What Was Your Most Disappointing Purchase of 2008?

Jan 2nd, 2009 // 57 Comments

I hate going back to the 2008 well (especially after Skillz has wrapped everything up), but until 2009 coughs up some more news, this is what we’re stuck with… looking back on 2008 and thinking about what music didn’t live up to our possibly inflated expectations.

Guardian blogger Tony Naylor’s top choice was Hot Chip’s Made In The Dark, which wasn’t nearly as troubling as an album to me as it seemed to be to so many others. After all, even Naylor admits there were a few good songs within, and I’m not sure I thought the The Warning was “deep soul music made by discreetly clever men.” Maybe my expectations were lower? Glasvegas’ full-length isn’t out here yet, so I’ll reserve my opinion on that for another week, although his third choice was maybe a little more shocking than the other two.

3) Santogold – Santogold (Atlantic)

We wanted the Santogold of Creator, but what we got was 11 songs that sound a bit like the Strokes. We wanted the Santi White who made the (exceptional) Top Ranking mixtape with Diplo; we got the slick professional songwriter. You can’t deny that the likes of I’m a Lady are the work of a skilled craftswoman, but neither can you find any genuine emotional or sonic vitality in this album. Forgotten, but not gone.

I was more excited by Top Ranking than the album as well, but the complaint “11 songs that sound a bit like the Strokes” seems to be inaccurate.

I had a hard time thinking of an album that really “disappointed” me this year, especially since there weren’t that many I was really all that excited for that didn’t pay off. The Magnetic Fields’ Distortion wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be; the Hives’ shine has worn off for me; and there were obviously highly acclaimed discs I didn’t share the world’s enthusiasm for (Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver).

The closest thing I could come to a “disappointing” album was the Roots’ Rising Down, which I listened to twice before it was doomed to the CD rack of no return. I used to like the Roots so much that the idea of not obsessively listening to an album of theirs over and over would have been unthinkable to me during the Things Fall Apart era, but there are probably a number of reasons for that shift in my listening habits that have nothing to do with whether or not an album lived up to my expectations.

So, do you have a disappointing purchase haunting your memories of the last 12 months?

The most disappointing albums of the year [Guardian]


  1. Maura Johnston

    @Job: Ha, point taken on our slightly outdated terminology there.

    I forgot about the CSS record! I guess that should mean something as far as how disappointing it was to me, since it was definitely something I had been looking forward to.

  2. Anonymous

    I’ll second or third (or fourth or fifth, I lost track) Keane and the Streets. I really really had high hopes for both of those. Blech.

  3. teknohed

    I was so excited for the release of Portishead’s “Third” that I took Amazon up on their offer to buy both the Album and the first Single “Machine Gun” on vinyl.

    I figured there might be a good B-side or remix that I could rip to my MP3 player. But it looks like they saw me coming a mile a way.

    What I got for my 12 bucks ($12! That’s like 120 songs in the Russian MP3 download site economy!) was a ONE TRACK “single”. I mean it is like half of a 45. With no B Side, only a sort of crappy vinyl etching on the back side (I still dont’ know what it is supposed to be a picture of, a burned out dystopian cityscape maybe).

    It’s not even like a “radio edit”…just the LP version and it cost MORE than the whole LP! What a rip off!

  4. michaelpop

    I’m going to second the disappointment for Cardinology. Between that one and Easy Tiger, Ryan’s using up his goodwill fast.

    Before reading this post I was going to suck it up and pick up Dear Science based on all the great things I’d heard. Thing is, I did the same thing with their last couple of albums and got burned each time. I thought maybe there was something wrong with me for not getting it. Glad I’m not alone! (And thanks for saving me $15!, Idolator!)

  5. TimGunn

    My worst concert was the Decemberists at Terminal 5. I wanted to go to a concert, not a political rally (it was the night after the election). Just play the fucking music white boy.

  6. MrStarhead

    Toadies’ reunion album. I was stoked when they got back together, but it just sounds like they listened to Rubberneck five times through, then tried to play it without the original hooks.

  7. Avril Lavigne is Perfect – I don’t know why so many people hate her :D

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