BEST SONGS OF 2008
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.
Here are my 50 favourite songs of 2008: the ones I really, really, really, really like.
I decided not to include any artist twice, nor any songs from albums I heard last year.
The best way to browse this list is to click the little arrow beside each song and then listen as you read. The things you like you can then download by right- or ctrl-clicking with your mouse. Please buy albums, singles and EPs by bands that you enjoy.
You can also download complete zips of the fifty songs here, via Mediafire.
See also: Dan's favourite albums of the year.
Finally - 50 is an arbitrary cut-off. There were way more great tracks in 2008. Said the Gramophone has written about 500 of them over the course of this year. If you're new to the site, please come again (or subscribe)! We update every weekday, writing about the songs we love. Thanks for reading.Posted by Sean at December 12, 2008 1:01 AM
Oh, man, this is great, as always. Thanks again for another year of amazing chronicling of this stuff.Posted by Tony at December 12, 2008 1:56 AM
Thank you for this, by far the best year-end list I have read, it's almost like you listed the songs you actually liked and didn't just put the same 20 songs/albums in a different order, revolutionary idea! And thank you for Y'all is Fantasy Island, exactly the sort of gem I look forward to discovering on year-end lists.
Have a great holiday!
JonPosted by Jon at December 12, 2008 4:15 AM
mm. thankyou once more. :]
though 'bloody sunrise' should have made the list, oh...Posted by the boy satellite. at December 12, 2008 4:32 AM
Haven't digested the whole list yet, but the link to buy Adam & the Amethysts doesn't lead anywhere that you can actually buy it. I've looked to buy that record off and on this year and haven't found it possible.Posted by Bob at December 12, 2008 10:09 AM
I really appreciate the list and the mp3s. I just want to let you know that the link to #33 goes to #32.Posted by bmichael at December 12, 2008 10:46 AM
bmichael - fixed!
Bob - Eek! I know Adam's been struggling with distribution (esp since Fusion3 went out of business). Have updated the page with a link to where you can buy it digitally, but you can also DEF get in touch with him direct via MySpace to buy a copy. It is TERRIFIC.Posted by Sean at December 12, 2008 11:44 AM
I've had a lovely time the last couple of hours, and it's entirely your fault, Sean. :-)
(BTW, all year, I've been expecting one of you to make a post about any one of the unbelievable, throat-quenching grandfather-masterstrokes on the Music Tapes' "For Clouds and Tornadoes". Seeing as it hasn't come yet, the possibility that you've yet to hear it has coughed and made itself known. If such is the case, then consider this your public service announcement. Get that album! It's imperative for so very many unrelated things.)
Thanks again! I love these end-of-year posts, almost as much as I do the preceding year of them.Posted by Andrew. at December 12, 2008 11:51 AM
Really enjoying this list. Lots of new discoveries.
Thanks!Posted by uwmryan at December 12, 2008 12:00 PM
Nice list! I love Lord Dog Bird as well.Posted by theOCMD at December 12, 2008 12:10 PM
Great list. "Leviathan, Bound" gives me chills.Posted by Jeff at December 12, 2008 12:24 PM
other than those tiny oranges, your music lists are my favourite part of december. ;)Posted by Amy Hasinoff at December 12, 2008 1:09 PM
Ahhh. Thank you. I've been trying for over a week now to make a mix for the boy I love, a boy who has never recieved a mix before but lives and breathes music. I had a few tracks that really stuck, and everything else just seemed wrong. And the order would not come. You reminded me of some great songs, showed me a few I missed, and I think I have what I need to finish this small but important token of my affection.
So an earnest "Thanks" from my swollen heart. (Also, yours is my favorite blog.)Posted by aerin wiggans at December 12, 2008 3:08 PM
Should I download these all from StG, or should I wait for someone to post a MegaUpload?Posted by Brendan at December 12, 2008 3:28 PM
I wish we lived in the same city so I could be constantly harrasing you to make me a new mixtape. As usual this is one of my favorite 'best of' lists at the end of the year, thank you!Posted by Moka at December 12, 2008 4:19 PM
very nice, sean. congratulations on another fine year.Posted by shane at December 12, 2008 5:23 PM
Oh, you men. How I love the way you capture a year in 50 songs!Posted by Taryn at December 12, 2008 5:23 PM
um, i love you, basically.Posted by j at December 13, 2008 4:48 AM
Another great list! Will have to wait until later to listen all-the-way-through as this computer is turtle slow. And THANK YOU for the shout-out! It filled me with delight.Posted by Tyler at December 13, 2008 12:53 PM
Someone likes similes like a fat kid likes cake.Posted by Jason at December 13, 2008 1:23 PM
Listen to the TTA song and then listen to "Sorrow" by the Merseys. Which is better? Which came first?Posted by Ben at December 13, 2008 2:34 PM
Always love your year-end list, Sean. Here's to another great year of StG!Posted by Dylan at December 13, 2008 3:15 PM
all i have to say is the same thing as everyone else has already said. also, i realize you might not have heard it or maybe you have heard it and loved it and just didn't think it was top 50, but in any case my song of the year is "south of france" by harlem (www.myspace.com/harlemduh) and i implore you all to please listen to it.Posted by sam at December 13, 2008 4:37 PM
Oooh, great. Really impressive.
