1. of Montreal: Skeletal Lamping (Polyvinyl)
I've lauded this album to the moon and back, and I love it for the very reason it turns other people off -- the quick and abrupt rhythm changes within the songs, the clever and suggestive lyrics, and the layers upon layers of rainbow-hued sonics. Kevin Barnes' refusal to dumb down his music for mainstream audiences is commendable and refreshing, especially since the result is a virtual masterpiece. I've listened to it at least 100 times over the past three months, and I'm still not sick of it, which, in my book, makes it the best album of '08.
I've written different variations of the following caveat for years, but I think it establishes an important distinction: The following is a list of my favorite albums of 2008. This is not to be confused with what's important or hip or widely acclaimed by the critical community. If some of the titles below happen to be important or hip or widely acclaimed by the critical community, it is purely by chance.
1. Lucinda Williams: Little Honey (Lost Highway). On Little Honey, alt-country queen Lucinda Williams returns to the more focused, rock-oriented sonics of her breakthrough 1998 album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. In doing so, she reveals a newfound sexual confidence (the title track) and celebrates domestic bliss ("Tears of Joy"). The singer/songwriter also manages to mine pathos for humor on the superb Elvis Costello duet "Jailhouse Tears." Williams can still break your heart, though. "Little Rock Star" plays like a much-needed note to Amy Winehouse, penned by a sympathetic female singer who has already survived the perilous, "whatever it'll take to get them to listen" phase. Williams closes Little Honey with a fun treat: A surprisingly awesome swamp-rock cover of the AC/DC road warrior anthem "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna to Rock 'n' Roll)."
"So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table / finding faith and common ground the best that they were able / Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old / making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold"
Think there's a Michael Vick living next door to you? Have you noticed roosters with spikes on their feet coming from your Ybor City neighbor's house? Well, the state of Florida now has an animal fighting tip line, and it could net you a handsome reward.
Have you ever wondered if your significant other was lying to you over the phone? Or if your parents really did send your Christmas gift in the mail over a month ago? How about figuring out whether that kid across the street really did egg your house on Halloween?
The concert at the Hall with Obie Trice never happened. Mr. Trice canceled on the morning of the show because supposedly his house was raided by law enforcement and he was being detained for questioning. If that smells like Motown manure to you too then congratulations! Youre not gullible either.