Friday, December 19, 2008

Top Ten Lists 2008: Music and Movies

Everyone's been bitching about how very "meh" a year 2008 was for music, and I am forced to agree. I think it was a long-tail year: lots of interesting new artists and quirky new sounds that caught the attention well-tuned ears throughout the intertubes, but not too many knockout champions or shoe-ins for No. 1. Idolator sums it up in reviewing Pitchfork's list today, which placed Fleet Foxes in the No. 1 spot:
I will just chalk its absurdly high placement up to "yet another reason why this year needs to be put out to pasture ASAP.
There's a bit of variation on most of the lists this year, save for a few staples. But there is something that needs to be said, so I'm going to say it: TV on the Radio can eat my ass. They're just okay . Got it? They're certainly not the new goddamned Radiohead where they can do no wrong.
Rolling Stone, Spin, and everyone else who fawned over Dear Science and Return to Cookie Mountain: please let's all just relax, take a breath, have a Fresca, and calm down. Hell, I liked "Dear Science," and the band is fine with me overall, especially if you're into listening to songs that sound like they're the intro to other songs and you like staying rivetted to the speakers as you keep waiting for the damn thing to kick in already.
They can be just okay. We forgot somewhere along the way that bands are allowed to be decent musicians without either being the second coming of Hipster Jesus or a tragedy to all sounds ever made that warrants cutting off your ears and shutting down iTunes.

That said, here's my completely unscientific, unreliable, poorly vetted, terribly thought out and ultimately indefensible list.


10.MGMT - Oracular Spectacular*










9. Lupe Fiasco - The Cool











8. Fleet Foxes - s/t











7. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III










6. Bitzen Trapper - Furr










5. Okkervil River - Stand Ins










4 Santogold - s/t










3. She and Him - Vol. 1











2. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours








1. Vampire Weekend - s/t

I was reluctant to put VW at the top of the list, but it's hard not to argue that it's the most innovative album that came out this year, with afro-pop sounds and undeniably catchy rhythms that managed to maintain replay value even in the face of all the hype. The [ed not: as I'm typing this, they started playing Mansard Roof at Gorilla Coffee in Park Slope. Point illustrated] album is summery party music for the neo-Paul Simon set, and I don't see any problem with that. Also, the Columbia boys are helping to stem our nation's tragic dearth of songs about esoteric punctuation terms, and I think we should be grateful.

*Also hesitant to put this on the list since we all got it back in 07, but I guess we aren't counting non-Radiohead digital releases yet.

Movies- In which I realize I didn't see nearly enough good movies this year:

1. The Dark Knight
2. Wall -E
3. Slumdog Millionaire
4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
5 Iron Man
6. Frost/Nixon
7. Pineapple Express
8. Cloverfield
9. Zack and Miri Make a Porno

I was really tempted to call Wall-E the best movie of the year. It certainly was the most endearing love story movie since Before Sunset, and it didn't even have any damned speaking for half the film. But Dark Knight was just too jawesome to deny.


[RELATED: here's the column I wrote last year about the rules for making a top 10 list. Follow it or be subject to weeks of angry sneering glances shrouded in ironic mustache coming at you from under American Apparel hoodies.]

7 comments:

Jonathan said...

I don't listen to enough music to have any comment on you music list, but, Christ... terrible movie list.

Most of the time, you can't make a proper movie list until Dec. 31. Too many good contenders are released Christmas Day. Richard Corliss from TIME, I think, is one of a handful of people who have seen everything already.

My list (so far):

1. The Dark Knight
2. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
3. Wall-E
4. Redbelt
5. Snow Angels
6. Slumdog Millionaire
7. Milk
8. Cloverfield
9. Ashes of Time Redux
10. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Movies That Will Likely Make The List I Haven't Seen

1. The Wrestler
2. Doubt
3. Che
4. Rachel Getting Married
5. The Reader
6. Revolutionary Road
7. Wendy and Lucy
8. The Class
9. Marley & Me (trust me, this could be waaaaay better than anyone anticipates)

Jonathan said...

Also can't forget "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

Jay said...

To show just how out of it I am: I haven't heard a single act on your top-10 list except the VW song about Wellfleet (which I liked), but I sure can't argue with your logic. Keep it up with the spot-on criticism! Fondly -- MRHH

JJ said...

Just so I'm clear, it appears Cribbs will turn over 90 percent of his top 10 movies list between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

Also of note, the word verification for this post is "powner". Sweet.

Tim A. Donnelly said...

what? terrible list? Your list and mine are substantially identical.
I agree that the top 10 list for movies, unlike music, is really more of an exercise best left to critics since none of us in the general public get to see all those movies before the end of the year. But we can go with what we've got at least.

Also, I make no claims of having any critical tastes whatsoever.

Tim A. Donnelly said...

what? terrible list? Your list and mine are substantially identical.
I agree that the top 10 list for movies, unlike music, is really more of an exercise best left to critics since none of us in the general public get to see all those movies before the end of the year. But we can go with what we've got at least.

Also, I make no claims of having any critical tastes whatsoever.

Jonathan said...

Yes, your list and mine (so far) are similar. But it's too soon. Far too soon.

Plus, you gotta get "Vicky Cristina" on there. One of the best Woody movies of the last decade.

And "Snow Angels" is a movie no one saw and those that did forgot. But David Gordon Green needs some love.