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January 8, 2009 |

By TK Burton | Music | January 8, 2009 |

Well, our Year in Review is over and done with. I think that, while we certainly didn’t all agree, it showed a fairly diverse spectrum of albums from 2008 that we fell in love with. So it only makes sense to see how our choices stacked up against the 10 bestselling albums of the year. I figured to keep things interesting, I’d actually, for the first time ever, actually listen to all 10 albums.

Christ, what a fucking mistake that was. Needless to say, not a single one of the 20+ albums we reviewed in the last few weeks is one of the bestselling albums of 2008. Is that because we’re pretentious assholes? Or is it because the majority of American music listeners have shittastic taste in music? As with all things, I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Well, take a look (and a listen) and you be the judge. Here they are in order, based on Billboard Magazine. Approximate sales numbers in parentheses.

10. IAmSashaFierce.jpgBeyoncĂ©: I Am… Sasha Fierce (1,459,000)

OK, first of all, fuck you and this Sasha Fierce bullshit. Who the fuck do you think you are? Just because Piddy or Pudly or whatever his fucking name is now does it, doesn’t give you the right to. Knowles is quoted as saying, “I have taken risks here. I am not afraid and my music will explain it all. There is no label or tag on my sound. It’s me and I am so excited to share it with the world.” Oh, shove it, you egomaniacal harpy. The only thing worse than pretentious assholes is people who try to sound like pretentious assholes. Beyonce does have a pretty impressive voice, and I will also reluctantly concede that “Crazy in Love,” off her debut album, Dangerously in Love is a pretty damn tight little piece of pop/hip-hop. So Beyonce, musically speaking, is not without her merits (though as a human being, I want to throw her off a bridge). Unfortunately, while I’d like to say that the album sucks fetid donkey cock, it’s… not horrible. There are some tracks that demonstrate her impressive vocal range, as well as show off some shiny production values. But make no mistake — there’s nothing fierce or fearless about it…. it’s just another pop singer with a good producer. This artistic bankruptcy wouldn’t annoy me if not for her lofty claims.

9. Sleep_Through_The_Static_2008.jpgJack Johnson: Sleep Through The Static (1,492,000)

Oh, Jack Johnson. Without you, awkward high school girls would have no one to listen to while they’re clumsily losing their virginity in uncomfortable places. Your music is at best bland and inoffensive, and at worst skull-meltingly dull and saccharine. Someday you and John Mayer can gently croon at each other to see who is more sensitive. While I actually respect Johnson’s filmmaking and surfing career, his music just… makes me sleepy. To quote my good friend Ervie: “I liked that Brushfire Fairytales thing from a few years back. Blissed out beach/surf music, you know? But this shit now? It’s gone watery.” I’d say that sums it up nicely.

8. T.I._Papertrail.jpgT.I.: Paper Trail (1,522,000)

As far as completely commercial hip hop goes, this actually isn’t that bad an album. I confess — I don’t know shit about T.I. — where he’s from, his real name, etc. I don’t particularly care, either. He’s got solid production values, good sampling, his voice is strong and rolls along with the basslines. The lyrics are absolutely nothing new — mostly more chest-thumping machismo, but without too much focus on bitches and guns, thankfully. “Live Your Life” with Rhianna is actually toe-tappingly listenable, and “Slide Show” with John Legend is a solid biographical piece. My favorite’s probably “You Ain’t Missin’ Nothing,” if for nothing other than the jazzy instrumentals in the background. It’s nothing original, but I can see myself cranking it on a summer afternoon with the windows down, and that’s not so bad a thing, is it?

7. Metallica_Death_Magnetic.jpgMetallica: Death Magnetic (1,565,000)

Personally, I thought that Death Magnetic was a pretty good metal album, but a mediocre Metallica album. Nowhere near as good as Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Kill ‘Em All or …And Justice for All, but better than the steady stream of crap they’ve put out since 1988. Yet another tired attempt by a band that’s way past its prime to try to reclaim their glory days. But please, read Boo’s far more eloquent review of it here.

6. Tayloralbum.jpgTaylor Swift: Taylor Swift (1,597,000)

A big fuck you to Carrie Underpants, or whatever her name is. I blame you for paving the way for more insipid pop-country chum like this. I hate everyone for making me have to listen to this crap, basically generated by the Generic PopMusic-O-Matic 5000. See, the thing is, pop music and country can be fused successfully — see The Dixie Chicks for a perfect example. But you’ve got to have something more than a cute face and the ability to carry a tune. The lyrics are schmaltzy tripe that 9th grade girls probably swoon to. In any event, yes, I listened to the whole album. Yes, Ms. Swift has a very pretty voice. No, there is absolutely nothing of substance in any of the tracks (the opener is called “Tim McGraw,” for fuck’s sake). And isn’t this an album from 2006 anyway? I swear, I think I’m going to give myself a coronary. GAH!

