Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Best of 2008 - the year in review for music

It's already been twelve months. It seems like only a few months ago when I was publishing Best of 2007, so when John Goodman emailed me to contribute the The North Shore News annual Year In Review Section, I thought, "You gotta be kidding me? Another December?" It really has flown by.

1. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
2. Ray LaMontagne – Gossip In The Grain (RCA)
3. The Smiths – The Sounds Of The Smiths (Rhino)
4. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Cardinology (Lost Highway)
5. Kings of Leon – Only By The Night (RCA)
6. Lucinda Williams – Little Honey (Lost Highway)
7. City And Colour – Bring Me Your Love (Vagrant)
8. Kathleen Edwards – Asking For Flowers (Universal)
9. James – Hey Ma (Decca)
10. KD Lang – Watershed (Nonsuch)

While this year was rather dry for publishing, I was able to push through my pieces on Kathleen Edwards' Asking For Flowers, KD Lang's Watershed, City and Colour's Bring Me Your Love and Morrissey's Greatest Hits. All great albums, with the exception of Morrissey's so-called Greatest Hits (I know, how can I slag my man?!). I have included them in this year's submission, appearing in this past Friday's paper (NSN December 12th edition, page A19).

The year 2008 can be described as eclectic, still filtering commonality in the collective Best-Of-2008. For more than one nomination The Kings of Leon, Fleet Foxes, Lucinda Williams, Block Party, Wolf Parade, Hey Rosetta!, and the most frequent nominee being Kathleen Edwards for her album, Asking For Flowers. Ottawa-born Kathleen Edwards is as confident and reflective as Lucinda Williams. Her debut album Failer is one of my "desert island pics". The Kings of Leon simply rock. Lead singer Caleb Followill's vocals are so striking to me. I'm in love with everything he utters. Further mention must be paid to Dallas Green and his solo work as City and Colour for the album "Bring Me Your Love", because as I described back in March, his voice is soft as silk, transporting lines to a diaphanous lullaby.

My Top 10 Albums were in no way prioritized. They were submitted in random order because I find it dreadful to remark on art in terms of rating. The absolute worst part of submitting an article for an album is the dreaded numbering out of 10. Holding my breath, I type it in last thing before clicking the Send Button on my email. But that is what we do as humans. It's unfortunate, but it's safe to say society is competitive in virtually all aspects, including art, of existence. What is better or worse, what is fastest, most expensive, you name it, we'll rate it. With rating, measuring, ranking, assessing, gauging, grading or estimating, we limit art - we stifle, regulate and limit it. But Music is really very simple. Above all of the temperament, Music is for enjoying.

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