Top 42 Songs of 2008

2008 was a strange one, nowhere near a classic year for albums but for the task in hand we’ll just concentrate on the songs of the year. And in that department the first 6 months of the year was a wasteland for inspirational nuggets. Lucky then that part 2 of 2008 turned out some really memorable moments. In the real world CD sales continued to slump and in a devilish attempt to jump the digital gravy train we set up our own record label. It has been fun, fun, fun and right about now our Christmas compilation is starting to get noticed in lots of places we didn’t expect it to. There have been plenty of highs for mp3hugger this year but the most memorable moment came when our band of the year the Very Most recorded a theme tune for the site. So here we present in time honoured fashion (well for the third year running anyway, click here for 2007, 2006) our favourite 42 songs from the over 500 we featured on this site this year. Usual rules apply, only one song per artist, which meant picking a track from the likes of Marching Band ended up becoming a herculean task.

42) The Jimmy Cake – Jetta’s Palace

‘a swarm of instruments led by an irrepressible piano riff, pounding drums and some of the best brass’

41) Empty Rooms ““ We’ve Been Waiting For You

‘starts out all hallucinogenically dream pop before turning completely instrumental’

40) Pyramids ““ Sleds

‘industrial frequencies pummel your senses and it’s left to the drifting out of reach vocals to reason with that finger of yours that hovers over the delete button’

39) The Gang ““ Rose Island

‘noisy escapades that go nowhere in particular but still sound about as fetching as a stick loving springer spaniel’

38) The Uglysuit – Chicago

‘easy on the ear and blessed with a chorus that has all the hallmarks of a perennial radio favourite’

37) crystalpalace ““ The Evolution of Hunger

‘a downright fine piece of old skool electro with designs on the affections of contemporary dancefloors’

36) Said The Shark ““ All You Want

‘they create songs that are something and nothing yet somehow everything’

35) The Gorgeous Colours ““ Means To An End

‘a fascinating listen that never blows its own trumpet vacuously’

34) Cymbals Eat Guitars – Share

‘the swells of melodic sound prove a stark contrast to the ragged advance and retreat of its early movements’

33) Orphans and Vandals – Mysterious Skin

‘wildly original and a stark reminder of the quality that still inhabits the fringes’

32) Michael Knight – Dumbshow

‘a gift for rotating harmonies and an ability to colour them with glossy orchestral manoeuvres’

31) Nouveaunoise – To Where It’s Alright

‘a highly original ensemble of digital drama’

30) Pomegranates – Thunder Meadow

‘Pomegranates are not exactly pop but that’s not to say that they’re not entirely fruity’

29) Dublin Duck Dispensary – Rabbit In A Hat

‘could easily become an essential fixture on a thousand different mixtapes’

28) The Ruby Suns – There Are Birds

‘imagine Beach House were they to have at least one cup of coffee’

27) Noah And The Whale – 5 Years Time

‘with enough cuteness to match even the biggest of crèches’

26) Starfucker – German Love

‘You may not even hear the handclaps enclosed such will be your own joyful palm fleshing’

25) Alaska In Winter – Berlin

‘just for one minute stop thinking that Cher killed the vocoder’

24) Au – RR vs D

‘full of wispy drifting vocals and piano lines dispatched with the accuracy of a tap dancers best moves’

23) Chairlift – Bruises

‘should provide the necessary attention for a band who originally set out to play live music in haunted houses’

22) Storkboy Choons – Rockfield Symphony

‘a brand of bleepage that should appeal to anyone who thinks ‘From Here We Go Sublime’ could yet become the future of machine generated audio’

21) El Guincho – Palmitos Park

‘it’s a riot, a samba parade of vibrant colour’

20) Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal

‘just press play and let the curious tango ensue’

19b) The Spook Of The Thirteenth Lock – In Country Dark

‘a lively folk jamboree to be savoured’

19) Annuals – Sore

‘a lowering of the experimental gears into full anthemic indie mode’

18) The Dying Seconds – Overtures

‘so well endowed with lyrical (non-vocal) entities it sometimes makes me emotional’

