18. The Kinks [UPDATE: moved to number 13.]
The Kinks were an unstoppable force during the British Invasion of America in the mid-60s, popping out hits like ‘You Really Got Me‘, ‘All Day and All of the Night‘, ‘Tired of Waiting for You‘, etc. While these are surely classic tunes, their excessive familiarity to me (through being forced to listen to oldies radio stations as a child) gave me a great aversion to The Kinks. But like my aversion to The Beatles and The Beach Boys, I have grown out of this distaste for The Kinks (thanks to initial interest years ago via Rushmore and the watering of the seed by the Greg, the Band Evangelist) – and I even love their hits now too! It’s probably a shame to some people that The Kinks are down here at number 18 in my top 20, but I’m not especially familiar with their work after 1970’s Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One and I’ve only been really listening them for some four years now. Give me more time to wise up. Their album The Village Green Preservation Society (1968) can be found among my Top 50 Albums.
‘Sunny Afternoon’ single promo, later included 1966’s Face to Face:
‘Apeman’, featuring a creepy and massive-haired Ray Davies, from 1970’s Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround:
17. Danielson/Daniel Smith
Whether it is through a band consisting primarily of his siblings (Danielson Famile), through a solo project consisting of the man in a gigantic tree costume (Brother Danielson) or his most recent incarnation as just plain Danielson, Daniel Smith has been consistently producing honest, unusual and compelling art over the last two decades. Danielson appeared on my radar soon after my conversion to Christianity in the beginning of high school and I have grown more in love with them/him ever since. Interesting note: Through his association with Danielson I first gave Sufjan Stevens a shot. Read more about Daniel in this post. His/their second record, Tell Another Joke at the Ol’ Choppin’ Block (1997), is featured on my Top 50 Albums list.
‘Things Against Stuff’, live from 2004’s Brother Is to Son from Brother Danielson:
‘Did I Step on Your Trumpet?’ from 2006’s Ships by Danielson (one of the best music videos of all time):
Greg has done an excellent job of raking in this year’s best (at least in his highly-informed opinion) albums. That’s great stuff (I’m only speaking generally because I think Coldplay’s Viva La Vida is mostly rubbish), but how much of it will we be listening to in two years? Because music is in-and-out so frequently I’ve composed what I consider the best albums of 2008, though none of them were released this year. Lend me your ear eye.
If you or I were to look at a list of our favorite albums from two years ago it would probably be different than the list we would make today. I’m suspecting a lot of the albums that I considered my favorite from two years ago have lost ground in my personal rating and that is not to say that the latest albums have replaced them. What I’ve found is that through recycling the music I listen to I sit with an album longer and it really grows on me. For instance, I first heard Elliott Smith’s Figure 8 in 2001. Since then this album has been climbing its way up my list and I considered it my favorite album of 2005 (even better than Come on Feel the Illinoise!, the quintessential indie-folk hit that year). If Greg’s picks were subjective, mine will likely be hyper-subjective. This whole thing also has to do with the fact that the music I listen to usually gets to my ears one of three ways: by way of NPR/KCRW, by way of associated acts (i.e. I heard of Sufjan Stevens because he once played in Danielson, an earlier favorite of mine), or by way of a highly sophisticated (and elitist) filtration system consisting largely of Greg Stump.
With all of that said, I must also add that I have not purchased much new music from this year. In fact, as I look at my computer the only albums I see in my iTunes library from 2008 are Ratatat’s LP3, Danielson’s Danielson Alive EP (free online), and Danielson’s Trying Hartz. I’m not against new music, but I suppose that after sampling I wasn’t compelled to buy many new full albums this year. That is not to say that I’ve not grown in my musical breadth: according to my “date added” information in my iTunes library I’ve added more than forty albums to my iTunes this year (and it’s not over), thus I’ve purchased more than forty albums this year (buying used music on Amazon is incredible). So out of the albums that I’ve purchased this year here are my top ten.