The Year According to PAPER

The PAPER crew weighs in on what went down in '08.
• Julie Besonen, food editor
• Zandile Blay, blogger/market editor
• Mickey Boardman, editorial director
• Rebecca Carroll, managing editor
• Peter Davis, editor at large, "Status Update" blogger
• Dennis Dermody, Cinemaniac blogger/columnist
• Kim Hastreiter, editor and publisher
• Paul Johnson-Calderon, blogger/market editor
• Gary Pini, "Eight Items or Less" blogger
• Rebecca Prusinowski, "Shop of the Week" blogger
• Whitney Spaner, assistant editor
• Alexis Swerdloff, managing editor, PAPERMAG.com
• Elizabeth Thompson, "Bar of the Week" blogger

REBECCA CARROLL, managing editor

The Top 10 Barack & Michelle Obama Moments of 2008:

10. September 8, 2008: Michelle dances on the Ellen show with pure ease, groovy grace and wicked style, and without a trace of self-consciousness.

9. November 4, 2008: The image of Barack and his mother-in-law sitting on a couch, quietly holding hands while watching the polls on TV is the very picture of what family should be.

8. November 1, 2008: Beautiful photo of Barack walking off a private plane in Colorado as his daughters and Michelle rush toward him with nothing shy of complete and utter joy.

7. February 18, 2008: At a Milwaukee rally, Michelle says "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country -- and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change." I don't care whether she meant it in a strictly political context or not -- you and me both, sister.

6. August 25, 2008: Raw footage on YouTube shows Barack watching Michelle give her DNC speech on TV from a hotel in Kansas City. When she is introduced, her name is spoken, he smirks with a sly cockiness, like the guy who got the girl every guy wants to date, and then afterward says, "I think she was pretty good," like a nerdy schoolboy with a crush. There's no better combination.

5. November 4, 2008: Barack and Michelle, along with their girls, vote in Chicago. The way they move together as a unit -- not too stuck together, but never too distant -- is genuine, reassuring and just plain sweet.

4. April 17, 2008: Barack responds in The New York Times to accusations that he had spent time "palling around" with "terrorist" Bill Ayers. "[Bill Ayers] is somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old." Enough said.

3. October 16, 2008: At the Alfred E. Smith Dinner, Barack kills it with his self-deprecating, but not too self-deprecating speech. "My greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility... my greatest weakness? It's possible that I'm a little too awesome." He's right, and the whole country knows it.

2. November 4, 2008: Barack's "Hello Chicago!" shout-out before he starts his victory speech -- like a rock star greeting his screaming fans, yes, but to me, more like a man who loves his city and recognizes in that moment that it all started, this extraordinary journey and ascension to become the President of the United States, right there in Chicago. A native son knocks it out of the park.

1. June 4, 2008: Even better than the much talked and written about "fist-bump" between Barack and Michelle when he accepted the Democratic nomination in St. Paul, is the b-ball player's pat on the ass Barack gives Michelle as she leaves the stage. Nothing cements the respect of a fellow team player more than the ritual athlete's pat on the ass.

JULIE BESONEN, food editor

My favorite gustatory pleasures of 2008:

1. Abraço, which brews the best coffee in New York, if not the world, opened on E. 7th Street last winter but I didn't realize it until this year. A garrulous, wooly-haired guy named Jamie is the master of ceremonies, somehow staying merry despite grappling with an espresso machine all day in a shoebox-sized space. And how does such a tiny kitchen turn out such delicious olive oil cake and soufflé-like frittatas?

2. La Superior in Williamsburg has the most amazing Mexican food at the friendliest prices, and is my favorite new eatery of the year. I used to only taste stuff this good on trips to Mexico or L.A. The tacos filled with roasted poblano peppers, the fat, little, cheese gorditas, the torta with fiery pork confit and beans, all make it live up to its name.

3. Evans Farmhouse Creamery butter, at Saxelby Cheesemongers in the Essex Street Market, is such a masterpiece of golden, sweet richness on a toasted bagel that it almost makes me cry. This butter is steep but it's from contented Jersey cows on a small family farm so I'm happy to pay the price.

