Top 10 of 2008 - by Paulo Correa

2008 leaves us a positive balance.

Thanks to this blog I had the opportunity to listen to records from artists from al the latitudes of the American continent and from Spain. I also had the chance to discover new talent and confirm once the talent of already consolidated artists. That is why choosing only 10 albums was an arduous task (they ended up being 13).

Absent on my list, I applaud “Un Mañana”, Luis Alberto Spinetta’s new album and “Gracias” by Omara Portuondo and Fito Páez’s recent live album with his friends “No sé si es Buenos Aires o Madrid”.

I also want to highlight “Todo da vueltas” from Colombian novel Mónica Giraldo which is really incredible. I also celebrate “Alegranza!” by El Guincho, “Sagrado Corazón” by Doctor Krápula, “Reptilectric” by Zoe, “Picotero” by Monareta and “Bruno EP” by Jóvenes y Sexys who are mirroring the growth of the alternative latinoamerican movement. And last, but not least I can’t stop myself from mentioning children’s group Cantoalegre whose album “Un, dos, tres por mí y por todos” really touched me.

Even so, I am still craving for a tropical album that would fully satisfy me (except for the group Grupo Compay Segundo), despite of what was achieved by the works of Gilberto Santa Rosa, Orquesta La 33, Joe Arroyo, or the recent “At Carrnegie Hall” by Buena Vista Social Club, to name a few. I hope 2009 will be a better year for the Caribbean dance music.

Finally, the list of my favorite 2008 albums:

01. Banda Larga Cordel – Gilberto Gil: A marvelous comeback for the great brazilean popular singer-songwriter after his venture in politics. In the album his exuberant vocals and guitar playing are brought out.
02. 100 Años Compay – Grupo Compay Segundo: The celebration of the centennial since the birth of the great Compay could not have been any more outstanding, this is a beautiful work where the greatest hits of the deceased hero of Son Cubano are accompanied by charming symphonic arrangements.
03. Tijuana Sound Machine – Nortec Collective Presents Bostich + Fussible: Mexico’s regional music clears its way on the electronic dance floors around the world with this good work recently nominated to the Grammy’s.
04. La Buena Vibra Sound System – Sidestepper : This album is the closest thing to an electronic party in a Caribbean beach; lots of flavor and happiness in Richard Blair’s and Iván Benavides’ beats accompanied by the vocals of renown voices such as Andrea Echeverri’s (From Aterciopelados) or the members of the hip hop band Choc Quib Town.
05. MTV Unplugged – Julieta Venegas: Subtle and beautiful are the words I find to describe this album that is not just one more unplugged but the most perfect execution its performer has achieved so far.
06. Pombo Musical – Carlos Vives & Amigos: A fun filled children’s album that renders tribute to the great fable writer Rafael Pombo in the voices of Juanes, Fonseca, Cabas, Ilona, Aterciopelados, Cholo Valderrama, Adriana Lucía, and of course, Carlos Vives.
07. Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo – Calle 13: This Boricuas are always one step ahead. They are in continuos evolution and with this album the managed to maintain the level they have established in urban music since they came out. They deserve applause for their short solid carreer and a new album to listen to from beginning to end.
08. Mucho – Babasónicos: Every time more sophisticated, Babasónicos gifted us with an album full of glamorous rock songs with a retro feeling and slightly less daring than their previous work.
09. Shake Away – Lila Downs: It should not be doubted that her name keeps becoming more universal. In this album, except for very few exceptions, she gets away mixing creatively the Mexican and American folklore with other genres.
10. Río – Aterciopelados: I confess that I was terrified when I eard this was an eco oriented album. Luckily it is Aterciopelados and not Maná. Andrea and Hector know how to make each song a venture through melodies filled with small textures and convincing lyrics without falling in pointless propaganda.

Mediocre – Ximena Sariñana / Una Hora a Tokio – Airbag / Rubicom – Cålo Mesa: To finish this, a triple honorable mention: Ximena Sariñana is the debutant of the year. "Mediocre" is an album with a refreshing sound for the Latin scene that marks the beginning of a promising career. Airbag, the adolescent Argentinean band knew how to hush the critics by presenting a surprisingly good album that deserves to be applauded even if the traditional rockers are having a hard time admitting it. And last, but not least, Cålo Mesa who debuted in the second half of the year with a theatrical and fantastic rock album a la big band titled "Rubicom", which I hope will find commercial success.