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Higher Plain Music’s Top 10 Music Releases of 2008

Well in the previous post we told you what we’d bought, now its time for our top 10 countdown. There were some excellent releases this year although we’ve bought less compared to 2007, however there wasn’t one release we did not like so everyone’s a winner (except the bank account). So without further ado:

10) Ayumi Hamasaki – GUILTY

Ayu went all rock for this years album and we head banged with her. With guitar riffs popping out your years and cute verses inbetween, who couldn’t love GUILTY. Standouts are Talkin 2 Myself, GUILTY, Marionette, Together When & Mirror.

09) Son Lux – At War with Walls and Mazes

Our first of two new artists we found this year in the top 10, we were hooked by the unique nature and cold music that made us emotional inside. We look foward to more and more from Son Lux. Highlights are Break, Weapon, Wither, Tell & War.

08) Yasunori Mitsuda – Soma Bringer OST

We must confess that the reason this is 8th and maybe not higher is due to the fact we’ve not spent enough time with it but Mitsuda always produces stunning etheral and mystical albums and we love them and the soundtrack is that good we couldn’t decide our top 5. A review will be coming early next year.

07) Sarah Slean – The Baroness

Possibly the highest charting disappointment for 2008, we felt the production and song’s were a little bland but bland for Sarah is still fantastic and in time we grew to love the album. Definitely a grower. Stand outs are Euphoria, Notes From the Underground, So Many Miles, Sound of Water/Change Your Mind & Get Home.

06) Wataru Hokoyama – Afrika OST

We only reviewed it last week but it’s that good it rockets in at No.6. The lush soundscapes and beautiful melodies earn it a place as one of best orchestral VGM soundtracks in recent memory. Stand outs are Savanna, Afrika, Safari, Big Five & Base Camp

05) Akira Yamaoka – Silent Hill Zero OST

While the games may get a bit of bashing for sticking with the same formula, Akira Yamaoka delivers another serving of empty, sorrowful, eerie ambience that makes you shiver, squirm and tap your feet all at the same time. Not as immediate as some of the other soundtracks he’s done, the songs gradually fester. Stand outs are Hole in the Sky, Theme of Sabre Dance, Drowning, This Wicked End & Wrong is Right

04) Julia Marcell – It Might Like You

A complete new artist for us to discover, we loved her debut album in all its demo-esque glory and look forward to enjoying her work in the years to come. Stand outs are Carousel, Outer Space, Fear of Flying, Dancer & The Story.

03) Emiliana Torrini – Me & Armini

Completely genre hopping – being barking mad in places while utterly devastingly beautiful in others, no one can master everything all at once quite like Emiliana. Good to have you back! Stand Outs are Jungle Drum, Dead Duck, Beggar’s Prayer, Gun & Birds.

02) Alanis Morissette – Flavors of Entanglement

We had been just passers by for Alanis until this album came out. Infectious, technically excellent, emotionally charged and completely compelling, this has quickly become our English album for 2008. Stand outs: Straitjacket, Tapes, Not as We, Limbo No More and Orchid

01) Utada Hikaru – Heart Station

Utada has yet to make a duff record and this, her fifth Japanese album (sixth overall) continues to show her as a natural talent. Stand out tracks are Stay Gold, Heart Station, Beautiful World, Take 5 & the bitter sweet finale Niji-iro Bus.

Congrats to Utada Hikaru!

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