Most played albums of 2008


1 jan 2009, 21:59

Once again, most played albums of this past year. Sorted based on average plays and listed in countdown fashion to make it look a bit more fun and keep you gripping onto your seat until the very end!!!!!! Ok, got a little carried away there, but it’s better when you are scrolling through the unexpected, wondering: “oh, who could possibly be number one?”

Average plays = Total Plays / Total tracks in the album

Only full lengths have been included. I will briefly tell you what I liked and disliked about each album… yes, no one is perfect. As well as highlight my top 3 most played songs and which track was left behind.

15. Johnny Foreigner - Waited Up 'til It Was Light
Played 305 times – averaged 23 plays per track

This was the most fun album of the year for me. Good old fashioned pop punk with a seriously heavy dose of catchiness to go around the world for 3 times and keep going!

With a 14 song track list, some songs are catchier than others and you could feel like you’ve are being given too much of the same formula, but at the end of the day is the kind of record you’d like to be listening to at a party that is fighting against the electro/new rave trend.

Most played songs
Salt, Pepa and Spinderella (54 plays)
Eyes Wide Terrified (39 plays)
Champagne Girls I Have Known (37 plays)

This is pretty much the ranking of most catchy songs in the album, in descending order. By the end of Salt, Peppa and Spinderella you just wanna start jumping around like a lunatic!

Oh and apparently the video for that song was banned in Europe because it could cause epileptic seizures. So, by clicking here you are living on the edge my friend!

Least played song
The Hidden Song At The End Of The Record (2 plays)
DJ's Get Doubts (2 plays)

Like I said, 14 tracks for this kind of record can be considered on the long side. DJ’s get doubts is actually a ballad!

14. Lykke Li - Youth Novels
Played 326 times – averaged 23 plays per track

It’s not uncommon for a pop artist to get a good set of listens every now and then, but something tells me this is one that could actually stick. One simple reason: her music is actually interesting and goes beyond quickly disposable pop hooks. She also manages to be really charming and somewhat naïve, enough to the point for you to like her and not roll your eyes and hate her.

As for a down side, 14 tracks seemed to dim my interest as the end of the album approached.

Most played songs
Little Bit (56 plays)
Dance Dance Dance (48 plays)
I'm Good, I'm Gone (40 plays)

For a couple of months I went on with 4 tracks, before deciding to just give a listen to the rest. There I found even better songs! Like Let It Fall, My Love and Complaint Department.

Least played song
Melodies & Desires (6 plays)

This is sort of a poem read out loud. It could have gotten more plays if it had more instrumentation like This Trumpet in My Head, a song I find far most successful in the narration. You won’t be able to get that trumpet out of your head!

13. Thrice - The Alchemy Index: Vol. 3 & 4: Air & Earth
Played 286 times – averaged 24 plays per track

Looking back, I don’t see what else could be added that I have not already said in here. Air is the most concise record of the series, and possibly my favorite.

Most played songs
The Earth Isn't Humming (43 plays)
Daedalus (38 plays)
A Song For Milly Michaelson (37 plays)

Pardon me Frodus fans, but I think Thrice version is better. The original is just your standard math rock song.

Least played song
Child Of Dust (8 plays)

This is one song I’m not feeling.

12. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins
Played 270 times – averaged 25 plays per track

Lost Coastlines started a breakout movement for these guys in my library. And they’ve been steadily growing and getting stronger. Just like in previous albums, the strongest suit is the lyrics, the heart and soul of every song.

When compared to last year’s The Stage Names, it doesn’t shine as much. This was suppose to be a second album of that record and it sort of feels like it to a point. It’s a pretty good album but when considered next to the almost-masterpiece level of The Stage Names, it feels a bit modest. Still pretty good!

Most played songs
Lost Coastlines (68 plays)
Singer Songwriter (42 plays)
Starry Stairs (30 plays)

Lost Coastlines is one of my favorite songs of the year! Like I said, as soon as I heard it I just knew I needed to give this guys a more serious listen. The way it builds itself up with “our dreams are lost” melancholic trumpets then hit the “la la la” part… it’s eargasm worthy!

Pretty difficult to follow on putting such a great song as the opener, but it somehow keeps up with the pace.

