So here's my list of best singles, album tracks, and EPs from 2008. Unlike my Best Albums List, songs that were from a 2007 album but were released as singles in 2008 are eligible. But single reissues are not. (Which is why "Time to Pretend," Friendly Fires and Pacific are absent from my list.) With the concept of the "album" diminishing in this world of digital downloads, singles are becoming more important. I'm not calling the death knell for the Album, but if groups whose music leans toward the poppy and immediate side of things wanted to just release singles or EPs every couple months instead of a full-length, I'd be okay with it. As I've said before singles are ephemeral in nature, and though I've hit my yearly limit on a few of the songs on this list, there was certainly a period of time in 2008 where all 50 of these were stuck on repeat.
1. Mystery Jets feat. Laura Marling – Young Love (MP3) (Video)
The most inventive, deceptively simple (but actually kind of crazy complex; listen to all the little flourishes), repeatedly-rewarding pop song of the year. Great video too.
Fantastic bassline + creaky doors + whistling = my second favorite song of the year.
A great big hug wrapped in a fuzzy indie pop sweater.
Loud Quiet Loud as has never quite been done like this before. I can't wait for their full-length.
7. TV on the Radio – Golden Age (Video)
2008 was the year of Change and TVotR made the perfect soundtrack. This is the sound of hope with a good beat.
I could put almost all of Metronomy's Nights Out on this list, but restrained myself at two. Be sure to check out the video to this one.
Too bad the rest of the Byrne/Eno album didn't deliver on the promise of this great single.
Old school indie rock done with vim and vigor by this Leeds, UK trio. Vim and vigor? Really. Just listen to the song. It rocks.
Lykke Li's coquettish delivery slightly disguises just how hot this is.
One of the most joyous songs ever about being smashed on whiskey.
Hate their fashion, hate their friends, hate their rich hippie-ness, but MGMT have some great songs. The hooks are undeniable!
Every time these girls open their mouths to the press, it's a disaster, but give 'em instruments and hard
to hold it against them. So many things in that sentence could be construed the wrong way.
Alex Turner and Miles Kane seem a little young to already be going through their Jacques Brel/Scott Walker period, but that's also probably why it's as good as it is.
Not since the days of the Associates and the Triffids has pop attempted to be so grandiose… and successful at it. I must say I can't really stomach the resto of them album, but but "The Devil's Crayon" is a bullseye.
I'll take Adele over Duffy any day… "Cold Shoulder" perfectly-produced soulful pop. Ronson-produced, natch.
Equally influenced by Mogwai (who run their label) and Kraftwerk, instrumental magic from Glasgow.
I wanna dance with somebody who loves me and Marquee Moon. Not even saxophone can ruin this song. (But the video kinda does.)
Any of Bradford Cox's gazillion releases coulda made this list, but this was the official single from Microcastle.
It's worn out its welcome a bit now, but definitely one of the great Summer Singles of '08.
This is some hot shit, yo. One can only hope this is what we can expect from them now that they're called The Soft Pack.
No, they couldn't sound any more like Orange Juice, but as long as they keep writing songs this good, who cares?
35. BOAT – TOPS (MP3) (Video)
I just discovered BOAT this year and I probably listened to 2007's Let's Drag Our Feet as much as any of this year's releases. Luckily they put out this excellent baseball card themed single so that I could acknowledge them in some way.
Emmy the Great sings backup on this standout from Dev Hines' solo debut, Falling Off the Lavender Bridge.
Best song off this Canadian band's debut, though I think LP#2 will be a corker.
I'm a sucker for anything vaguely Moroder-esque, and I definitely feel love when listening to this.
An update on the "Don't You Want Me" boy-girl-synth formula rarely fails when done right, like Kelly Polar does here.
41. Hilotrons – Lovesuit (MP3)
Slinky shoulda-been-a-single album track from Ottowa's Hilotrons new album, Happymatic.
I prefer Antony's histrionic vocal style best when applied to a stomping Communards-style dance track than to the torch song milieu he normally traffiks in.
School of Seven Bells want you to wake up, despite the hazy, gauzy feel this song envelops you in.
45. Superimposers – Golden (MP3)
Like treacle from a harpsichord (and from the album Harpsichord Treacle), Superimposers lull you to sleep with this expert approximation of late '60s EZ-listening. A good thing, mind you.
Pretty much anything Gruff Rhys does will end up somewhere on one of my end-of-year lists. Even a song from a concept album about John Delorean.
One of my favorite Brooklyn bands called it quits in 2008, but they went out on a high note with this free download EP available over at RCRDLBL.
I've hit the age where I don't always "get" what the "kids" are "listening" "to." But Let's Wrestle are awesome. I have faith in the youth of today.