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Best Of 2008: Albums

1. COLDPLAY - Viva La Vida, Or Death And All His Friends (Capitol)

2. SANTOGOLD - Santogold (Downtown)

3. THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM - The '59 Sound (Side One Dummy)

4. THE ALUMINUM GROUP - Little Happyness (Minty Fresh)

5. TV ON THE RADIO - Dear Science (DGC/Interscope)

6. THE KILLERS - Day & Age (Island)

7. KINGS OF LEON - Only By The Night (RCA)

8. ESTELLE - Shine (Atlantic)

9. THE HOLD STEADY - Stay Positive (Vagrant)

10. FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS - Flight Of The Conchords (Sub Pop)

I know, I know. Coldplay. Freakin' Coldplay. Surely you think I've gone crazy, or worse, soft.

First off, I never bothered to acquire the band's third album X&Y and still don't have it. Second, I resisted Viva for most of the year. Didn't buy it until the special Prospekt's March version came out during the holiday buying season. I was indifferent to the title track at first, but over time in this historic election year, its resonance was unshakable.

U2 is a band I like as much as the next guy, but they never were among my favorites. So it's odd that this Eno-produced ersatz U2 would ring true to me. But in one of the most unpredictable and wild years of my life--professionally, politically, personally--it was this band, Coldplay, the band whose "Yellow" was the first song I ever possessed in MP3 form, that somehow crafted the best album I heard all year.

It must be noted that, as a result of vast changes in my life, I didn't hear as much new music in 2008 as I would have liked to. Didn't dig as deep as I usually do this past year; time and professional circumstances just didn't allow it. These lists are always fluid over time, anyway, so I'm less afraid of what I might have missed than I might have been in previous years, when I fretted a good deal more over whether a particular album merited, say, a placing at number seven or number eight.

I still maintain that every year is a good year for music. The more time that goes by, the more 2008 music I'll find that I missed during the 366 particular days that comprised the actual year. The future's so bright...

One other note. These lists are me with my "critic's hat" on. They're not much of a reflection on what I play when I DJ out at bars and clubs, and certainly not at private events. Sure, I've been playing The Gaslight Anthem like crazy for months, and some of the more Top 40ish material has gotten spins when warranted by the crowd on certain nights. But a playlist consisting of just these artists probably would sound like a train wreck. Hail hail rock and roll!