Category Archives: Music

Album of the Year: 1985-1987

Last time I wrote about my picks for the best (most meaningful to me) albums of the first three years of my life.  Time to continue this strain forward into several more of the years when I was still really damn young, and hence finding this music well after the fact.

Album of the Year: 1985

Big Lizard in My Backyard  The Dead Milkmen– In my early teen years punk rock music was one of the most influential, and one of the bands that my best friend and I spent endless hours listening to was The Dead Milkmen. While Big Lizard doesn’t compare in absolute terms to some other of their work, the bones of what made the Dead Milkmen great are here– simple four chord songs, the singer’s unique (most would call it “bad”) voice, the talking over style, cheeky lyrics, and ridiculous sing along refrains. From the into to “Bitchin Camaro” where they deadpan, “My parent drove it down from the Bahamas/ You’re kidding!/ I must be the Bahamas are islands!” We were hooked.

Runner Up

Frankenchrist Dead Kennedys Jello Biafra’s also unique voice slides across the tracks on the Dead Kennedys’ quintessential effort, hitting the peaks and valleys we all have come to expect from Jello Biafra. Unfortunately most of the album isn’t available on spotify, so my impressions of this album are still mostly filtered through memories from 18 years before. The Dead Kennedys were the darker side to the punk obsession that took hold of me for many years.

Album of the Year: 1986

Please Pet Shop Boys– The Pet Shop Boys are to this day one of my favorite bands. I love many of their albums, and Please is one of their very best. Featuring their biggest hit (“West End Girls”), Please is actually a stand out due to some of the lesser known tracks that it brings. “Suburbia” has barking dogs and police sirens in the refrain as it tears apart suburban culture, “Love Comes Quickly” start with an underpinning of menace that is one of the Pet Shop Boys’ greatest tricks– masking the true emotion of a song beneath a veneer. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe’s first album perfectly combines innovative song topics, dance rhythms, and 80’s synth into a true masterpiece.

Runner Up

What Do You Know, Deutschland? KMFDM the first album from Germany’s uber long running industrial band gets the nod here because for some reason its the only other album from 1986 that I have listened to all the way through more than once, and lets face it– KMFDM deserves to be on this list somewhere and their best work might have come in years with more competition than 1986. Stripped down compared to come of their later work, What Do You Know still has the key members of the rotating cast in place (Sascha Konietzko and En Esch). That somewhere in my youth my friend group and I were album to have (relatively) intelligent discussions about which members of KMFDM were the best says a lot about the appeal of the group and its kitschy pop-art covers and light industrial sound.

Album of the Year: 1987

The Joshua Tree U2– from the opening swell of “Where the Streets Have No Name” its evident that U2 have put together something transcendent on Joshua Tree. I first listened to this on a vinyl copy I picked up at Goodwill for a quarter. The uplifting power of the ballads here won me over, and I went searching into the by that time expansive U2 catalog looking for more, only to be met with mostly average efforts and nothing that came close to the sublime that Joshua Tree touched, particularly on its first three tracks.

Runner Up

Music For the Masses Depeche Mode– Depeche Mode’s dark, drippy synths and hushed declarations run across this gem from a band that by the mid 90s when I was in High School was considered by my peers to be a joke, lumped in with other 80s bands and a subject of derision. But I was looking for more electronic music, something I was into at the time, and so when I picked up a copy of Music For the Masses for $7 at Capitol Music where my friends and I were perpetually spending our allowance/ paper route money, I found myself entranced, listening to it several times over on a car trip. The album was weirdly sexual in a stark, vivid way I’d never encountered before, and very dark in subject matter and tone.

Album of the Year:1982

If Kanye West’s repeated interrupting act has taught us anything, it is that the Grammy’s (and nearly every other source for such kind of praise) often get the Album of the Year wrong in many of our estimations. But what exactly does make something the Album of the Year? The best album? Most popular?  Most meaningful? Some combination of those?

Its all pretty subjective. Sure Kanye, we get it– you always think Beyonce had the best album/video/song. But most of us have varying tastes (Taylor Swift yes, Beck not so much). So I have decided to go through my entire life and declare my own album of the year.

This won’t be a consensus best album, or rated on anything save my own enjoyment of and experience with the album.  I’ll hit on some of the anecdotes of my reasons and do a general once over the nominees. The selection committee and the voting body are both numbered in the singular. This is my list after all.

