Soundbites Best of 2008 | Singles, Tracks + EPs


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.

2. Metronomy – Heartbreaker (MP3) (Video)
Fantastic bassline + creaky doors + whistling = my second favorite song of the year.

3. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Everything With You (MP3) (Video)
A great big hug wrapped in a fuzzy indie pop sweater.    

4. Violens – Violent Sensation Descends (MP3
Loud Quiet Loud as has never quite been done like this before. I can't wait for their full-length.

5. Dizzee Rascal w/ Calvin Harris – Dance Wiv Me (MP3) (Video)
I've never been much of a Dizzee fan, but add Calvin's '80s-style production and you've got a dancefloor killer.

6. Sam Sparro – Black and Gold (Video)
The rest of this album does nothing for me but "Black and Gold"'s glammy throb is irresistible.

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.

8. Sexy Kids – Sisters Are Forever (MP3)
Just try not to bounce 'round the room while listening to this slice of Scottish pop perfection a la Altered Images.

9. Esser – Headlock (MP3) (Video)
Effervescent single, ridiculously catchy, like superballs set free inside a perpetual motion machine… yet loaded with downer lyrics like "I've got a problem, it's called living." Perfect.

10. Summer Cats – Lonely Planet (MP3) (Video)

Like the Rosebuds backed by Stereolab, Australia's Summer Cats put a sunny coat of paint on the krauty VU groove. 

11. Metronomy – A Thing for Me (MP3) (Video)
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.

12. David Byrne & Brian Eno – Strange Overtones (MP3
Too bad the rest of the Byrne/Eno album didn't deliver on the promise of this great single.

13. Sky Larkin – Fossil, I (Video)
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. 

14. Lykke Li – Little Bit (Video)
Lykke Li's coquettish delivery slightly disguises just how hot this is.

15. Ida Maria – Queen of the World (MP3) (Video)
One of the most joyous songs ever about being smashed on whiskey.

16. MGMT – Kids (Video)
Hate their fashion, hate their friends, hate their rich hippie-ness, but MGMT have some great songs. The hooks are undeniable!

17. Girls – Lust for Life / Morning Light (MP3) (MP3) (Video)
There are too many "Girl" groups right now, but I've got room for San Francisco's shoegaze folk rock wunderkinds. Especially on this double A-side.

18. Animal Collective – Water Curses EP (MP3) (Video)
Animal Collective have finally started to get poppy enough for me to genuine like them. Bring on Merriweather Post Pavillion!

19. Late of the Pier – Heartbeat (MP3) (Video)
One of the many "this shouldn't work" songs on LotP's great debut Fantasy Black Channel. Yet it does, brilliantly.

20. Vivian Girls – Tell the World (MP3) (Video)
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.

21. Casiokids – Grønt Lys I Alle Ledd / Togens Hule (MP3) (Video)
You don't need to speak Norwegian to dig this double A-side. I imagine it would help, though. But not that much.

22. The Last Shadow Puppets – Standing Next to Me (MP3) (Video)
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.

23. The Wild Beasts – The Devil's Crayon (MP3) (Video)
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.

24. Adele – Cold Shoulder (Video)
I'll take Adele over Duffy any day… "Cold Shoulder" perfectly-produced soulful pop. Ronson-produced, natch.

25. Amazing Baby – Infinite Fucking Cross EP (download EP) (Video + Video)
Hated by Brooklynvegan commenters, loved by me. Harder, more-rocking Roxy Music? About as close to a good description as you can get with there pigeonhole-adverse Williamsburg residents.

26 – 50 after the jump…

26. Errors – Salut! France (MP3) (Video)
Equally influenced by Mogwai (who run their label) and Kraftwerk, instrumental magic from Glasgow.

27. Mystery Jets – Two Doors Down (MP3) (Video)
I wanna dance with somebody who loves me and Marquee Moon. Not even saxophone can ruin this song. (But the video kinda does.)

28. Deerhunter – Nothing Ever Happened (MP3)
Any of Bradford Cox's gazillion releases coulda made this list, but this was the official single from Microcastle.

29. Noah and the Whale – Five Year's Time (Video)
It's worn out its welcome a bit now, but definitely one of the great Summer Singles of '08.

30. The Muslims – Parasites (MP3) (Video)
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.

31. Florence & the Machine – Kiss with a Fist (Video)
Like a pissed-off Kate Nash, Florence is just like the song — ferocity dressed in a vintage dress.

32. Bricolage – Turn U Over (MP3
No, they couldn't sound any more like Orange Juice, but as long as they keep writing songs this good, who cares?

33. The Dø – On My Shoulders (MP3) (Video)
I'll be honest, the numbers are becoming arbitrary at this point in the list but The Dø are the first ever Finnish band to feature in any of my end-of-year coverage. It would make my list even if they were from Duluth.

34. Minisnap – New Broom (MP3) (Video)
Minisnap is basically The Bats without Robert Scott and Kaye Woodward on vocals. What a lovely little song this is.

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.

36. Lightspeed Champion – Tell Me What It’s Worth (MP3) (Video)
Emmy the Great sings backup on this standout from Dev Hines' solo debut, Falling Off the Lavender Bridge.

37. Women – Black Rice (MP3) (Video)
Best song off this Canadian band's debut, though I think LP#2 will be a corker.

38. Little Boots – Stuck on Repeat (MP3) (Video)
I'm a sucker for anything vaguely Moroder-esque, and I definitely feel love when listening to this.

39. Kelly Polar – Entropy Reigns (MP3)
An update on the "Don't You Want Me" boy-girl-synth formula rarely fails when done right, like Kelly Polar does here.

40. Hot Chip – One Pure Thought (MP3)
I loved Hot Chip's 2006 album The Warning so much I convinced myself Made in the Dark, was better than it was, but the honeymoon wore off sometime in May. "One Pure Thought," though, remains ace. 

41. Hilotrons – Lovesuit (MP3
Slinky shoulda-been-a-single album track from Ottowa's Hilotrons new album, Happymatic.

42. Hercules & Love Affair – Blind (Video)
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.

43. School of Seven Bells – Half Asleep (MP3)
School of Seven Bells want you to wake up, despite the hazy, gauzy feel this song envelops you in.

44. Little Joy – Next Time Around (MP3) (Video)
Everybody likes this Little Joy album, including me. And especially like this sleeping-in-the-sun ditty. Warning: coming to every coffee shop in the world if it hasn't already.

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.

46. Pete & the Pirates – Mr. Understanding (Video)
One of the many jaunty tracks from my #14 Album of the Year. This one has a funny video.

47. Neon Neon – I Lust U (Video)
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.

48. Dirty on Purpose – Dead Volcanoes EP (Download EP) (Video)
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.

49. Let’s Wrestle – In Loving Memory Of EP / "Let's Wrestle / I’m in Fighting Mode" single (MP3) (Video)
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.

50. Cocoanut Groove – End of Summer on Bookbinder Road (MP3) (Video)
Reminiscent of the kind of single él Records would've put out in the mid 80s (thinking King of Luxembourg in particular), this grooves along nicely thanks more to harpsichord than cocoanuts, but I could be mistaken.


  1. between girls and pains of being pure at heart, hell even school of seven bells, 2k9 should be a good year for gazey, ethereal-ness of all sorts.

  2. I have never been so amazed by a collection of music. The first blog I've found where I like the exact same thing. Didn't miss a single song.

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