The 50 Best Albums of 2008: Nos. 25 to 1

15. The Ropes: "What They Do for Fun"

There hasn't been all that much written about the Ropes. They are a duo from New York consisting of vocalist-bassist Sharon Shy and a multi-instrumentalist who simply goes by the name Toppy. I stumbled onto one of their online pages and liked what I heard, so I downloaded their album (which is available on both iTunes and Amazon.) It is the follow-up to last year's excellent "Cry to the Beat" EP. If in the '90s you liked Garbage and Poe, then you'll probably like this. Add a healthy pop sense and somewhat disarmingly cynical lyrics and it's pretty amazing that they haven't gotten more attention. Hopefully, this is only the beginning for them. The acoustic number "Let On" alone should make them stars.

Favorite Tracks

"Let On"

"I Stand for Nothing"

"Flimsy"

"Water and Headphones"

"Street I Never Lived On"

14. Oasis: "Dig Out Your Soul"

The Gallagher brothers returned in 2008 with one of their darkest, hardest and most appealing albums to date. They have aged well and on this album (and its predecessor, "Don't Believe The Truth") they proved that they still can deliver. I'd say they are at a second creative peak. Read my original review.

Favorite Tracks

"I'm Out of Time"

"Shock of the Lightning"

"Soldier On"

"Bag it Up"

"Waiting for the Rapture"

13. Jim Noir: "Jim Noir"

Jim Noir is a British singer-songwriter who uses '60s-style production techniques (sunny harmonies, extreme stereo-mixing) and combines them with Zapp and Roger-esque electronics and trippy beats. He's essentially a one-man band who has managed to create a unique and striking sonic concoction. A song like "Don't You Worry," for instance, demands repeated listens. Read my original review.

Favorite Tracks

"Don't You Worry"

"Look Around You"

"Day by Day by Day"

"Good Old Vinyl"

"All Right"

12. Nada Surf: "Lucky" (Bonus disc edition)

The members of Nada Surf make some of the smartest, most reliable indie-rock today. "Lucky" is their fifth full-length and it's another batch of well-crafted, indie-rock songs. If you can, pick up the expanded edition with a four song bonus disc. It is well worth it. Read my original review.

Favorite Tracks

"Beautiful Beat"

"I Wanna Take You Home" (Bonus Disc track, featuring Juliana Hatfield)

"Weightless"

"Whose Authority"

"The Fox"

11. Weezer: "Weezer (Red Album)" (Deluxe edition)

Weezer's sixth album is most noteworthy because Rivers Cuomo has finally allowed the other members of the band to write and sing. All four members front the band at various points and it really opens up their sound. Cuomo's lyrics are still alarmingly simple for a Harvard-educated English major but that's beside the point because the songs are strong in so many other ways.. After the disappointing "Make Believe," this is one of Weezer's best albums to date. Read my original review.

Favorite Tracks

"The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on s Shaker Hymn)"

"King" (Deluxe Edition)

"Pork and Beans"

"Automatic"

"Thought I Knew"

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