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]