Top Ten Albums of 2008! Just Kidding

From left: Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, Kim Deal of The Breeders, Chan Marshall aka Cat Power, and Dr. Dre

So 2007 was a pretty good year for music, but now our thoughts must turn to the future: what can we look forward to this year? Music blog Stereogum points out that 2008’s schedule of album releases is light on the “blockbuster appeal” of 2007, which saw Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, the Shins and LCD Soundsystem put out highly-anticipated albums. However, there’s still a bunch of good stuff on the docket for ’08, and here’s an admittedly arbitrary list of some of the biggies for the first half of the year, and why one might care:

Black Mountain – Into the Future (Jagjaguwar)
The Vancouver combo’s psychedelic, rumbling 2005 self-titled release was widely hailed (with Pitchfork calling it “staggering”). Could they be on the verge of more mainstream appeal?

Magnetic Fields – Distortion (Nonesuch)
After six or seven great albums, Stephin Merritt and co. produced 1999’s 69 Love Songs, a near masterpiece (maybe 85% great songs?) of quirky tunes; the follow-up, 2004’s i, was a disappointing flop. Can they recapture the magic?

Cat Power – Jukebox (Matador)
Chan Marshall returns to the world of covers, for one of her best and most assured albums yet (see my review in this month’s print edition of MoJo). Will her radical takes on standards like “New York, New York” find an audience?

Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III (Universal)
Will this record actually come out on time or get delayed again?

New albums from the B-52s, Panic! at the Disco, Ashlee Simpson, and Presidents of the United States of America. Will anyone care?

The Breeders – Mountain Battles (4AD)
The Pixies side-project that eclipsed the original (and produced two of the best alt-rock-era albums) returns with the original, double-Deal lineup. Can they tap into the same energy as the reunited Pixies? And will their cover art follow in line with that title and feature the Deal sisters in full-on Xena-wear defending a mystical mountain from evil dragons? One can hope…

New yet-to-be-titled Death Cab for Cutie album: will they continue their upward chart trajectory or scoot sideways like Modest Mouse?

Dr. Dre – Detox (Aftermath/Interscope)
Is this album, delayed for at least four years, real? Will Eminem be a guest star?

My Bloody Valentine’s rumored new album, which I hear will be delivered to fans on the backs of mystical unicorns, with a free chalice of magic immortality elixir.