As attention spans shorten and digital files begin to outsell hard copies, even a devoted album listener like myself spent 2008 listening to fewer and fewer complete documents, choosing instant gratification over long-term investment. Still, when I was putting together my list of favorite songs, I found that as usual, many of the individual tracks that stuck with me most were plucked from my favorite LPs.

If I'm honest, I spent as much time this year digging into the recent past as I did gobbling up new stuff, so songs like Sun Kil Moon's "Glenn Tipton" (2003) and Tin Armor's "The Misanthrope" (2007) defined my year more than any one track released during the past 12 months.

Yet 2008's recorded output still left me with many rich memories of bangin' hip-hop tracks, fist-pumping pop tunes and lots of melancholy troubadours. I used to restrict myself to one song per artist on these lists, but that would deny, among other things, the permeating influence of Lil Wayne. So look out for a healthy helping of Weezy, a double-dose of Jeezy and multiple sightings of Yeezy amongst all the indie rock. And away we go...

As attention spans shorten and digital files begin to outsell hard copies, even a devoted album listener like myself spent 2008 listening to fewer and fewer complete documents, choosing instant gratification over long-term investment. Still, when I was putting together my list of favorite songs, I found that as usual, many of the individual tracks that stuck with me most were plucked from my favorite LPs.

If I'm honest, I spent as much time this year digging into the recent past as I did gobbling up new stuff, so songs like Sun Kil Moon's "Glenn Tipton" (2003) and Tin Armor's "The Misanthrope" (2007) defined my year more than any one track released during the past 12 months.

Yet 2008's recorded output still left me with many rich memories of bangin' hip-hop tracks, fist-pumping pop tunes and lots of melancholy troubadours. I used to restrict myself to one song per artist on these lists, but that would deny, among other things, the permeating influence of Lil Wayne. So look out for a healthy helping of Weezy, a double-dose of Jeezy and multiple sightings of Yeezy amongst all the indie rock. And away we go...

(40) Beck — "Modern Guilt" Strikes that perfect combination of snappy and melancholy.

(39) Lil Wayne — "Lollipop" Exudes the same appeal as "Buy U a Drank" last year — infinite potential for goofy singalongs about shawty.

(38) Blitzen Trapper — "Furr" The best Bob-biting folk tune of the year. Furr - Blitzen Trapper

(37) Fly.Union — "S.B.'s" I can't find this expertly executed ode to sneakers anywhere online, so to hear it you'll have to pick up a free copy of this year's Alive Amplified local music compilation at the next Alive event. (That would be our free Bands to Watch Jan. 17 at Skully's.)

(36) Vampire Weekend — "A-Punk" "A-Punk" isn't as lyrically clever as some of Vampire Weekend's other indie hits, but musically it's one of the most intriguing pop singles of the year, fusing some strangely appealing ska tics together with an even more WTF-worthy woodwind chorus. But what really seals the deal is that undeniable hook.

(35) The Raveonettes — "Hallucinations" Recalling Yo La Tengo, The Velvet Underground and, of course, The Jesus and Mary Chain, the dapper Danish duo makes sad love sound like otherworldly bliss.

(34) The Streets — "Everything is Borrowed" Yes, Mike Skinner's new album is hokey and heavy-handed, but it produced a handful of fine pop singles, none of them more affecting than this emotional ode to the impermanence of all but love.

(33) Coldplay — "Lost!" This could have been just another bland piano ballad, but the stomp-and-clap percussion elevates it to near perfection. No song (except perhaps "Strawberry Swing") better exemplifies Coldplay's 2008 renaissance.

(32) Estelle feat. Kanye West — "American Boy" One of those tracks that stops you in your tracks when you hear them on the radio, and you have to ask, "Who is this and where did she come from?" The rhythm is consistent, which allows Estelle's vocals to shift shape, from the staccato blasts of "See! L! A!" to smooth sailing as the chorus resolves. Will we ever hear from her again? Does it matter?

