Randi's Best (and Worst) of 2008

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This year has been pretty great.I started it off in Costa Rica for 10 days, and I finished it with 5 in Florida.The music wasn’t too bad either… we were introduced to great new bands, but lost legends like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Bo Diddly, Isaac Hayes, Richard Wright, Odetta, Eartha Kitt, and George Carlin (who I know shouldn’t count under music legends but I adored him). I must say I’m really looking forward to next year’s selections (Animal Collective, Andrew Bird, Chris Cornell, Lily Allen, The Decemberists… and that’s just what’s coming out Jan – March).I’ll also be studying in London from mid-January to mid-May (& *fingers crossed* L.A. mid-August to late-December), and I can’t wait to discover hundreds of more bands across the pond!

So without further ado, here’s my favorites and least favorites of this year - songs, covers, remixes, albums, TV shows, videos & movies [in that order]. Quick sidenote: when you look at my favorite songs, make sure to factor in the songs that I put as my favorite songs of the album in my favorite albums section. I just didn’t want to repeat myself, even though after re-reading this paragraph I’m not sure if I made myself any clearer. Anyway, I loved most of this year’s music, and here’s what I loved (and hated) the most.

I like to get the worst out of the way first, like ripping off a band-aid. So without further ado…

Least Favorite Songs (Or Songs That Made Me Hate Music)

10 - Flo Rida ft Will.I.Am – In The Ayer

9 – Rihanna - Take a Bow

8 - Kid Rock – All Summer Long

7- Miley Cyrus – See You Again

6 – Britney Spears - Womanizer

5 - Katy Perry - Ur So Gay

4 - Katy Perry – Hot N Cold

3 - Lil’ Wayne – Hot Revolver

2 - Soulja Boy – Yahh

1 – Katy Perry - I Kissed a Girl

Somehow #1 and #8 on my Most-Hated list made it to #18 and #20 on Rolling Stone’s BEST Of list, which makes me more than a little sick. But I digress. Moving on…

Favorite Songs (Just in Alphabetical Order and Probably Missing Some)


Top 10 Favorite Covers (Just Alphabetical Order)

Top 10 Favorite Remixes (Just Alphabetical Order)

  • -M.I.A. – Boyz (Jay-Z Remix)

  • -Puppini Sisters - Crazy In Love (The Real Tuesday Weld Remix) (Beyoncé Cover)

  • -Justice - D.A.N.C.E. (Feat. Mos Def And Spank Rock) (Benny Blanco Remix)

  • -Kanye West & Common - Get 'Em High (A-Trak Remix)

  • -Jay-Z - Jockin Jay-Z (Travis Barker Remix)

  • -Robin Thicke ft. Mary J Blige & Wale – Magic Remix

  • -Saint Bernadette – Money In The Air Remix

  • -Radiohead – Nude (Holy Fuck Remix 2)

  • -Maroon 5 – Wake Up Call feat. Mary J. Blige (Mark Ronson Remix)

  • -Ben Folds and Regina Spektor "You Don't Know Me" and T.I. "U Don't Know Me" - B.F. meets T.I. (Mysplice III)


Top 10 Favorite Albums (No Order)

-“Dr. Horrible” Soundtrack

  • I know this shouldn’t count probably under some weird “this isn’t technically an album it’s an internet musical” rule, but I’m insisting it stays since it DID make the top 40 album release list on iTunes.If you didn’t watch this 43-minute sensation, saying you’re missing out is a HUGE understatement. Joss Whedon's Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day & Simon Helberg, and tells the story of Dr. Horrible, his nemesis Captain Hammer, and their mutual love interest, Penny. The musical was created during the Writer’s Strike, and apparently the low-budget mini-movie was so special that Time Magazine named it #15 of their Top 50 2008 Inventions list.Although the visuals are clearly low budget, the songs are funny, sweet, and what makes the musical so endearing. If you have ever liked any musical (or even if you haven’t), make sure to give this a try.