So, as in most cases I prefer to start, at the beginning, which in this case is 1982 the year of my birth. The early years I didn’t encounter these albums until much later

Album of the Year: 1982

Forever Now The Psychedelic Furs– slick, talky album features great 80s synths, cool syncopated mallet sounds, and Richard Butler’s cooing growl. The title track and lead single “Love My Way” start the album off with a blast, and the second side is headline by “President Gas” a subversive saxophone fueled anti-President Reagan anthem. “Run and Run” follows it up with another strong effort. I discovered this gem on vinyl at Goodwill sometime in my late junior high/ early high school years. Its not coincidental that the four best songs are 1-2 on each side respectively, while the other 6 tracks somewhat flounder or fail to impress, and I’m not sure that finding this album on spotify or CD would have had as profound an effect as it did in its original vinyl glory. Forever Now  showed me what synths were before the digital age, and the Psychodelic Furs are one of the lost gems of the late 70s/early 80s that don’t get the credit or the listening time they truly deserve.

Runner Up: Rio Duran Duran– peak Duran Duran with both the title track and “Hungry Like the Wolf”, my second hand copy of this CD got a lot of play. Through a lot of my life Duran Duran has been seen as somewhat of a punchline, but they had a lot of hits– great catchy songs and whether you realize it or not if you are around my age you probably know at least three of their songs. (Some combination of “Rio”, “Hungry Like the Wolf”, “The Reflex”, “Ordinary World”, and “Notorious”) But Duran Duran was always more of a singles band, and Rio falls just short for my 1982 spot.

Album of the year 1983:

Violent Femmes Violent Femmes– The Violent Femmes debut is a seminal album for me and a lot of others I’m sure. My best friend Devin and I listened to the CD version of this for hours while playing Killer Instinct Gold on the Nintendo 64 and hanging out at the park for hours on end. The simplicity of the guitar/snare/vocals combination, the nasally intonation of Gordan Gano’s lyrics, and above all else the songwriting– “Blister in the Sun”, “Kiss Off”, and “Add it Up” still stand as three of the best songs I’ve ever heard. The album was pure ecstasy for pre-teen angst– just edgy enough to excite, but just acceptable enough to be picked up at a time when we still needed our parents to buy the records.  Violent Femmes is one of the albums that I credit with my deep dive into true music nerd territory that lasted through at least all of high school and persists in small part to this day.

Runner up: Power, Corruption, and Lies New Order– drippy new age synth instrumentals dominate this early New Order album– not their pinnacle but a strong effort from the long lived band that is highlighted by the original version of “Blue Monday”.

Album of the Year 1984: 

Ride the Lightning Metallica: One of the very early forays I made into heavy music came in the form of this early Metallica album. The fact that I discovered this in the mid 90s, just in time for LoadReload, and then Garage Inc to come out meant that this was also one of my very early forays into watching the pathetic decline of artists who I had a certain fondness for. The staccato screams of “Fight Fire With Fire” are the pinnacle of this band for me, and this album marks the clear line of demarcation– Metallica before Ride the Lightning?  Good. Metallica after Ride the Lightning? Bad.  Well, 2/10 isn’t bad, right?

Runner Up: Purple Rain Prince and the Revolution: The classic Prince movie soundtrack gets some points knocked off in the final estimation because I’ve to this day never listened to this album. But I had a copy of the movie I recorded off Starz complete with introduction by Leonard Maltin that I would watch on my VCR and 13 inch TV in my bedroom at home. None of the words in that last sentence make sense to half of you right now, so I think its time to quit while I’m ahead.

I am putting up a spotify playlist to go along with each of these, feel free to listen to my selections at your own leisure, comment, pick apart my bizarre combination of choices, or suggest what albums were meaningful to you.

Paramore: Hayley Williams Does Her Best Gwenn Stefani Impression

One fortunate thing about Spotify is never having to pay to hear a song for the first time.  You know, if Spotify has it (it still think that Taylor Swift’s latest album is Speak Now).  Very occassionally, something will pop up on the new music section before you even knew it existed.  This happened to me this weekend, when I randomly checked spotify and the new section directed me to a new track from Paramore titled “Now”.

Before I judge this record, let me give a brief history of my involvement with Paramore.  I began listening to them first in 2008 or so.  This was after their first two albums where out, but just before Brand New Eyes.  I genuinely like the band.  My favorite songs are “Emergency”, “Misery Business”, and damn near everything on Brand New Eyes.

