MOVE Best of the Year: Music


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MOVE's Top 10 Albums of the Year

1) Los Campesinos! — Hold On Now, Youngster...

It's no small accomplishment to have, hands-down, the most fun album of the year in the same 12-month period as the Vampire Weekend debut, but this Welsh seven-piece made it sound easy. Frantically nestling itself — we realize the contradiction here, but Los Campesinos! are just cute and spastic enough to frantically nestle, trust us — somewhere between twee, indie rock and dance-pop, these songs are so cleverly catchy and enjoyable it's easy to mistake this as a fleetingly fun pop album. But doing so would be just that: a mistake.

2) Vampire Weekend — Vampire Weekend

Turns out the year's best debut (many say best album) came out in its first month. While plenty of predictable Strokes-esque backlash has blown back at these well-dressed, well-schooled Northeasterners, the music has proved to be 2008's most influential and most enduring, as evidenced by the parade of copycats and the continued media attention. Like The Strokes' Is This It?, Vampire Weekendshould provide inspiration and fodder for aspiring artists for years to come. And, oh yeah, the tunes are unbeatable.

3) TV on the Radio — Dear Science

Tunde Adebimpe and co. have yet to put out a bad or even a mediocre album, but on Dear Science they've proven they can expand in breadth and depth without losing their distinctive sound. Even the "classic TVOTR" tracks like "Halfway Home" are solidly built, and the band delves flawlessly into new territory with horns, strings and loops. The rapid-fire chanting at the beginning of "Dancing Choose," the frenetic funk of "Golden Age" — it all works and it's all very, very sexy.

4) Lil Wayne — Tha Carter III

After one authorized leak and about a hundred unauthorized ones, the most overhyped hip-hop album of... well, ever, turned out to be a standout on its own terms, combining Wayne's most blatant pop sensibilities ("Lollipop" and "Got Money") with his most cracked out hot mess ("Playing With Fire" and the inexplicable, ill-advised three-minute spoken word rant against Al Sharpton) on one ride of an album as exhilarating and weird as Wayne himself.

5) No Age — Nouns

No Age's debut album for Sub Pop is what everyone thought it would be: more of the band's typically great skate-punk. There are tons of riffs, old-school punchy drums and shouty vocals that flirt with melody but mostly just sound like dudes who are ambivalent about singing. People said this was No Age going pop, but that's basically bullshit. They are just really good at riffs.

6) Bon Iver — For Emma, Forever Ago

Take a listen to Bon Iver's "Skinny Love." You might wonder just how Justin Vernon's debut album landed in this year's top picks with Lil Wayne and Vampire Weekend. A standout non sequitur, Bon Iver's first is quiet, subdued, intimate and cozy, not unlike the sequestered, isolated cabin it was conceived in.

7) The Hold Steady — Stay Positive

Stay Positive was a different Hold Steady than we'd heard before: less barstool grime, more studio sheen. It was cleaner. And although it might have taken a few listens, it's clear that it was still the same Hold Steady, standing in the smoke, a booze-ridden herald of fall and redemption.

8) MGMT — Oracular Spectacular

Love them or hate them, it quite a year for MGMT. From semi-haunting, semi-nauseous "Kids" to the dreamy, bombastic "Time to Pretend," the disco hipster duo are probably responsible for at least one song that invaded your head this year. A debut that caused a lot of hype for summer anthems and American Apparel-outlet background music, Oracular Spectacular reached you one way or another — and you liked it. Even just a little bit.

9) Fleet Foxes — Fleet Foxes

It's a seamless blend of influence, with earthy — there's not really a better way to describe the sound — tones that hark back to open plains tinged with darkness and light. Robin Pecknold's vocals are intoned as if from a distance, yet retain a profoundly rich quality that holds for a moment, lingering in the air before drifting away. It's a record that's almost haunting and is certainly worthy of mention.

10) Cut Copy — In Ghost Colours

Aside from maybe Hugh Jackman's "Australia" shirtlessness, Cut Copy's unapologetically retro sophomore album is one of the year's best imports from Down Under. In Ghost Colours, with its extra "U," New Order synth and honey-accented lyrics, managed to provide the background music for a night out at a euro-club this year as well as the foreground focus for a renewed attention to '80s pop.

