What follows is my list of media amusements from last year. As with all my yearly best lists, these things were not necessarily released (merely discovered) in the last year.
Aesop Rock - Labor Days
Yes it's hip hop. No, I'm not known for my progressive urban musical tastes. However, this is intelligent, meaningful, creative, and empowering music and I don't care that I "rap" along to it and fudge nearly every other word with my rhythmless enthusiasm. You will, too. It's amazing.
The Blow - Paper Television
Pretty much the soundtrack to the first half of my year. Also, my girl crush on Khaela Maricich is awesome.
Coldplay - Viva la Vida
I know. Massive band. Massive album. But that doesn't mean the music doesn't put shivers down my spine every time I listen.
Greg Laswell - Three Flights from Alto Nido
Alto Nido is a soaring, creative, heartbreaking collection of songs. I loved his previous album, Through Toledo, but incredibly, I love this album more.
Jesca Hoop - Kismet
In her bio, Jesca is described as a three-sided coin.
Yes. She is.
Kings of Leon - Only by the Night
Somehow an album with a single like "Sex on Fire" can also include the amazing song "Be Somebody" without cheapening either tune. This album is a whole lot of fun and has a whole lot of heart.
Muse - Absolution
Gotta admit, their roaring musical swells and bombastic use of the arpeggiator won me over. Unabashed theatrics and musical glee...with amazing chord progressions.
The National - Boxer
Simple, intelligent, emotional, evocative album with depths and layers to it that seemingly never cease to unfold.
The Black Ghosts - Full Moon
Black Lab - Mine Again
Fredrik - Black Fur (The link takes you to their album page, not just the song page because the whole album is amazing, but I discovered it on December 30 and since it's not really fair to say that I listened to it in 2008, I decided against including the album on my best album list. But I couldn't NOT include this somewhere and wait a whole year before I tell the world how much I LOVE FREDRIK.)
Jay-Z - Moment of Clarity
Johnny and the Moon - The Ballad of Scarlet Town (Watch the video to hear the song...)
Kerli - Walking on Air
Prefuse 73 - Sabbatical with Options
Stereofix - A Day Without You
Yael Naim - Toxic (Yep, a cover of the Britney Spears song.)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The King of Kong
Lars and the Real Girl
The Last King of Scotland
Let the Right One In
Touching the Void
Young @ Heart
Dexter (Season 1)
A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist
The Twilight Saga, Stephenie Meyer
* SPECIAL MENTION
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If you'd like to read the complete list of ALL things that Filled the Void in 2008, I've archived the list here.