  • Favorite Song off the album: “My Eyes”

-Islands – Arm’s Way

  • I promised myself I wouldn’t pick favorites for albums, but the face that “Arm’s Way” dominates my Most Played iTunes list speaks for itself. This album is a lot different than Islands’ older material – the guest rappers and Caribbean influences are gone, and synths, strings, and guitars playing in minor have replaced them.As far as I know, nobody else thought this album was very catchy, and that’s what turned them off of it. And yet, in my opinion, Bon Iver’s album doesn’t have many hooks and it’s on everyone’s favorites list. Depending on what a band is trying to achieve, it doesn’t have to have catchy hooks. It just has to be good. And this album is.

  • Favorite song off the album: “J'aime Vous Voire Quitter”

-Raphael Saadiq – The Way I See It

  • The last 12 months brought us great albums from artists bringing back old soul and funk sounds from the 60’s and 70’s, like Little Jackie, Adele and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.Raphael’s album was definitely my favorite out of all of these, because he didn’t try to revive or reinvent the old soul genre; he simply played what he felt, like it used to be done. He was influenced by Gladys Knight & The Pips, Al Green, and the Four Tops, and made the sound his own.The album also has some great collaborations with Joss Stone, Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z.“The Way I See It” definitely deserves its 2009 R&B Best Album nomination, and I hope it wins.

  • Favorite song off the album: “Love That Girl”

-Jason Mraz - We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things

  • Several of the artists on my favorites list of this year changed their image for the better. Jason Mraz stayed his silly, fun-loving self, and it truly shows in his third album. His “Casa Nova Sessions,” released as limited edition bonus tracks, are equally enjoyable and feature acoustic-Caribbean influenced versions of some of his songs.“We Sing…” peaked higher on the charts than any of his other albums, and it’s definitely deserved.All of his influences shine through at one time or another – reggae, pop, rock, folk, jazz, and hip hop – and the simplistic way that he shows his musical diversity is what makes this record one of my favorites.

  • Favorite songs off the album: “I’m Yours” & “If it Kills Me”

-Ingrid Michaelson – Be OK

  • I really really really love Ingrid Michaelson. Maybe because she’s the celebrity that most looks like me, maybe because she promoted herself to the top, maybe because she’s so great in concert. Either way, when I found out she was releasing an album this year, I knew it’d be on my Top 10 List. The album consists of previously unreleased music, live recordings, and covers. A portion of the proceeds from the album's sales are donated to Stand Up To Cancer, a charity established by media, entertainment and philanthropic leaders who have been affected by cancer. Her cover of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” is beautiful and uses lots of key changes that Elivs didn’t have in the original, while her cover of “Over the Rainbow” is simplistic with just an acoustic guitar, similar to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole’s famous cover.If you haven’t heard of Ingrid by now (“The Way I Am” was in an Old Navy commercial last year, and “Keep Breathing” was in Grey’s Anatomy), you need to take a listen.

  • Favorite song off the album: “You & I”

-Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

  • I’m not sure what I can say about this band that hasn’t already been said. They’re one of the most talked-about indie bands of the year, and I personally think it’s very well-deserved. The best description I could use is on their wikipedia page, and it says that their music is "baroque harmonic pop jams." The excessive reverb and haunting harmonies make the five-piece Seattle band both unique and reminiscent of many other bands like CSNY and the Animal Collective. Rolling Stone also compared the band to the Beach Boys, and coincidentally this was my favorite album to listen to while at the beach all summer.

  • Favorite song off the album: “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”

-Cage the Elephant – Cage the Elephant

  • I can pretty much guarantee that I’m the only person who’s going to have this band on their top album list, but that’s why this is MY favorite albums.They’re a funk-jam-rock band from Kentucky, and I found them by stumbling on their Myspace by accident one day (and I’m SO glad I did).The electric guitar on “Free Love” rocks harder than any new music I’ve come across in a long time, and “Lotus” is very reminiscent of the Chili Peppers with the way that Matt Shultz (vocals) sort of raps while he’s singing. If you like Queens of the Stone Age, the Chili Peppers, or pretty much any jam/funk band, you NEED to check this band out.

