My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #07

Number 07

Among the many bands that I heard for the first time this year, Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit were one of a few that had a mainstay, repeated-listen impact. The band is led by brothers Scott and Grant Hutchison, with two others rounding out a four-piece collection that sets out to make catchy, foot-tapping music to accompany the heartbroken words of Scott, and they succeed with flying colors on their second full-length,  The Midnight Organ Fight. I didn’t hear an album all year that had this many legitimate contenders for pure single after pure single, and it had to be a tough, nail-biting choice when certain ones were chosen over others to release on 7″‘s and such. The first single and the one that would ultimately give them widespread enough attention to open up for Death Cab For Cutie, is the opening “The Modern Leper”, which pounds in in the most satisfying of ways. From that killer, eye-opening moment on, the rest of the album is peppered with impressive songwriting in all aspects, and it doesn’t take long for you to warm up to each and every song individually before you eventually give way to falling in love with the entire thing as one.

“It takes more than fucking someone you don’t know to keep warm.”

There’s something incredibly strange and unique that happens when a musician can get the feel of writing about personal heartbreak right, without coming off as self-indulgent in the worst of ways. There’s really no escaping the inevitable realm of equal parts self-loathing and self-indulgence when it comes to making songs about personal relationship devastation, let alone basing an entire record on the whole experience, but what sets apart the best songwriters is that they manage to find the perfect mesh with the musical arrangements that surround the theme of the words, so it all seems genuine as it pours from the bleeding heart. Hutchison’s entire soul is laid out on a table to be dissected by anyone who listens to The Midnight Organ Fight, which I eventually would come to find is one of the most cherished albums in my entire collection, because I can pull it out whenever I need to relate to something and someone, or to simply know that these sort of things happen to far too many people, and here’s one of them. “I’m working hard on walking out, but my shoes keep sticking to the ground”, so he sings on the tremendous track, “My Backwards Walk”. It’s a long and inexplicably hard struggle, but there are many things that can help you get to where you need to be, and this record is certainly one of them.

1.The Modern Leper
2.I Feel Better
3.Good Arms vs. Bad Arms
4.Fast Blood
5.Old Old Fashioned
6.The Twist
7.Little Pink Bookmark
8.Head Rolls Off
9.My Backwards Walk
10.Keep Yourself Warm
11.Extrasupervery
12.Poke
13.Floating in the Forth
14.Who’d You Kill Now?

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