4. Commerce's spaghetti carbonara with a coddled egg yolk was so rapturous, such a perfect, comforting dish on a cold night, it's stayed with me all year. I was also glad to see the old Grange Hall space, art deco touches intact, get a new lease on life.

5. Steven Shaw's book, Asian Dining Rules, finally taught me the proper way to eat a soup dumpling at Joe's Shanghai. I've been devouring them for years and even had them in Shanghai, but it wasn't until this year that I slurped them with complete confidence.

6. The porchetta sandwich at Porchetta is glorious, a new necessity for every true pork lover. The herb-permeated meat is soft and yielding and the bread has just the right crunch. Why did it take so long for Roman-style street food to get here?

7. The foie gras ravioli with tapioca pearls at Alain Ducasse's Adour was a divine indulgence, bathed in sunchoke broth. Luxury at its best.

8. Cocktails at PDT preceded by a snappy hot dog with mustard at Crif Dogs -- I didn't care at all about waiting to get into the speakeasy's inner sanctum when I had something this good to nosh on.

9. Pretzel dogs at the Rusty Knot, an arch dive bar in Chelsea, were just the thing on a late afternoon when I was throwing back tiki drinks with a friend. We tried every cocktail on the list and the pretzel dogs were such a good food foundation we felt just fine in the morning.

10. Café Luxembourg's 25th anniversary birthday bash was tops, bringing back '80s style, disco balls and bouncy music. Roving trays of hamburgers and French fries in cones, plentiful Champagne and cocktails, and fun celebrities like Kathleen Turner, Nell Campbell, Albert Maysles and Aida Turturro were all happy to chat.

MICKEY BOARDMAN, editorial director

The top ten shindigs of 2008 (with one bonus shindig):

1. The Calvin Klein 40th anniversary party at the Highline

2. The Diesel XXX party in Brooklyn

3. Dixon and Arriana Hohenlohe Boardman's dinner for Hubertus Hohenlohe at Cipriani

4. Sonia Rykiel's 40th anniversary party at Saint Cloud

5. Fendi's birthday party for Dita Von Teese in Paris

6. Diane Von Furstenberg's after-show party at her studio with the Super Bowl playing in the background

7. Rentboy's Hustlaball at Rebel with DJs Johnny Dynell and Carlos Morales

8. Bombay socialite Queenie Dhody's Fashion Week party at her home in Mumbai

9. Cinema Society's party for Julianne Moore's film Blindness at the Gramercy Park Hotel

10. Kate Schelter's dinner for the House of Lavande at Bobo

11. Milk Studio's 10th anniversary/the launch of the Last Magazine

WHITNEY SPANER, assistant editor

Here are my top ten Broadway moments of 2008 (not in any particular order) -- each of which brought me much joy and were a reminder of why I'm addicted to live performance.

1. Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona tap dancing with rats in Shrek The Musical.

2. Stockard Channing singing "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" in Pal Joey with a naked, sexed up Matthew Risch lying next to her on silk sheets.

3. Patti LuPone's speech after winning the Tony for her role as Mama Rose solidifying her place in Broadway divadom.

4. Liza Minelli back on Broadway

5. The muscular "horses" balancing on metal hooves (particularly, actor Spencer Liff) in Equus.

6. The female performers in The Seagull: Carey Mulligan's weepy Nina, Kristin Scott Thomas's bullying Arkadina and Zoe Kazan's desperate Masha.

7. The prescient use of the word "maverick" in Speed-the-Plow written by David Mamet in 1987.

8. A shirtless Patrick Wilson in All My Sons.

9. The beautiful staging of South Pacific at Lincoln Center and its beautiful leading man Paulo Szot.

10. The announcement that West Side Story will be back on Broadway this winter directed by the legendary Arthur Laurents and starring some of my favorite Curtain Cuties!

