Davidcard[Posted by David Card]

follow me at davidcard

Because I wear a music-industry analyst hat on occasion, I’m allowed to indulge in a top 10 list. It was a good year for new music – better than movies (and I’m not the only one who thought so) – so of course sales are down. I bought 40 albums, which is 10 less than last year. (I qualify as a high-spending, digitally active "aficionado," in Jupiter’s music customer segmentation; which numbers me among 16% of online adults.) 

But last year 60% of my purchases were back catalog. This year just over half were new. This year over half my purchases were digital downloads vs. CDs. Last year I was over 60% CD. Compared with the survey, I’m way ahead of the aficionado curve in
going digital, though about on pace with the average paying downloader.
This year almost all of my downloads came from Amazon; last year I split evenly between iTunes and Amazon. So, in no particular order:

Best Albums of 2008

  • The Kills "Midnight Boom" – what the hipsters listen to
  • The Raveonettes "Lust Lust Lust" – lo-fi wall-of-sound
  • The Airborne Toxic Event "The Airborne Toxic Event" – catchy, occasionally epic emo
  • The National "Boxer" – subtle, it grows on you
  • Frightened Rabbit "The Midnight Organ Fight" – a bit twee, but heartfelt
  • Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!" – Nick Cave’s great rock album
  • Frank Black "Svn Fngrs" – minimal, intense
  • R.E.M. "Accelerate" – got their mojo back
  • Wovenhand "Ten Stones" – I like my Christian rockers apocalyptic
  • The Ting Tings "We Started Nothing" – pure pop

Apparently, I’ve gone totally indie. Counting the comebacks, besides R.E.M., Metallica kicked Guns n’ Roses’ butt. And Paul McCartney’s relatively experimental noodlings as Fireman are worth a listen. Among debuts, Ra Ra Riot’s almost made the list (along with Airborne and Ting Tings, above).