Friday, December 19, 2008

musical disappointments

I know some like to keep all news about music positive, but I cannot do so. I feel that I would not be doing my job, if I told you everything is great, when some of it is not. So, that is why I give you lists like this and constantly rail against mediocre bands with potential such as Coldplay.

That said, the biggest disappointment this year was music in general. It was not a particularly great year, with many of the artists I have come to expect great things from delivering sub par albums (this list is made up of many). In fact, only my Top 3 on the list of Top Albums would make it into last year's Top 10. Nothing is as transcendent as Arcade Fire, Radiohead or The National and nothing as engaging as The Format and New Pornographers, some of the best releases of the past few years.

Luckily some artists did step into the void and gave us some solid, even spectacular music. So, when looking at my Top Albums (coming soon), remember that just because something makes it into the Top 5 this year, it is probably not worthy a similar list from the past 3 years and if you release a Top 10 album and follow it with a merely decent album, you make this list.

That said, here are my Top 10 Disappointments.

small disappointments

10) Vampire Weekend- Vampire Weekend (how can a band everybody likes and is in my Top 15 Albums for the year be a disappointment? Too much hype. As I have said, this is a very good band. They ape the best of the Police and The Talking Heads. However, they have a log way to go before we crown them as the future of music. Both those bands, along with Arcade Fire are not only technically proficient, they are also emotionally resonant. The guys are a bit cold for me. Still, a very good album)

9) Viva La Vida or Death and All his Friends- Coldplay (ahhh, the soft prejudice of low expectations. I am beginning to learn that A Rush of Blood to the Head was the anomaly. My expectations have been lowered. I thought this album was back to form with single #1, but once again the lyrics are simplistic, the rhymes obvious, the music over-the-top emotional with a never ending crescendo and the tempos middling. These guys are the Ron Howard of music- great potential, but aiming for mediocrity to make the most people happy. No edge. These guys are not in the league of Radiohead, u2 or even Travis and Elbow. Don't analyze their lyrics. It is a waste of time. They are a decent pop band. That is it)

8) Narrow Stairs- Death Cab for Cutie (good album with a few great songs, but I liked them better before they started writing so many poppy love songs built for Indie Girls to swoon over)

medium disappointments

7) Chinese Democracy- Guns N' Roses (there are some solid songs on this album. But, after 15 years, I was expecting something better than solid hard rock. Sure, it is better than any hard rock of the past few years, but this is GN'R, makers of the greatest hard rock debut, ever!)

6) The Odd Couple- Gnarls Barkley (for a band this inventive, this album is terribly safe. They are suffering from the classic sophomore slump)

5) Dear Science,- TV on the Radio (good enough for my "Best of" list, but I was expecting more, especially considering the hype. I just cannot get into it. I love it in concept, but like it in execution. They suffer from very high expectations)

4) Evil Urges- My Morning Jacket (what I said above fits for this album. The album suffers from arrangement. Highly Suspicious would work great as song #7, but not so early. It is shocking to the system. Again, read what I said about Dear Science,)

Major disappointments

3) Loyalty to Loyalty- Cold War Kids (this is actually a good album, just below the list I made. But, it is very weak during the first few songs. I appreciate the desire to change and evolve, but they are not made for darkness. that said, there are 3-4 great songs. I would not be so disappointed if I had not loved album #1 so much. It was my #2 in 2006. Classic Sophomore slump)

2) Way To Normal- Ben Folds (a few great songs, but this is a major disappointment because it is Ben Folds. The idea of a Ben Folds album not making my Top 40, let alone my Top 10 is shocking. He is one of my favorite artists and this is the first album by him I am not interested in devouring)

1) Acid Tongue- Jenny Lewis (I am so frustrated to include this album. I keep trying and cannot get into it. I wanna cuss. Her first solo album was tied for best album of 2006. I love her and only think this album is okay. C'mon Jenny. Your last Rilo Kiley album was sub par and now this? You were not made for the masses. Come back home and make albums for the few, the proud, the smart assed arrogant music snobs. Please. We need you)


Dustin said...

i agree with every one of those. Acid Tongue was really bad, as was Way to Normal, as was Evil Urges. And I honestly don't know what people see in Vampire Weekend.

You know what else was kind of a let down? Okkervil River.

DJ Word said...

The more I hear form the Okkervil River album, the better it becomes. As I made my list and checked and rechecked, it kept climbing. it is now in the top 10, but barely, which is a slight disappointment, considering OR is usually higher.

However, since it cames out a year after the other and it was supposed to be the second side of The Stage Hands or an EP, I am very forgiving and cannot believe how good it is for stuff they considered less than the other album.

But, I am biased.