Top 10 Albums - kelsey whipple | arts & entertainment editor

1. Hot Chip — Made in the Dark

2. Cut Copy — In Ghost Colours

3. Los Campesinos! — Hold On Now, Youngster...

4. MGMT — Oracular Spectacular

5. TV on the Radio — Dear Science

6. Hercules and Love Affair — Hercules and Love Affair

7. Vampire Weekend — Vampire Weekend

8. No Age — Nouns

9. Tokyo Police Club — Elephant Shell

10. Oasis — Dig Out Your Soul

Top 10 Albums - joey vergara | senior staff writer

1. Weezer — Weezer (The Red Album)

2. Rivers Cuomo —  Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo

3. Portugal. The Man — Censored Colors

4. TV on the Radio — Dear Science

5. Tilly and the Wall — O

6. Tokyo Police Club — Elephant Shell

7. Brendan Canning — Something For All Of Us

8. Wolf Parade — At Mount Zoomer

9. She & Him — Volume One

10. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band — Conor Oberst

Top 10 Albums - kristin torres | features editor

1. Joe Pug — Nation of Heat EP

2. MGMT — Oracular Spectacular

3. Okkervil River — The Stand Ins

4. Los Campesinos! — We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

5. TV on the Radio — Dear Science

6. Blitzen Trapper — Furr

7. No Age — Nouns

8. Girl Talk — Feed the Animals

9. The Cure — 4:13 Dream

10. Deerhunter — Microcastle

Top 10 Albums - lindsay eanet | move editor

1. TV on the Radio — Dear Science

2. Los Campesinos! — Hold On Now, Youngster...

3. Fleet Foxes — Fleet Foxes

4. Vampire Weekend — Vampire Weekend

5. Lil Wayne — Tha Carter III

6. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds — Dig, Lazarus Dig!!!

7. Blitzen Trapper — Furr

8. Wale — The Mixtape About Nothing

9. Frightened Rabbit — The Midnight Organ Fight

10. Hercules and Love Affair — Hercules and Love Affair

Top 10 Albums - jordan sargent | senior staff writer

1. Los Campesinos! — Hold On Now, Youngster...

2. The-Dream — Love/Hate

3. Vampire Weekend — Vampire Weekend

4. Deerhunter — Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

5. Kanye West — 808s & Heartbreak

6. Young Jeezy — The Recession

7. T-Pain — Thr33 Ringz

8. Cut Copy — In Ghost Colours

9. Jay Reatard — Matador Singles '08

10. Hercules and Love Affair — Hercules and Love Affair

Top Five Shows in Columbia

1) Cursive

Playing half old material and half new, unfinished songs, this Omaha-bred quintet (including CoMO resident and bassist Matt Maginn) delivered a frenetic set that ended with frontman Tim Kasher going nuts on the floor of Mojo's with fans.

2) Broken Social Scene

Broken's show at The Blue Note lasted just shy of three hours, testing the endurance of all involved but ultimately delivering one of the most romantic, impassioned sets Columbia has seen in a long time.

3) Wolf Parade

Spencer Krug has one of the most unusual voices in indie rock. Live, it's no different than on either of the band's brilliant records.

4) Someone Still Loves You Boris Yelstin

Very early in the year Someone Still Loves You visited Columbia with its borderline cheesefest lyrics and pop hooks.

5) Islands/Man Man

From the start this was an unusual co-headlining of opposites. Man Man was chaotic as ever, while Islands (dressed in black) ran through its set without much adieu and focused primarily on new material.

Top Five Dance Party Songs

1) Lil Wayne — "Lollipop (Pt. 2)"

This song must get its dues for putting Mr. Weezy F. Baby in front of the mainstream crowd and giving people a reason to act a fool on the dance floor this year. Shout out to the late Static Major who penned the addictive track.

2) Beyonce — "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)"

This song surfaced a little late this year but right on time for me and the rest of the single misses! Plus, the Bob Fosse-inspired music video is a classic.

3) Katy Perry — "I Kissed A Girl"

The biggest guilty pleasure of 2008 had to go to this experimental lady with a fancy for soft lips covered in cherry ChapStick. Shout out to the Carmex lovers.

4) Young Jeezy ft. Kanye West — "Put On"

Everyone's favorite dope boy teams up with everyone's favorite... ego?

5) T.I. — "Whatever You Like"

After T.I.'s past year of weapon charges and a bummer house arrest, it might have been a good time for a certain thug to show his softer side.

Top Five Slept-On Rap Singles

1) Yung LA ft. Young Dro & T.I. — "Ain't I (remix)"

Grand Hustle neophyte Yung LA doesn't get totally murdered on his own single, but Young Dro, who operates in another stratosphere, corrals the whistling beat and drops a next-level verse.

