Unequivocally Yours: The Big Year End Music List Part Two: Songs, Singles, and Singalongs / by LD

Last week I posted my top ten albums of 2008, and because I'm feeling especially magnanimous today, I'll post the 20 best songs of 2008. These are the tracks that got lodged in my brain over the course of the year, songs which often stood out as being exceptional even though I wasn't as jazzed on the album from whence they came. And because I'm just that good, I even packaged them up in a neat alphabetical playlist for your listening pleasure. 

I hope you find something you enjoy, but if you don't, then please, please tell me what your top tracks would be, as it would be very clear that I could use a little musical education. So school me. 

Unequivocally Yours,
Laurel Dailey's Favorite Tracks for the Year 2008.

In alphabetical order:

  • Atlas Sound - River Card
  • Beach House - Gila
  • Blitzen Trapper - Furr (a lot of people listen to this song and think, "Well, that's just like me. I am a wanderlusting wild animal!" I listen to this song and think, "What a perfectly poignant tribute to all the lost boys." Either way, its lyrical perfection is what makes the song.)
  • Bon Iver - Skinny Love (Vernon's snowy paean to lost love has made a lot of top ten lists this year, and while I personally find the album to be a bit of a snoozefest, this song is fragile and pretty and disarming.)
  • Brendan Canning - Churches Under the Stairs
  • Chad Van Gaalen - City of Electric Light
  • Deerhunter - Nothing Ever Happened (Oh. My. Word. Could there BE a more perfect track? Could there? Answer: There could not. Primal and insouciant, this is a head-bobbing trip into the unwritten catalogs of the Velvet Underground.)
  • Department of Eagles - No One Does It Like You
  • Destroyer - My Favorite Year
  • The Dodos - Jody (This certainly isn't my favorite because it's named after my sister. Though it might be her favorite for that very reason, but I digress: that insane drum buildup gets me every time. We've got the guitar picking pattern flipping back on itself and speaking volumes to that percussion, a call and response that chugs along just a hair too quickly for comfort.)
  • Duffy - Mercy
  • Fleet Foxes - Mykonos (I know most people cited "White Winter Hymnal" as their track of the year, and while Fleet Foxes' S/T album is at the top of my list, this track from their 2008-released Sun Giant EP gets a mention here because it is a Mamas and the Papas redux if I ever heard one. Seriously: During the "Oh-oh-ohhh's" just go ahead and sing that familiar chorus from "California Dreamin'" and you'll see what I'm talking about.)
  • Forest Fire - Fortune Teller
  • Hercules & Love Affair - Hercules' Theme (This is possibly my favorite track of the entire year. Dance-floor-ready and primed for optimum grooving, it's four-on-the-floor or bust.)
  • Islands - Creeper (Again with the disco dance floor sensibilities - Islands sing about dastardly after-hours break ins and sinister predators...and I just wanna dance.)
  • Liam Finn - Energy Spent
  • Nat Baldwin - One Two Three
  • of Montreal - Id Engager
  • Okkervil River - Blue Tulip (This song drags its feet throughout the first three minutes, as though every phrase is delivered slightly out of breath. A lapsed thought or an unresolved memory pushes toward the surface two seconds too late, haunting the protagonist - the loneliest of the groupies. By the time Sheff reaches the songs' exhilarating climax, the heartbreak has reached its fever pitch, wrenching every last ounce of anguish out of his lyrics: "I've got my ear against the screen / I'll feel your feelings crackling through / Every single inch of me, I'm going to make you mean it.")
  • Why? - The Vowels, Pt. 2

Download the mix here for one week only.