2008 has been an exceptional year in music. The listening world witnessed many births and resurrections, with artist’s new and old scoring hit after hit on the charts. Some were good, some great, and some were god awful. I mean unholy reeking waste of everybody’s time awful. Not to say the bad outweighed the good, far from it. Many musicians stretched the boundaries of their minds and talents to produce new heights of quality work. And as the times and technologies we live in continue to change, we see many artists taking hold of this altering interworld and embracing newer and stronger methods of music creation and distribution.
This year many embraced the continual metamorphosis of the way people buy and listen to music. Internet music sales gained a stronger hold than ever as more and more fans turned to iTunes and other online services for their musical needs. Artists are not blind to this transformation. Lil Wayne used a series of internet leaks to hype his album Tha Carter III. These leaked tracks and mix tapes helped to attract more than a million buyers in the album’s first week alone. Trent Reznor used his internet empire to release the latest Nine Inch Nails album, The Slip. Even Metallica, the band that led the insane death commando attack against napster years ago, used iTunes and their own website to release singles in anticipation of their newest work, Death Magnetic. The internet age continues at full swing.￼
The music of 2008 contains a flurry of parallels and opposites. We saw a rejuvenated Britney Spears, a restructured Beyonce, and a ravaged Amy Winehouse. Beck and some others re-embraced vinyl, giving many a chance to have something they have always loved. After 17 years and millions of dollars, Guns N’ Roses unveiled the much anticipated Chinese Democracy to a collective worldwide yawn.
Old fashioned favorites B.B. King and George Strait (who hit #1 on the Billboard charts this year) each released albums of brand new music with a classic 1950’s style.￼ ￼All told, some big winners were Alicia Keyes, Lil Wayne, and Coldplay, each spending multiple weeks at #1 and outselling their peers by the millions. This year has been a tremendous year in music, with more releases of albums and singles than ever before. And I have a feeling we may see even more in 2009.
Finishing up, here is the Billboard Top Ten for 2008, whether you and I agree or not. (Commentary does not necessarily express opinions of NRCC or other Knight Riders).
1. As I Am
Another in a long line of top selling albums and singles
This holiday album was Josh Groban’s second No. 1 hit. Good for him. I mean it. No Auto-Tune needed.
3.Tha Carter III
What can I say? The man knows how to make money. But Auto-Tune definitely needed.
4. Long Road Out of Eden
Their first studio album since 1979. A long road indeed.
5. Taylor Swift
If you get through this one without vomiting you must be a fan. One of 3.6 million.
6. Rock N Roll Jesus
Originality is not a prerequisite for popularity.
7. Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
God help me, I like it. Even if some of it is ripped off.
8. NOW 26
What? A compilation album? I’ll never understand it.
9. Carnival Ride
Go Carrie. Screw American Idol.
10. The Ultimate Hits
A collection of Garth’s finest. He is raking in the dough.