Least played song
Stand Ins, Two (11 plays)
Stand Ins, Three (11 plays)

I’m going to type this once. There appears to be a recurring trend in several albums on this list: unnecessary transitional/short-length tracks that don’t really add much to the record. You can listen to the rest of the album all the way through without even noticing they’re missing. Why bother? I think this is a plan to get us mp3-buying people!

It’s very difficult for pop-driven artists to include a song of this nature and not coming off as unnecessary, actually there are a couple of examples of how this can be done in a more correct manner. From now on I will simply add [UTT] to repeat this bitching as we move on.

11. Maybeshewill - Not for Want of Trying
Played 256 times – averaged 26 plays per track

To the common music listener, post-rock is mostly about atmospheric built-ups, somewhat predictable and can be rendered boring with ease. There are a number of bands that are trying to make instrumental rock escape that trend and this is one of them.

They have a heavier and, at times, more upbeat approach. Some of their heaviest moments could be compared to Deftones circa Around the Fur. It is awesome! But I have to say that their songs with lyrics/singing are not as good - Yes, I’m talking about you Heartflusters! Not counting the title track, Not for Want of Trying, that uses a sample of the movie Network with excellent results. It’ll make you really mad! Especially in these times we are living.

Some people compare them to 65daysofstatic, and that comparison stands with some strength.

Most played songs
I'm in Awe, Amadeus! (43 plays)
The Paris Hilton Sex Tape (41 plays)
Seraphim & Cherubim (33 plays)

I’m in Awe, Amadeus! is their most melodic and, may I dare say, happiest song. While The Paris Hilton Sex Tape and Seraphim & Cherubim can be very exhilarating.

Least played song
Heartflusters (5 plays)

Skipper! Don’t know why a lot of post-rock bands feel obligated to include songs with unnecessary, not-so-good, singing.

10. The DodosVisiter
Played 363 times – averaged 24 plays per track

No one has ever been able to get so much out of an acoustic guitar! It has been mostly doomed to the corner of a romantic serenade in a scene of some old movie, but it has been rescued from the stereotype and made shine in this record.

The energy behind the entire record is mesmerizing, but it can be a bit too much at times and the drumming could have used a little bit more shift in melody. Still, it’s a pretty strong debut full length.

Oh, look! What do we have here? 4 really short songs that do not feel shoved in there to make you look all artsy fartsy. Hmmmm.

Most played songs
Fools (50 plays)
Jodi (48 plays)
Paint The Rust (48 plays)

Top ranked in awesomeness! God?, Red And Purple, Joe’s Waltz, and The Season are other highlights.

Least played song
Eyelids (8 plays)

Ahhh, darn it! This tarnished my short song comment! I don’t think it was just shoved in there and don’t find it a waste of a download, for all that’s worth.

I also wrote about this album here:
6 down, 6 to go
*new* music that will surely have some dominance over my charts this year

09. TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Played 318 times – averaged 29 plays per track

Have you ever heard an album you think it’s good but it just doesn’t grab you and make you want to listen to it all the time? Well, that’s this album for me. I think it’s good, but it hasn’t had the effects of Return To Cookie Mountain or Desperate Youth Blood Thirsty Babes.

I don’t think this more upbeat approach does them harm. I seriously can’t explain why it has not been a total success with me. Maybe it’ll get me in this new year. We’ll see.

Most played songs
Halfway Home (43 plays)
DLZ (37 plays)
Shout Me Out (36 plays)

As noted, I like this upbeat thing they have going on here. Jury is still out on the album.

Least played song
Family Tree (12 plays)

Shocker! It beat Dancing Choose by one play! Now that song I seriously can’t stand it. Tunde, please don’t attempt to rap anymore.

08. No AgeNouns
Played 371 times – averaged 31 plays per track

Ahoy! Punk Rock that does not sound like traditional punk rock. By the way, someone over at their artist shoutbox was outrage once because I called it punk rock. Hmmmm, I still think it’s punk rock; just because it is noisy and contains reverb doesn’t make it less punk! Heck, they’ve even got the short songs that leave you wanting a little bit for more.

[UTT] alert

Most played songs
Sleeper Hold (72 plays)
Eraser (63 plays)
Teen Creeps (62 plays)

Once again, ranked in awesomeness here! With passion it’s trueeeeeeeeee.

Least played song
Keechie (10 plays)

Cheeky. Goes well with another playlist that does not contain other No Age songs.

