dirrrty pop: Top 10 Albums of 2008

So i’m a little bit late with this, being as it’s now February and all. But I thought i’d make my Top 10 Albums of 2008 list, just because. I don’t think 2008 was a particularly great year for music, and many artists disappointed me with their newest offerings. But nevertheless, there were a few that I liked

My Top 10 Albums of 2008

1. Lady GaGa – The Fame.
Oh my, how I dread to think the amount of times I have listened to this album. She first came to my attention in mid-2008, via the God of all blogs, Popjustice. And I instantly disliked her, and as a result I didn’t get round to listening to her album until December. But nevertheless, it is without a doubt my favourite album of 2008. Its a poptastic, shiny disco affair that just makes me want to get up and dance and sing and pretend to be a popstar. Bar Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say), the one blip on the album, every single song is a hit. Even Boys, Boys, Boys, which many a critic has slated. She’s a bit too hung up on being ~ironic~ now that she’s shot to stardom in the UK, and the way she speaks about herself in interviews makes me cringe. She should just let the music speak.

2. Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs
I had (and still have) no idea about Death Cab For Cutie. People have quoted their greatest songs to me and I stare blankly. I couldn’t even tell you the lead singer’s name. All I knew was that my boyfriend was excited for this album and that it took a frustratingly long time to leak. Because my boyfriend wanted this album so badly, I would look out for leaks for him. Time after time there were fake leaks from a band hoping to get attention from the thousands of people looking out for this album. It was annoying, I didn’t even like this band but I was getting frustrated by the quest to find it. When it finally leaked, I was ecstatic – not because I wanted this album, but for my boyfriend. I wasn’t even going to listen to it, but I thought i’d better check it out considering i’d been fretting over it for weeks. I was not disappointed. This album was incredible from start to finish – I Will Posess Your Heart and Cath… the highlights for me. When I don’t know what to listen to, I stick this on and most of the time I end up listening to it all multiple times. It’s just so… listenable, for lack of a better word. It’s an addictive album! I’m still not familiar with Death Cab beyond this album though, I should probably get on that.

3. Beyonce – I Am…Sasha Fierce

Stupid title aside, Beyonce’s third album was a pleasant surprise for me. This was a two disc album, which at first seemed a bit risky and unnecessary. And it turns out it was indeed unnecessary, as you could probably slim the album down to contain the best songs and filter out absolute crap such as Diva and Videophone, which I actually did about 2 weeks after I first got the album. Stripped of Ego, Diva and Videophone(seriously, Beyonce, what were you thinking?) this is a lovely album. I see what Beyonce was trying to do with her Sasha Fierce side but it doesn’t really work properly, and the ‘ballad’ side turned out to be the better disk, despite the idea of a feisty, upbeat Beyonce album sounding like pop heaven. Some of the slower songs on the first disk, such as Smash Into You and Satalites surprised me with how good they are – they’re mellow and lushcious and don’t sound like your typical R’n’B ballad at all. Whisper it, but I actually found most of the songs on the first disk to be… folksy, almost. Radio and Sweet Dreams are the highlights from the Sasha Fierce side, but its a shame that there aren’t more, as Sasha Fierce, as a concept, had a lot more to offer than this.

4. Mystery Jets – Twenty One
Full of shouty goodness and a lovely song featuring Laura Marling. Songs from this album get stuck in my head all the time, and I don’t know why they’re not more popular. I suppose they would be quite generic if you listened to this type of music a lot, but I don’t. I’m sure they’re not doing anything new but they sound as if they’re having fun and the songs are brilliant, and sound like they would be good live.

5. Chasing Lights – The Saturdays
Basically conceived as a Girls Aloud clone, The Saturdays seem to me to be a play thing for Fascination Records, someone to shove on as an opener for Girls Aloud and watch the money come in. Therefore I expected them to either sink without a trace after their first single, or for them to be rather shit. They’re not. Chasing Lights is a good solid pop album, with a few stand out tracks and a few obligatory ballads, which actually aren’t that bad. Up is one of my favourite singles of the year (who knows, perhaps i’ll get that done in time for the 2009 list!) and songs such as If This Is Love, Chasing Lights and Work make the Saturdays ones to watch. They’re sort of like a juvenile Girls Aloud at the moment, and watching them live they seem as if they’re a bit unsure of themselves, but if they can work on it their second album has a lot of potential. Fascination obviously know that they’re marketable, having had a top 5 hit with Issues recently, and being chosen to sing the Comic Relief single for this year – lets just hope they don’t balls it up.

6. Britney Spears – Circus
Too controlled to get any higher in my list, Circus was a biiig hit and miss album for me. It’s great to see Britney back performing but something about this whole project just says to me that it’s not what she wants to do. Songs such as MannequinKill The Lights and Unusual You (which, by the way, did anyone else think sounded just a bit like Imogen Heap?) were great, but could have been sung by anyone. For the most part she (I say she, I think I mean her production team) is trying too hard to be back to her best. Lace and Leather tries to elude the same sexiness that was part of her image during her Baby One More Time days, but instead just sounds cliched and sort of sad. It was good, but not Britney good.

7. Doll Domination – Pussycat Dolls
Disappointing. Full of ballads, no showy jazz covers, and no vocals by anyone but Nicole. Their image was cheap and tacky during the promotional side for it (well, when is it not?) and each song just screamed ‘Nicole solo album reject’. But yet it still has a certain something. When I Grow Up was pretty atrocious, and Out Of This Club was so bad, seriously just so so bad. It was a double album when the idea of a double album shouldn’t have troubled them at all – if you cut the album down it’d be so much better. MagicWhatchamacallit and Halo are all catchy, sing-a-long pop songs that work for the Dolls. Snoozefests such as I’m Done and Elevator do not.

8. Solange – Sol-Angel And The Hadley St Dreams

T.O.N.Y and Sandcastle Disco are brilliant. So is her wacky image.It’s very nice to listen to on a lazy day, when you just want to sit back and do nothing but listen to music. It’s very chilled out, and although Solange doesn’t have the range that her sister Beyonce does, she uses her voice to spectacular effect.

9. Nine Inch Nails – The Slip
Free music, hurrah! I found Ghosts to be quite boring, so I was thankful for a return to form. There’s something about Reznor’s voice, isn’t there? *drool*. Loved Echoplex and Discipline.

10. The Dresden Dolls – No, Virginia
Felt like an album of rejects, which I suppose is what it was. Some good songs, however, but some songs that I had in various demo/live forms anyway.

The “Oh Dear” List of 2008

Girls Aloud – Out Of Control
Girls Aloud are one of my favourite groups. I am obsessed with their album Tangled Up, which was a delightful melting pot of synths, guitars and general pop goodness. I was beyond excited when this album was announced. Xenomania are amazing, they certainly know what they’re doing, I thought. Cheryl is on the X Factor, brilliant, the band’s profile will be raised and this is the time to wow new fans with their amazing pop quirkiness. But then… what is this? The Promise? Rolling Back The Rivers In Time? It’s like the worst kind of middle of the road pop – so bland and uninspired. Seriously, seriously disappointed. I expected something exciting, something fresh, but apart from Untouchable and Turn To Stone there was nothing in this album to get excited about. I know the girls are going for a new, sophisticated image and I’m not exactly asking to a return to the Sound Of The Underground Days but really…
Also, what the hell was the cover about?! Was it made in MS Paint by a work experience kid or something?

Queen + Paul Rogers – The Cosmos Rocks
I knew it’d be bad from the moment the album was announced. I am a huge, huge Queen fan. In fact, I’m bloody obsessed. But this is just… no. They shouldn’t have even tried.


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