2008 Music Review


WILEY FEAT. “STARS OF THE PARLIAMENT”-Cash In My Pocket

TOP 50 ALBUMS (25-1)
TOP 50 ALBUMS (50-26)
TOP 100 SINGLES (25-1)
TOP 100 SINGLES (50-26)
TOP 100 SINGLES (75-51)
TOP 100 SINGLES (100-76)
ROBER AWARDS 2008 PLAYLIST
BEST COMPILATIONS; REISSUES; ETC.
GIGS OF THE YEAR
HONORARY MENTIONS: 21 BLOG DARLINGS
HONORARY MENTIONS: 10 NEAR RETURNS TO FORM
HONORARY MENTIONS: 10 NOISE MAKERS
HONORARY MENTIONS: 10 ELECTRONICA & DANCE
HONORARY MENTIONS: 10 EXPERIMENTALISTS
HONORARY MENTIONS: 10 SONGWRITERS & AMERICANA
HONORARY MENTIONS: 10 AROUND THE WORLD
HONORARY MENTIONS: 10 URBAN SOUNDS
HONORARY MENTIONS: 10 IN THE CHARTS
DISAPPOINTMENTS OF THE YEAR
MUSIC POLL RESULTS
THE OFFICIAL ROBER AWARDS: COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS

REVIEW 2008: THE YEAR OF THE CRUNCH

LEE ESTE ARTICULO EN CASTELLANO

2008 won’t go into the history books as a good year for popular culture. A global financial crisis, threatening the survival of a big chunk of the music business, has joined the ongoing one suffered by an industry whose current model has reached its expiry date, with spectacularly diminishing year to year sales of physical product, not yet balanced by the growth of the digital sector.

However, it’s in the creative field where the weakness of current pop music is more noticeable. The charts are still showing their progressive divorce with innovative leftfield propositions, populated instead by manufactured stars released from Reality TV shows, now well established internationally as unstoppable franchises, highlighting a shameful return to the lowest standards of the bland. The taste of grannies had never been so influential before. Brainy analysts also blamed the questionable quality of a new generation of bands, excessively dependent of marketing to survive from their very early stages. Low sales have turned synchronization into one of today’s most profitable fields, generating a flood of musicians who write with the idea of a lucrative commercial sponsorship in mind, leaving creative motivations on a secondary plane.
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Curiously, the live music sector, where business was still buoyant, helping the rest of the industry to stay afloat, started to slow down, due to excessive offer and huge price rises. The festival circuit, over inflated in number and decaying in quality, began to produce its first casualties. A good example was King Glastonbury not being able to sell out for the first time in his history. In the States, Coachella recurred to a last-minute call to Prince to boost the disappointing ticket sales.

The media unanimously proclaimed that the first decade of the XXI century had fragmented the audiences and hasn’t yet produced any artist capable of pulling crowds big enough as to pack a festival. This may have convinced many retired acts to came back to the spotlight, lured by the booming nostalgic demand: some got reunited to play one of their classic records in its entirety (Sebadoh; Tortoise; etc) a growing trend among leftfield bands; some others put together the courage to get back into the studio and offered new works, generally welcomed as returns to form, which produced a distinctive dejá-vu sensation. Through 2008, one could be forgiven for thinking he had traveled one or two decades back in time: Portishead; Nick Cave; Stereolab; R.E.M; The Breeders: Spiritualized; Leila; etc were in the news. The stellar comebacks of My Bloody Valentine and Leonard Cohen being some of the year’s most celebrated highlights.

Not only labels and festivals accused the recession. Radio stations registered an exodus of listeners, whereas their internet counterparts were hunted by author’s societies in order to charge a rather abusive copyright cannon that, once into practice, would have meant the end of a huge number of emerging stations, blogs and websites, too small to afford it; the ones responsible in recent years for introducing hundreds of new bands to the public. The hand of the big corporation defending its interests was felt once again in the disappearance or purchase and consequent redevelopment of some of those emblematic music websites. Bye, Bye, Paperthinwalls! New models of music contracts –the infamous 360 degree-; entrepreneurial ideas and ad-based listening webs were tried and tested with uneven fortunes and different levels of legal and social controversy, names like Live Nation; Spotify or Shazam, among many other initiatives, are currently working on reshaping the industry and in the coming years some of them will become its big players.

Nothing terribly new among the prevailing styles: the indie world kept on being dominated by nu shoegazers, with hundreds of bands drinking from the MBV and Jesús and Mary Chain fountains; dance music continued its romance with 80s electro and a new breed of rockers began rescuing the ostracized grunge sounds from the 90’s and had a look at classic garage rock.

In the Rober Academy, the most veteran members complained about not remembering a year of such an average quality. Despite the huge number of records still released and the increasing easiness to reach them, the overall feeling was that very few of them will be remembered as reference in the future. Many of the blog rock stars, v