Through a complete random set of circumstances, I had the pleasure to see Paramore perform on the VH1 Divas Support the Troops concert in November 2010.  A few weeks later, half the band split, leaving Hayley Wlliams basically a solo act/ regrouping.  Since then the band had released a couple of singles/ compilation offerings, but has not yet released a follow up album on the heels of Brand New Day and the split.

Now “Now” comes out in 2013, and the obvious questions are in some order:
1. Does this mean a new full length album is to follow?
2. Does the band still have “it”?
3. Is it any damn good?

To answer those questions, I give you a resounding no clue, outlook seems positive, and yes.  Whether this is an opening salvo for a full on Paramore assault this coming year, the single itself is solid.  Its fast, as heavy as you expect or want a Paramore track to be, with Hayley Williams doing her thing across the guitar driven rock song.

I’d say this feels a bit more pop than the Paramore of old, but they were always pop.  It does, however, have the feel of Gwen Stefani on her first solo album– and when you think about it, Ms. Williams has basically reconstructed the band without its co-founders, leaving it essentially her solo project– she didn’t have to leave No Doubt and step out on her own because the band did the stepping out for her.

The lyrics here are in similar vein to much of Paramore’s lyrics– overdramatic, emo fueled, but catchy.  The guitar is solid if not as instantly recognizable as say, the opening riff of “Emergency” or “Brick By Boring Brick”, though the tone feels off a bit.

Overall, I rate the intitial single a success and truely do look forward to an album of new material from Paramore this year.

2012: The Year in Disappointing Follow-ups

The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve saw a great number of disappointing follow ups.  The New York Football Giants followed up a 2011 (well, February 2012) Super Bowl by failing to qualify for the playoffs.  The Republican Party followed up John McCain with the somehow less inspiring, less exciting Mitt Romney to the somehow less surprising effect of another failed presidential bid.  Showtime followed up a very successful season one for some show called Homeland which was critically acclaimed but watched by less than 2 million Americans because, lets be honest, no one gets Showtime with a second season of a show called Homeland which was widely panned as being no longer critically acclaimed and was viewed by the same 2 million or so people because, lets be honest– NO ONE get Showtime.

Music, in the year 2012, made no exception to the general rule of rather uninspired, if not downright insipid follow ups.  I noticed this, most specifically, via personal experience, as anticipated album after anticipated album which I purchased or otherwise listened to failed to meet the expectations which the previous efforts of the artists I follow had built.

Lets take a look at the disappointments that permeated music listening in 2012 in the following format:
The Band
Who it is that disappointed.  What do we know about them, and what do we wish we knew.
The Build Up
Here we will examine the bands previous effort or efforts which have built the expectations which are then torn asunder by. . .
The Disappointment
The album which shattered all our hopes and dreams for the bands which we love or loved by being less awesome than we expected.

So, without ado I present to you, the disappointments of 2012:

The Band: Say Anything
Fronted by troubled lyricist Max Bemis, Say Anything started building indie cred and following somewhere around the turn of the millenium.  The band is build on Bemis’ witty, somewhat homo-erotic, scathingly “punk” but deeply sweat lyrics backed by your typical pop/emo guitar and drums music.
The Build Up: Say Anything Self Titled
In 2009, Say Anything perfected the formula which brought them to notoriety with their self titled album.  The album was a masterpiece track by track.  Opening with accoustic backing before the electric guitars and synthesizers kick in “Fed to Death” hits the pseudo-religious/sacriligious irony which has been a trademark of the band in a perfect minute 36– just enough time to not need to repeat anything.  The second track, the single for the release, “Hate Everyone” maintains its wit, while calling back The Clash in tone yet being uniquely Say Anything.
From here the album gets better.  “Do Better” features pizzacotto strings over hand clapping beats which Bemis uses to weave a self-effacating psalm to failure and unrealized potential.  “Less Cute” tells a story of love-lost regret and loathing about ex-lovers new lovers with jazzy horns weaving seemlessly into the guitars driving need, settling in for the settling.  “Eloise” is a ballad only the sardonic hipster could write.  “Crush’d” is the best song the bad has ever written– sweat and endearing opening the world of love and expectation and desire and laying it all bare to the world in the admittance of a crush.
“She Won’t Follow You” follows on the band’s 2005 song “Admit It” in its sing-spoken verses and scathing, angry verses and catchy half shouted-half whispered chorus.  “Cemetary” softens the tone with another accoustic intro, organ sounding keys, and female backing vocals on the inane/unforgetable/repetitively perfect refrain (your in my body, your your in my body, your in my body that’s where I think about you).  “Death for my Birthday” takes a new spin on the story-fable song about wanting to die and aging and wanting to live.  “Young and Dumb and Stung” rumbles with bass and synth sinister and spiteful in all the right ways.  The album closes with the perfect kind of outro-track in “Ahhh. . . Men””.
While there are a few less than perfect tracks (“Mara and Me”, “Property”) the awesomeness of this album can be easily illustrated by the fact that no less than 5 tracks (“Hate Everyone”, “Do Better”, “Less Cute”, “Crush’d”, and “Cemetary”) were chosen for the bands 14 track Greatest Hits leaving only 9 tracks to distribute between the first 9 years of the bands existence.
The Disappointement: Anarchy, My Dear
Anarchy, My Dear is a decent album.  The opening track “Burn a Miracle” is a really good song, and a great opener.  It was pre-released before the album by a month in early 2012 on youtube with a clever lyrics bouncing around animated video which works great for this band which is built on the strength of the clever lyrics.  The thought that this might be a lesser track on the album only increased hopes that it was a second masterpiece.
From there the album goes downhill.  While we’ve come to expect, accept, and cherish even some of the off things Bemis sings about, “Say Anything” a song named after the band simply goes too far to too little effect “I’d condemn my race to genocide. . .anything for you you (oh oh oh) do anything for you”.  “Night Song” is decent, but seems to drag one four bars too long in each and every phase of the song, and its highlight is the first 15 seconds of a 25 second guitar break two minutes into the song, while the last 45 seconds are thrown away on an extended and incredibly uninteresting outtro.
“Admit It Again” by contrast is simply awful.  It is derivitive in its name, its content, and attempts very hard to recall the sucess that the bands earlier song accomplished. . . “Don’t wanna hear about how the latest Rihanna single is a post-modern masterpiece– stop punishing me”, “well my momma didn’t raise no fool– god my blood boils at the thought of you, poseur die!” “And the crap rains down. . .x6”.  Its a symbol of a band trying so hard to still be indie and off beat and anti-establishment when the music and ideaology they represent has become so on-beat and establishment it smacks of the worst excesses of the hipsterism it pretends to rail against.  Everyone knows only poseurs have to say “poseur die!”
The rest of the album comes through as mostly forgettable.  Only the title track resembles anything of a stand out.  Critical reviews bear out that this was a lesser effort, coming in at 66/100 on Metacritic a full 10 points lower than the Self-titled 76/100 average.  Certainly not a bad album, worth listening to if you are a fan of the band, but ultimately, in comparison disappointing.

The Band: Motion City Soundtrack
Another pop-punk rock band that started just before the year 2000 (with a 7 inch release coming in 1999), Motion City Soundtrack found prominance in 2005 with their album Commit this to Memory with its incessant single “Everything is Alright”, and the perfect drinking yourself into oblivian anthem “L.G.F.U.A.D” (Lets get fucked up and die).
The Build Up: My Dinosaur Life
In 2010 MCS release My Dinosaur Life which charted at number 15 on the billboard top 100, one place ahead of 2007’s Even if It Kills Me.  “Its been a good year, a good new beginning. . . I’ve been a good little worker bee, I deserve a Goooold star” the album kicks off, with the track “Worker Bee”  then barrels forward into a swift tempo reminder of why we loved this band in 2005, complete with a sound that could remind you of a bee singing along in the background if you let it.  The album too, barrels ahead with a great line up of catchy hooks “I thik I can can figure it out but I’m gun  na need a little help to get throguh it” on “Life Less Ordinary (Need a Little Help), and memorable riffs and intro (the drum stick clacking of “Delirium”.
“Her Words Destroyed my Planet” is paced slower than almost any other song in MCS’s catelog, but it has you hooked from when lead vocalist Justin Pierre intones “I fell asleep watching Veronica Mars again” on.  The verses are clever, and the chorus is powerful “If we’d only stayed together, I might not have fallen apart.  But the Words you Said Destroyed my planet, I stal before I start . . . anything at all.”
“Disappear” somehow, by contrast feels faster, harder, roguher than what you expect from this band, stretching them out tonally in a way that holds attention and brings you further in.  “History Lesson” revels in defiance “Its not my goddamn history” Pierre huffs over splashing cymbols.  “Stand Too Close” echoes the best of “L.G.F.U.A.D.” musically, while driving forward with cleverly sacharine lyrics.  “Pulp Fiction” is the best trail-led lyrically connecting song since Third Eye Blind’s “Tatoo of the Sun”.
While the album trails off from there, the remaining tracks are all solid, driven and catchy if not as memorable as “Pulp Fiction” or “Stand Too Close”.
The Disappointment: Go
I won’t go into this album track by track.  In fact, I can’t.  There’s not a single bad track on the album.  Some of them could be catchy if you really subjected yourself to them often enough.  What the album lacks, however, is the song that is so catchy the first time you hear it that you have to listen again.  In the first weeks of June after its release listening to this album.  I wanted so bad to love it.  I wanted so bad for this album to displace My Dinosaur Life and Commit This to Memory from my playlists and my heart.  One day I listened to Go five times in a row.  Sadly, today when I started working on this article (this may of course be yesterday by the time I finish this article) I could not remember one single track off Go.  I truely believe in this band, and I can only imagine that in 2014 when they release another album as good as we know they can I will love it again, but Go  was mearly disappointing.
The Metacritic review data doesn’t bear this out as pointedly as with Say Anything’s efforts, rating Go only 2 points on average lower than My Dinosaur Life, however the opinion of the Alternative Press seems pertinant in this case– Alternative Press rated Go 80 points (June 12th, 2012) while they gave My Dinosaur Life a full 100 points saying, “Motion City Soundtrack have made the best album of their career and easily one of the best albums of 2010 or any other year. [Feb 2010, p.91]”