  • Favorite songs off the album: "Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked,” “In One Ear”

-Girl Talk – Feed The Animals

  • As Greg Gillis always says, he’s not a DJ – he’s a mashup artist. The main difference between Girl Talk and 98% of all other DJ’s is that he never lets a song play out – by the time you recognize a sample, he’s on to the next track. Feed the Animals ups the ante from his previous Night Ripper; Ripper has about 150 samples, Animals has over 300.The thing that’s so fantastic about him is that he doesn’t discriminate by genre or popularity or age – “Like This” uses Beyoncé, Rick Astley, Nine Inch Nails, and Yo La Tengo, among others.If you don’t have fun listening to this album, you need to get out more. Seriously.

  • Favorite songs off the album: “Set it Off”

-The Killers – Day and Age

-Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue

  • Most people recognize Jenny Lewis from her band Rilo Kiley, and their album “Under the Blacklight.” Like “Blacklight,” “Acid Tongue” spans over many genres – counry, garage rock, and pop.From a lyrical standpoint, this album is reminiscent of her first solo effort, “Rabbit Fur Coat,” in that it tells of murder, drug abuse, and sin.Each song is completely different, and “The Next Messiah” is a three-part, eight-minute epic that moves from raw guitar to country funk.The record includes collaborations with Zooey Deschanel, the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson, and Elvis Costello.Sadly, Jenny said after this album was released that she’s unsure of the return of Rilo Kiley, but as long as she keeps churning out great solo albums, the loss will be a lot easier to handle.

  • Favorite song of the album: “See Fernando”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

  • Emilíana Torrini – Me and Armini

  • Mother Mother - O My Heart

  • Radiohead – In Rainbows (since it was physically released in Jan. 2008)

  • Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

Besides music, I’m obsessed with television (I am, after all, a Television-Radio major). So I took the liberty of making another best of list for TV shows of this year. I was going to throw Pushing Daisies on this list, but then it got canceled, sadly.

Top 5 Shows You’re NOT Watching But NEED To

5 – Dexter [Only #5 'cause ALMOST everyone watches this]

4 - Samantha Who?

3 - Californication

2 - It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

1 - The Life and Times of Tim

Favorite Fan-Made Music Video For A Non-2008 Song (But The Video Came Out This Year)

Complicated category, one clear winner.

Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trolls

Favorite Fan-Made Music Video For A 2008 Song

Complicated title due to the last category. Although I wasn't a huge fan of Coldplay's new album, and their free Madison Square Garden show that I attended wasn't so great either... this single is great. And this video is adorable.

Coldplay - Lost?

Worst Video of 2008

I know this started last year, and all I know is I never found it funny EVER, and it's still not funny now. And it took over YouTube this year on April Fool's Day this year for some reason, AND hijacked the Thanksgiving Day Parade (which is bad enough to start with).

Rick-Rolling.

No, I'm not putting up the video. It's a bad 80's song that got revived for some reason, and I STILL DON'T GET WHY RICK-ROLLING IS EVEN A THING. Also, In September 2008, Rick was nominated for AND WON the 'Best Act Ever' award at the MTV Europe Music Awards. WHAT? NO. GO AWAY RICK ASTLEY, GO AWAY. PLEASE DON'T COME BACK IN 2009. PLEASE.

Best Videos of 2008

Anybody that knows me knows I spend WAY too much time on YouTube, and Luis would kill me if I put up every video I liked this year, so I'll just do this.

Best Music Video:

Terrordactyls - Devices

Best Other Videos:

Look up "Notorious Hitler - Where Brooklyn at," "You Can Drink This Shit And It Ain't Butter," "Take On Me (Literal Version)," "Drunk History" [on funnyordie.com], all of the retro videos on everythingisterrible.blogspot.com, and watch this which covers pretty much the rest of them:

And, what the hell…

Top 12 Movies

(Sidenote: I Missed a few of the “Oscar Contenders,” [Slumdog Millionaire, JCVD, Wrestler, Vicky Christina Barcelona, Synecdoche, etc etc...] so you can probably just assume that those are on there for me when I catch up)

12 – Milk

11 - Choke

10 - Doubt

9 - Horton Hears A Who

8 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

7 – Religulous

6 – TIE: Iron Man & Revolutionary Road

5 – Charlie Bartlett

4 – Dark Knight

3 – Tropic Thunder

2 – Wall-E

1 – The Fall

Have A Happy & Healthy 2009!