DENNIS DERMODY, Cinemaniac blogger/columnist

Seeing a bad movie is a little like breaking up with someone. There's a sense of regret, loss, savage disappointment and that nagging phrase buzzing in your brain: "How could I have ever imagined that would end well?" The same goes for seeing a great film, but obviously with the opposite effect. When you leave the theater, there's an enthusiasm, a sense of enjoyment that restores your faith. It's why people keep hooking up with others -- we hope that the next one will be better. I have to admit there were a lot of movie-related bust-ups this year, but just as many crushes. Here are my ten best and worst.

BEST:

The Edge Of Heaven Directed by Fatih Akin, this film offers up a complex tale of crisscrossing and emotionally charged stories with a searing performance by Hanna Schygulla as a grieving mother. Incredibly moving.

Inside Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo's bloody, nightmarish tale about a pregnant woman (Alysson Paradis) trapped in her house on Christmas, with a crazy woman (Béatrice Dalle) outside trying to get in–haunted me for weeks after I saw it.

Sukiyaki Western Django This phantasmagoric paste-up of Spaghetti Westerns directed by Takashi Miike is overblown, brilliant, hilarious and sentimental. It actually captured the genre while sending it up, and I loved every minute of it.

My Winnipeg Crackpot visionary Guy Maddin (The Saddest Music in the World) looks back on his hometown's quirky, sleepwalking past as he contemplates moving. He even hires actors -- like film noir fave Ann Savage -- to play his fearsome mother in this divinely deranged film.

Love Songs French director Christophe Honoré's (Ma Mère) bittersweet romance stars his usual muse Louis Garrel frequently breaking into song -- vibrant and inventive.

Savage Grace Tom Kalin (Swoon) directs this perverse and fascinating true-crime story about the murder of wealthy, would-be socialite Barbara Baekeland (Julianne Moore) at the hand of her own disturbed son (Eddie Redmayne).

Bad Biology Frank Henenlotter makes a triumphant return to cult cinema with a wildly transgressive tale of two people with mutant genitalia who find love. It doesn't get more twisted or better than this.

Milk Gus Van Sant's galvanizing and moving portrait of San Francisco gay activist Harvey Milk presents a stirring performance by Sean Penn as Milk.

Rachel Getting Married Jonathan Demme's best film in years is set around a multicultural wedding in Connecticut and features glorious performances by Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt and Debra Winger, among others. The freewheeling sweep of the movie reminded me of the closest thing to a Jonathan Demme-Robert Altman moment.

Man on Wire James Marsh's documentary on Philippe Petit, the Frenchman who snuck up the World Trade Center and walked on a high wire between the two towers in 1974, is just magnificent.

WORST:

Mamma Mia! I'd rather be water-boarded than sit through this again. I love Meryl Streep, but this film felt like someone was force-feeding me baklava while pinching my cheeks and screaming ABBA's greatest hits in my face for two hours.

Hamlet 2 The Shakespeare original was funnier.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe I wanted to believe too until I sat through this tediously talky bore. Organ harvesting? That's the best plot for a sequel that they could come up with?

Quid Pro Quo This movie started out interesting -- about a secret society of cripple wannabees -- but then just turned turgid and stupid.

What Just Happened Barry Levinson's Wag The Dog about Hollywood, with Robert De Niro as a producer on the verge of a nervous breakdown, was not even as sharp, or amusing, as any weekly Entourage episode.

The Happening M. Night Shyamalan's yawn-inducing apocalyptic tale was the last straw for me. It's not enough to come up with a cool concept. One has to follow through with an ending, too.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas A boy whose dad gets a job at a concentration camp plays with another boy through the fence in this depressing film that made me want to punch the projectionist at the end of the screening.

Repo! The Genetic Opera The Rocky Horror Picture Show for sub-moronic Goth kids.

Hounddog The Dakota Fanning rape movie is too funny to be offensive. And when her father (David Morse) gets struck by lightening and becomes retarded, it became downright hilarious.

Jumper This time-shifting sci-fi mess had me praying for a stroke in my seat.

