10 years ago seems like it has passed within an instant. Some of these albums listed below are forgotten hits and some are still being played today. This list are my recommendations and mine alone. Feel free to disagree with my selections. Check out some of these now “classic” albums from the year 2008, below. The Best of 2008: 10 Years, A Look Back. Brave Saint Saturn as #1?
The Best of 2008: 10 Years, A Look Back
1. Brave Saint Saturn – Anti-Meridan
Yes, this album ranks as my favorite release of 2008 and for good reason. Not only are these gentlemen great in their other band Five Iron Frenzy but they can also write ballads and spiritually engaging songs that tug at the heart strings. Reese Roper’s voice fits perfectly with this style of music, marking a complete departure from the more snotty punk rock of FIF. Both bands rule in my honest opinion but Brave Saint Saturn created a beautiful masterpiece in this album. Songs like “Mercenary”, “Starling”, “These Frail Hands”, “Invictus”, “Fields of the Fallen”, “Always Just Beneath The Dawn” are just plain amazing. Captivating music that leaves you in somber reflection about life, love, and God’s overwhelming presence. The songs run the gap between politically charged, Faith focused and worshipful in nature. I listen to these songs and remember why I loved them so much. If only a Church would play “These Frail Hands” and “Invictus” with all of us in attendance singing our voices out till they crack and wither in pure passion. If you haven’t heard this album or forgot it existed please do yourself a favor and check out the songs in our spotify playlist below.
2. Anberlin – New Surrender
There was a time years ago where I ripped the direction Anberlin took with this album and I now regret those words. This was a polished, commercial sounding record but the songs resonated with me and listeners across the globe. “Breaking”, “Disappear”, “Burn Out Brighter”, “Haight Street”, and yes even the single “The Feel Good Drag” (which originally appeared on the band’s 2005 album “Never Take Friendship Personal”) are all solid hits and the sounds put this band in a league all their own. I enjoy most Anberlin albums and each one has so many memorable moments. I wasn’t a huge fan of “Lowborn” but by no means is it a terrible record. This band came out at the perfect time and their music transcends all style changes, generation gaps, and the roller coaster ride of the music industry. This is timeless music and this is Anberlin.
3. Coldplay – Viva La Vida
You couldn’t go anywhere in 2008/2009 without hearing this Coldplay album and songs. It was EVERYWHERE. I still have memories of going to one of the tour stops in 2009 for this album in Chula Vista, CA. with my then pregnant wife and oldest son. This was right around the time we got hit with the swine flu (and my mother in law nearly died after being in the hospital for weeks on end) but the concert was a huge deal and an enjoyable experience all around. “Viva La Vida” was one of those albums that you either loved or hated. It was a polarizing release and showed the band heading into a more commercial direction with less focus on being a rock band and more of a pop band. There was lush orchestral arrangements, beats that could masquerade for hip-hop, and songs that were so catchy you couldn’t help but sing them over in your head for days. As much as I enjoyed their first 3 major label albums there was just something special about this commercial success of an album that kept me coming back. I think a lot of that is due to that personal connection we had from seeing them live with these songs which our babies danced around in their mother’s stomach.
4. Thrice – The Alchemy Index Vol. 3 & 4: Air & Earth
Taking a decidedly more laid back approach on these last two volumes of their cherished “Alchemy Index” series which was released over a year period, the band put themselves in a league unlike any other major rock band at the time. It was progressive and it had an underlying theme throughout the whole series which was Faith, Hope, Love, Searching, and Redemption. Some people despised the rock-opera like approach to these 4 volumes which had 4 different style influences. It was quite an undertaking and I think most Thrice fans will tell you how much these songs meant to them. It’s just so amazing to think that a modern rock band can go from punk and hardcore to post hardcore to hard rock, indie rock, prog rock, acoustic/folk, etc all the while keeping a certain sense of consistency. Dustin’s voice is one of our generation’s strongest voices and the way he conveys the lyrics he sings is undeniably cool. “Digging My Own Grave”, “Come All You Weary”, “Broken Lungs”, “Daedalus”, and “Silver Wings” are some of the coolest sounding Thrice songs throughout this “Alchemy Index” series.
