#1: MGMT's "Time To Pretend"
When the new year rolled around, what was the first track I listened to? (Honestly, it was the Kaskade remix of "Womanizer," but let's skip over that) It was MGMT's "Time To Pretend," their third European single and the song most applicable to the life of a young student. Off Oracular Spectacular, a psychedelic exercise in truth-telling, "Time To Pretend" cuts straight to the heart of life.
With the exception of Death Cab for Cutie's "Passenger Seat" and John Mayer's "Stop This Train," no song heightens my emotional senses like "Time To Pretend." It is an anthem of feeling, a confession of how we live our lives: "This is our decision, to live fast and die young/ we've got the vision, now let's have some fun/ yeah, it's overwhelming, but what else can we do? / get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute?"
We don't all do lines of coke under the Eiffel tower, or marry supermodels, or sail to islands on our private yachts, but neither do Andrew Vanwyngarden or Ben Goldwasser. MGMT is all about the big reveal, and the big reveal is...they're the real deal. (Wow, too many "eals." This would have been worse had my favorite song been "Electric Feel" instead)
So there you have it. The Happiest of 2k8. Nothing--not the Gap's Fall line, not Gears of War 2, not Britney Spears' managers--was, well, better than MGMT and "Time To Pretend."
For someone as obsessed as I am with the Queen, you'd imagine she would be the Happiest of 2k8, not number two! But it is what it is, and while Madge had an amazing year, she is not Andrew Vanwyngarden.
In 2k8, Madonna stuck a needle in Justin Timberlake's ass, was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame, released a few amazing singles (and a half-baked, half-great album), began and ended the highest-grossing tour in history, left her husband and $75 million of her own estate, and in the most cougar-like of moves, is now dating the much younger Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.
I'm not sure if Madonna can 'stick it out' (LOLZ) forever, but for 2k8, she proved to women (and men) everywhere that people's expectations have no bearing on your potential to succeed. There was a single moment on her Sticky & Sweet tour, during her performance of "She's Not Me," where Madonna unbridled her sanity and let loose on a trio of past-Madonna posers; it was clear what Madonna was trying to say. There's only one Queen, and no shaved-head hick is going to take that title away. (That's a Spears reference, for the record.)