KIM HASTREITER, editor and publisher

These are my picks for the ten most amazing, mind-bending creative moments of 2008 that gave me goose bumps.

1. When Joey Arias sang and danced to his Busby Berkley song in Arias with a Twist.

2. When Mr. Cartoon brought his amazing custom cars to the PAPER Project rooftop in Los Angeles this past November.

3. Aaron Young's motorcycle art piece/performance at the Armory

4. When the Iraqi journalist threw his shoe at George Bush's head.

5. The arrival of Swoon's armada of outrageous boats sailing down the Hudson to dock at Deitch Projects in Long Island City

6. Banksy's amazing, guerilla pet store and grill on Seventh Avenue South

7. Kehinde Wiley's African-inspired show at the Studio Museum of Harlem

8. PAPER's awesome Johnston-Marklee-designed 24 Hour Department Store in Los Angeles

9. The incredible victory of Barack Obama

10. Attending the Levi's-sponsored premiere of Gus van Sant's Milk at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.

PETER DAVIS, editor at large, "Status Update" blogger

My top ten moments of 2008:

1. Witnessing Bernie "Made-Off" Madoff, the $50 billion confidence man, being shoved and harangued by dozens of photographers and camera crews as he strolled into his $7 million apartment at 133 East 64th Street, two blocks from where I live. Surreal and so local!

2. Marching for gay rights all over Los Angeles (including outside the Mormon temple) right after Proposition 8 was passed in California. Protesting is the new after-hours party for 2009: cute kids, edgy fashion and busting dance moves to political chants. Divine!

3. Feeling the love of my 5,000 amazing Facebook friends who made sure I won The New York Observer's snarky Socialite Slapdown contest. The gorgeous Mikina Dimunova had dozens of friends voting for me hourly in Bratislava, Slovakia. Don't underestimate the power of a 'mocialite's FB status updates!

4. Giving out a PAPER Nightlife Award to photographer Nicky Digital with my fabulously chic co-presenter (and new obsession), the hilarious Harriet Halloway.

5. Learning from Brit tabloids that Amy Winehouse (yet another other obsession) allegedly uses cocaine to spin candyfloss (a.k.a. cotton candy) with her industrial strength carnival-style machine that a "friend" said is "her pride and joy... that candyfloss machine means everything to her." I just got a sugar rush!

6. Watching the impeccably dressed stunner Olivia Palermo go from the shy preppy Greenwich girl (that I was the first one to report on) as New York's next It Girl in Avenue magazine to becoming a star of MTV's The City. Dare I say I discovered her?

7. The haute-hot weekend wedding/couture fashion parade of Andres Santo Domingo and Lauren Davis in Cartagena, Colombia, which was the party of the year. Then having a late lunch with Bonnie Morrison, Chanel's Rebekah McCabe and Olivier Theyskens, who designed Lauren's wedding dress, at The Raleigh in Miami the next day.

8. Getting a glossy two-page spread in Style File: The World's Most Elegantly Dressed (Harper Collins), a kick-ass coffee-table hardcover by Iké Udé, with essays by Harold Koda and Valerie Steele. Next stop: Vanity Fair's International Best Dressed list!

9. Seeing Sean Penn's performance steal the movie Milk, at a special screening at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, where the whole Harvey Milk story went down. Does it get any gayer than that?

10. Getting a taste of the killer fashion Michelle Obama will be sporting as First Lady. Thakoon... Phillip Lim… Subversive Jewelry. It's going to be a chic chic year!

ZANDILE BLAY, blogger/market editor

From job drama to iconic collaborations, what didn't happen in fashion in 2008? Herewith, a few glittering fashion moments which stand out in my mind in no particular order… The Best Fashion Moments of 2008.

1. Louis Vuitton's insta-iconic ad campaign featuring former leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev.

2. The Karl Lagerfeld figurine debuts at Collette in Paris for $300 a piece. Fashion-forward tweens with discretionary cash to burn rejoice!