5. Children 18:3 – Children 18:3
Gritty and abrasive, melodic and soothing. Taking the best elements of punk, rock, and pop, combining them into a wonderful concoction catchy melodies. This soothing, fist pumping collection of songs that served as the band’s first big introduction to the world outside of the independent music realm, through their label Tooth & Nail Records. So many solid tracks to be found on this album including the hits “Homemade Valentine”, “LCM”, and “All My Balloons”. On this release you’ll find everything from hard charging melodic punk rock to ska upbeats, and dueling male/female vocals from these siblings. Such a unique album and ahead of it’s time. With bands like The Interrupters hitting our scene I can’t help but be reminded but the sheer awesomeness of this label debut.
6. The Classic Crime – The Silver Cord
The band seemingly grew up before our very eyes. They came out strong with Albatross and topped some charts in the process. When “The Silver Cord” was released, The Classic Crime blew us all away both figuratively and literally. It was a tremendous release and songs filled to the brim with introspective, deep, and complex lyricism. I loved this album (still do) and it set the stage for the next two records “Vagabonds” and “Phoenix” also amazing releases in their own right. While I haven’t connected to the latest album as much as I had wanted to I still have the 4 prior records to make my drive and time alone all the more enjoyable. It’s tough to pick a favorite song as each one holds a special place. Just listen to the record alone in a dimly lit room and reflect on the past 10 years.
7. The Killers – Day & Age
Another strong one from Las Vegas’s own, The Killers. Mixing their blend of 80’s synth with modern day indie rock. Their new wave-rock combo won them millions of fans since the debut in 2004. This album is another strong one from the group and brought out all their best elements. This is just as good as anything on “Hot Fuss” and “Sam’s Town”. “Human”, “Spaceman”, and “A Dustland Fairy Tale” are some of the strongest songs the band had written up until that point. “Battle Born” was amazing, new one not so much.
8. Capital Lights – This is an Outrage
This synth driven pop-punk band was one of the most remarkable and charming new bands to hit the scene from Tooth & Nail back in 2008. They had such promise and after their 2nd album, have faded back into obscurity. This album had so many bright spots and irresistible melodies that you couldn’t help sing along with. Capital Lights are one of those bands that are instantly identifiable and not a boring clone like so many like minded bands they shared a genre with. I dare you to put on “Outrage” and not sing a long with their songs.
9. Fireflight – Unbreakable
“The Healing of Harms” was alright but we all know that “Unbreakable” broke this band out in big ways. The identity of Fireflight is buried right into this record. It is beautiful, moving record that not only rocks hard but brings about somber ballads that bring about instant reflection on the peace and hope of a Faith in God through his son Jesus. This album is amazing and set the stage for future follow ups the band put out including the ground breaking “For Those Who Wait” record. I can’t think of another female led rock band that has had this much success and impact but still relatively unknown than Fireflight. They deserve respect for their longevity and ability to craft important and relevant rock songs meant to inspire listeners. Unbreakable indeed.
10. No Use For a Name – The Feel Good Record Of The Year
This was the rockin’ NUFAN album from 2008 which would serve as the band’s last official full length after the passing of primary singer/songwriter Tony Sly. It was a more abrasive record in production/sound but still had that classic No Use For a Name hook and melodies. Tony’s voice is unmistakable and he was a remarkable songwriter. His voice and songs still give me chills. Entertainment should be about that right? Impacting the listener with songs that transcend the ages, No Use For a Name will be forever remembered for whatever small impact they made. I recommend the songs “The Feel Good Song Of The Year”, “Under The Garden”, “The Trumpet Player”, and “Yours To Destroy”.
Fall Out Boy – Folie a Deux
Jack’s Mannequin – The Glass Passenger
Story of The Year – The Black Swan
Less Than Jake – GNV FLA
Weezer – Red
Run Kid Run – Love At The Core
Millencolin – Machine 15
Advent – Remove The Earth
Becoming The Archetype – Dichotomy
War of Ages – Arise and Conquer
Indie Underground Hits:
Blood and Water – Self Titled
Man Alive – Self Titled
Theocracy – Mirror Of Souls
Harmony – Chapter II: Aftermath
Incrave – Dead End
My Epic – I Am Undone
Quick and the Dead – Going Home