Here’s my annual “Top 10 Favorite Tracks” list, with an MP3 for each track and a player at the top of the page you can use to hear all 10 – plus the 3 bonus self-promotion tracks!

The album titles link to Amazon’s MP3 store. Every one of these tracks, and the albums on which they were released, is worth owning. And Amazon has lots more information about each artist if you hear something you like.

And here’s last year’s list if you want more tunes.

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The Songs

Countdown-style, my 10 favorite songs of 2008:

#10 Fleet Foxes – He Doesn’t Know Why [download MP3]
From the album Fleet Foxes

I still don’t know what any of the songs on this album are about. To quote Pitchfork, “vocals play such a primary role in Fleet Foxes’ music that Pecknold’s lyrics at times sound like merely a delivery system for harmonies.”

#9 The Hold Steady – Slapped Actress [download MP3]
From the album Stay Positive.

An informal survey of my friends suggests that 4 out of 5 people don’t like Craig Finn’s voice. But everyone agrees the band röcks.

#8 Hawksley Workman – Oh You Delicate Heart maple leaf [download MP3]
From the album Between the Beautifuls

I had a hard time getting into this album, and seeing Hawksley’s head-cold hindered performance back in March didn’t help. But as the cliche goes, the album rewards repeated listening.

#7 Little Joy – The Next Time Around [download MP3]
From the album Little Joy

The album is maybe a little too self-consciously lofi. The Strokes are so 2005, ya know? But then, great songwriting always trumps production.

#6 The Walkmen – In The New Year [download MP3]
From the album You & Me

I give you three listens until you’re permanently hooked by the chorus keyboard riff.

#5 TV On The Radio – Golden Age [download MP3]
From the album Dear Science

Dancing cops? What?

#4 Delta Spirit – People Turn Around [download MP3]
From the album Ode To Sunshine.

People Turn Around stands on its own, but it’s better in the context of the album, which really is an “album” in the “you should listen to this start-to-finish” sense.

#3 Sam Roberts – Them Kids maple leaf [download MP3]
From the album Love At The End Of The World

I know it’s the one track I’m supposed to like, but even beyond its pop appeal this song speaks to me: The kids really don’t know how to dance to rock and roll.

#2 Weezer – Heart Songs [download MP3]
From the album Weezer

I could have made a top ten list using only songs from The Red Album and Cardinology. Troublemaker is the best 2-chord song of the decade. And Miss Sweeney is a good song made great by the video for the acoustic version. But Heart Songs is altogether on another plane, at least for music fans who came of age with the same albums as Rivers. (i.e. Me!)

#1 Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Go Easy [download MP3]
From the album Cardinology

If I’d bought this album on vinyl I’d have worn through the grooves, twice. It’s that good.

Extra Home Made Goodness

A few of the (non-commercial) things I worked on this year:

Deshead – No One Will Ever Love Me

Me, unapologetically aping The Olds 97s:

Gert – Everybody Calm Down

For a short stretch this past September, our drummer Tom had his love on for the latest Metallica album.

Hillbilly Hank – Shopping Cart

I promise, this is the best song you’ll ever hear about a redneck from Guelph who just wants to get his groc’ries home to his fam’ly. (No Frills, for the uninitiated, is a chain of discount Canadian grocery stores.)