Chris Fallon Album Cover

Chris Fallon

PrologueAt the end of each year, I take a long journey through my iTunes library to see what exactly I liked music-wise. Adding it all up can oftentimes give me a list of over 100 selections I found at least somewhat appealing and/or likable. This year, for whatever reason, my top ten seemed to go right into place like a good Lego set or a friendly sexual encounter that you never look back and cry about or regret. Call 2008 the "Return of the Org" or the "Explosion of Bad Electro-Pop" -- whatever you want to label it, the reinvention of punk rock, lavish pop music and rock n' roll the way it was meant to sound made this year fantastic. There's no real denial that once things got rolling, I liked what I heard.

Top 25 Albums of 2008

1. The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound
2. Dillinger Four - C I V I L W A R
3. Jack's Mannequin - The Glass Passenger
4. The Living End - White Noise
5. Tourmaline - The Swindle
6. House of Heroes - The End is Not the End
7. Butch Walker - Sycamore Meadows
8. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
9. Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death and All of His Friends
10. Less Than Jake - GNV FLA
11. Thrice - The Alchemy Index, Vols. III + IV - Air & Earth
12. Dear and the Headlights - Drunk Like Bible Times
13. Joey Cape - Bridge
14. The Reign of Kindo - Rhythm, Chord & Melody
15. Valencia - We All Need a Reason to Believe
16. Trever Keith - Melancholics Anonymous
17. Copeland - You Are My Sunshine
18. Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
19. Polar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just Disappear
20. R.E.M. - Accelerate
21. A06 - The Chronicles of A06, Vol. 1: The Dark Tower of Cypher Lecleur
22. Love You Moon - Waxwane
23. Torche - Meanderthal
24. Bayside - Shudder
25. Good Old War - Only Way to Be Alone

SummarySure, I went pretty mainstream for this one and many of selections are strongly liked by some and loathed by others. However, I have a few qualifications for what makes my final year-end list. Not simply popularity or catchiness -- but what went into the album, what made it and how does it compare to replicas (if there are any). It also has to appeal to me, obviously, and it helps I'm a fan of pop music and punk rock. There was no shortage of albums to choose from, and I think The Gaslight Anthem and Dillinger Four revitalized the creativity and mainstream appeal of punk rock while Andrew McMahon proved once more why his genius for capturing powerful emotion in his melodies is so fascinating.

For the rest of this list, go here for 75 more selections from the year that was, 2008.

Top 10 EPs of 20081. Relient K - The Nashville Tennis EP
2. The Gaslight Anthem - The Senor and the Queen EP
3. Ellington - More Like a Movie, Less Like Real Life
4. Coldplay - Prospekt's March
5. Monikers - Eat Your Young
6. Dead To Me - Little Brother
7. Third Eye Blind - Red Star EP
8. Lagwagon - I Think My Older Brother Used to Listen to Lagwagon
9. Straylight Run - Un Mas Dos
10. They Found Me, They Named Me - Ship As State

SummaryAgain, a good mixture of pop and punk here -- usually separated into their own respective genres. This probably won't surprise anyone familiar with my taste in music, and I continue to go on record saying Relient K writes pop songs that tread into many different territories. The Gaslight Anthem found a happy medium before hopping on their working-man punk anthems, while Ellington's gentle pop melodies are delectable nuggets of endearing & effortless joy.

For the complete list, feel free to browse my full top 25.

Top 10 Songs of 2008

1. Joey Cape "What We've Become"
2. Jack's Mannequin "Annie Use Your Telescope"
3. The Gaslight Anthem "High Lonesome"
4. Butch Walker "ATL"
5. Jason Mraz - "I'm Yours"
6. Coldplay "Viva La Vida"
7. Smoking Popes "Sweet Pea"
8. Panic at the Disco "Nine in the Afternoon"
9. Dillinger Four "Gainesville"
10. Weezer "Pork and Beans"

SummaryBetween the genuine honesty that comes from Joey Cape's lips to the hypnotic pop orchestrations or Jack's Mannequin and the jazzy, boot-cut swagger of The Gaslight Anthem, I found 2008 to have some rather addictive pop treats in its arsenal. Jason Mraz came back on the scene with a love song that rings of sweet simplicity, Butch Walker's hometown ballad just might be his best song and Coldplay wrote a #1 hit that was just a tad different than what the radio was used to from them. Smoking Popes -- a candidate for one of the best returns -- wrote one of my favorite love songs and Panic at the Disco (nevermind what anyone badmouthing them has to say) brought a Sgt. Pepper's-like enthusiasm to their catchy single. Dillinger Four gave us one of their best cuts and rounding out the list is a song that grew on me over the late spring, reminding me of the days when Weezer was my go-to band. Man, I miss those times.

Top 10 Most Disappointing Albums of 2008

1. Weezer - Weezer (2008)
2. The Offspring - Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace
3. Phantom Planet - Raise the Dead
4. Goldfinger - Hello Destiny
5. The Killers - Day and Age
6. Millencolin - Machine 15
7. Lovedrug - The Sucker Punch Show
8. The Academy Is... - Fast Times at Barrington High
9. Person L - Initial
10. The Matches - A Band in Hope

SummaryIt's always hard when you get an album you've anticipated, only to find it isn't what you were expecting. The change in sound for Weezer was a bit too drastic for me, as was Goldfinger's attempt to go back to their roots. While some of these albums remained in my top 100 for sheer enjoyment of select songs, as cohesive wholes, these albums sorely lacked what got me into theses bands in the first place. Better luck next time everyone.

