* = As with last year, these songs are pulled from albums that weren’t on my Top 10 albums list. There’s less overlapping this way, which makes things more interesting for all of us.
10. Snoop Dogg: “Sensual Seduction / Sexual Eruption” (download)
Read my review of the album here. Snoop must have been listening to a lot of R. Kelly when he wrote this, right? I could not believe this was Snoop Dogg the first time I heard it. I hated that 2008 was the year of digital voice enhancement as much as the next person, but this is done just right for a song about spending a day in bed set to synths. (Trying.so.hard.not.to.reference.Kanye.right.now.) In a surprising twist, the censored version (“Sensual Seduction”) is better than the uncensored version (“Sexual Eruption”). More “sensual” and “seductive,” if you will. If you forget what Snoop looks like for a minute, it’s quite the turn on of a song. “Sexual Eruption” pushes the line of ridiculousness just a little too far. Leave pushing that line for people who can pull it off. Like R. Kelly.
9. The Helio Sequence: “Lately” (download)
Read review of the album here. The Helio Sequence’s songwriting improves with each album. Keep Your Eyes Ahead, their third full length, was a pleasant surprise to open the year with, and probably would have made it to my list of favorite albums had it been slightly longer. “Lately,” the opening track, is a classic kiss-off, with the added twist of wondering if it’s himself he’s trying to convince, or the subject of his defiance. “Lately, I don’t think of you at all,” he begins over slowly ascending guitar, “or wonder what you’re up to / or how you’re getting on.” His insistence could be further proof or simply the embodiment of denial.
8. The Raconteurs: “Many Shades of Black” (download)
Read my review of the album here. In what could perhaps be considered another classic case of Taylor vs. everyone else, most reviews of Consolers of the Lonely pegged this track as being the worst on the album. T-Sides begs to differ. The super-group’s take on soul/doo-wop is the most interesting thing on an enjoyable but unsurprising album. With its oddly empowering “get over it” chorus (“Everybody sees / and everyone agrees / that you and I wrong / and it’s been that way too long / so take it as it comes / and be thankful when it’s done”), “Many Shades of Black” is the kind of song I could listen to on repeat, all day, and still be singing along to by day’s end.
7. My Morning Jacket: “Touch Me, I’m Going To Scream, Pt. 1” (download)
Read my review of the album here. My Morning Jacket’s fifth studio album was a little uneven, with high highs (this song) and low lows (“Highly Suspicious”). Both parts of “Touch Me, I’m Going To Scream” made Evil Urges worth listening to on their own, but part 1 especially with its almost Air-like smooth melody and rhythm, continuing My Morning Jacket’s streak of killer slow-jams. But what makes this so tortuously beautiful is its lyrics, the desperation in Jim James’ voice. When he wails, towards the end, “I need a human / right by my side / untied,” it hits square in the heart.
6. Kidz in the Hall: “Mr. Alladatshit (Feat. Donnis & Chip Tha Ripper)” (download)
Read my review of the album here. The sophomore album from this Chicago rap duo is a lot of fun, and made it onto my mid-year list. But the second half of the year was just too strong, and music that’s “fun” tends to be easily knocked out. That said, “Mr. Alladatshit” is the top-of-the-world, feel-good jam of the year, despite a few ridiculous lyrics.
5. Eli “Paperboy” Reed & the True Loves: “Take My Love With You” (download)
All credit for my knowing this goes to Heart On A Stick. Seriously, though, why don’t more people know about this man, this song? Particularly the same people who tout acts like Amy Winehouse, Duffy, the Pipettes, etc., and, you know, people who like songs that put a grin on one’s face. Long-distance lovers (actually, lovers in general), you have a new theme song. Trust me on this.
Another album that nearly made the top albums list, and probably would’ve made it onto a longer one. I refuse to choose between its hottest jams, so I’m not going to. (Uh, actually, “Lights Out” should probably be here too.)
3. The Kills: “U.R.A. Fever” (download)
I’m starting to blush a bit over my love of all this sexy music, but honestly, this was probably the sexiest song released in 2008. (Well, along with TV on the Radio’s “Lover’s Day.”)
Oh look, it’s the obvious choice. Lil’ Wayne was everywhere this year, Tha Carter III was everywhere this year, “A Milli” was everywhere this year. The amount of covers alone reflect how hot this song is. Since it brought my main man Hova out of the woodwork sounding better than he does on all the leaks from his upcoming album, The Blueprint 3 (I’m even nervous about that one), it’s just more reason to love it.
1. Young Jeezy: “Put On (Feat. Kanye West)” (download)
While Weezy easily had the more popular song, Jeezy had the real fist-pumper. He may not have the word-play or the flow of a Lil’ Wayne or a Jay-Z, but there’s something dark, strong and alluringingly imminent about Young Jeezy, who had the forethought to title his album The Recession. (Maybe it’s the theremin sample?) Considering the enormity of Kanye West’s personality and popularity, it wouldn’t have been surprising if West showed up his host, but that’s far from the case. Making his autotune debut, West plays a solid backup without overshadowing. The video is just as engrossing (more on that to come).