by / December 3rd, 2008 /

State’s 25 best albums of 2008

With a nod to the wheels of democracy, State’s team of reviewers all pitched in their votes for the finest 50 albums of 2008. Here for your perusal and debate is the top 25 albums of that list as they charted. The comprehensive and alphabetical list of 50 will be available in print and in our online reader which we will be distributing from tomorrow.

State’s 25 best albums of 2008
25. Santogold – Santogold
24. The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound
23. Ham Sandwich – Carry The Meek
22. Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak
21. Department Of Eagles – In Ear Park
20. Messiah J & the Expert – From The Word Go
19. David Holmes: The Holy Pictures
18. Times New Viking-Rip it Off
17. Nick Cave – Dig Lazarus Dig!
16. TV On The Radio – Dear Science
15. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
14. Laura Marling – Alas I Cannot Swin
13. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
12. Why? – Alopecia
11. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
10. Jape – Ritual
9. Adebisi Shank – This Is The Album
8. Deerhunter – Microcastle
7. Glasvegas – Glasvegas
6. Neon Neon – Stainless Style
5. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
4. Foals – Antidotes
3. Bon Iver – For Emma Forever Ago
2. Sigur Ros – Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
1. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

So what would be your top 5? What did you hate and what did you love from the above?

The 50 Best Albums Of 2008 were voted for, with unflinching certainty by: Alexandra Donald, Anna Forbes, Bobby Aherne, Cian Traynor, Ciarán Ryan, Chris Russell, Dan Hegarty, Darragh McCausland, Dave Donnelly, David Mclaughlin, Deanna Ortiz, Hilary White, Jack Higgins, Jeff Weiss, Jennifer Gannon, Jo-ann Hodgson, Johnnie Craig, John Joe Worrall, John Walshe, Kate Rothwell, Kara Manning, Martin MciIver, Miles Stewart, Niall Byrne, Niall Crumlish, Pamela Halton, Phil Udell, Saoirse Patterson, Simon Roche, Shane Culloty, Shane Galvin, Sinead Gleeson, Tanya Sweeney, Tia Clarke, Warren Jones.

If you have any problems with their choices you can fight them all after school next week.

  • I really don’t understand why anybody likes Fleet Foxes. Good to see 2 of my picks on there though, especially Adebisi Shank 😀

  • tycho

    why is nobody showing any love for O’Death???

  • No Walkmen? That’s hillarious!

    For what it’s worth…

    1. The Walkmen – You and Me
    2. Fucked Up: – Chemistry of Common Life
    3. Portishead – Third
    4. TV on the Radio – Dear Science
    5. Jape – Ritual
    6. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
    7. Titus Andronicus – The airing of Grievances
    8. Sigur Ros – Mea Sua
    9. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
    10. Liam Finn – I’ll be lightning

  • Joe

    I liked the Elbow album but dont get the big praise it’s getting. I reckon Beck’s Modern Guilt is the most underrated album of the year

  • AstonishingSodApe

    Hello? Where are Portishead and Pivot?

  • Also, Neon Neon are beyond overrated.

  • Thought Santogold would be higher, and TV on the Radio, but overall can’t complain much with the selection. Especially seeing Foals in the Top 5.

  • Fleet Foxes no.1….ah here

    And yes where are Portishead???

  • ShowYourBones

    No Portishead, Lykke Li or Mogwai? All things considered the likely contenders are in there though. TV on the Radio tops it for me though.

  • ermmm… portishead…
    I’m sorry, but “Third” was quite easily the best album of the year

  • Niamhy

    Wasnt Oracular Spectacular out in late 2007?

  • “Oracular Spectacular” got a digital release in 2007, but the hard copy was released this year

  • Portishead was top 50 – number 35 to be exact. You can see the full 50 if you pick up the mag.

  • Mike

    why amnt i on it why arent u on it blah blah blah woo

  • Lykke Li was 32.

  • surprised with the lack of irish albums.
    My top ten in no order

    Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
    The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age Of The Understatement
    Mark Geary – Opium
    Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
    Glasvegas – Glasvegas
    Coldplay – Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
    Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Cardinology
    One Day International – Blackbird
    Supergrass – Diamond Hoo Ha
    Lisa Hannigan – Sea Sew

  • Alan Reilly

    I would have expected to Portishead, M83 and Matmos in that list, but I think the top 5 will be similar across a number of sites.

  • Right. Where the jaysus is No Age’s Nouns? I second the cries for The Walkmen and Portishead too.

  • MGMT at 11 and Portishead at 35??
    Hmmm…. personally I’d have to absolutely disagree, but then again opinions, etc…

  • Jules

    Pretty good list but dissapointed not to see Irishman R.S.A.G.’s Organic Smapler up there – roll on the Choice nominees in Jan!