The Band: Miike Snow
Many of you may not have heard of Miike Snow.  But you have heard Miike Snow.  The synth-pop duo are the pair responsible for Britney Spears’ “Toxic”.  One of the best pop songs of the decades, this alone set a high standard for the music the pair chooses to make for themselves.
The Build Up: Miike Snow
In 2009, Miike Snow’s debut album Miike Snow echoed with synth pop perfection, featuring the catchy memorable hooks and lyrics that “Toxic” suggested they could write.  (No, each time I write Miike I am NOT typing it wrong.  There are in fact, two “ï”s back to back.  It looks wierd, but go with it.)  “Animal” kick starts the self titled with an infusion of Reggae/ska rhythm and sets the tone for what is to come, exploring lyrical hooks and synth soundcraft in equal measure.  “Burial” keeps the ska-tone driving, but mixes in synth swirls akin to the best of the 1980s New Wave.  “Silvia” drips with the want and drive of the after hours, like a lyracized extention of the Underworld circa Beaucoup Fish, replete with mono-synths gliding across the thumb of the drums and bass.  “Song for No One” introduces an almost, western/cowboy riff-as-hook beside the earnest spoken verses and the budding, throbbing bridge.  “Black and Blue” drives with a doowop meats disco sensibility that makes you want to dance till the end of days.  “Sans Soleil” drops the dance beat in favor of a conga and woodblock beat, swirling across with monosynth, plucking piano notes, and earnest, heart felt lyrics even if you don’t quit get why they are saying what they are saying (“How can we expect to build a boat– with Seagulls ruining everything?”  “It’s all the opposite I think, the ladder runs side to side.”)  “A Horse is Not a Home” builds a catchy, dance anthm around a ridiculous concept.  “Plastic Jungle” drips like the best of the 1980s Eurythmics, buzzing along while the Jazz lyrics roll across, “Now I see just what you mean; it hurts to much to breathe; all alone in this plastic jungle”.  The album closes with “Faker”, a swirl of soulful instrumental flourishes built on a running bass line.  Overall, the album was satisfying beyond belief, leading me to believe the band would make imense leaps forward in future releases.
The Disappointment: Happy to You
Things go wrong for Happy to You almost from the start, the first track feeling like a four minute intro, with an annoying intro, and ruthlessly arpegiating background that sounds like the bad end of a Chemical Brothers acid trip, never coalescing into the beauty that the self titled hit so perfectly, and what’s worse, repeating the somewhat annoying back ground pieces to the point that you simply do not wish to listen to the track anymore.  “The Wave” is a fine song, but dwells too long on the snare drum/piano intro, and goes too often to too bare of an aural landscape for track with as minimal vocal content, leaving it more as something you were interested in than something you liked.

