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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Worst of 2009: The 5 Biggest Disappointments

Every year has its ups and downs, musically. For me, the worst downs are not when a bad album drops, but rather when a bad album that should have been great releases. These are albums from artists who have proven themselves to be capable of something amazing, but have instead opted to phone-in an album or make something so uninspired or bad that listening to it is more of a chore than a joy. 2009 certainly had its share of disappointments. Here are the 5 that really stood out to me.

#5. Our Lady Peace: Burn Burn - Of all the albums on this list, this is the worst. Of course, that doesn't make it the biggest disappointment of the year, especially considering how bad Our Lady Peace has been over the last decade. But when I heard the band was coming out with a new album, my thoughts immediately went to their work in the 1990s. Heck, Happiness was this blog's #5 Alternative Album of all freaking time. But alas, what Burn Burn is is a continuation of the band's post-millennial work, with sappy lyrics and big me sensibilities. Hey, they're back though. And they're still better than most modern rock bands. So that's something I suppose.

#4. Metric: Fantasies - If I seem conflicted on this one, it's because I am. I mean, there are some fantastic songs on Fantasies, don't get me wrong. But there are some downright bad ones too. If there's one thing Metric had never given us in their 10-years of music making it's a "hit or miss" album. But Fantasies has that locked down!

#3. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band: Outer South - Wow. Less than a year after they got together to make Oberst's brilliant self-titled, the Mystic Valley Band released this dud of an album to audiences. Thanks for that, guys. Outer South lacks all the charm, talent, and songwriting skills of its semi-quasi predecessor. That makes it quite the disappoint for yours truly, not to mention all of those other critics out there. With that said, I still must admit to liking "Air Matress." I mean, that's just a fun time.

#2. Cursive: Mama, I'm Swollen - I should've known something was up when Saddle Creek decided to sell this one for pennies in its opening days. I got mine for $1, which granted, isn't a bad deal, but still. After 2 amazing albums that really helped define my early adulthood, Cursive dropped this big lo' pile of mediocrity on us. The first 4 or 5 songs? Solid. The rest? No thanks. It was lacking all the bite, focus, and passion of past Cursive albums, so I stopped listening after 2 weeks or so.

#1. Zero 7: Yeah Ghost - Ugh, guys really? How do you follow up The Garden with this collection of abrasive, ugly pop music sung by the most mediocre of vocalists? Whereas every other album from this duo has been pretty much mellow, electronic pop, Yeah Ghost is just plain annoying. Whether they decided to go in an entirely different direction or just phoned this one in, there's no denying how awful this album is.

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