(31) LCD Soundsystem — "Big Ideas" I took a break from LCD Soundsystem this year after gorging in 2007, but I could only deny James Murphy's single from the 21 soundtrack for so long. It's not quite on par with the uniformly brilliant Sound of Silver, but I'm glad Murphy chose to unleash this dose of manic rock disco on us anyway.

(30) T-Pain feat. Lil Wayne — "Can't Believe It" The two most overbearing voices in pop music 2008 combine their robotic croons for a smooth, subtle slow jam. Also: "I could put you in a cabin/ Somewhere in Wiscansin." Let's just bask in that for a moment.

(29) Deerhunter — "Nothing Ever Happened" The song that spawned a million references to driving on the Autobahn. You can tell the bass player wrote it, and for once that's not a bad thing.

(28) Sigur Ros — "Innν mιr syngur vitleysingur" Or, as I like to call it, "Track 2." Sigur Ros put a zesty new spin on their whole glacial epic shtick, and it sits very kindly with me. I would have preferred a whole album of this instead of a handful of upbeat highlights amidst more of the same old slow drift.

(27) Young Jeezy feat. Nas — "My President" "My President" is my favorite of the "Let's celebrate Obama's victory before he actually wins" songs because of the way it bypasses the immediate period of elation and skips straight to normalcy, as if having a black man in the white house isn't anything out of the ordinary. Jeezy proudly asserts, "My president is black," then spends three times as many bars bragging about his Lamborghini. Business as usual has never sounded so audacious.

(26) Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks — "Out of Reaches" I'm not as fond of the jammy Jicks as I am of melancholy Malkmus. He can write as many "Grounded" knockoffs as he wants, and I'll eat up every last one.

(25) Lil Wayne — "A Milli" A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi A milli a milli a milli a milli a mi a mi...

(24) MGMT — "Weekend Wars" It took me a while to warm up to "Weekend Wars," and I still think MGMT is an awful live band. But how could I resist those melodies and the duo's intrinsic understanding of pop spectacle?

(23) F---ed Up — "Son the Father" "Son the Father" is badass, but lots of people write badass punk songs. What's crazy is the way F---ed Up flexes like the hardcore Broken Social Scene, getting all artsy and still obliterating all takers. Noble savages, they are. Son The Father - Fucked Up

(22) Crystal Antlers — "A Thousand Eyes" The verse whips me up into its tornado every time, and holy hell does that chorus hit hard.

(21) M83 — "Kim and Jessie" Are we absolutely sure this John Hughes-inspired, synth-drenched pop masterstroke came out this year? It sounds like a relic in the best way possible.

(20) Hercules and Love Affair — "Hercules Theme" This track is so nasty it might as well put out a cigarette on your neck and demand, "Dance, bitch!"

(19) White Denim — "Shake Shake Shake" I'm going to let Sasha Frere-Jones explain what's so good about "Shake Shake Shake": "The stovepipe cut of the Strokes (which I like plenty) is fading. Independent rock bands are moving away from hole-punched sounds and trim tempos, and moving back to undefined, hairy strategies. Austin’s White Denim are on fire and have no idea who they are. I don’t want them to figure it out."

(18) Love is All — "New Beginnings" Biting riffs, scorching screams, riotous rhythms. Ow! (MP3)

(17) Fleet Foxes — "He Doesn't Know Why" Fleet Foxes made me a believer over time through friend-induced saturation, but this choral ditty won my heart from the start.

(16) The Walkmen — "In the New Year" Nothing we haven't seen before — still a cold stew of Dylan-inspired ravings, ancient-sounding keyboards and guitars drowning in echo. It's the best thing they've done since their classic Bows and Arrows.

