Best Music of 2008? You Tell Me

Back into the swing with a late-night stopover, Morphizm pals. I’ve been drowning in music all day, from Femi Kuti to Deerhunter to Juana Molina and onward. Which got me thinking for Wired today: What’s the verdict on the year’s best? Because there’s a lot of best to best.

We are slowly putting together our recommendations for best of 2008, from The Melvins above to Juana Molina below and beyond, all the way to My Bloody Valentine, Portishead, The Roots and even the strange but shredding Marnie Stern.

But we’d love to print two lists: Yours and ours. Help us out?

As for ours, it’s been a wide-ranging palette of intriguing tracks. When it comes to rock, Portishead’s rumbling stomp “Silence” was as cool as its comeback effort Third, and probably its finest tune ever. No Age’s apocalyptic punk found on Nouns was matched in its brilliance by The Melvins’ ear-blasting stunner Nude With Boots. The weirdo math of Stereolab’s pop puzzle Chemical Chords was as addictive as Marnie Stern unhinged shred on This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That. Beach House’s Devotion was so hypnotic that we’re still smelling salts to snap out of our blissed stupor.

In fact, Beach House had one of the singles of the year, in the urgent love song “Heart of Chambers.” It’s a pretty emotionally grabbing track coming from two people, one guitar, one organ and a sparely used drum machine. But it was a good year for spaced-out chillage: From The Breeders’ underrated Mountain Battles (especially the ambient “Night of Joy”) to Mogwai’s entire effort The Hawk is Howling, you didn’t have to fly far to escape the geopolitical drudgery of real life.

And then there is Argentine tech-folk brainiac Juana Molina, morphed at right, who emerged from stealth mode to record and release Un Dia, perhaps the most alluring, entrancing and, pound for pound, wired album of the year. Loop it and hear (and see, and trip…) for yourself.

Some releases, especially in hip-hop and electronica, had amazing songs but couldn’t stick the landing. The You Don’t Know: Ninja Cuts compilation boasted the best turntablist anthem in years, Kid Koala’s “Slew Test 2,” but felt unfinished even though it was three discs long. The Roots ambitious Rising Down was that rare effort, a hip-hop album with its head in the right place, but it worked best when it was just ?uestlove and Black Thought stripping down to a microphone, bullhorn, snare drum and some of the roughest, toughest raps of the last ten years on “75 Bars.”

Where is El-P when you need him?

The good list goes on. A candidate for music story of the year, Nine Inch Nails released The Slip free of charge, and delivered a powerful effort on top of it. The return of influential noisemakers My Bloody Valentine sparked the return of Swervedriver, The Verve and more, and launched the most deadly live show in recent memory.

Indigo Girl Amy Ray’s solo album Didn’t It Feel Kinder featured a slow-burning equal-rights anthem called “Birds of a Feather” that tugged at the heart and guitar strings with equal skill. The Black Keys mindmelded with Dangermouse and made the best album of their lives with Attack and Release. (Bonus points: Its video for “Strange Times,” directed by Lance Bangs and viewable below, was a laser tag game gone horribly awry.) “Sideways Here We Come,” a post-punk spinal tap from the Australian band Die! Die! Die!, managed to copy and outshine Wire in a year that both bands released new discs. Deerhunter dazzled on Microcastle. And so on.

But before we put it all together in bullet points and rankings, let us hear what you have to say about the music of 2008. Best album? Best artist? Best song? Bring it, and we will frame it for you in a year-end post.

This article appeared at Wired