Thursday, December 18, 2008

My 2008 List (Disappointments)

As I mentioned earlier, 2008 was a pretty disappointing music year for me overall.

Not only was there a significantly smaller number of interesting new bands that caught my ear, but many of the established bands that put out new albums this year put out albums that were, umm, not so good.

And here they are:

Albums That Disappointed Me To No End, and In Some Cases Put Me
To Sleep, and Possibly Caused Me To Consider Giving Up Music Forever

Albert Hammond, Jr., ┬┐Como Te Llama? [buy]
I was shocked by how good his debut solo album, Yours To Keep, was. I was equally shocked by how bad this followup album was. I haven't listened to it since I got it.

The Broken West, Now or Heaven [buy]
The first half of the album is pretty good, and represents a respectable attempt by the band to broaden its sound (although the 80's-style production is a little odd). But the second half of the album is just downright not very good.

Crooked Fingers, Forfeit/Fortune [buy]
I've loved just about everything that Eric Bachmann has ever done musically, from his Archers of Loaf days to his 2006 solo debut to his output as Crooked Fingers. And that's why it was so disappointing to listen to this album. With the exception of "Cannibals", just about every song is an exercise in waiting for a payoff that never comes. And when the album gets bad ("Give And Be Taken"), it's really, truly bad.

David Vandervelde, Waiting for the Sunrise [buy]
What the fu** was he thinking? Thank god Jay Bennett co-wrote one song on the album (the excellent "California Breezes", so at least it's not a completely lost cause.

The Dears, Missiles [buy]
It was going to take a lot for this band to live up to Gang of Losers, one of my favorite albums of 2006 and possibly one of my favorite albums of the decade - and boy did they ever not live up to it. I may never listen to this album again.

Dirty Pretty Things, Romance At Short Notice [buy]
If I were ranking this list in order of level of disappointment, there's a good chance that this album would have taken the #1 spot. I can't even put into words how astoundingly awful this album is. I loved DPT's debut album, and was a huge fan of The Libertines before them, but man... if an album ever deserved to be called Shit Sandwich, this might be it.

Gary Louris, Vagabonds [buy]
Gary is one of my favorite songwriters of the last twenty years, and I had extremely high hopes for this album. It's not a bad album, but it's not a particularly good one either, and I skip around a ton because it gets downright boring on numerous occasions. All that said, "She Only Calls Me On Sundays" is a spectacular song, and stands alongside some of the best things Gary has written.

The Little Ones, Morning Tide [buy]
I feel bad putting this album on the list. It's not a bad album, but it's not a particularly compelling one, either. And after the unadulterated pop goodness of their debut Sing Song EP, my expectations were extremely high for these guys. To be fair, the album has grown on me since I first got it, but it's nowhere near the required listening that I hoped it would be, and therefore qualifies as a disappointment.

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Cardinology [buy]
I think I've finally reached my breaking point with Ryan. I've given him the benefit of the doubt year after year, but each album has been more boring than the last. I don't think I even made it all the way through this album once. What the hell happened to the guy who made Heartbreaker?

You Am I, Dilettantes [buy]
Some might call this album "unlistenable". I'm one of those people.


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