Wednesday, December 31, 2008

RIB's 2008 Album of the Year: Shearwater - Rook

Sometimes choosing our Album of the Year is a no-brainer, but not this time around.

Over the last few weeks, a couple of front-runners emerged but if you had asked us just a couple days ago which of our Top 3 - Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's Lie Down in the Light or Shearwater's Rook - would win out in the end, we'd have thrown our hands up in the air. All three have what it takes - Bon Iver's record is the year's warmest blanket, Billy's is one of the finest works of this decade's best songwriter and Shearwater's is as haunting and as deep as rock gets.

But this morning - decision day - we woke up and our winner was clear. No album this year was played more often, more diced and dissected, more quoted and proselytized, more treasured and enjoyed, than Rook. So much so that we've overdone it a bit - we're looking forward to the albums that will grab us in 2009 to give Meiburg and company a well-deserved rest.

All three of our favorite records of 2008 were introspective and gorgeous, but perhaps there was one element that gave Shearwater the advantage: Rook rocks. Not quite as much as its predecessor, Palo Santo, and not as much as we'd have liked it to - and not as much as we'd like the NEXT ONE to - but it was a nice change of pace to shuffle from Bon Iver's best track - Re: Stacks - and Bonnie Billy's standout cut - You Remind Me of Something - to Shearwater's knock-your-socks-off anthem Century Eyes or the ringing electric pulse of Rooks.

Only time will tell if Rook is still No. 1 years from now, but that's the beauty of music - and the risk of choosing an Album of the Year. It's also what makes the choice special - we might hate Shearwater in a few years, but we'll always have the memory of how much we loved them right now.

(Happy New Year!)


Brianna said...

you are such liar. I called you picking shearwater when the nominees were announced -- you haven't' shut up about them all year.

personally i know the mountain goats should have won.

Matthew said...

Ouch! I didn't lie - I admitted my infatuation in the post! But the decision WAS tough. I OD'd on Shearwater at one point and was set to go with the Bonnie Prince.

But getting to the heart of the matter: Yes, YOU WERE RIGHT! ;)