Tuesday, December 30, 2008

the second best album and single of 2008

Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid

2008 was undoubtedly Elbow's year. I was lucky enough to see them at the album's preview gig in
London back in February, a month before its release, and even then it was clear that this was their greatest body of work yet.

And then the thrilling stomp of lead single Grounds For Divorce didn't garner the attention it deserved, and following a collective shrug, everybody stayed put for a couple of months assuming the monumental One Day Like This would go stratospheric. Again inexplicably, it was only a minor hit.

Glastonbury, where those that weren't talking about how good Jay-Z was were more than likely to be found describing the wonder of Elbow's performance instead. Despite that, and plenty of BBC airtime, they remained the criminally undervalued band they've always been. And then the Mercury Prize, of course.

But it's difficult to overstate just what a stunning album this was. The two aforementioned singles grabbed the attention, but each track was a beautifully crafted, distinct wonder in itself.

Sample the majestic Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver, the literate detailing of love in An Audience With The Pope, or the classy comedy of The Fix. 2008 was a lucky year.

The Killers - Human

Some people just have the knack for creating the tunes of the decade. This perfect 4 minutes can be laid down right next to Mr. Brightside as a track that will be adored for many years to come.

It raised the hope that the album Day & Age might be full of similar indie-electro dancefloor classics, instead of the assuredly silly pop we were left with.

After getting over such a shock, it proved a thoroughly enjoyable listen, better than the remarkably overrated Hot Fuss (has there ever been a greater contrast between a stunning first half of an album and a dire second half?) but not quite as good as the remarkably underrated Sam's Town.

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