17) The Honeyheads – Out Of Marseille

‘displays all the magical characteristics of a perfect indie pop tune’

16) Mitchell Museum – Warning Bells

‘this could be huge, perched effortlessly in an evening’s worth of the finest indie music down your local dungeon or delighting daytime radio enthusiasts used to soggy cabbage’

15) The Van Allen Belt – The Status Quo (A Line Dance)

‘almost Motown in its scope (we kid you not), so much so that it really does require the full subwoofer experience to do it justice’

14) Cut Copy – Hearts On Fire (Midnight Juggernauts Remix)

‘soundtrack every fashionisto’s perfect soundtrack’

13) School Of Seven Bells – Connjur

‘wispy guitars and soft ethereal voices tend to take my head for a spin and this is a road trip I will be taking many times’

12) The Very Most – This Year, Christmas Came November 4th

‘driven by the melodic machinations of one Jeremy Jensen’

11) Violens – Violent Sensation Descends

‘pristine melodies abound, quirky organs drift in the background and wholesome harmonies fill the sweetened air’

10) Deerhunter ““ Never Stops

‘it felt as if Pavement had regrouped and made one of the best comebacks ever’

9) Stars and Sons – Fights Already Fought

‘it is elusive, bewildering and downright heavenly through its stringent policy of non-linearity’

8) Mason Proper – Safe For The Time Being

‘is an eclectic experience but one with iceberg potential’

7) The Ruling Class – Umbrella Folds

‘this baggy little number may wear its inspiration on its sleeves but that doesn’t stop it from being totally inspirational in its own right’

6) Arsenal – Estupendo

‘a pristine sliver of uncomplicated beats with undoubted mainstream appeal’

5) Marching Band – Aggravate

‘damn, I hate waiting for choruses but in the case of Marching Band the lead up tends to be just as entertaining’

4) Burning Codes – Whirlwind

‘sumptuously layered vocals and gentle chord changes are Burning Codes stock in trade and it is quite easy to find oneself immersed in the magic’

3) Elbow – Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver

‘Guy Garvey has a voice full of character and persuasion so like me you may find yourself being whisked away on a tidal wave of lost love’

2) Sigur Ros ““ Festival

‘a spirit so joyous and all encompassing they are even capable of creating temporary schisms in the course of true love’

1) Girls In Hawaii – This Farm Will End Up In Fire

‘the funny thing is that that honeyed chorus really does take it’s time to unveil itself, a full 3 minutes in fact. When it does appear though you’ll shiver with delight, punch the air in appreciation and praise the Lord for priceless indie pop like this.’ KD

Written by:


  1. Ronan
    December 6, 2008

    Great stuffI read it wrong and thought Jettas Palace was number 1 but that would have been just fine with meLooking forward to havng a good listen to these

  2. December 6, 2008

    Thanks Ronan! Yeah, that’s one of the limitations of the player I use. I put it back to front so the excitement builds on the way to No. 1!

  3. December 7, 2008

    Arsenal, Starfucker, Mason Proper, School of seven bells, and fab. Deerhunter to name my top 5, unspe. order.

  4. December 9, 2008

    what a treat. thanks a lot.

  5. December 10, 2008

    Shall peruse at leisure. The list is also presented in a fantastic manner too with that player, whatever it is. Nice job man

  6. December 10, 2008

    Thanks Bobby, Red & Adam. Really glad you are enjoying the list.

  7. December 13, 2008

    Ah! I’m so glad you included The Ugly Suit, they are fantastic and I’m adoring that song too. Great list, thanks ever so much, hun xoxox

  8. croque
    December 21, 2008

    Er…I’d love a d/l of the 42 – is that at all possible?Sorry for being a cheeky git!

  9. December 21, 2008

    You’re not being cheeky at all Croque, glad you like it enough to ask! I’m afraid the answer is no though. Every tune you see on the player was downloadable on the site at some stage during 2008. So, if it’s any solace you can download next years Top 42 by reading mp3hugger in 2009 ;)

  10. croque
    December 21, 2008

    Ah, well!It was worth the ask.Love the blog, btw.

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