Friday, January 2, 2009

Nelson’s 5 Top Picks for Best Albums of 2008

The List Bandwagon is loading up and I'm on it!  Here's my list of best albums of 2008.  These were not necessarily the best in music but rather just of the ones I bought or downloaded:

Girl Talk - Feed The Animals5.  Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
Greg Gillis is back slicin' and dicin' up some of your well known and not-so-well-known tracks and making a collage of music that stops about an hour later.  Granted, his particular brand of mash-ups are unique, however, this record still doesn't eclipse his artistry on "Night Ripper".  This record is fun to cruise to or bump at parties as it has something in it for everybody to jam to.

Smashing Pumpkins - American Gothic4.  Smashing Pumpkins - American Gothic E.P.
Yes, I'm a die-hard pumpkins fan, however, this E.P. is completely different from other Pumpkin releases.  It's the most organic/earthy batch of songs that really let me feel what Billy Corgan was singing about in a very long time.  Most of these songs were written during the Ashville, NC and  San Francisco, CA residencies, thus, are mostly unaulterated from their initial visions.  The Pumpkins were almost going to be predictable with their comeback release of Zeitgeist, but luckily they went down a more uncharted (and welcomed) course with this release.

Jason Mraz - We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things3.  Jason Mraz - We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things
The Wifey bought this record and listened to it non-stop, thus, I get to include it in my top 5.  I must come to grips with the fact that this is an album I wish I had made as it's a perfect blend of pop, rap, folk, disco, and barrels of good times.  Definitely one of the strongest releases of his career and of 2008.  Don't be surprised when I pay homage to him (read that as STEAL) with some song in the future.

Presidents of the United States - These Are Good Times People2.  Presidents of the United States of America - These Are Good Times People
This record marks the introduction of touring now formal member of PUSA Andrew McKeag on guitbass.  The songs bear the traditional PUSA silliness and goofiness lyrically with the bit and punch of a rock n' roll band fusing everything together. 

Flobots - Fight With Tools1.  Flobots - Fight with Tools
In this day and age of digital music players, it's easy to buy a record, put it on the machine, and fast forward through all of the songs.  I bought this record based on the strength of the single "Handlebars" which gave me a vibe of Cake meets Eminem.  The record at first sounded a bit monotonous and uninspired production-wise.  I decided to go ahead and leave it in the Ho-Ho's CD player as a "last resort" musical choice.  Since the Ho-Ho's radio no longer allows me to plug my iPod into it (stupid Japanese Sony radios) and I detest using an FM transmitter, I decided to just bump the CD while I drove around during the summer.  Lucky for me I did that because I found many gifts this CD had to offer.

The biggest gifts are the messages these guys are conveying.  Although politically charged in nature, they basically are calling out all the ills of the USA and asking them to reevaluate what they're doing and themselves.  I haven't seen them live but I feel that these guys are New Mod hippies carrying a torch for love, peace, unity, and respect for one another.  The approach they use in the songs are novel in the sense of how they blend them together.  James Laurie a.k.a. Jonny 5 has the lead voice for the group and shares rhymes with his cohort Brer Rabbit.  Depending on what message is being given, each MC has a delivery of his own to make the lyrics punch out over the fantastic rhythm section of Andy Guerrero (drums) and Jesse Walker (bassist).  What pushes the songs over the top are the additional eclectic sounds from violist Mackenzie Roberts and trumpet player Joe Ferrone (hence the Cake reference).

I definitely recommend this record to anyone looking for something to move them.

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at

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