For more of the Top 10 Tracks of 2008 series, click here.
9. Sigur Ros. "Gobbledigook." Departing from their previous soft, instrumental work, Sigur Ros reinvented themselves with their first single off of their new album, med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust. The song's rapid percussion and rhythmic guitar strums build up to a jubilant release. In the case of the Icelandic people, such a release contains a lot of nudity.
8. Matt & Kim. "Daylight." Matt & Kim have an enthusiasm for playing music. Every note from Matt, every drumbeat from Kim, everything they do was done with the intention of making you really happy. Though the songs are simple, the hooks are catchy and the band is so, so cute.
7. Atmosphere. "You." Slug (vocals) and Ant (producer) have been at this since 1997. "You" is the latest release comprised of poignant self-reflective lyrics and a rockin' bass line (in the sense that it sounds like it should be in a rock song). It also rocks (in the sense that it's awesome).
6. Fleet Foxes. "White Winter Hymnal." The beautiful arrangement in "White Winter Hymnal" saved the Fleet Foxes' eponymous debut from becoming preachy, folk-rock. The band does an excellent job of harmonizing vocals in a moving manner considering they are singing about a bunch of guys wearing red scarves falling down in the woods.
5. Bon Iver. "Skinny Love." This is the song that I would want to curl up and die to. Justin Vernon's beautiful first single off of For Emma, Forever Ago is his most fragile and tender. Then again, if I moved to a cabin in Wisconsin for three months to lament the sad state of my life, I'm sure I would write an equally moving song. Then again, I don't write, sing, play music, or have any heart-wrenching life experiences to write, sing, or play music about.
4. The Dodos. "Jodi." Through their energetic pace and complex musical arrangements, The Dodos guitar-drum duo of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber manage to make the most out of their two instruments. The song shifts from folk-y guitar to violent percussion, culminating in cacophony without falling apart. "Jodi," and all of Visiter, contains a distinctive fervor that separates it from everything else this year.
3. Estelle ft. Kanye West. "American Boy." This song is that good. "American Boy" is proof that Kanye West should stick to rapping over other people's beats (in this case, Will.I.am's "Impatient" and Boyz Noise's "& Down") instead of pretending he can sing over autotune. Despite what others may believe, this song is the song of the summer.
2. Lykke Li. "Dance Dance Dance." I might be a little bit in love with her. Swedish indie starlet Lykke Li's debut album, Youth Novels is brilliantly produced by Björn Yttling (of Peter, Bjorn & John). "Dance Dance Dance" in particular frames Li's airy voice with vivid instrumentation in the form of glockenspiels and saxophones. The earnestness with which she sings this song makes me okay with the idea of people dancing together (I also hate puppies). I think she is adorable, though.
1. Grizzly Bear. "While You Wait for the Others." This song wasn't even technically released in 2008 but I couldn't deny it the top spot. Every song on In Ear Park pales in comparison, you need the full Bear. "While You Wait for the Others" reminds me a lot of the band's tourmates, Radiohead, in the way that the vocal harmonies are powerful enough to carry the entire song. It's easily the most beautiful song they've written since "Knife," yet it's so different. The song manages to sound psychedelic while prominently featuring a gentle, throwback guitar beat. It begins in a whisper before bursting with "all we want." Unfortunately, this song just leaves me wanting more. You can expect the new Grizzly Bear album to appear in top 10 lists next year.
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