The Best Music of 2008

Overall, 2008 was a pretty good year for music, despite all the beards. We can’t defend the inclusion of Kanye West on our list, but some of us (uh Robert and Brian) have been loving his 808s and Heartbreak. Sure, autotune vocals are the dorkiest thing to take over pop music since Peter Frampton, but oh well, Robert likes Frampton too. Lisa turned us on to Lucky Dragons and Lau Nau. And our new music editor Elizabeth kept us in the loop with the best new releases all year.

In the end, we were perplexed by The Bug—wtf… they pretty much suck right? Intrigued to see crystal become the new black, since black had just become the new wolf. Annoyed that The Hold Steady—frat music for hipsters—won’t simply go away. Delighted to see another solid bootleg release by Bob Dylan (The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs – Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006). Weirded out by Scarjo. And made blissfully happy by the most important music moment of the year: Hamster Eating Popcorn on a Piano. Thanks to all our writers and friends who helped us compile this list.

Have a great holiday. We’re signing off for a few days.

tallestmanonearth.jpg 30. The Tallest Man on Earth
Shallow Grave
protools.jpg 29. GZA
Pro Tools
luckydragons.jpg 28. LUCKY DRAGONS
Dream Island Laughing Language
atmountzoomer.jpg 27. WOLF PARADE
At Mount Zoomer
noage.jpg 26. NOUNS
fordlandia.jpg 25. JOHANN JOHANNSSON
jason-collett.jpg 24. JASON COLLETT
Here’s to Being Here
freegold.jpg 23. INDIAN JEWELRY
Free Gold!
war-on-drugs.jpg 22. THE WAR ON DRUGS
Wagonwheel Blues
ganggangdance.jpg 21. GANG GANG DANCE
Saint Dymphnia
sheandhim.jpg 20. SHE & HIM
Volume One
hercules.jpg 19. HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR
Hercules and Love Affair
beachhouse.jpg 18. BEACH HOUSE
splitseries.jpg 17. KEMIALLISET YSTAVAT
Split Series
kanye.jpg 16. KANYE WEST
808s & Heartbreak
hotchip.jpg 15. HOT CHIP
Made in the Dark
tvontheradio.jpg 14. TV ON THE RADIO
Dear Science
walkmen.jpg 13. THE WALKMEN
You & Me
portishead.jpg 12. PORTISHEAD
dodos-cover.jpg 11. THE DODOS
mgmt.jpg 10. MGMT
Oracular Spectacular
jay-reatard.jpg 9. JAY REATARD
Singles 06-07
launau.jpg 8. LAU NAU
girltalk.jpg 7. GIRL TALK
Feed the Animals
boniver-.jpg 6. BON IVER
For Emma, Forever Ago
fleetfoxes-.jpg 5. FLEET FOXES
Fleet Foxes
Alegranzo.jpg 4. EL GUINCHO
vampire-weekend-.jpg 3. VAMPIRE WEEKEND
Vampire Weekend
deerhunter.gif 2. DEERHUNTER
Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.
santogold-no1.jpg 1. SANTOGOLD


  1. that kanye record doesn’t even deserve the 16th spot. IMO, it’s bad. that bad… and i’m a fan of everything thus far…

  2. LOL & MGMT

  3. The Bug is an individual (Kevin Martin) therefore the pronoun “they” is not necessary.
    Say what you might but his record was mostly put out of context in top lists, “cherry-picking” electronic music to beef up rather narrow, indie-rock laden lists.
    These selections are tepid and trite. Nothing has been more nauseating than the growth of indie rock over the past years and it’s electronic or dance related tokens.

  4. Every year you ignore Boz Scagg’s “Silk Degrees” and every fucking year I get angrier and angrier about it!!!
    Stop the madness. Bring the Boz.

  5. I guess we won’t be seeing Tony Bennet this year too

  6. Wally Wally Woo says:

    Santogold? Um, nuh-uh. No thanks.

  7. No love for Sigur Ros’s latest and greatest?

  8. Vampire Weekend and no MGMT?
    This list fails.

  9. This is the best music you heard this year? You need to open your ears a little more. (and stop reading Pitchfork!)Vampire Weekend, Kanye West, MGMT, SHE & HIM, Girl Talk? Mediocre at best. There is plenty of great music in the world. Most of it is not indie/hip hop/pop.

  10. wtf chris(tina), sigur ross is for trannies

  11. Why in the world is Santogold #1?

  12. I disagree with the whole concept of lists. can’t you just remember what the best music of 2008 was? I can, it was Tennessee Ernie Ford and some other people, that I am not going to tell you about.
    Good Luck on your new book, I look forward to reading it.
    The Gang at Awkward Haiku

  13. nice list 😉
    you personally listened to every new band/artist of 2008 and depicted your opinion here!
    nice going :D!!
    soo proud.
    so proud.

  14. seriously? Santogold?

  15. bump up that gang gang dance, just heard it, holy shit its good

  16. I’m not impressed with this list. Most of this music is just a jumbled mess. A ridiculous excuse of music. I do, however, give Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend my support.

  17. …something is wrong when the only one i agree with is She & Him. I dont think people should make lists about the best music. Theres too much of it, and too many severely differing tastes.

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