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

33. Gza/Genius: "Pro Tools"

The Wu Tang Clan have never been for the easily offended or the faint of heart, so if you have never been a fan of their style, this album probably won't convert you, but on his latest record, GZA once again separates himself from the ranks of the Wu to deliver another quality solo record. His flow is as cryptic and dense as ever. The album especially benefits by some quality beats and production from a variety of different sources. Some might argue that this album is nearly as good as his landmark, "Liquid Swords."

Favorite Tracks

"0% Finance"

"Paper Plate"


"Pencil" (with RZA and Masta Killa)

32. Cut/Copy: "In Ghost Colours"

This Australian dance outfit sounds like a cross between New Order and Daft Punk. It's an appealing mix, indeed. This solid set of tunes is guaranteed to keep the party going.

Favorite Tracks

"Far Away"

"Hearts on Fire"

"Feel the Love"

"Lights & Music"

"Nobody Lost, Nobody Found"

31. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks: "Real Emotional Trash"

The former leader of Pavement gets jammy and psychedelic on the fourth record under his own name. He once again proves himself as a worthy guitar god and enlists former Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss to pound away behind the kit. This is an album for fans of both indie and long-winded classic rock. Countless critics loved Pavement. In his career since that band's breakup, Malkmus has continued to grow as both a writer and a player, creating a surprisingly seamless and solid legacy. Read my original review.

Favorite Tracks

"Out of Reaches"


"We Can't Help You"

"Dragonfly Pie"


30. Kaiser Chiefs: "Off With Their Heads"

With the exception of the single "Ruby," last year's album, "Yours Truly, Angry Mob" was sort of a tepid-but-adequate, mid-tempo exploration. Thankfully, with the help of producer Mark Ronson, the Kaiser Chiefs have re-found their rock souls on their third album, "Off With Their Heads." It recalls and betters their incredible debut, "Employment." It's a record that should make them stars. As always, the Kaiser Chiefs sound like the snarky lovechild of the Clash and the Kinks, with a touch of the English Beat thrown in for good measure. Read my original review.

Favorite Tracks

"Never Miss a Beat"

"Can't Say What I Mean"

"Good Days Bad Days"

"Like It Too Much"

"Tomato in the Rain"

29. Earlimart: "Hymn & Her"

The veteran indie rock act Earlimart released their best album to date this year. Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray know how to craft infectious and wounded anthems of skepticism and dissatisfaction. Here, they are as beautiful as they are tragic. The highlight is the Murray-led "Before It Gets Better," an Aimee Mann-style number where she declares in a strikingly deadpan tone. "It's a bloodbath" and "It's a deathtrap and it's getting worse." It's one of the best songs of the year and had it gotten any radio play, I'm sure it would've been one of the biggest crossover hits of the year.

Favorite Tracks

"Before It Gets Better"

"Face Down in the Right Town"

"For the Birds"

"Song For"


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