“Here’s Why I Did What I Did” By Andy Whitman

Andy Whitman, one of my favorite rock writers from Paste magazine recently, as every other critic around this time does, gave us his top 10 albums of 2008. That’s not the part that caught my attention. The disclaimers before the list are what did. He’s funny, self depreciating and clever. If you want to know what topped his list you’ll have to head on over to pastemagazine.com.


Disclaimer #1:  No, I haven’t heard all 8,000 albums released this year. I’ve heard somewhere between 600 and 700 of them, which makes me at least 93% likely to be wrong. But hey, this isn’t math class, and I make no claims to objectivity. These albums are my favorites from 2008. You might think that the one you’ve heard that I haven’t heard is the best album of 2008. And you might be right.


Disclaimer #2:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just get it out of your system now and be done with it. I am deliberately trying to be obscure. Who the hell has even heard of these people? I am a sell-out who includes ridiculously well-known artists such as Bob Dylan on his list. Who the hell actually believes that Bob Dylan could make the best album of the year when he’s, like, 87 years old? So go ahead and vent, then read Disclaimer #1 again.


Disclaimer #3 – “Biggest Disappointments” does not translate to “Worst Albums of 2008.” Don’t go there. “Biggest Disappointments” means “I like these folks, but they didn’t come up with their strongest material this year.” Yes, Britney Spears and Nickelback released new albums in 2008. Yes, on some lists they might qualify for Worst Album of 2008.


Disclaimer #4:  Factoring in cultural relevance, innovation, and aesthetic impact, I eventually throw up my hands in despair and use the only objective measure I know to evaluate music. I figure that if I play it a lot, I probably like it. These are the albums that have spent the most time in the CD player and blasting over the iPod earbuds this year