My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #19

Number 19

Over the course of Kathleen Edwards’ first four years as a signed performer, in which she released 2003’s Failer, and 2005’s Back To Me, it was evident that it wouldn’t be long before she went from making very good records to making outstanding ones. With the release of this year’s Asking For Flowers, the Canadian has crossed that line, creating a full-bodied record that bleeds with heartbreak in which no song ever comes off as blindly constructed, but genuine. Exuding even higher levels of despair and resentment, first single, “The Cheapest Key” is her first number since “Six O’Clock News” that actually seems accessible enough to open more people’s eyes and ears to her pure talent and utter honesty. The production is rich – actually, far more so – than on her previous two records, and all aspects of her songwriting greatly benefit from it. For me, the standout among an album full of multiple candidates for that honor, is the title track. The desire to have a chance to start over and make different relationship decisions is at the core of the song, and when she sings “Asking for flowers is like asking you to be nice. Don’t tell me you’re too tired, for ten years I’ve been working nights”, your heart aches; and if somehow it doesn’t, then you simply do not take in music when you supposedly listen. She is swiftly climbing up my favorite singer/songwriters list, and with lyrical masterpieces like the one previously mentioned, along with the two to close the record, “Scared At Night” and “Goodnight, California”, she only seems to be growing wiser with age. I know this one barely made the top 20 on this list, but if I were to make a top records that I wore out the most with re-plays in 2008, it would certainly be in the top 10, if not 5. It’s terrific stuff.

1.Buffalo
2.The Cheapest Key
3.Asking For Flowers
4.Alicia Ross
5.I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory
6.Oil Man’s War
7.Sure As Shit
8.Run
9.Oh Canada
10.Scared At Night
11.Goodnight, California

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