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The 40 Best Albums of 2008

Change! Crisis! Hope! Meltdown! You betcha! The past 366 days (happy belated leap year!) have been such a roller-coaster ride of apocalyptic dread and yes-we-can positivity that we can all be excused for swapping holiday bubbly for a nice glass of warm milk. But even for a year that saw both Axl Rose and Kevin Shields emerge from weirdo-exile, there were some blessedly familiar constants: Albums were released, many of them quite good. Lil Wayne made 13 of them. And we all relearned the valuable lesson that a year should be measured not by its highs or lows, but by its delicious creamy center. [This list was originally published in the January 2009 issue of SPIN.]

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