3. Kris Van Ashe shows a sickening (as in amazing) Fall 2008 womenswear collection in Paris. It answers the question: what would Yves Saint Laurent create if he were still designing today?

4. The fashion community witnesses the relaunch of two legendary labels, Ossie Clark in London and Halston in New York.

5. Lars Nilsson gets hired -- then fired -- as creative director at Gianfranco Ferre. In all, he was there less than six months and only put together one collection. Ouch!

6. Gucci celebrates a brand-new New York flagship store, along with a special "Gucci Hearts New York" logo.

7. Lanvin and Acne jeans unite to create figure flattering, albeit, budget busting $650 jeans!

8. Kira Plastinina invades the U.S with not one, not two, not three, but 15 U.S stores, mostly in New York City. She may have been overdoing it: six months later she closes all but two.

9. Vogue Italia's All Black Issue: 'nuf said!

10. Commes Des Garçons for H&M debuts -- mass hysteria ensues.

PAUL JOHNSON-CALDERON, blogger/market editor

Here are my top memorable moments of 2008:

1. LoRo causes a "traffic jam" at Charlotte Ronson's fashion show.

2. Social Scribe and downtown tabloid journalist extraordinaire George Gurley banned from The Beatrice for exposing the late night scene (PJC gets blasted by his parents for being a part of the article.)

3. The Triumphant return of a superstar -- Jules Kirby comes back home to New York.

4. Jorts and short-shorts make a summertime comeback.

5. Jack Bryan shows the underbelly of the New York scene with his documentary, Siberia: Life After Dark.

6. Funky face fashion: Chris Mendoza for Ray-Ban.

7. WASPunk, a deliciously and viciously conflicted new look, is born during karaoke nigh at Dorrian's.

8. Chic rumors die hard.

9. Rory Guinness granted permission by Paul Sevigny to film iLash's first music video at the Beatrice Inn. Socialites and locals partake in the coolness.

10. Southside fills a hole in New York nightlife.

ELIZABETH THOMPSON, "Bar of the Week" blogger

Here are my top five bars that opened in 2008, in no particular order:

1. Trophy Bar: I'm a tad biased because I live nearby, but Trophy Bar is one of my favorites this year. The space is charming and subtly vintage -- subway tiles, shelves behind the bar lined with antique trophies, and a neat chandelier made out of victrola speakers. Plus they have a really delicious complimentary snack mix -- which is so important -- made with wasabi peas and honey roasted peanuts, weird dance nights, and a Hennessey and St. Germaine cocktail called "Foremans Grill." Q.E.D.

2. The Ten Bells: A wine bar on Broome street named after the pub where Jack the Ripper supposedly staked out victims. Cute! Its ambiance is fittingly spooky, with low ceilings, dark, pressed tin walls and Edison light bulbs on rickety antique accordion arms mounted to the walls. Wines are all organic, all painstakingly listed on a chalkboard, and start at around $8. They have really good little meat and cheese plates, ceviches, and an oyster happy hour ($1.25 a piece) weeknights from 5 to 7 p.m.

3. Hotel Delmano: This bar was among the first crop of classic cocktail hideaways to spill over into Brooklyn and definitely holds its own. The space is beautiful and airy, with a winding marble-top bar in the front room and little parlors in the back with vintage wallpaper and panels of backlit industrial glass. Plus they have a ton of Amaros, which, on the rocks or with soda, is the perfect show off drink.

4. Madame Geneva: MG's fantastic jam cocktails are made by mixing homemade preserves to a gin and lemon juice base. The result is bright, tart, and enjoyably pulpy (really). The candlelit bar is attached to Double Crown, a new restaurant from design firm AvroKO, which is done up in a slightly troubling British Colonial theme. Madame Geneva is consistently low-key and a nice alternative to often-packed Von across the street.

