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

36. Nine Inch Nails: "Ghosts I-IV"/ "The Slip"

In 2008, Trent Reznor made the most of his new free-agent status by releasing two albums from his Web site for bargain-basement prices. ("The Slip" was actually a free download!) Both albums were later issued in hard-copy CD form and both stand among his best work. "Ghosts I-IV" is a two-disc instrumental exploration, while "The Slip" is a more traditional Nine Inch Nails album. In any case, Reznor, who once was known for releasing an album every five or six years, has suddenly become prolific. He may very well still have his best work ahead of him. Read my original review of "Ghosts I-IV," and of "The Slip."

Favorite Tracks ("Ghosts I-IV")

"05 Ghosts I"

"07 Ghosts 1"

"13 Ghosts II"

"17 Ghosts II"

"22 Ghosts III"

"24 Ghosts III"

"26 Ghosts III"

"29 Ghosts IV"

"34 Ghosts IV"

Favorite Tracks ("The Slip")

"The Slip"

"Discipline"

"Echoplex"

"Demon Seed"

"Lights in the Sky"

35. Scott Weiland: "Happy in Galoshes" (Two-disc edition)

There shouldn't even be an option of the single-disc or the double-disc versions of this album. It's a great album from start to finish. I must confess, as a fan of Stone Temple Pilots, I did not like Weiland's previous solo record, "12 Bar Blues" all that much, nor was I big fan of either of the albums he recorded with Velvet Revolver. "Happy in Galoshes" made a believer out of me again. It showcases Weiland's new sense of musical adventurousness. He has always been a chameleon, but here he takes his eclecticism to new levels. He even includes a trippy cover of David Bowie's "Fame." This album is Weiland at his best.

Favorite Tracks

"Missing Cleveland"

"Tangle With Your Mind"

"Crash"

"Fame"

"Pictures & Computers (I'm Not Superman)"

"Killing Me Sweetly"

34. Coldplay: "Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends"/ "Prospekt's March"

Coldplay have never deserved the amount of flak they have received. If they sold fewer albums but made the exact same records, some of those who have decided to hate them would be drooling over them. Sure, they aren't the best band working today, but they are the best band moving a lot of records. In the days of pop fakery, it's nice to see a group of skilled musicians do well. Both "Viva La Vida…" and "Prospekt's March" show significant growth from the band's last effort, the more difficult "X & Y." Heavyweight producer Brian Eno challenged the band to go above and beyond its normal comfort zone to create something more intriguing and complex. Sure, the "Lovers in Japan" video is cheesy, but get over it. Listen to the record without concentrating on the hype. They are still just as good if not better than they were when "Parachutes" was released. Guitarist Joe Satriani might have caused them a little damage by suing them for copyright infringement over the song "Viva La Vida," but that's beside the point. Any similarities to Satriani's song could possibly be chalked up to unfortunate coincidence. Love them or hate them, Chris Martin and company are a powerful force and worthy of praise. Read my original review of "Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends."

Favorite Tracks ("Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends")

"Lost"

"Viva La Vida"

"Violet Hill"

"Yes"

"Strawberry Swing"

Favorite Tracks
– "Prospekt's March"

"My Feet Won't Touch the Ground"

"Lost+" (with Jay-Z)

"Rainy Day"

"Glass of Water"

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