The Band: Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear have been around since 2002, releasing two albums in their first six years.  The band blends modern instruments like synthesizers with accoustic guitar and folk song writing.
The Build Up: Veckatimest
In 2008, when the group released Veckatimest the album was featured in Time Magazine.  Everything you need to know about the album, which was a solid effort, is contained in two tracks: “Two Weeks” and “Fine For Now”.  “Two Weeks” starts with a staccotto piano line, then builds with a swirl of harmonic vocals, forming together into a perfect sing along doo wop song.   “Fine for Now” slides across the ear in a slinky, soft jazz swirl.  Both songs are nearly perfect, while the rest of the album is somewhat forgettable.
The Disappointment: Shields
I should have seen this one coming: even at their best, Grizzly Bear are inaccessible and artsy.  What set Veckatimest apart was the indelible, indescribably memorable hook of its two best tracks.  Shields is a fine album.  Listening to it deeply is quite satisfying.  But there’s no track on this album that grabs hold of the soul and demands to be loved the way “Two Weeks” did.  Shields is probably even a more complete, artistically more sound album that the earlier one, but its failure to repeat the success of a singular memorable song left me, sadly, disappointed.

The Band: Rihanna
Rihanna is a pop star.  I can only assume that each and everyone of you has heard of Rihanna, unless you are living under some variety of rock.
The Build Up: Loud
 Loud was a monster smash.  It was also a listenable album– which is not garaunteed for an album in the world of R&B/Pop/hip hop.  “S&M” kick starts the album.  It was a US #1 hit and features unforgettable imagery in its lyrics “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me” and great plays on words that build on Rihanna status as a sex symbol “I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it.” The second track, “What’s My Name?” features a collaboration with Drake.  It was a US #1 hit.  Rihanna’s accent can be heard, and the video for the track is inspired for as simple as it was at heart, with Rihanna in the striped jacket, the seduction in the milk aisle, the city shots spliced in, and Rihanna’s two step dance in the streets, Rihanna’s red hair, Rihanna’s powder blue nails, Rihanna’s orange nails, the central park drum circle– this video is pure sex.   The third track, “Drink to That'” is an anthem in exultation, hitting the high feeling notes like the best of U2’s apex.  Rihanna’s island accent is even more noticable and endearing here when she croons, “Don’t let the bastards get you down” you just want to join in on the party at the bar she is describing.  This track, also a single, only hit #7 in the US.  “Only Girl in the World”, the fifth track on the album was also a single.  It was the lead single in fact.  It hit #1 in the US.  Its a great track, a dance song, and it was unavoidable when it came out.  “California King Bed” never reach the top 25, peaking on the charts at 59 in the US– but the song is a nice ballad, a neccessary break from the sex and club and drum&bass of the other tracks.  “Man Down” is a story song about a woman who kills her abusive boyfriend or spouse.  The islands permeate it more than any other track Rihanna has done, as she reggae style raps out the verses a constant police siren weaves into the background as calypso xolophone rolls across the beat.
This time period also featured Rihanna on Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie”, which hit #1 in the US and was nominated for nearly every song award it was eligible for.  Rihanna was also featurred on David Guetta’s “Whose that Chick?” which powered out the dance rythms and featured an insane pyschodelic video.  It only reached 51 in the US, but was #1 on the Dance charts.  Rihanna also contributed to “All of the Lights” for Kanye West’s masterpiece My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010.
The Disappointment: Unapologetic
 It may be a bit of a cop-out to ignore Rihanna’s 2011 Talk that Talk which probably was equally as disappointing as Unapologetic, but Rihanna’s 2010 was so strong featuring a half dozen #1 songs, many of which were instantly classic that what she has done since has been ultimately very disappointing.  It may also be too early to judge this album which was released in November, and so far has had only one single “Diamonds” which did reach #1.  It impossible to shake, however, the feeling that Rihanna has moved on from her apex.  Its hard not to wonder whether whatever Mojo she had in 2010 can be regained at some point.  Also, this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/rihanna-chris-brown-back-together  Sad that such a strong, beautiful, talented woman would return to a man who very publicly abused her.

2012 cerainly disappointed.  The Mayans in particular must have been crushed to find the world still existing in 2013 and beyond.  These are, of course, only a few choices of albums that disappointed– I’m sure many other bands put out sub-optimal releases which left their fans somewhat dry at the mouth, but these few were the ones which left me the most disappointed after having been the most excited to hear them.