Growing up I always thought that music from the 50’s sounded so foreign. Some of it was good–meaning I liked it–but what stood out most was it’s “ancient” quality. Today, the musical period it parallels is the mid-80’s, somewhere around the time of the birth of music videos. That was a time when I’d willingly watch the same video every two hours as it repeated because the limited number of available videos required it.
A friend I grew up with holds a daily lyric quiz on her facebook page. She chooses a lot of songs from the mid-seventies to late-eighties. It’s the music I grew up with. The facility with which I recognize some of the songs dates me. I wonder, does this music have that same ancient quality to youth today?
I used to pride myself on being an early adopter of new music that pushed boundaries or had a fresh sound. Sometimes I wonder if passing on a seeing a new band in concert in 1980 spurred that desire to explore and discover. It was the first concert in the U.S. by a band named after a spy plane. Why would anyone name a band after a spy plane?
In the early 90’s hosting a segment of a new music show on npr affiliate WYSO kept me abreast of everything new in multiple genres. Since then, it’s become harder to keep track of new bands, artists, etc. Time was when the local record shop was my first stop on payday. Now listening to 30 second snippets on iTunes and at Amazon is often as far as I get. Subscriptions to CMJ magazine and Paste carried me through to the new century, but I am aware that those publications were a lifeline as much as a filter.
At npr’s website, there’s a listener’s poll of the best records of 2008. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98092448 Visiting the site, I am reminded, that while I am out of touch, I’m not dead (yet). Then again, I fit in with their demographic.
That said, in no particular order, here are 10 of my favorite albums from 2008 (including one I picked up as the year began from 2007).
1. Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes
2. Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever ago
3. Adele: 19
4. Los Aterciopelados: Rio
5. Carrie Newcomer: Geography of Light
6. The Hold Steady: Stay Positive
7. Jenny Lewis: Acid Tongue
8. Tim O’Brien: Chameleon
9. Sia: Some People Have Real Problems
10. Missy Higgins: On a Clear Night (2007)