musicOMH’s Top 50 Best Albums Of 2008: The Top 3

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago 3: Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (4AD)

The conditions that Justin Vernon’s debut album was recorded in have been mentioned almost as much, if not more, than the music itself.

With good reason too. This record perfectly encapsulated the atmosphere of living a solitary existence in a log cabin, completely broken-hearted. It may last just over 30 minutes, but it’s a brooding, beautiful masterpiece.

WHAT WE SAID: “Even after living with this album for a few weeks, you’ll be hard pressed to find any flaws. It’s sad to think that Justin Vernon’s heart was torn in half to make it, but thank God it was; this is a surefire contender for album of the year.”
– John Murphy

TV On The Radio - Dear Science 2: TV On The Radio – Dear Science (4AD)

If 2006’s Return To Cookie Mountain laid down a marker of a band at the height of their powers, their third album Dear Science confirmed it.

Tunde Adebimpe and Dave Sitek’s troupe remained rooted in the experimental, but TV On The Radio remembered that tunes are important too and, with as rich a creative palette as could be, they made a near-prefect record.

WHAT WE SAID: “Their most accessible album yet should enhance their reputation as one of the finest, forward-thinking bands around – a great introduction to anyone not lucky enough to have experienced them so far.”
– Ben Winbolt-Lewis

Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid1: Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid (Fiction)

The reaction to Elbow winning the Mercury Prize this year shows how Elbow have been taken to the British public’s hearts.

Down to earth, funny and possessed of a peculiar Northern strain of vulnerability, The Seldom Seen Kid cemented Guy Garvey’s reputation as one of the finest lyricists around. And the music put to those words was heartbreakingly good. For once, nice guys did come first.

WHAT WE SAID: “Quiet, steady and without much fuss, Elbow have gradually developed into one of this country’s finest bands. Cherish this group of resolutely unstarry men from Manchester for what they are – one of this country’s hidden treasures.” – John Murphy

musicOMH got in touch with Elbow to tell them they’d scaled the dizzy heights of our Top 50. Bassist Pete Turner said: “It’s absolutely awesome, this! I’m delighted you’ve voted us as Number 1. It’s really good to be getting these accolades at the end of the year, it’s been a blow-out!”

Why did he think it was The Seldom Seen Kid that made such an impact, rather than the band’s previous albums?

“I don’t know to be honest, but I’m really glad it was this album. This one is a special one, as it’s the first one to feature the five of us all the way through. I’m proud of all the others, but this one for many reasons is our favourite. It’s a picture of the last two years, which for me was actually quite a tough period. I’ve never struggled as much as I did when we were finishing the album; I remember us pushing it through but being so proud once it was available for people to buy”.

When we told him TV On The Radio’s Dear Science was the runner-up, he said: “That’s our ‘before we go on stage’ music. I’ve missed them before but I think it’s an absolutely incredible album. I would have put that one ahead of ours to be honest!”

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More on Elbow
Elbow – Audio Vertigo
Elbow – Flying Dream 1
Elbow – Giants Of All Sizes
Elbow – Little Fictions
Elbow @ Hammersmith Apollo, London