The 50 Best Albums of 2008: Nos. 50 to 26

41. She & Him: "Volume One"

Actress Zooey Deschanel and indie-songsmith M. Ward come together in this collection of originals and covers to deliver one of the nicest surprises of the year. Deschanel is an astounding vocalist and a strong songwriter. The album recalls a simpler time with its early '60s girl-group harmonies and memorable hooks. Deschanel and Ward make an excellent team. I'm still not too sure how I feel about the Hawaiian/country-flavored reworking of the Beatles' "I Should Have Known Better," but still, this album is definitely not to be missed. Read my original review.

Favorite Tracks

"I Was Made for You"

"Sentimental Heart"

"Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?"

"I Thought I Saw Your Face Today"

"Sweet Darlin'"

40. Moby: "Last Night"

Quite simply put, this is Moby's ode to the '80s house music that originally inspired him. Along the way, there are doses of hip-hop and chill. As an album, it oozes a slinky sensuality and is perfect soundtrack for late-night get-togethers. Read my original review.

Favorite Tracks

"Alice"

"I Love to Move in Here" (with Grandmaster Caz)

"The Stars"

"Ooh Yeah"

"Sweet Apocalypse"

39. Duffy: "Rockferry"

Welsh singer Duffy follows the trend of outstanding, classic-minded pop vocalists from across the pond. Sounding like a mixture of Lulu and Dusty Springfield she busts out some distinctly European soul. Her voice is uniquely appealing yet nasally, but at the same time she can really wail when it's necessary. Her song "Mercy" was a hit. If that's all you know, then you really need to hear the rest of the record. Read my original review.

Favorite Tracks

"Rockferry"

"Warwick Avenue"

"Stepping Stone"

"Syrup & Honey"

"Mercy"

38. Toadies: "No Deliverance"

You no doubt remember the Toadies for their alt-rock radio staples "Possum Kingdom," "When I'm Away" and "I Come From the Water." Well, after taking a seven-year break, they are back with their third album. It's a hard-hitting, hard-charging dose of aggressive rock that wouldn't have sounded out of place back in 1995. In fact, the Toadies sound stronger than they've ever been. "No Deliverance" stands up well next to (and is just as good if not better than) their classic album, "Rubberneck."

Favorite Tracks

"Song I Hate"

"So Long Lovely Eyes"

"I Am a Man of Stone"

"No Deliverance"

37. Raphael Saadiq: "The Way I See It"

Raphael Saadiq has been churning out vintage soul for a while now. For "The Way I See It" he tries to sound as authentic as possible in his mining of old sounds. This is his tribute to classic soul (mainly Motown, but Stax and other power-houses as well), yet it's a collection of originals. On tracks like "100 Yard Dash" and "Sure Hope You Mean It," he sounds a little like Smokey Robinson fronting the Temptations. It's that old, classic Motown sound, from back when the Funk Brothers gave that label's songs real instrumental kick.

Favorite Tracks

"100 Yard Dash"

"Sure Hope You Mean It"

"Big Easy" (with the Infamous Young Spodie and the Rebirth Brass Band)

"Let's Take a Walk"

"Staying in Love"

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