2) Soulja Boy ft. Gucci Mane & Yo Gotti — "Shopping Spree"

Hide the kids, Soulja Boy can actually rap! His production on this street single is typically dirty, nasty and epic, but his snarling verse along side Gucci Mane's patented simple brilliance is a revelation. Rap purists, step to the left.

3) Wiz Khalifa — "Say Yeah"

This song samples Alice Deejay's "Better Off Alone," which is why it's awesome. Khalifa, a Pittsburgh teen, stays out of the way of the expert chop job.

4) Gorilla Zoe ft. Sean Kingston — "On the Corner"

The fact that this song makes Sean Kingston not sound like the worst shit ever is a pretty major feat. The fact that it's genuinely great isn't: Zoe has the beat's slippery guitar licks firm in his grip.

5) Ace Hood ft. T-Pain and Rick Ross — "Cash Flow"

Ace Hood can rap marginally well but it doesn't really matter. Anytime a T-Pain hook scrambles frantically to chase towering Runners synths to the heavens, a certified banger is pretty much guaranteed.

Top Five Boner Jams

1) Plies ft. Ne-Yo — "Bust It Baby Pt. 2"

Plies might be a nymphomaniac, considering every song he records purely concerns boning. Plies doesn't mess around with romance, his lyrics are only about down and dirty sack sessions.

2) Saving Abel — "Addicted"

Believe it or not, boner jams are not restricted to the R & B/hip-hop genre.  This year, Saving Abel's "Addicted" proved that even relatively unknown rock stars are addicted to "all the things you between the sheets."

3) Chris Brown — "Take You Down"

The video alone is enough to qualify this song, not to mention the pelvic thrusting that's pretty much guaranteed to follow. Light some candles.

4) Usher — "Trading Places"

Like almost every other Usher song, "Trading Places" presents the listener with all the key elements of a boner jam: moaning, overt sexual references and a rhythmic beat to thrust your hips to.

5) Lil Wayne — "Lollipop"

We all know the words and what they mean. Although by mid-July it was probably one of the most overplayed songs of all modern history, Lord knows how many tents popped up while DJs spun this record.

Top Five Lil Wayne Moments

1) "Lollipop" reaches No. 1

On May 3, the lead single from Tha Carter III became the No. 1 song in America. The weird, empty, spacey song full of robot bleeps was Wayne writing a hit pop song on his own terms.

2) Tha Carter III goes platinum

By the time Wayne's sixth album finally dropped, he was already a certified superstar. But when it sold one million copies in its first week out, the true reach of his reign was apparent, and it was stunning.

3) Performance at the 2008 BET Hip-Hop Awards

Wayne, on top of the world, struts and cavorts around the stage with equally awesome wingman T-Pain for performances of "Got Money" and "Lollipop." But it's his performance of "A Milli," culminating in the final words "Hip-hop is alive, don't worry I got it" that sends chills up the spine.

4) (A picture of the Carter III cover)


5) Tha Carter III

Wayne's supposed masterpiece delivers in all the right places: killer rap songs ("Dr. Carter"), killer pop songs ("Got Money") and five-plus minutes of weeded rambling ("DontGetIt") thrown in for good measure.

Bottom 5 Lil Wayne Moments

1) Dedication 3 mixtape

Any hope that Wayne would find his footing on the format that made him famous — a DJ Drama mixtape — was dashed pretty quickly on this lazy, detestable, Jae Millz-addled mixtape.

2) Appearing with Kid Rock at the Country Music Awards

On one hand, Lil Wayne became the biggest pop star in the world and enjoyed the benefits. On the other hand, he started mugging it up with Kid fucking Rock. Wayne, we care about you: Go home.

3) Ditching concerts

It's obvious that Wayne, who raps about smoking tons of weed and having tons of guns and then gets pulled over with tons of weed and tons of guns, thinks he is above the law. Recently, he's started ditching concerts with strict security checkpoints. This makes him an asshole.

4) Kevin Rudolf

"Let It Rock" isn't even that bad; all we ask for is a little self-respect. At least Jay-Z latched on to Coldplay.

5) Tha Carter III

Wayne's supposed masterpiece has neither the focus of his best album, Tha Carter II, nor the shit-hot verses of his best mixtapes. In fact its most clearheaded song, the touching NOLA tribute "Tie My Hands," was recorded in 2006.

