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Rolling Stone’s Top 50 albums of 2008 list can’t decide whether it’s 2008 or 1988 (or 1968)

Rolling Stone’s position in the music press is one of contradictions: They’re caught between presenting new music to young folks, and making sure the 45-60 year-olds who regularly read the magazine don’t feel alienated. And as the magazine’s recently published Top 50 albums of 2008 list proves, Rolling Stone can’t decide which interest is more important.


Topping RS’s list is TV on the Radio’s Dear Science (an album I can’t be mad at), but there, at number two is a questionable inclusion: Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series Vol. 8. Why Dylan? Well, he was great in ’66, so he must be great in 2008 on this comp album with songs from ’88. He is so grand.


Then at number three is Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III (all right, good choice), and at four, My Morning Jacket’s Evil Urges (the perfect new album for fogies who wish Skynyrd were still around), and then, BAM!, number five, John Mellencamp’s Life, Death, Love, and Friends. Why John Mellencamp? Well, he hates Bush, or something. And he doesn’t wear tight jeans and say naughty words in his records. And he still plays the guitar, man.


The rest of the list struggles to find a balance as well (Mudcrutch? Jonas Brothers? Jackson Browne?). And with the inclusion of Kaiser Chiefs and Kings of Leon, this thing is a mess. To read blurbs, go here.


Here’s the full list:


50 No Age - Nouns
49 Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
48 Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It
47 Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
46 The Academy Is... - Fast Times at Barrington High
45 Be Your Own Pet - Get Awkward
44 The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
43 Nas - Untitled
42 David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
41 AC/DC - Black Ice
40 Jonas Brothers - A Little Bit Longer
39 Taylor Swift - Fearless
38 Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
37 Nine Inch Nails - The Slip
36 The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
35 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
34 Stephen Malkmus - Real Emotional Trash
33 Ne-Yo - Year Of The Gentleman
32 Jamey Johnson - The Lonesome Song
31 MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
30 Duffy - Rockferry
29 Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
28 The Knux - Remind Me in Three Days...
27 Brian Wilson - That Lucky Old Sun
26 Mudcrutch - Mudcrutch
25 The Magnetic Fields - Distortion
24 Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
23 Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
22 Jackson Browne - Time the Conquerer
21 Kaiser Chiefs - Off With Their Heads
20 Kings of Leon - Only By The Night
19 Erykah Badu - New Amerykah, Part 1 (4th World War)
18 Lucinda Williams - Little Honey
17 B.B. King - One Kind Favor
16 Randy Newman - Harps and Angels
15 The Black Keys - Attack & Release
14 Ryan Adams And The Cardinals - Cardinology
13 Blitzen Trapper - Furr
12 Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy
11 Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
10 Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
09 Metallica - Death Magnetic
08 Beck - Modern Guilt
07 Coldplay - Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
06 Santogold - Santogold
05 John Mellencamp - Life, Death, Love and Freedom
04 My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
03 Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III
02 Bob Dylan - Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8
01 TV on the Radio - Dear Science
[via Stereogum]

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Bob Dylan
Lil Wayne
My Morning Jacket
TV on the Radio

Have you heard the Mellencamp album? I bet anything you haven't.


Show me a year end list that gets it right and I'll take you for a ride on a unicorn. I pick up Rolling Stone for one reason, Devid Fricke's


I like Pfork's year end. Some of the blogs (GorillavsBear) post pretty good lists. There's no perfect list, but some are a mess. See RS.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

I hate how Rolling Stone makes me wonder about artists like Mellencamp. It seems like they think that they have to offer validation to older artists and older demographics. Then I wonder if I missing something, that maybe they're not simply holding on to older artists past their prime simply for nostalgia. That there really is something to this new album. Then I realize the jonas brothers are on the list and I have a good laugh.

But, you know, there are a higher percentage of good albums on there than there has been recently.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/abomunist/221969492_5987f15d18.jpg abomunist

You obviously have not listened to Evil Urges either. Who gave you a keyboard?


I actually spun that Mellencamp album once because we got it in at my old student newspaper. I thought it was terrible. BH, I didn't really say I didn't like Evil Urges (I don't like most of it, but there are a handful of really great songs on it), I just said it is a good choice for RS because it mixes elements of both of their core readership. And your mom gave me a keyboard.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

Great, tell her I said hello. She's an old fogey and a Skynard fan and wouldn't know what the hell was going on if I played Evil Urges for her. I just don't see the correlation.


Like a lot of this stuff, actually, and appreciate the randomness - I can't stand the redundancy and pretension of most


jonas brothers ahead of ac\dc?????
enough said


as a 50 something dude I renewed my 20 year expired subscription after "taking a chance" on My Morning Jacket- and Tv on the Radio- spend a lot less time comparing and a little more time enjoying new music- it keeps us young


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