Thursday, 25 December 2008

2008: A Year in Music [Part 1: Overview]

Well, it's that time of year again. Time for my analysis and summary of the year in music that was 2008. As usual, this will be divided into 6 posts which I will try to get out before the end of the year (otherwise they may bleed into early January). For the newer readers, the posts will be broken down like this:

Part 1: Overview
Part 2: Top 10 songs of the year
Part 3: Cutting room floor
Part 4:
Top 5 albums of the year
Part 5: Musical discoveries of the year
Part 6: Re-evaluation of 2007 list

Part 1: Overview

I have a feeling that the posts in the series are going to be a bit briefer than those of the previous years. Why? Well, partially down to laziness. It takes a long time to write most of the posts on this blog, and I'll admit that I'm lacking a bit of motivation on this front. After all, I'm on holidays from work at the moment and I should really be relaxing.

The second reason is that, if my recent points haven't hinted this enough, I'm become gradually disillusioned with a lot of modern music. While it was pretty exciting compiling my top 10 albums of 2005, I'd be fooling myself if I said that I was as excited to be writing about my favourite albums of 2008. Most of my listening habits have tended towards older music which can be appreciated on its own merits, rather than a lot of the overhyped stuff that is released thesedays. How many bands have we had in recent years who have been proclaimed as the future of rock? While I used to buy into this hype in previous years, my bullshit detector is too finely tuned thesedays.

With these comments in mind, part 5 of this series is going to be the post which I will have the most passion in writing. Because it is these musical discoveries from previous years (90s, 80s, 70s and 60s) which have shaped my musical listening habits of 2008. I look forward to discussing the albums which really excited me this year.

What did 2008 mean to me?

Less new music

As stated before, I have been buying much less new music. There are technical reasons for this, but I am also generally happy to wait until an album has been out for a bit to see if it's truly the classic which some reviewers make it out to be, or a flavour of the month which will be gathering dust within 6 months. Giving myself a year or so buffer is a good technique to shield me from this kind of hyperbole.

Old-skool R&B

I have always enjoyed real R&B music from the 60s and 70s, and not the modern tripe which is released under this genre thesedays. I'm talking artists like Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Curtis Mayfield as well as some funkier outfits like Sly & The Family Stone, Stevie Wonder and Funkadelic. Well, this appreciation of African-American music has only continued to grow in 2008. I've also gotten into a few new genres this year, which I'll talk more about in the future posts.

Bring on eBay!

While I was previously a JB Hi Fi man for most of my music purchases, this has gradually changed and I now do most of my CD buying on eBay. Music on eBay has well and truly become a buyer's market in the last few years, and combined with the downturn in CD sales this has made it a great place to satisfy my CD purchasing addiction. It has also been great for picking up some rare albums that I haven't been able to find in retail stores. If you are a keen music purchaser, I highly recommend checking out the eBay market.


On the gig front, from a look at my blog posts of 2008, it doesn't look like I went to any gigs this year! This is probably the first time in many years where this has been the case. My next gig is scheduled for the end of January 2009 when I will be seeing My Morning Jacket at Billboard. Looking forward to that one.

Anyway, that's the end of the overview of 2008. I hope you enjoy the rest of the posts in this series!

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