For the first of the Top 10 Tracks of 2008 series, click here.
10. Estelle featuring Kanye West. “American Boy.” Dare I post this too? Rightly so. Estelle’s social commentary of the male specimen in the U.S.A. is definitely worth a shout out (i.e. our boys are 5’7” and wear baggy jeans, but apparently they pack some serious heat). Go America!
9. Hot Chip. “Ready For the Floor.” The British electropop group has perfected the art of repetition with this track. Dancing was hip in 2007, but people weren’t ready to conquer the floor until this song dropped.
8. Department of Eagles. “Teenagers.” Grizzly Bear disappointed with their latest album, but Daniel Rossen more than compensated with In Ear Park. This track in particular stands out; the combination of haunting merry-go-around music and sweeping piano chords captures the dissonant essence of youth.
7. The Dodos. “Red and Purple.” They have created something truly stunning here: syncopated beats support high-energy strumming, bass-thumping and piano-chiming that manage not to be weighted down by the topic of war.
6. Sia. “Electric Bird.” Mesmerizing vocals from the female vocalist of Zero 7 do not disappoint in a song that that has a full sound and the ability to send one drifting afloat into a musical dreamscape.
5. Cut Copy. “Lights and Music.” Epic probably best describes the Australian dance punk band’s smashing hit that has so much build, it’s sure to rock both house parties and arenas alike.
4, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down. “Bag of Hammers.” Simplicity lends itself to startling honesty in a track off one of the best albums of the year. Thao’s harsh vocals are the raw driving force that sting like truth.
3. M83. “Kim & Jessie.” Perhaps I am biased, but after listening to the instantly satisfying retro-synth opening and the momentous swells of Anthony Gonzalez’s haunting vocals, it’s impossible not to become blissfully lost in the its dark escape.
2. Shugo Tokumaru. “Parachute.” You’ve probably never heard of him, but this Japanese pop artist makes music that glistens, scintillates and sparkles (the Magnetic Fields would know). Stringing together perfectly pitched chimes and guitar picking against Tokumaru’s boyish vocals, “Parachute” is a shower of hope for any dreary day.
1. Bon Iver. "Lump sum." I can’t do enough justice to Justin Vernon’s gem, For Emma, Forever Ago. If great music requires disappearing into the blistery Wisconsin forest for four months, I fully support every artist doing so this very instant. The loneliness and yearning that spills through each word and each guitar strum provokes introspection that is unfound in music today. In "Lump Sum," Vernon’s earnest falsetto and lyrics that read like abstract poetry are propelled through rhythmic beat and layers of echoing voices. Though it may be a cold winter, a tragic masterpiece awaits you.
Check back Nov. 30 for the third installment of recess' Top 10 Tracks of 2008.
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