Top Five WTF Jim Jones Moments

1) Hip-Hop Monologues: Inside the Life and Mind of Jim Jones

Yes, it's an off-Broadway musical starring Jim Jones. Yes, it actually happened. Yes, we dream about it. Yes, every night.

2) Remixing an MGMT song

According to Jimmy he saw an MGMT concert and really liked it and decided to remix "Electric Feel." It's actually not half-bad, but it's mostly just bewildering to hear Jim Jones shout out MGMT.

3) Stealing "Pop Champagne"

Early in the summer, rap producer Ron Browz released a bizarre, minimal Auto-Tune R&B song called "Pop Champagne." It became a regional hit. Then Jim and Juelz remixed it, by which they mean bought it from Browz, added two verses and released it as the lead single from Jones' new album.

4) "T.I.'s swag is fabricated"

Jim carries on the rap tradition of rappers going at other rappers far out of their league by saying in an interview that T.I., who put out the kinda hit "Swagga Like Us," stole his look. Quote: "You know people that go out and say let me get a T.I. outfit or do you know people who say, 'Yo, you're looking like Jim Jones'?"

5) Jim Jones & Skull Gang Present a Tribute to Bad Santa

It's the return of the Dipset Christmas album just in time for the holidays. Sometimes, prayers really are answered.

Top Five Mixtapes

1) Wale — The Mixtape About Nothing

The best in the seemingly endless army of new-wave rappers linked by little more than a love of stylish sneakers and a steadfast contrast to gangsta/trap rap simultaneously releases the most uniquely themed (all "Seinfeld"-based) and whitest mixtape of the year (you know, besides the 50 plus n-bombs on "The Kramer").

2) B.o.B. — Hi My Name Is B.o.B.

If Wale is the best of the new generation of hip-hop, B.o.B. is easily the most interesting: producing, rapping, singing and strumming his way through his seamless jumps from street hip-hop ("Haterz Everywhere") to Amy Winehouse-aided sex romps ("Grip Your Body") to White Stripes samples ("Apple Pie").

3) Santogold and Diplo- Top Ranking

Mad Decent's mixer extraordinaire Diplo teams up with genre-bender Santogold to prove more music can work side-by-side with Panda Bear than you would think. Philadelphia comes together, everyone wins.

4) Young Dro — I Am Legend

Dro is essentially the South's answer to Juelz Santana but better dressed — and we mean that in the best way possible. This album rarely talks about much outside of money, cars and clothes, but Dro's wordplay and pure silliness quickly reminds us there might not be anyone else we'd rather hear rap about their "Mars bar" cars for an hour.

5) Fall Out Boy — Welcome to the New Administration

While it may seem odd that we're picking this glorified label sampler with Ludacris interludes over more worthy mixtapes like Kid Cudi's A Kid Named Cudi and Rich Boy's Mayor of the South, we see it more as a ploy in hopes that the mixtape concept will catch on with more rockers. Don't act like you aren't curious what Craig Finn could freestyle over the "Viva La Vida" beat with a Weezy guest verse.

Top Five Music Videos

1) Young Jeezy — "Crazy World"

Jeezy deserves every gold star we have here at MOVE for completing the arduous task of creating a music video somehow even more apocalyptic than this beat. This video is essentially "The Day After Tomorrow" in four minutes, if that movie had been good... and on crack.

2) Kanye West — "Love Lockdown"

African warriors + spaceships + "American Psycho" = just as awesome as it sounds. We would have loved to have been at the pitch meeting for this one.

3) DJ Khaled (ft. Akon, Rick Ross, Lil Boosie, Trick Daddy, Plies and Ace Hood) -"Out Here Grinding"

If Jeezy's video represented a realist depiction of the apocalypse, then this Khaled green-screen joint represent a sort of CG apocalypse of marginally famous rappers. It makes up for its lack of even vague plausibility in absolute hilarity as Boosie outruns a fireball and Corrections Officer Ross re-enacts "Singin' in the Rain" with a darling red umbrella.

4) Vampire Weekend — "A-Punk"

The band shows off its fast-motion drumming and sweater-changing skills. Also: bubbles, snow and gloves that double as DIY fish finger-puppets.

5) Pink — "So What"

The most welcome pop-music comeback of the year (sorry Britney) provides us with one of the silliest videos of the year and the best (read: only) display of drunk lawnmowering in 2008.

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