This is so poorly written, it's funny. Heart full of blackwing birds, indeed.Posted by Paul Ramon at December 13, 2008 8:10 PM
The reason that I love this blog is its usefulness. I USE these songs, in millions of ways. They drive me to work. I wrap them around me when the winter's settling into my bones. In final exams, they whisper the answers to me. I'm comforted by the songs you choose - various textures and seasons, styles and sounds. I never get too safe and secure with them. I may expect a whisper, and I'll get a scream. I expect a hand to grasp my own, and I get knocked flat on my ass. But it's somehow always what I need. It's always something I can use to fashion the day. Thanks for that. The Frightened Rabbit song officially made my day. But on my list I'd have to add in a My Brightest Diamond song from A Thousand Shark's Teeth - it's tough to choose, To Pluto's Moon or From the Top of The World would be high up there. Thanks again.Posted by Jaye at December 14, 2008 2:00 AM
And if Florence and The Machine didn't arrive too late to the party, Dog Days are Over floors me at every listen.Posted by Jaye at December 14, 2008 2:03 AM
always the best "year end list." thank you!Posted by chris from seattle at December 14, 2008 5:37 PM
I love Vampire Weekend as well. I just don't get tired of it.Posted by vdoprincess at December 14, 2008 10:38 PM
This list is icecream. Thanks.
p.s. Indeed, that 'neck' line is the creepiest thing I've heard from a major artist all year. Glad it was picked up - great song though.Posted by Aurelle at December 15, 2008 4:06 AM
Yay! I am so excited for this. I won't be able to make my top 100 songs list until later this week so this is nice to have... Some of my favorite songs of last year and this year I discovered through StG (Katie Dill, anyone??).Posted by Emily at December 15, 2008 10:43 AM
Lovely choices Sean, of course I have still to listen to most of them which I will be doing in a leisurely fashion whilst sipping Baileys. I like your number one choice especially because it's so much the opposite of a year-defining anthem. Heartening to see that Withered Hand, Meursault and eagleowl all sound as good on (what feels like) the other side of the world as they sound here in Edinburgh.Posted by Milo at December 15, 2008 2:45 PM
Have you checked “She Got Her Own” by Jamie Foxx with Ne-Yo?? It’s on Foxx’s “Intuition” that just came out yesterday…Posted by Kathy at December 17, 2008 6:00 AM
Eating it up with a spoon.Posted by Jenna at December 17, 2008 12:13 PM
wow -- great list! it has it all :)Posted by colleen at December 19, 2008 12:24 AM
Last year's list was what made me start following StG devoutly. This year's is, no doubt, the best holiday present I'll receive.
I also thought you should know that the link for 46 goes to 45.Posted by Kaiya at December 19, 2008 7:52 PM
Thanks again, was looking forward to the list.Posted by nitesh at December 20, 2008 5:33 AM
Thanks, guys! Beautiful. and Helvetia's Old New Bicycle… amazing.Posted by Luke at December 21, 2008 3:40 AM
Thanks very much!
I came across this while looking for School of Seven Bell's Half Asleep, and I'm so glad I did! I downloaded the zip file, and I'm only up to Bruises, but thank you so much!! Will definitely add STG to my favourites. Hope you have a nice Christmas and New Year's!Posted by Cathryn at December 22, 2008 11:43 PM
thanks again and please pat urself on the back for being awesome :)Posted by Annie at December 27, 2008 4:01 AM
"the way Cat Power's backing vocals have been sucked as thin as cassette-tape"
Nah, the vocals are from "Amour, Vacances et Baroque" (great song, Google it) which is heavily sampled in "Walls".Posted by Telly at December 28, 2008 3:51 PM
Wow! Great list! Sister Suvi is AMAZING! I've never heard anything like it. They are actually the reason I came on this site in the first place, they posted your comments on their site which I found after I did some research on Islands, whose Arm's Way album is one of my favorites. Thanks again for your unfailing musical taste, looking forward to Mandala of Power.Posted by ibelieveinlotsofthings at January 1, 2009 11:30 PM
Only one I don't agree with is #2 Dance Dance Dance, wouldn't rate that in the top 50 but otherwise a great list!!!!Posted by David at January 8, 2009 6:10 AM
omg.. i dont see how every body likes this list, true is iv picked 5 random songs out the list and i dont really hate them but.. omg they suck lol, sucky list man..ouch looks like u zombified people to like thee lame songs cause i see no way >.>Posted by Karlos at January 18, 2009 1:15 AM
one of my all-time best stumbles- you write beautifully about music, and awakened me to a lot of these songs.
had to blog it myself:Posted by Victor at January 22, 2009 10:45 AM
A stray cat with violets in it's mouth...Your writing is rare. Beautiful music. Down with mainstream pop I say, music...it just aint what it used to be.Posted by Jess D at January 26, 2009 2:34 AM
Dude... thats awesome.. lots of gold there. Cheers
Love KleerupPosted by Nick at February 2, 2009 6:24 PM
i think lemerdurgenPosted by dirk at June 30, 2009 5:46 PM
I LUV KLEERUP!!! ONE OF MI FAVEZ UNTIL WE BLEED!! YAY!! :DPosted by maddi at October 12, 2009 10:04 PM
Shoot! I'm in love with your 2009 list and am desperately trying to get the back catalog. Are these files still hosted anywhere?Posted by wbknox at January 3, 2010 11:57 PM
this is a daily sampler of really good songs. all tracks are posted out of love. please go out and buy the records!
to play a song in your browser, click the . to download a song, right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'
all songs are removed within a week or two of posting.
said the gramophone launched in march 2003, and added songs in november of that year. it was one of the world's very first mp3blogs.
if you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
montreal, canada: sean
toronto, canada: jordan
toronto, canada: dan
please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets.
if you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. please do not direct link to any of these tracks. please love and wonder.
"and i shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and i will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels lives in Montreal. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here.
Dan Beirne is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Email him here.
Jordan Himelfarb lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Jordan's posts appear at Said the Gramophone only on the last Wednesday of every month. Email him here.
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