Tops in 2008

The Year in Music 2008: Writers and musicians give up their faves and beyond from 2k8
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Wooden Shjips float their tops

TOMAS PALERMO'S TOP DANCEHALL AND REGGAE ARTISTS 2008

This year saw American pop (Rhianna, Kardinal Offishall, and Sean Kingston) broadly embracing Jamaican music. Likewise, Jamaican artists emulated, covered, and incorporated American pop and R&B motifs more than ever. The trend in JA was toward hot singles over hot albums, while dozens of new artists broke out. Women in particular had a massive resurgence in reggae (Queen Ifrica, Etana, Cherine Anderson) and dancehall (Tifa, Timberly, D'Angel, Tami Chynn). Money — having it, making it, spending it — was the most prevalent song topic. Here are six categories of reggae artists who made as big an impact on music as Jamaican athletes did on the track in Beijing.

TOP DAWGS Dancehall chart-toppers included Mavado, Vybz Kartel, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, and Busy Signal.

ROOTS REFRESHERS Taj Weekes, Dwayne Stephenson, Morgan Heritage, Pressure, and Tarrus Riley enlivened one-drop traditional reggae.

LADIES IN CHARGE Women charged the charts, including Spice, Tifa, Natalie Storm, Timberlee, Pompatay, D'Angel, Etana, and Queen Ifrica.

CATCHING FIRE Newcomers galore emerged, like Bugle, Serani, Demarco, Erup, Black Ryno, and Konshens.

SOLID AS A ROCK Veterans who didn't let us down included Beres Hammond, Tony Rebel, Jah Cure, Mr. Vegas, and Junior Reid, as well as Damien and Steven Marley.

POP GOES REGGAE These reggae/pop/R&B combinations and remixes made us smile: Estelle/Sean Paul, Jazmine Sullivan, John Legend/Buju Banton, plus French roots-boots remixes of Mary J. Blige, Lil Wayne, Nas, and Motown.

WOODEN SHJIPS' TOP 10 (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

Art Lessing, Sleeping Ghost (An Electric Eggplant)

Der TPK (Teenage Panzerkorps), Games for Slaves (Siltbreeze)

Endless Boogie, Focus Level (No Quarter)

Expo 70 and Rahdunes's split-LP (Kill Shaman)

Fabulous Diamonds, Fabulous Diamonds (Siltbreeze)

Los Llamarada, Take the Sky (S-S)

Nothing People, Anonymous (S-S)

Sic Alps, US EZ (Siltbreeze)

Suicide, Live 1977–1978 (Blast First)

Times New Viking, Rip It Off (Matador)

GEORGE CHEN'S DISORDERLY 10

Grouper, Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill (Type)

Krallice, Krallice (Profound Lore)

Mount Eerie, Lost Wisdom and Black Wooden Ceiling Opening (P.W. Elverum & Sun)

Ecstatic Sunshine live

Prurient live

Bulbs, Light Ships (Freedom to Spend)

Mincemeat or Tenspeed in a cave

Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band, 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons (Constellation)

Pukers cassette

BEN RICHARDSON'S "BEVY OF HEAVY" TOP 10 METAL ALBUMS

Testament, The Formation of Damnation (Nuclear Blast)

Gama Bomb, Citizen Brain (Earache)

Bloodbath, The Fathomless Mastery (Peaceville)

Cannabis Corpse, Tube of the Resinated (Forcefield/Robotic Empire)

Hail of Bullets, ...of Frost and War (Metal Blade)

Bison B.C., Quiet Earth (Metal Blade)

Grand Magus, Iron Will (Rise Above/Candlelight)

Jucifer, L'Autrichienne (Relapse)

Gojira, The Way of All Flesh (Prosthetic)

Enslaved, Vertebrae (Indie)

DJ AMPLIVE'S TOP 10

1. MGMT, Oracular Spectacular (Sony)

2. Zion-I, "Juicy Juice" (Gold Dust)

3. Grouch, Show You the World (Legendary Music)

4. Weezer, "Pork and Beans" (Geffen)

5.

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