5. Radegast Hall and Biergarten: I expected this Williamsburg beer garden to be Bro City, and avoided it accordingly for several months. But it's actually really cute. Radegast is a flawless recreation of a Bavarian beer hall, down to the 50-plus umlauted selections of weisses and lagers. There's a grill in their attached "garten" (the roof is comprised of contractible skylights), free Bratwurst when you order two $5 daily special beers, and a string septets on the weekends. A perfect Sunday afternoon bar.

REBECCA PRUSINOWSKI, "Shop of the Week" blogger

Despite the economic downturn, this year New York welcomed a host of hip new shops from acclaimed international and American labels alike. Here are our top New York shop trends of 2008.

The Swedish Invasion: Acne, Dunderdon & Tretorn

The Swedes reigned supreme in SoHo, opening three stylish shops in the nabe this summer. There's hip denim house Acne; the fashionable workwear brand Dunderdon; and Tretorn, the outdoor lifestyle company known best for rubber boots and casual footwear. These Scandinavian clothing companies definitely raised the bar when it came to store design.

Rent-a-Dress: ILUS

Anticipated recession shopping budgets back in April with a boutique full of beautiful designer dresses for rent. The Nolita shop leases luxury labels like Cynthia Rowley, Jill Stuart, and Gilles Montezin. There's still time to nab a fabulous frock for New Year's Eve!

Digging the New Digs: Rogan New York & Rick Owens

Rogan and Rick Owens get props for their dramatic new stores on the Bowery and in SoHo, respectively. Rogan's store has a dark and mysterious backstage feel -- no doubt a nod towards the building's history as a famous downtown theater. Rick Owens also opts for minimalism, allowing the expansive retail space and his cutting-edge collections to remain the prominent features instead.

Brooklyn Bound: & Smith + Butler & Boiy Krazi's Groovy Gardens

We loved these two new shops in BK: Boerum Hill's Smith + Butler, is a stunner and full of goods for men, women, and the home as well as the 'Burg's Boiy Krazi's Groovy Gardens for their killer tie dye skills and their neighborhood spunk that you just don't see in retail anymore...

GARY PINI, "Eight Items or Less" blogger

1. Best Movie: Wanted. I saw this in Paris on August 30 while I was away from the U.S. for most of the summer, so I missed the hype and reviews. No Batman or Hellboy or any action flick in years comes close to this crazy ride. And it just came out on DVD last week!

2. Best Compilation Album: Hip to the Jive Vol. 2 compiled by Peter Vriends. Picked it up in Amsterdam when the clerk told me it was his current fave. It includes 29 tracks from obscure 45s and I have given away tons of copies to friends (and strangers) and am searching for Vol 1.

3. Best Artist Album: In Ghost Colours by Cut Copy. I even went out and bought the first album (not as good) and went to see them at the Bowery Ballroom on May 14.

4. Best Live Concert: Roisin Murphy at Mansion, NYC. I saw her in Barcelona and fell in love, so I wasn't about to miss this show. Overall, it was a great year for neo-disco, but I always preferred Donna Summer to Cerone -- hence my waning interest in Hercules and Love Affair. (Runner-up is Matt & Kim, who I saw at the Converse space during Art Basel Miami.)

5. Best Book (Fiction): Breathe by Tim Winton. I must have read -- and enjoyed -- over 40 books this year but none came even close to Breathe. I know you've heard it a million times, but this book actually lives up to the genius of Catcher in the Rye.

6. Best Book (Non-Fiction): The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. I was so angry after reading this that I was ranting to the pool boy at the Standard Hotel in Miami for an hour. I was also I big fan of her previous No Logo and saw her speak last month in Manhattan.

7. Best Website: The Big Picture. When the Credit Crunch hit, I was looking for an antidote to Larry Kudlow when I noticed a quote in the NYT from Barry Ritholtz -- the site's author -- and now read it every day. He just finished a book called Bailout Nation that should be out in the spring.

8. Best Building: It's a tie between The New Museum on the Bowery here in Manhattan and the Zaha Hadid bridge built for Expo 2008 in Zaragoza, Spain. The former finally gave NYC something truly modern, unique and beautiful and the latter demonstrated that you can move through space and not always know the direction you are headed.