  • Jules

    emm…i mean Organic Sampler…dam these stubby fingers!

  • It’s good to talk

  • Yeh surprised myself about RSAG but there ya go.

  • No White Denim.
    No Born Ruffians.
    No No Age.
    No Abe Vigoda.

    I can’t even comprehend trying to explain my complete hatred for Fleet Foxes.
    The most overrated band I have heard in a very very very long time.
    Music for old-timers.

  • Liking the list. If it helps anyone a friend and I made a Spotify playlist which makes listening to all the albums easy;

  • I wonder if I type the words “So Cow” into the comments section of every music blog in the world, will it create a whirlwind of appreciation? Disappointing not to see him or the Mystery of the Golden Medallion featuring.

  • Santogold should totally be higher!

  • was a little disappointed with FLApes album – the sugar coated production killed what could been a really great album

  • FLApes were top 50.

  • Just fyi Niall, the Kanye West album is backwards there. It should be 808s and Heartbreak!

  • 1. British Sea Power – Do you like rock music?
    2. Late of the pier – Fantasy Black Channel.
    3. The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement

    Really surprised not to see 1 and 3 in there anyway.

  • Ludo

    I hope The Spook Of The Thirteenth Lock is in the 50.

  • “…I hope The Spook Of The Thirteenth Lock is in the 50…”

    i don’t remember seeing it

  • Ludo

    ah, just checked the mag online. Not there. pfffftt

  • Michael

    White denim should be there!
    initially liked fleet foxes but bored quickly, good album but not number one by any means.

  • BATSbatsBATS

    definitely the worst record elbow have released. it all sounds so forced. when you listen to the older stuff, it just seems to naturally sound deadly. i do like the fleet foxes album but it definitely dips after the first 6 songs. TVOTR should be higher for sure. flAPES album is defo a disappointment but i like that they don’t care. I always like these lists. 🙂

  • Peadar

    Death Cab??

    Narrow Stairs easily deserves a mention there guys!

    Top 5 btw

    1) Antidotes – Foals
    2)Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
    3)Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs
    4)TV on the Radio – Dear Science
    5)Okkervil River – The Stand Ins

  • I’m completely baffled why Mogwai is not here or on so few end of year polls. Depressing.

  • Rach

    Ehhhh… Gemma Hayes?!?

  • I’m surprised not to see a great deal of appreciation for the latest Deerhoof album, Offend Maggie. Mind you, they’ve been on a hot streak so I guess things end up being remarkably consistent rather than just plain remarkable.

    What else…in no order…

    Nobunny – Love Visions
    Stereolab – Chemical Chords
    Crystal Stilts – Alight of Night
    Vivian Girls – S/T
    Okmoniks – Party Fever!
    Adebisi Shank – This Is The Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank
    Dublin Duck Dispensary – Luanqibazao

  • bob

    No Portishead? no NIN? no Jimmycake?

  • untitled

    you should have a best irish album poll too… jus for the extra work load! and to accomodate those worthy home grown acts… i like ham sandwich, but i thought the album some what of a dissapointment, bit of an insult to those who follow on the list…

    foals, Santogold, death cab, lykke li, gaslight anthems, bon iver, MGMT, vampire weekend, sigur ros…

    i think the essentials are there, bit of a chore to get them in running order… fleet foxes = over rated, should be in at 6 and bump the rest up

    did conor oberst make it in? i’m holding out to get a printed copy in my hand to sit in front of the fire and have a read..

  • bob

    also nothing on a par with battles – mirrored from last year

  • A-train

    I’m happy once Jape are there.funtime?

  • “…I’m happy once Jape are there.funtime?..”

    fun time is a given

  • bob

    on a side note but possibly of more infinte morer importantses:


    1. roquefort & smokey bacon
    2. mus-terd & bovril
    3. curried makeral (again)
    4. banshee’ hen periods
    5. gin & milk zit flavour

    debate at

  • i like ham sandwich, but i thought the album some what of a dissapointment, bit of an insult to those who follow on the list…

    I’m sure they are all very offended.

  • Sealed Human

    No place for Ladytron’s Velocifero? Nary a bad song on there…

  • Martin Foyle

    Good selection. Dont listen to the radio so its lists like these as well as word of mouth that tips me off to stuff. I had a sneaking hope that State would have been savvy enough to include Elvis Costellos album. Time was his albums were guaranteed a slot. Not anymore mainly because his output has been patchy of late and he doesn’t tour here. Still Momofuku is his best and most cohesive album in years, definitely better than The Gaslight Anthem album, which is fine, but they’re way better live, by all accounts.

  • wherethehellarenoage

    Ham Sandwich?


