It's the album that, when it did get talked about, it was damned with nothing but faint praise, often in the form of "it's pleasant" and "it's playful." Similar to 2002, the year where the most recommended albums were pretty much all albums that came riding in with statements like "You've gotta check this out! It's totally relaxing and quiet!", Everybody is, under certain circumstances, one of those albums that's the antithesis of party music and a perfect example of something that can't open itself to the listener if it's treated as a soundtrack. In a way, the closest album to Everybody on this list is going to be Burial's Untrue, another album that will always stand back and allow the listener to get on with their life--tuning this stuff out, letting it fade to a background bounce is part and parcel of what makes both Untrue and Everybody so worth returning to. It's fragile, quiet music--and it's also one of the best things to be released this year, and one of the finest of Sea and Cake's career. Unlike some of their almost willfully obtuse earlier works, Everybody is one of the most easily accessible albums of the year--it's a solidly pop album clothed in a vintage sweater, an album that makes good on the promise of the never realized optimism of the indie pop from the late 80's. In other words, Everybody is the album that Beat Happening would have made if they had any music talent to back up their omnipresent joy--which isn't to say that anything Sea And Cake does here sounds like Beat Happening at all--but nor does Everybody really sound like anything else. It's been given meat grinder terms, like everything else in music criticism these days--Pitchfork said that it was afro-pop mixed with bossa nova, whereas Wikipedia resorts to the all-encompassing "jazzy" to describe their sound. While there's some accuracy to both (especially because just about anything except metal can probably show some "jazzy" in their DNA,) Everybody made it onto the countdown not because it was a combination of a whole bunch of stuff that's likable, it made it this high because it's one of the most direct statements of aesthetically beautiful music that came out this year. It's never going to be one that gets a jaw-dropping response--but it's never going to fail to bring a smile to one's face. Oh, and to give it the requisite comparison, this is what At The Drive-In would sound like if their hands were broken, their vocals were whispered, and the instruments were stolen out of Unrest's van, when they were on the way to record Imperial f.f.f.r. If that last sentence doesn't earn some claim of assholery hipsterism, then nothing will.
-Tucker Stone, 2008