I’ve been wanting to write a short post about my favorite albums of 2008 since the end of the year but haven’t had a chance. So, I thought I’d take just a few minutes to do so now. 2008 was even more about music for me than other years have been, since PJ gave me an iPod for my birthday in June. I don’t think I’ve become a downloading maniac, but I have used it as an opportunity to purchase more albums than I normally would.

As I’ve been sifting through the albums on my iPod, I’ve noticed that I’ve added more than 20 new albums to my catalogue this year (which doesn’t count the downloads/purchases of pre-2008 albums). Of these, five have clearly been my favorites.

My favorite album of 2008 was Keane’s Perfect Symmetry. I blogged about the album in October, so I won’t repeat everything I said there. The thing that stands out to me most about this album at the moment is its skepticism about love. It’s a beautiful album with a great ’80s feel to it, but it’s also cynical and jaded, which isn’t at all the kind of music I usually admire. But the combination of all these things coupled with my clear preference for British music in general last year made this my favorite album of 2008. Here’s the latest single off of the album, the title track:

Four other albums were among my favorites last year. I’ll write briefly about each of them, though I haven’t put them into any sort of ranking.

Somewhere near the top of my list is Duffy’s Rockferry, another British album. I wrote about this album as part of my summer music series. I continue to love Duffy’s voice and several of the tracks were among my favorites of the year. After listening to it for a few months, I decided that the second half of the album loses momentum, but songs like “Rockferry,” “Warwick Avenue,” “Hanging On Too Long,” and “Stepping Stone” are among the year’s best.  Here’s “Mercy,” her biggest hit in the U.S. so far:

Another summer album I loved was Jason Mraz’s We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things. I wrote about this album here. Here’s a great live version of “I’m Yours:”

One of my most anticipated albums of 2008 was Grace Jones’s Hurricane, which still hasn’t officially been released in the U.S. So, I imported it. I never got around to writing about this one, which is too bad because it’s brilliant (or “balls deep,” as one of my former students recently told me on Facebook). Jones is an amazing performance artist, and Hurricane is as much a performance piece as it is a traditional album. The first single off the album is “Corporate Cannibal,” which is great even though it’s not one of the top couple of tracks, in my opinion. My favorites are “Williams Blood,” “I’m Crying (Mother’s Tears),” and “Well, Well, Well.” Here’s another look at “Corporate Cannibal:”

The Killers’ Day & Age rounds out my top five albums of 2008. I also never got around to writing about this one. The Killers is one of my favorite bands, so I was really looking forward to this album too. It definitely doesn’t disappoint. I love “Human,” “Losing Touch,” “Spaceman,” and “Neon Tiger.” The video for “Spaceman” was recently released:

This video is insane and Brandon Flowers is too yummy for words. This album isn’t quite as great as Sam’s Town, which I think is an amazing album. But it is one of my favorites of the year.

I enjoyed lots of other albums last year. Since I don’t have time to write about them all, I thought that I would just list some of the stand outs here: Lucinda Williams’s Little Honey, which very nearly made the top five, Lady Gaga’s The Fame, Ray LaMontagne’s Gossip in the Grain, Beyonce’s I am … Sasha Fierce, Conor Oberst’s Conor Oberst, and Cyndi Lauper’s Bring Ya to the Brink.