FT5: Disappointing Albums Of 2008
In 2008 we saw all kinds of releases across the board. Noise-pop seemed to be a pretty big deal, as did lo-fi production. But when preparing for our year-end lists, we came across the conundrum of deciding the biggest disappointments in 2008. Today’s Friday Top 5 is full of albums that our staff really looked forward to listening to when they were released, but instead fled in fear as to what our ears had just heard. List is after the jump
Listen, we love Austin music, and even more so, we love to watch this band live. They pull off a live set like very few other bands can, packing as much noise and rock into a set as anyone out there. But, Exposion just doesn’t come through on all the promise. To begin with, the album dances all over the place, barely concentrating on any one style long enough for the band to develop the sound. Yea, that may be part of the live show that melts faces, but I want a record I can turn up to 11 as well. The production quality is muddy at best, which shows a devotion to the live sound or a lack of interest. In the end, it waters down the sound of one of the more promising acts to come out of Austin in recent years.
Looking back in his catalog, you will find some ridiculously good works from Ryan Adams. Whether you want to look at the pop-country gems he penned in Whiskeytown, or whether you understand the greatness that was Heartbreaker, you have to admit, that is a distant past. Perhaps this is horrible to ask of someone, but can we hear a hurting Ryan Adams again? In all honesty, this album probably would be higher on a list of great disappointments in 2008, had Ryan Adams not consistently released poor albums during the last few years. That’s right, Easy Tiger, and 29 just weren’t good, and I am sorry if die-hard fans follow this guy blindly to amazing lyrics like “go easy.” Controversy or not, this album was just really bad.
Coming from a pretty big MMJ fan, this album was not what we had come to expect from Jim James and crew. When a band gives you an almost perfect album with 2005’s Z, the expectations rise to maybe unattainable levels. This effort isn’t all bad. I’ve quoted several people as saying if you dropped 4-5 of the really mediocre songs on this album, you would have a great EP. The problem stands that the entirely too rock generic songs like “Thank You” and “I’m Amazed” combined with the robot vocals of “Highly Suspicious” left me confused. All you MMJ die hards out there will all say: “It rocks live man”, but that doesn’t hide the fact that Evil Urges will go down as a lackluster album.
When this band first burst onto the music scene, they were the South’s answer to The Strokes. Down here in Texas we got really excited; we all yearned to have our own Southern-style hipster band. Years later, the band decided to release Only by the Night. This is nowhere near where the band began. Vocals sound a lot more polished, and there is no sign of the South on this album at all; it smells of Hollywood. The single “Sex on Fire” is up near the top of one of the more worthless songs of the year. The substance of this band is long gone, and with the South out of the way after the Civil War, we can now be rid of Kings of Leon as well. They said goodbye to their beards; we said goodbye to them.
Silent Alarm is probably one of the best debut albums to come out during this decade, especially with regards to expectations and timing. That album let very few people down, and it’s still a joy to listen to nowadays. Then the band stumbled across the sophomore slump, as most bands inevitably do. So 2008 brought us Intimacy. We all crossed our fingers and hoped that the band could regroup after a difficult second outing; we all wanted to love this band so badly once again. Absence of percussion leads one to believe that the band is dedicated to creating a purely danceable album, a la New Order. Unfortunately, this band just doesn’t have the chops to pull it off. There is no longer intimacy between us, in fact, the band has left us with nothing more than animosity.
Many of you may have some strong feelings about what we have to say on this Friday Top 5, so let’s hear it. Keep it clean… Next week we’ll be bringing you our much anticipated Top 30 albums of the year. Get excited!