Top 10 Worst Albums of 2008
*Note: these are just the albums I heard. I don't (and can't) listen to every shitty album to come out.
1. The Maine - Can't Stop, Won't Stop
(No, please do.)
2. Plain White T's - Big Bad World
(Big, terrible album is more like it.)
3. The Academy Is... - Fast Times at Barrington High
(Fast times at desperate label.)
4. 3OH!3 - Want
(Do not want.)
5. Forever the Sickest Kids - Underdog Alma Mater
(Reduce, reuse, recycle.)
6. Quietdrive - Deliverance
(Deliver us from repetitive songs!)
7. Trapt - Only Through the Pain...
(...will you understand what listening to this is like.)
8. Thieves and Villains - Movement
(Credibility? We don't need no steenkin' credibility!)
9. Simple Plan - Simple Plan
(Even Tiger Beat doesn't like you anymore.)
10. Hinder - Take It To the Limit
(Take it to the garbage can.)

Top 10 Worst Songs of 2008

1. Metro Station "Shake It"
(Shake this.)
2. Pussycat Dolls "When I Grow Up"
(Former strippers prove yet again why not everyone should be a musician.)
3. Mariah Carey "I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time"
(Full Metal Jacket called...)
4. Britney Spears "Womanizer"
(Redundant much?)
5. Ashlee Simpson "Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)"
(What the hell were they thinking with this one?)
6. Miley Cyrus "7 Things"
(I have a list I would love you to look at, Miley.)
7. Jonas Brothers "Burnin' Up"
(Edgy? No. Sexy? No. Awkward and uncomfortable for its sheer awfulness? Bingo!)
8. Nickelback "Gotta Be Somebody"
(Yeah, somebody talented.)
9. Secondhand Serenede "Fall For You"
(Getting laid has never seemed so damn pathetic.)
10. Jesse McCartney "Leavin'"
(Who does this guy think he is? Seriously!)

Top Five Best Bands of 2008

1. The Gaslight Anthem
2. Lydia
3. Jack's Mannequin
4. Dillinger Four
5. R.E.M.

Top Five Worst Bands of 2008

1. The Maine
2. Plain White T's
3. Metro Station
4. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
5. Ice Nine Kills/Envy on the Coast (for their sheer arrogance)

Most Overrated Band: Vampire Weekend - they're not bad, but they are far from the second coming. Calm down, hipsters.

2008's Biggest Surprises

1. Metallica - Death Magnetic
(I honestly did not think they had it in them to record this.)
2. Pennywise - Reason to Believe
(Their last few albums have been big disappointments. Nice to have a solid release from them.)
3. R.E.M. - Accelerate
(Been awhile since these pioneers released such a nearly-flawless album.)
4. Gavin DeGraw - Gavin DeGraw
(Never thought I would like his soulful pop as much as I do.)
5. The Living End - White Noise
(Simply because, I didn't know it was being released until two days prior.)

Breakthrough Band of the Year: The Gaslight Anthem
Next Band to Be on the Lookout For: Lydia
Best Discovery of the Year: Torche

Best Film of 2008

The Dark Knight

SummaryWhile I have not seen every movie from the past year, nothing excited me, captivated me or mesmerized every sense in my body like this movie did. Each time I saw it, I found something more exciting to latch onto and be totally immersed by. When a film can completely take over every sense in your body, you can't push that feeling away -- not too many films reel me in like Christopher Nolan's tremendously well-made sequel did.
This review is a user submitted review from smoke4thecaper. You can see all of smoke4thecaper's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 12 of 12
05:17 PM on 12/05/08
Adrian Villagomez
User Info.
Adrian Villagomez's Avatar
Where's Matt Pryor at, Chris?
01:02 AM on 12/29/08
Ellington / Jake
User Info.
ellingtonband's Avatar
01:23 AM on 12/29/08
Prison Strength
User Info.
hockeyguitar99's Avatar
What happened with Envy On The Coast? Anton had some drama with them and Jason in his list and you said they were arrogant. I think I missed something.

Good list Chris.
01:32 AM on 12/29/08
promesas son sombras
User Info.
EchoPark's Avatar
Top List Senor Fallon.

Kudos of TGA making it to spot #1.
09:53 AM on 12/29/08
Go AWAY! Batin'!
User Info.
Justin_stacy's Avatar
haha, shake it is my 15 month old daughters favorite song.
12:02 PM on 12/29/08
couch coaches dot company
User Info.
TheOtherAndrew's Avatar
Your number one and number two albums are the exact same as mine!
12:03 PM on 12/29/08
User Info.
c_rob2700's Avatar
I had Dillinger Four at 3, Gaslight Anthem at 2, and Jack's Mannequin at 1.
08:03 PM on 12/29/08
keeper of the keys and grounds
User Info.
ohitisjess's Avatar
lol fave list on ap.net

happy new year.
07:30 AM on 12/30/08
Registered User
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
that Monikers ep came out in '06 dawg
01:08 PM on 12/30/08
You'd be good for me
User Info.
fadedmemories's Avatar
I should definitely try to listen more to The Gaslight Anthem
01:06 PM on 12/31/08
Registered User
User Info.
ddb43's Avatar
Good list. TGA, D4, & Bayside made my top 10. What about Off With Their Heads & LaGrecia? So good. Nice call on the Dead To Me EP. That shit is good.

Search News
Release Dates
Best New Music
Submit News
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
Encore Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
Encore Podcast on iTunes
Encore on Overcast
AP.net on Tumblr
Chorus.fm | @jason_tate