  • Sid

    Sigur Ros’ latest album is quite crap in my opinion. For a band that released epic 10 minute post-rock masterpieces in Agaetis byrjun, () and the dark experimental noises of Von, their new album is fluffy and in substantial. I understand why a lot of people like it, it’s nice and easy to listen to. But there’s no heart left in it.

  • shoespoon

    1. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
    2. Fleet Foxes – S/T
    3. Deerhunter – Microcastle
    4. The Drones – Havilah
    5. Dodos – Visiter

  • Seanie, Shay and Mick

    I’m stunned that R.S.A.G.’s album isn’t there. Yere credibility is gone. Kanye West… Jaysus.

  • Mikie Lavery

    my top five albums of the year

    Neon Neon- Stainless Style
    Ham Sandwhich- Carry The Meek
    Fight Like Apes- Fight Like Apes And The Mystery Of The Golden Medalion
    Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazurus Dig!!!

  • Mikie Lavery

    only put four albums in the post, so here is my fith choice for the cream of the crop of 08,Republic Of Loose- Vol IV:Johnny Pyro and The Dance Of Evil

  • tim


    Portishead- Third
    Bon Iver- For Emma Forever Ago
    M83- Saturdays= Youth
    Foals- Antidotes
    Okkervil River- The Stand Ins
    Tv On The Radio- Dear Science
    Deerhunter- Microcastles
    Elbow- The Seldom Seen Kid
    MGMT- Oracular Spectacular
    Sigur Ros – Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust

  • my list would probably have to include:

    Fennesz “Black Sea”
    Grouper “Draggin a Dead Deer Up a Hill”
    Kanding Ray “Automne Fold”
    Deerhunter “Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.”
    Mount Eerie “Lost Wisdom”
    Leviathan “Massive Conspiracy Against All Life”
    Xiu Xiu “Women as Lovers”
    Wolf Parade “At Mount Zoomer”
    Harvey Milk “Life…The Best Game in Town”
    Crystal Castles “Crystal Castles”
    Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks “Real Emotional Trash”
    Lil Wayne “Tha Carter III”
    Nachtmystium “Assasins: Black Meddle Pt. 1”
    TV on the Radio “Dear Science”
    High Places “High Places”
    Hercules and Love Affair “Hercules and Love Affair”
    Destroyer “Trouble in Dreams”
    Cut Copy “In Ghost Colours”
    M83 “Saturdays = Youth”
    Portishead “Third”
    (that’s off the top o’ my head tho)

  • “Dragging” not “Draggin'” haha. Maybe that’s the southern rock version of that album.

  • gheorghe

    1. why? – alopecia
    2. metronomy – nights out
    3. born ruffians – red, yellow and blue
    4. boris – smile
    5. mgmt – oracular spectacular

    6. black francis – svn fngrs
    7. beck – modern guilt
    8. gza – protools
    9. dodos – visiter
    10. sigur ros – med sud i eyru vid spilum endalaust

    11. dEUS – vantage point
    12. melvins – nude with boots
    13. school of language – sea from shore
    14. black hollies – casting shadows
    15. beach house – devotion

    personally i think fleet foxes, vampire weekend, et al are much too overrated. good music, sure, but by no means great. you’ll stop spinning these records as soon as 08 kicks in and the next pitchfork darlings arrive

  • Born Ruffians – Red, Yellow and Blue is head and shoulders above everything else I heard in 2008.
    Truly inspired and inspirational.
    But hey, it just goes to show that people love music in very different ways.

  • holly

    so glad to see glasvegas made your list. favorite vocals of 08.

  • weezy

    where the hell, is lil wayne tha carter 3?
    BEST album ever..

  • Great list. Here’s mine.

  • Paddy O’ Connor

    Glad to see Jape’s ‘Ritual’ on here.
    I listen to that CD so much its mad!

    Im kind of surprised that Fight Like Apes’ – “Fight Like Apes And The Mystery Of The Golden Medalion” (yes, I did copy and paste that from the other comment) is not there would definitely be in my top 10 anyways! 😀

  • johnny

    bon iver
    vampire weekend
    born ruffians
    kings of leon
    late of the pier
    the stills

    Serious lack of time for tv on the radio….far too over-hyped.
    Ham sandwich are just there cause they’re irish.
    And kings of leon are not there cause they’ve supposedly soldout.

  • I agree with Karl, that So Cow album is pure class… And what about FLApes? Ya the album was a bit dissapointing but surely it was worth top 25? No? Okay then… I stand corrected.

  • Stirby




  • Stirby


    LADY GAGA-THE FAME is ACE. I mean srsly I think its the BEST

  • smazzk

    Third is without doubt the album of the year but am i the only person who has heard the black keys,their music has to be heard ppl,attack and release was excellent and their back catalogue astounds, i thank you

  • No mention of The Bug either….