Friday, January 02, 2009

Best of 2008

For the most part, my favorite CDs of the last year were ones I've reviewed for CDHotlist. Here are highlights, with links to the pages with my original reviews.

Alejandro Escovedo: Real Animal
Maybe because he has never been gotten huge, the Texan still has something to prove. His latest reflects on his life and proves that heartfelt doesn't have to be sappy and squishy.

The Hives: The Black and White Album
Swaggering Swedish garage rockers who show they aren't one-hit wonders.
Ting Tings: We Started Nothing
Fun, cheeky guitar-based pop.
The Pretenders: Break Up the Concrete 
The title of the opening track, "Boots of Chinese Plastic," may be a nod to Bob Dylan's "Boots of Spanish Leather," but the song is all Chrissie Hynde at her finest.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
Only Nick Cave could get away with this many exclamation points in his title and lyrics without sounding like a fool.

Nine Inch Nails: The Slip
The free one for the fans. At the turn of the millenium, fellow '90s future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Billy Corgan was whining about not being able to compete in a world dominated by Britney Spears.  Trent Reznor ignored the commercial winds and just got on with the business of creating music, along the way building a loyal fanbase by relating to them and how they use technology without pandering to them artistically.

And, as much as I love the Wedding Present, I have to say the jury is still out on El Rey. I'm not sure if it doesn't measure up to their older work or even Take Fountain or if it's just that, having not reviewed yet, I haven't listened to it closely enough to appreciate its nuances.

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