07. Mogwai - The Hawk is Howling
Played 351 times – averaged 35 plays per track

Weeks before this album came out, they released The Sun Smells Too Loud as a free MP3. Madness ensued due to how different it was compared to their previous work.

After a couple of weeks, I started getting into it but then the album came and it feels completely out of place! It slices the record in half and that’s what makes it somewhat inconsistent.

I couldn’t get into it until I realized I was better off skipping the middle part, alongside Local Authority and Kings Meadow. If you do this, it’s a pretty good album.

You must also consider that this band has been around for over 10 years and the fact that they can still produce quality music warrants some recognition. If you ask me, a lot of bands these days seem to have only one good album in them, then they start a downward spiral.

Most played songs
I Love You, I'm Going To Blow Up Your School (57 plays)
Scotland's Shame (53 plays)
The Precipice (45 plays)

Second half of the album is the strongest, as these top tracks may indicate. The Precipice being the best song in the entire album! The tension built around it is mesmerizing.

Least played song
Kings Meadow (11 plays)
Local Authority (11 plays)

06. Errors - It's Not Something But It Is Like Whatever
Played 371 times – averaged 37 plays per track

Well, well, well. What do we have here? Another excellent Scottish band? You betcha!

Anyone that peeks into my library can see that I follow that music scene very closely; you must also know who it is to blame for that one!

These guys fall into that group of bands that are trying to escape the canon trend in post-rock. They are more like post-electro, with a sprinkle of math rock, and a couple of songs can get rather . I mean that in the best possible way. Not slap you in the face/overly electronic stuff, like a lot of bands are doing nowadays. This is electro the way it’s supposed to be, as far as I’m concerned.

And they are signed to Mogwai’s Rock Action label. I’d say they are in good hands.

I recommend them with utmost sincerity! You won’t regret it.

Most played songs
Salut! France (61 plays)
Still Game (59 plays)
Dance Music (53 plays)

To start it off, I downloaded these three tracks and before long I had them in constant rotation. The songs National Prism and Toes are true standouts. To be honest, this entire album is pretty amazing! Even the voice-over Cutlery Drawer is done rather well.

Least played song
Crystal Maze (6 plays)

The other day I was looking at this album in my iTunes and I noticed it jumped from 5 to 7 *gasp* I was missing this song! If you ask me Toes transitions very well into Cutlery Drawer, but then again I just downloaded this song less than 2 weeks ago.

05. DeerhunterMicrocastle
Played 559 times – averaged 47 plays per track

If you can do songs as different as Providence and Never Stops to the same level of quality, the sky is the limit!

To me that’s what is most remarkable about this album, how different and pop driven it is, compared to Cryptograms, yet it is not some cheap sell off. Their attention to the little details make this a pretty strong album worth constant scrobbles.

This is another album that knows the value of a song, even if it’s short and instrumental, like Cover Me Slowy. I’d say that opening 1:22 song truly captures the album.

Most played songs
Twilight at Carbon Lake (77 plays)
Nothing Ever Happened (74 plays)
Agoraphobia (52 plays)

The other day I was discussing The Beatles Hey Jude and its wonderful climax with the “La-la-la… Hey Jude” final part. Twilight At Carbon Lake has some of that quality as well. The way it just explodes towards the end, it’s truly amazing.

Nothing Ever Happened has some top grade quality post-punk catchiness that is sheer awesomeness!

Least played song
Little Kids (26 plays)

This song didn’t live up to be a Never Stops follow up. It’s not bad though.

04. M83 - Saturdays = Youth
Played 541 times – averaged 49 plays per track

Though I kind of prefer Before the Dawn Heals Us, this album has some pretty good merits of its own. First of all, it’s way more cohesive - there are no Car Chase Terror! here – and it does allow him to grow musically, and that’s very important for an artist.

I think the best quality of M83’s music is that it feels alive; it’s truly cinematic. He can build atmosphere and captivate you with a story, when you listen to Dark Moves of Love or Highway of Endless Dreams it’s like you’ve been transported into another world. A synthetizer has never sounded so beautiful!

Most played songs
We Own the Sky (82 plays)
You, Appearing (75 plays)
Couleurs (62 plays)

I don’t think an album has put up a more diverse top 3! First you have blissful synths, followed by that beautiful piano melody and ending with a true dancer… what more could you possibly ask of the man?

