There's been a lot of debate in recent weeks on whether 2008 has been a disappointing year for genuinely enthralling new music or one already being suffocated by excellence. Middle ground? Pschaw. As for us, well, let's just say that when narrowing the list down to produce our traditional top ten of the first half of the year, the longlist contained 27 albums. And to think we usually only do a top 30 of the whole year in December. This time around the ten, in nothing but alphabetical order, is suffixed with The Moment - that one part of a genuinely great song that elevates it into magnificence.
British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
THE MOMENT: 4:30 into Atom. The "cold war Pixies" dissemble into cymbals, divebombing Stukas and somewhere in the mix a piano literally being pushed downstairs.
Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
THE MOMENT: 0:00 into An Audience With The Pope. "If she says she needs me, everybody's gonna have to wait" sings Guy, heavy of heart.
The Fall - Imperial Wax Solvent
THE MOMENT: 4:02 into 50 Year Old Man. Having already informed us that not only is he the age of the title and furthermore likes it but also that he routinely pisses onto hotel towels, has a three foot long hard-on and that Steve Albini is in collusion with Virgin Trains against him, Mark E Smith finally takes a break to be replaced by a duel between a MIDI-enabled polyphonic ringtone creating keyboard and a banjo.
Johnny Foreigner - Waited Up 'Til It Was Light
THE MOMENT: 2:03 into Salt, Pepa & Spinderella. "Bring out the real fun, turn on the real drums" Alexei suggests. Junior obliges. Things summarily go thermonuclear.
Los Campesinos! - Hold On Now, Youngster...
THE MOMENT: 1:46 into We Are All Accelerated Readers. Gareth: "If this sentimental movie marathon has taught us one thing, it’s that the opposite of true love is as follows..." Choral response: "REALITY!"
Mystery Jets – Twenty One
THE MOMENT: 0:04 into MJ. Aztec Camera expansive pop (the reissued version featuring Somewhere In My Heart) is somewhat of a giveaway) decorated with backing "wohhhh! wohhhh!"s set it entirely in place.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Dig Lazarus Dig!!!
THE MOMENT: 2:35 into We Call Upon The Author. "Who is this great burdensome slavering dog-thing that mediocres my every thought?"
Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
THE MOMENT: 0:17 into Oxford Comma. No, Ezra, who indeed? It then becomes apparent that actually the bringing up of the titular grammatical conjunction precedent is actually going somewhere.
The Wave Pictures - Instant Coffee Baby
THE MOMENT: 2:30 into Instant Coffee Baby. David Tattersall's vocal has sounded throughout like it's been building towards a revelation, a moment of clarity about life. And here it comes, and... "you got cystitis, didn't you?"
Wild Beasts - Limbo, Panto
THE MOMENT: 0:45 into Woeboegone Wanderers. The tune passes from Orange Juice railway track post-punk-funk into waltz time seamlessly, Hayden Thorpe going with it without breaking note.
If you must know, the chief near misses are by Bon Iver, the Indelicates, Johnny Flynn, Lightspeed Champion, the Long Blondes, Portishead, Why? and Young Knives. We think. Sweeping The Nation reserves the right to change its mind by December. Tomorrow, we speculate what might make that task even more impossible between now and then.