9. Best Hotel: Portixol in Palma, Mallorca. I'm not a big Mallorca fan, but I found this place to be a perfect little world in itself that you never had to leave. There's a stereo and rare records in the lounge and they serve by far the biggest and best breakfast I have ever had anywhere. (I also loved the Xaio Xaio in Baraloche.)

10. Best Restaurant: Social Parasio in Palermo, Buenos Aires. I had heard about this little gem in BA from a foodie friend but fell in love on my first visit when they were playing a Scissor Sisters album. They have a prix-fixe lunch that changes every day for only $9 and it would be a two-star restaurant in Paris. I had lunch here 24 times last winter.

ALEXIS SWERDLOFF, managing editor, PAPERMAG.com

Here are my picks (in no particular order) for the best songs of 2008:

1. "St. Petersburg" - Brazilian Girls
Though New York City is the title of the Brazilian Girls' 2008 album, it's St. Petersburg they're singing about on the record's rollicking, thumping title track. We dare you not to shimmy even just a little to this song.

2. "That's Not My Name" - The Ting Tings
This boy/girl duo from London received the music industry's version of the Midas Touch when their song "Let Me Go" was featured in an iPod commercial. But it was "That's Not My Name" and Katie White's frantic "They call me hell/They call me Stacy/They call me her" that got the dance party started for us.

3. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" - Beyonce
No words can do this justice.

4. "Skinny Love" - Bon Iver
Bon Iver, aka Justin Vernon, definitely has one of the most distinct voices of the year. His ethereal, slightly Martin-Sexton-esque warble is particularly poignant on this haunting track, which sends chills up our spine during the part when Vernon sings, "In the morning I'll be with you/But it'll be a different kind."

5. "Time to Pretend" - MGMT
"Let's make some music/Make some money/Find some models for wives." These are definitely some pre-Recession lyrics. But we love MGMT, one of the buzziest buzz bands of the year anyway. We ate some mozzerella sticks from Pete's Tavern with them and they were super upstanding and chill.

6. "Circus" - Britney Spears
So, maybe we watched "Britney: For the Record" three times, and maybe we listened to "Circus" over 20 times in one day. Maybe.

7. "I'm Good, I'm Gone" - Lykke Li
Lykke Li was the hottest thing to come out of Sweden this year, and looking like a long-lost Olsen sister, she got everyone's panties in a twist when she crooned "Yeah I'm working/To make butter for my piece of bun." It doesn't really make any sense, but it's super suggestive and sexy.

9. "Whatever You Like" - TI
This slow jam by house arrest hottie TI gets stuck in our heads approximately 2.5 times per day, and that is fine by us!

10. "Two Doors Down" - Mystery Jets
We first heard this song during Charlotte Ronson's fashion show as DJ'd by PAPER cover-boy Mark Ronson, and have since been unable to stop listening to it constantly. It's such an innocent, charming sentiment ("Maybe I should say 'What's up?'/ And invite her around/ Or take her for a spin around the town). We once heard an acoustic version of it at American Apparel, and if anyone has any info on where we can find that track, email us vip@papermag.com please!

11. "Gila" - Beach House
Victoria Legrand, one-half of Baltimore-based Beach House, is our nominee for Indie Rock Queen of 2008. We were entranced by her ethereal, Nico-y twang on this, our favorite track of this year's Devotion.

12. "Viva La Vida" - Coldplay
As much as we're embarrassed to admit it, we are totally and completely obsessed with this song.

13. "L.E.S. Hipsters" - Santogold
We included this track by Santogold to get back our cred after our Coldplay pick above, but also because this song is R.A.D.

14. "White Winter Hymnal" - Fleet Foxes
Some might say that Fleet Foxes make music best to thrash wheat and sow fields to; we think this song is eerie, sublime and beautiful.

15. "No One Does It Like You" - Department of Eagles
This Donovan-esque tune by Grizzly Bear member Dan Rossen is the aural equivalent of a hot toddy.

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