(15) Lil Wayne — "3Peat" Tha Carter III is a great album, but not for the same reasons Da Drought 3 was great. The record is more like Wayne showing off his entire arsenal. The mixtape, on the other hand, focused on his greatest weapon — you know, rapping. The bridge between is "3Peat," which bursts at the seams with the kind of unfiltered non-sequitur brilliance Weezy reigned in for much of the record. He can play the part of a rabid goblin all he wants, but I like Wayne best when he's spitting stupid smart: "They cannot see me/ Like Hitler"? Bow down.

(14) The Hold Steady — "Sequestered in Memphis" Stay Positive felt like The Hold Steady going through the motions, but "Sequestered In Memphis" assures me that Craig Finn will always be dependable for a genius track or two, even if his band's gimmick has been stretched too thin to keep an entire album afloat anymore.

(13) Portishead — "The Rip" Serene and spooky, like a half-satisfied resignation before a last breath. Portishead - The Rip

(12) Ne-Yo — "Closer" Ne-Yo's target audience is females, but with this icy slice of R&B, he roped me in too. And I just! Can't! Pull! My! Self! A! Way!

(11) Jay Reatard — "Always Wanting More" Straight up Buzzcocks, straight up brilliant. Big year for Mr. Reatard, and "Always Wanting More" is the finest fruit. Always Wanting More - Jay Reat...

(10) Hot Chip — "Wrestlers" Leave it to Hot Chip to write a minimal, melodic love song through the lens of pro wrestling. That piano pounce and sassy keyboard squeal never cease to delight me.

(9) Young Jeezy feat. Kanye West — "Put On" Jeezy's finest offering of '08 knocked me on my back, stood over me and spat in my face, all in the name of civic pride. Then Kanye cut in with the first autotuned hint of Heartbeak and elevated a badass banger to brilliance.

(8) Kanye West — "Paranoid" Speaking of Mr. West, his breakup album is more of an intriguing artifact than a truly transcendent listen, but the club-hopping middle section — particularly this synth-slathered party bomb — is as great as any of Kanye's more conventional hip-hop offerings.

(7) Titus Andronicus — "Upon Viewing Brueghel's 'Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus'" There's no greater rush in 2008 music than the rising tide of ascending keyboard, skittish guitar and clanging cymbals that brings this song to climax.

(6) Wale — "The Kramer" The best dissection of the N-word I've yet to hear, delivered with cleverness, pizazz and more than a little melancholy by one of the most promising emcees in the game. I can't decide whether it's poetic or not that this song results in more white boys (read: me) rapping along with "nigga" when Wale expects me to omit it.

(5) Frightened Rabbit — "The Modern Leper" One of my fondest memories of 2008 is the exhausted comedown singalong I shared with my roommate to this song on our way back from a German Village dance party. Imitating Scott Hutchison's Scottish quirks and emotional bombast always makes for a fun ride, but it's particularly potent when you can share it with a valued friend.

(4) Bon Iver — "Re: Stacks" Put on this song during any car trip — even a quick jaunt to the grocery store — and you'll instantly feel like you're in the last scene of a great movie, having slogged through emotional turmoil and come out in one piece.

(3) Sun Kil Moon — "Lost Verses" At the risk of sounding cliche, many of Mark Kozelek's songs seem like they might never end, and sometimes I'd be OK with that. Sprawling past the nine-minute mark, "Lost Verses" is one of those powerhouse moments of infinite sad-sack genius.

(2) Land of Talk — "Some are Lakes" Lizzie Powell's melodies hypnotize me, and while this song never seems to get anywhere, it also never gets old.

(1) Times New Viking — "(My Head)" Before I delved into a period dominated by sad guys with acoustic guitars, the first three months of my year were more or less dominated by the hiss and harmony of Rip It Off, and in particular "(My Head)." Now, as a year defined by Bon Iver, Frightened Rabbit and Sun Kil Moon comes to a close, this song's charred melody still rings out from the bowels of last winter — "I need more money 'cause I need more drugs!" My wallet's fine, and I'd rather abstain from the mind-altering substances, but hot damn do I appreciate how TNV lets it all hang out. (My Head) - Times New Viking