This is the first year that the biggest selling album of the year sold under three million copies and the first year that digital sales outsold hard copies. More major artists have made the move towards self-releasing their albums. Major labels have finally started to adjust to the changing industry by embracing digital formats, early releases and 360 deals.
While this wasn't a mind-blowing or inventive year for music, it did provide some solid releases. Here's our sixty favorite records of the year. Enjoy.
60. 4:13 Dream – The Cure
59. The Slip – Nine Inch Nails
58. Skeletal Lamping – Of Montreal
57. Black Ice – AC/DC
56. The Rhumb Line – Ra-Ra Riot
55. Feed the Animals – Girl Talk
54. Heavenly Bender – Sam Champion
53. Disco – Health
52. Walk it Off - Tapes ‘N Tapes
51. Accelerate – R.E.M.
50. Evil Urges – My Morning Jacket
49. Momofuku - Elvis Costello & the Imposters
48. Modern Guilt – Beck
47. Warpaint – Black Crowes
46. Chemistry Of Common Life - Fucked Up
45. We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed - Los Campesinos!
44. At Mount Zoomer - Wolf Parade
43. Off & Away – Rocketship Park
42. New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War – Erykah Badu
41. The Visiter - The Dodos
40. Only By Night - Kings of Leon
39. Brown Submarine – Boston Spaceships
38. Anywhere I Lay My Head – Scarlett Johansson
37. Little Honey – Lucinda Williams
36. Little Joy – Little Joy
35. In Ghost Colours - Cut Copy
34. To Survive - Joan as Police Woman
33. You & Me – The Walkmen
32. Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
31. Fate - Dr. Dog
30. Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust – Sigur Ros
29. April - Sun Kil Moon
28. Stay Positive - The Hold Steady
27. Devotion - Beach House
26. Everything That Happens Will Happen Today – David Byrne & Brian Eno
25. Oracular Spectacular – MGMT
24. Home After Dark – Neil Diamond
23. Heretic Pride - The Mountain Goats
22. Third – Portishead
21. Antidotes - Foals
20. Made in the Dark - Hot Chip
19. For Emma, Forever Ago - Bon Iver
18. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
17. Volume One – She & Him
16. Lie Down In The Light – Bonnie “Prince” Billy
15. Hercules And Love Affair - Hercules And Love Affair
14. Hold On Now, Youngster - Los Campesinos!
13. Songs in A&E - Spiritualized
12. Nouns - No Age
11. At 89 – Pete Seeger
Check out our top ten after the jump.....
10. Dear Science, - TV on the Radio
TVOTR's 4th studio album follows in the wake of their stellar Return to Cookie Mountain and while this release isn't nearly as innovative, it certainly is as powerful. Dear Science finds the band mainstreaming some of their eccentricities and beefing up their production. "Dancing Choose", "Golden Age" and "Lover's Day" mark three of the bands finest moments.
9. Float - Flogging Molly
Floggin Molly have aleways been The Pogues punkier nephew. With this, their fourth album, they've made a great leap forward, both lyrically and musically. They've sripped away some of their poppier tendencies and delved deeper into their roots rock. With the albums title track and the excellent opener "Requiem for a Dying Song," Flogging Molly have finally made their own If I Should Fall from Grace with God.
8. Furr – Blitzen Trapper
Early in 2008, Blitzen Trapper headlined a tour with new labelmates Fleet Foxes. When the tour hit the Bowery Ballroom, half the crowd left before the headliners took the stage and they missed a great set where Blitzen Trapper tested out some of the tracks from this album. The album is a great step forward for them and features one of this year's best songs, the title track "Furr".
DOWNLOAD: Blitzen Trapper - "Furr"
7. Viva La Vida – Coldplay
If Coldplay released this album after Rush of the Blood to the Head instead of X&Y, they'd be playing stadiums instead of arenas. Maybe I had just lowered my expectations so much for this pop outfit, but they really came through with a strong album that is full of great tunes and great riffs. They've finally found a way to work with all their influences (U2, Arcade Fire, Jeff Buckley) and make something that soars.
6. Consolers Of The Lonely – The Raconteurs
On their sophomore release, Jack White's other band produces an excellent long player. Songs like "Old Enough" and "Five on the Five" definitely make this more worthy of being more than just a side-project.
5. Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Nick Cave and his ghostly ghouls get dark and wonderful. While not their best album by far, this album still hasn't left my record player. The eight-minute "More News From Nowhere" is fantastic story and lyrically, this album proves that Cave hasn't lost any of his edge. "We Call Upon the Author", "Jesus of the Moon," and "Night of the Lotus Eaters" may be harder edged than the usual Bad Seed catalog, but they stand well amongst them.
3. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
The High Llamas came close to updating the Brian Wilson ethereal sound, but the Fleet Foxes truly scored it perfectly and even were able to make it their own on this gorgeous debut lp. The songs are just wondeful from beginning to end, with flowing harmonies and melodies that will make you keep this album on repeat
DOWNLOAD: Fleet Foxes - "White Winter Hymnal"
2. In the Future - Black Mountain
This is an album that needs to be played straight through. When you listen to individual tracks on this album, it will still rock you, but it won't make you lose your shit the way you will when you listen to it from beginning to end. This is an album. An excellent, heavy and passionate album.
DOWNLOAD: Black Mountain - "Tyrants"
1. Alas, I Cannot Swim – Laura Marling
My personal favorite record of the year. Every song is beautifully crafted. The lyrics to every song are so mature. Her voice is absolutely heartbreaking. And she's only nineteen years-old. This album, which was nominated for the prestigous Mercury Prize, is the type of album I would confidently place alongside albums like Grace, Hejira or Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, meaning it may not instantly be recognized as a classic, but in a few years, you'll be kicking yourself for all the time you missed out on listening to it. Alas I Cannot Swim should be lumped into any genre except that of brilliant albums.
DOWNLOAD: Laura Marling - "Alas I Cannot Swim (Live for Product Shop NYC)"