I swear i'll be writing more in 2014

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fame's Backside List

Instead of doing a "Best of" this year for the albums that came out, I'm going to rank 10 albums by bands that I already liked and are probably on the downside of their careers and how they fared with their most current album.  Hell, let's make it 11 for it being 2011.

The Top 11 Albums By Bands I Like That Are Now on the Downside of Their Careers that Came Out in 2011

Yes, I love long list titles.  That's half the fun right there. 

11.  TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light

I'm probably being too harsh on a band that lost a member this year.  My thing with this band is I was never really a fan because they were too overdramatic, but then Dear Science came out and I loved that one.  Naturally, that made me excited for this one, and I think I ended up listening to it not once, not twice, but thrice.  Ultimately, I'm just not a TV on the Radio fan and they're going to have to deal.  (Grade D)

10.  Bright Eyes – The People's Key

This is allegedly the last Bright Eyes album and that's probably a good thing.  Coner caught lightning in a bottle with I'm Wide Awake It's Morning and hasn't done much since.  He'll always have 2005.  (Grade C-)

9.  Radiohead – The King of Limbs

I really wish they'd give up trying to be different (or exactly the same in Radiohead land) and write enjoyable music again.  I can only take so much of strange drum loops with non-music music being played over it, all the while Thom York whining … oh the whining.  It's worse that skinny jeans or fedoras.  "It takes a lot of guts to all wear the same hat."  That's how I feel about Radiohead's "art." (C)

8.  The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love

No clue what happened to these guys.  The first song is terrible and the rest of the album is so plain, I can't get to the good songs at the end of the album.  Are there good songs at the end of the album?  (C)

7.  Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing

These guys went 70s rock and the results are mediocre.  They're not reinventing the wheel here, and there's not any song on this album that will blow you away, but they're doing the exact opposite of what Radiohead does, and I love them for it.  (C+)

6.  The Strokes – Angles

Hearing that the singer recorded this album separately from the band definitely takes away from it.  I liked this album before I heard that, and now it's not as good even though it's just a recording method and doesn't change the way any of the songs sounds once you know the story.  This is why you don't ever explain your art, and more definitely why bands should never appear on VH1's Storytellers.  If that show turned Jim James into a trinormous douche, I can't imagine what it would do to Julian Casablancas. (B-)

5.  The Decemberists – The King Is Dead

I believe these guys are done for awhile, or at least on a hiatus.  Colin Meloy wants to write children's books, or direct a play or something you'd expect Colin Meloy to do.  Note: I follow two people on twitter, Bill Simmons and Colin Meloy.  This album is pretty good, though it definitely lacks the Decemberists typical charm.  I always felt they released this one because their rock opera, The Hazards of Love, didn’t exactly take with their fans, so they intentionally dumbed it down for them.  (B-)

4.  Circuital – My Morning Jacket

This is the perfect album by a band on the downside of their career.  It starts out great, then gets pretty ugly, or should I say "wonderful, wonderful, wonderful the way I feel" in the middle, then finally settles in to a couple of nice slow movin' tunes at the end.  I like guitar golden god side more than their slow, slow tunes, but the slower ones work on this album.  (B)

3.  The Black Keys – El Camino

I just got this one, so the jury is still out.  Hopefully I've erroneously included them on the "Downside of their careers" list.  I can already tell this album doesn't hold up to the last two, but in there defense, what albums will?  It sounds like this is going to be a good album for them.  Nothing groundbreaking though. (B)

2.  Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part 2

Congrats to the newly inducted Rock 'n Roll Hall of Famers!  It's just too bad they're going to have to share the stage with the likes of Anthony Kiedis and Axel Rose.  On the other hand, if the Chili Peppers were inducted before the Beastie Boys, I may have shat myself.  I can't believe they made it at all.  The Chili Peppers are basically our generation's Eagles.  Some people really think they're cool, they may have had a moment or two, but in the end, they're just a bunch of douchebags from California that sing songs about California.  If you're ever having a shitty day, and your cab driver is blasting the Chili Peppers, would you not ask him to turn it off?  Check and mate.  Beastie Boys album grade? (B+)

1.  Wilco – The Whole Love

This almost seems like a comeback album for Wilco, mostly because it's bookended by two long, incredibly instant classic Wilco songs … mostly.  They haven't had songs this classic since they gave birth to a ghost in 2004.  The bookends are so impressive they could have goldfish swimming in them.  The middle however, is merely pretty good, some good songs here and there, but it's far from the perfection of albums like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Summerteeth and probably lacks the soul of Being There or A Ghost is Born.  Now that they're on their own label again, they may still have potential to crank out a classic album even though they're way past their prime (kind of like the Flaming Lips did in 2009).  We'll see.  (B+)

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