Fuck it. I’m feeling feisty and right now, I hate you all. So here’s a little bit of awful for you. Suck on this:

5. Black_ice_red.jpgAC/DC: Black Ice (1,915,000)

AC/DC — man, talk about finding a formula and sticking with it. I firmly believe that the entire band died in the 80’s, and that they were replaced by robots who simply remix their past tracks into new ones. Seriously. There’s no need to buy this. There’s no need to own any AC/DC records other than Back in Black, T.N.T. and maybe Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. There, I just saved you ten dollars. You’re fucking welcome.

4. Rock_and_roll_jesus.jpgKid Rock: Rock N Roll Jesus (2,018,000)

Ah, yet another white trash date-rape soundtrack. Way to go, Kid Rock. Thing is, I have a strange, begrudging respect for the Kidster (I’m not proud of it, believe me). He doesn’t pretend to be an artist, or to have actual talent, or a message, or anything like that. He’s just straightforward dumb pseudo-countrified rock about booze and sex and America. You expect to hear it in shitty bars, strip clubs, and frat parties. He’s a fixture. He understands his place in the universe. I think his music is garbage, but I respect that kind of self-awareness.

On the other hand, “All Summer Long,” that horrific Lynyrd Skynyrd rip-off/homage/abortion makes me think Kid should be charged with a war crime.

3. TAYLOR_SWIFT-FEARLESS.PNGTaylor Swift: Fearless (2,112,000)


::stab stab stab::

Whoa. That’s a lot of blood.

I feel woozy…


Moving on.

2. VivaLaVida.jpgColdplay: Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (2,144,000)

You know how I know you’re gay?

Actually, this was a pretty solid album. I’m not a huge Coldplay guy — in fact, the only other album of theirs that I own is the very first on —, but Martin’s voice has some serious melodic flow to it, and it’s on display here in spades. They’ve got some neat instrumental arrangements, particularly on tracks like the smooth yet jaunty “42” and anthemic radio hit “Violet Hill.” Coldplay is… it’s one of those bands I’m not ashamed to listen to, yet at the same time can recommend to my mom. She’d love this shit. I particularly dig “Lovers In Japan-Reign of Love,” even if they are channeling U2.

1. CarterIII.jpgLil Wayne: Tha Carter III (2,874,000)

Another respectable hip hop record, Tha Carter III is something of an achievement for metal-mouthed Lil Wayne. His vocal gyrations ain’t really my cup of coffee, but his beats are solid, the rhymes clever and the guest artists really do add something (I firmly believe that the guest artist thing in hip hop is completely out of hand. I blame you, Wu Tang Clan). “Comfortable” with Babyface is a nice mix of thumping, club-friendly beats coupled with Babyface’s delicate verses. It comes as no surprise that one of the best tracks is the Kanye West-produced “Let The Beat Build,” which has a gorgeous choral vocal sample that weaves its way through the song. It’s not going to find regular rotation in my listening, but I guess I won’t change it when I shuffle to one of Lil Wayne’s tracks. Which is more than I can say for 70% of the crap on this list.

Although… I still think his best work is on ESPN. Surprisingly engaging.

So there you go — a pretty radical departure from what we’ve been writing about, but not a total catastrophe. There were some decent releases here - nothing that’s going to make my personal top ten, but, you know, some quality stuff.

Now, if you really want to drink some hatred fuel, here’s the top 10 albums of 2008 based on a Billboard Readers Poll. This shit set me off on a bloody rampage all over again:

1. Britney Spears, Circus

2. David Archuleta, David Archuleta

3. David Cook, David Cook

4. Mariah Carey, E=MC2

5. Elisa, Dancing

6. Guns N’ Roses, Chinese Democracy

7. Beyonce, I Am… Sasha Fierce

8. Panic At The Disco, Pretty. Odd.

9. RBD, Best of RBD

10. Anastacia, Heavy Rotation

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going blow up the world and move to the fucking Moon. Hand to God.

Happy fucking new year, everyone.

TK can be found wandering aimlessly through suburban Massachusetts, wondering how the hell he got there while yelling at the kids on his lawn. You can find him raising the dead in preparation for world domination at Uncooked Meat.

Pajiba Music

10 Kinds of Hell -- The Top 10 Bestselling Albums of the Year / TK

Music | January 8, 2009 |

TK Burton is the Editorial Director. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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