiday!


Thomas McMahon IV said...

Thanks for kicking off the Jamboree, Nate. An interesting assortment of albums, some of which I've never heard of (both Joshuas). I didn't realize that Counting Crows are still putting out albums. Does Adam Duritz still have dreads?

michelle mcmahon said...

I love that Mraz song! It makes me feel like I'm somewhere warm.

Daniel said...

He still has dreads. I read a some-what heartbreaking article about him in Rolling Stone recently. He suffers from mental illness. Interesting dude though.

Nate, thanks for the list, I like the idea of putting standout tracks for each selection. Gives a good starting point for those wanting to sample the albums listed.

Ricky said...

Thanks for the great list. I'll definitely have to check out the Joshuas and Ray. You're one of several people who have really sang the praises of Mr. LaMontagne.

Also, I'm glad to see you list those Jon Foreman EPs. I've purchased them as they've come out, but haven't been able to listen to all of them yet. I've really liked what I've heard, also.

Have you heard about the new side project that Foreman is in called Fiction Family? It's with one of the guys from Nickel Creek. They have a track for free on their site:

They're playing at Largo in WeHo in February. Peace!