Least played song
Midnight Souls Still Remain (18 plays)

Half way through the 11:11 of the same loop I skip to the next song, or start the album all over again.

I also wrote about this album here:
Three releases, one busy week

03. Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight
Played 1005 times – averaged 72 plays per track

I’ll start off with the good. I wrote about it right after it came out

A couple of months ago, this album was a lock to be my most played of the year, what happened? Have you seen those comments about it sounding like Counting Crows? Well, I’m sorry to admit it’s true!

If you have only listened to their awful singles then your reaction was like mine: no way! But one day, a coworker – who is inexplicably a fan of CC – was playing some album tracks, not singles, song I had never heard before… To keep it short, I just said the comparisons are true, even down to the voice.

To discover that this album sounded pretty much like that kind of brushed off some of that initial magic. Now, I look at my charts here and I’ve barely even played them for the last couple of months. I blame this startling discovery.

I hope they can recover from this!

[UTT] alert

Most played songs
The Modern Leper (122 plays)
Old Old Fashioned (118 plays)
Floating in the Forth (117 plays)

The Modern Leper was the first song I heard of this album, and I still think it’s the best. Old Old Fashioned is catchiness incarnated and Floating in the Forth is a demonstration of epic pop.

Least played song
Extrasupervery (10 plays)

I said UTT earlier, right?!

I also wrote about this album here:
6 down, 6 to go
*new* music that will surely have some dominance over my charts this year

02. Xiu Xiu - Women As Lovers
Played 1030 times – averaged 74 plays per track

Oh, Xiu… Xiu. This album started a chain reaction of unforeseeable proportions that led to total obsessions for weeks and weeks at a time... right now I’ve got almost every song they’ve recorded!

Some long-term fans criticize it for not being as noisy as their older stuff. Well, excuse me sirs. Do you wish to have another Metallica or ACDC in your library that is still trying to make the same songs over and over again?

I’d say this album is very representative of their trajectory and that’s what ultimately led to my nuclear explosion. I enjoy the noisiest, weirdly structured melodies of songs like Child at Arms as much as the quieter Puff and Bunny and Master of the Bump (Kurt Stumbaugh, I Can Feel the Soil Falling Over My Head)

Being able to produce them in equal quality is what makes great bands stand apart from the mere good ones.

Most played songs
In Lust You Can Hear the Axe Fall (144 plays)
you are pregnant, you are dead (130 plays)
Child at Arms (127 plays)

Like the acoustic guitar, strings in popular music have been trapped under the melodic/epic stereotype, when in fact they can be as menacing as any other instrument. That’s what I like the most about In Lust You Can Hear The Axe Fall!

Least played song
Under Pressure (21 plays)

Sorry, this is a failed cover to my ears.

01. The Walkmen - You & Me
Played 1224 times – averaged 87 plays per track

I got this album in September, yet it managed to become my most played of the entire year… a standing ovation is in order!

What an excellent album! I can’t say that enough. I have to keep repeating it. What an excellent album!!!!!! Justice was served, best of the year!

I recently tried to put it in words, but it’s really hard to explain. All the songs rank in the 4-star and 5-star category in my iTunes.

It even manages to put together a true heartbreakingly beautiful instrumental song, like Flamingos (for Colbert). And it only lasts 1:11. See the ups and down of the UTT syndrome!

Most played songs
On The Water (168 plays)
Postcards From Tiny Islands (137 plays)
Seven Years Of Holidays (for Stretch) (94 plays)

On the Water is one of those songs that keeps getting better every time you listen to it! It’s truly a strong, rock solid, album. A gem.

Least played song
If Only It Were True (52 plays)

It takes a while to get into a couple of songs, like this one.

You can see two songs dominated right away; it took me a couple of weeks to get past a handful of top tracks, since then the rest have been evenly played to a certain point. That’s why it managed to make it to number 1!

Final comments
Reflecting on 2008, I have to say that a lot of albums got played for time periods. Most got dropped after months, sometimes after mere weeks. To be honest, eight out of the fifteen albums were acquire/released after September. What does that have to say about this year in particular? It definitely did not spark as much excitement as 2007 for me.

No point in dwelling on that. To quote The Walkmen: "I know that it’s true, it’s gonna be a good year!"

I’m really looking forward to a lot of releases. This year could be another 2007… here’s to the New Year!


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