Greats of 2008, Part 2

Updated – I forgot a few.

Like last year, I’d like to highlight the not-so-new music that I finally discovered or re-discovered since January. Between my list here and Pitchfork’s suspicious 500 Songs of the last 30 years, I hope some hipsters will discover some goodies over five years old.

  • Billy Joel – Glass Houses: I happened to hear Chuck Klosterman mention this album on MPR, so I used Rhapsody to check it out. If I had first heard that this is Joel’s attempt at new wave or punk-type sounds, I would have never listened. But it is his reaction to those genres, and I gotta say that I agree with him all the way. I spent time with other Joel albums this year, but I liked none of them as consistently as I liked Glass Houses. Piano Man comes in second.
  • Bob Dylan & The Band – The Basement Tapes: This is one of those albums I’ve read about for so long that I thought I had actually heard it. I love this impromptu sound — so gritty yet warm.
  • Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814: Of course I’d loved this album since junior high or whenever it was, but I got the Jimmy Jamm/Terry Lewis bug in May and just had to download this album. Why can’t hip hop production sound this good any more? Every song is so strong and original. Wake up, producers, and learn from your forefathers.
  • Bob Dylan – The Rolling Thunder Revue: It’s my second year of getting up to speed on Dylan, and as another item on this list already shows, I’m just getting started. As mentioned in a previous post, I could not get this album out of my head, especially the joyful version of “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”. That tour sounds like magic.
  • George & Ira Gershwin: I suppose I’ve been a fan without realizing it. Songs from “An American in Paris” are among my favorites from that era. But it wasn’t until I saw an American Masters episode about George that I really got interested. Another one who died too young…
  • Elton John – Honkey Chateau: As mentioned in an earlier post, I think early Elton John is pretty gay rad. Love it. Any recommendations for another Elton album for me to check out (besides Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Empty Sky)?

Now, go check out some more traditional best of lists here and here.

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  • Comments (2)
    • Amy
    • December 9th, 2008 11:25am

    I’ve loved Billy Joel since I can remember and Glass Houses is my all-time favorite. Love. It. I finally bought the cd (had it on vinyl; oh yeah, I kick it old school) last year as a “happy birthday to me” and spin it quite often.

    I have Rhythm Nation on cassette and it’s been a while since I’ve listened to it. I must dig it out!

    I went to a concert in college where a prof played the piano and was backed by the orchestra for “Rhapsody in Blue.” That song gives me the goosebumps every time I hear it.

    I love early Elton John, but I also loved his stuff in the 80s and early 90s. I really like the song “Believe.”

  1. I have totally been craving Rhythm Nation myself lately and watching the videos on youtube. That was the best album and I still curse my parents for not letting me go to the concert when I had the chance. I have also been obsessed with some vintage Michael too-Smooth Criminal is the best. Sadly, I cannot find the original (at least on youtube) of the original they used to play on MTV back in the day. Love it! Great post.

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