Monday, December 15, 2008

Best Albums of 2008? Best Books of Poetry?

This time of year is full of best of lists. I used to really go in for them, but I've kind of fallen out of the practice.

Anyway, I'd like to give a shout out to five CDs from 2008, that I've enjoyed a lot (especially as I've seen some other "best of 2008" lists where some of these albums haven't [which shocks me, as the Byrne/Eno album is simply amazing] been mentioned):

1. David Byrne & Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

2. Aimee Mann - F-ing Smilers

3. Beck - Modern Guilt

4. Everest - Ghost Notes

5. Dr. Dog - Fate

So what would you add to this list? I should have five more to make it a proper "top 10."


Special mentions:

Radiohead - In Rainbows (This really was talked about as a 2007 album, even through the CD is dated Jan 1 2008, even so, it's a great CD. And I didn't get the extra songs until recently, which has brought it back onto my list for the second year)

I've also enjoyed the Dylan bootleg vol 8: tell tale signs and Neil Young Sugar Mountain 1968 albums, but as they aren't really new, they've not gotten the heavy play that the above albums have.


And hanging on from last year:

I'm still listening to the Son Volt and Wilco albums from 2007. Back then I liked the Son Volt a lot, and the Wilco less, but recently the Wilco's grown on me. Let's just say I like them both equally, even if the Son Volt gets more play.

And a few songs off of Neil Young's 2007 Chrome Dreams II are still finding their way into my imagination as well. "The Way" "Spirit Road" and "No Hidden Path" especially. I felt "Ordinary People" was great, but as it was recorded in the late 80s, and I've been listening to it on bootlegs for so long, I really couldn't put it into heavy play.


As for books of poetry, this has been an odd year. I'm not sure what to say about it. The books of poetry that I've spent the most time with were:

Kevin Prufer - National Anthem
Alex Lemon - Hallelujah Blackout
Katy Lederer - Heaven-Sent Leaf

But there were several others I read with appreciation as well, including Kent Shaw's Calenture, and Dan Kaplan's Bill's Formal Complaint.

All this is to say I don't have a book that stands out as the Best Book of the Year as I have in the past, as in last year's amazing Elegy, by Mary Jo Bang. Was that last year? And Ashbery's Worldly Country as well? So I'll just leave that little list of things I liked.

What should I have added? What did I forget?


At 12/15/2008 6:57 AM, Blogger marybid said...

John, I *finally* listened to the Byrne/Eno, and woah, you weren't kidding. It's great.

At 12/15/2008 7:43 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Mary, I'm so glad you like it! I'm shocked that I haven't seen it on any of the music top ten lists I've come across.

I'm hoping we can start a grassroots campaign. And then take over the world.

"faster than you blink your eye..."

At 12/15/2008 3:31 PM, Blogger brian (baj) salchert said...

I've not heard any of Eno's music,
but a book I'm reading says it is
ambient. If that is true here, I'm
fairly sure I'd enjoy it.

At 12/15/2008 5:36 PM, Blogger Oliver de la Paz said...

Hell, it's a good album and I'll amend my Honorable Mentions list. ;-)

Jesse Lee Kercheval put it on her list.

At 12/15/2008 5:39 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


Eno has some great ambient albums. Music for Airports, especially, is a great album. I still listen to it a lot. Very calming. And then the series that actually has Ambient in the title. But this, with Byrne, is an album of songs, more like some Talking Heads stuff (maybe a bit like Remain in Light) than ambient stuff.

It's really good anyway.


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