The new year will likely bring in some groundbreaking albums, but it’s doubtful they will be as groundbreaking as the albums that came out 10 years ago. Perhaps the most groundbreaking album of 2008 was Lady Gaga’s The Fame, an album that put pop and dance music back at front and center. There was also Coldplay’s Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends, an album that took the band to almost U2 levels of fame. Then, there is Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III, an album that helped redefine hip hop.
Let’s take a look at these three albums, which people will be talking about a lot this year.
Lady Gaga, The Fame
Lady Gaga’s first album may be one of the most enjoyable albums of the past 20 years. Right before people used the Madonna comparisons as a pejorative for Mother Monster, The Fame actually was more reminiscent of something Gwen Stefani would record after attending a Grace Jones concert with Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons. Still, Gaga proved that she could definitely stand on her own.
“Just Dance,” the album’s first single, took a little time to take off. However, it soon exploded to No. 1, becoming one of the hottest songs of 2008 as well as an anthem for people who wanted to forget the tough times in their lives. By the time “Poker Face” was released in the spring of 2009, Gaga was months away from becoming a household name. Other songs that defined the album as well as the late 2000s include “LoveGame,” “Paparazzi,” and “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich.”
Coldplay, Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends
Now, music lovers — this is where the U2 comparisons started, even though the music from Coldplay and U2 has always been very different. What is similar is the reach and crossover success both bands had. As Rolling Stone notes, it’s no surprise that producer Brian Eno of U2 fame helped Coldplay out with this classic album.
Viva La Vida, released on June 12, 2008, was proceeded by the No. 1 hit “Viva La Vida,” a symphonic hit that deals with falling from grace. While “Lost!” wasn’t a huge hit on the charts, its anthem-like stadium rock sound propelled it as one of the album’s most critically acclaimed songs. Then, there are hits such as “Strawberry Swing” and “Lovers In Japan” that still get airplay until this day. According to the New York Times, Viva La Vida ended up becoming the best-selling album of 2008.
Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
With the release of Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne went from being a rap superstar to a rap icon. With Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne was able to mix rap and pop in a way that other artists had failed, bringing forward hits like “Lollipop,” which zoomed to No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 after its release. “A Milli” was another huge hit and ranked in as one of Rolling Stone‘s best 100 songs of the 2000s.
“In this thudding 2007 hit, Weezy likened himself to ‘Nigerian hair’ and a venereal disease’; name-dropped Orville Redenbacher, Michael Lowry, and Gwen Stefani; and proved beyond a doubt that he was both hip-hop’s most inventive MC and its weird one plus ultra – or as Wayne himself put it, ‘a goblin.'”
According to Billboard, Lil Wayne became the first artist since 50 cent in 2005 to sell more than 1 million copies of an album in a single week. Tha Carter III certainly earned its way into becoming a classic.