The end of the year is a time to celebrate all of the amazing things that have happened over the past 12 months, and our RB “Best of 2011” series is meant to do just that! But this time of year it is also important to remember what fell short during the calendar year and to contemplate what could have been with the hopes that all of us can grow and improve in the year(s) to come. It is with this thought in mind that we offer installment #4 of our “Best of 2011” Staff Picks: Most Disappointing Album of 2011. We asked our staff to choose the album that fell the farthest short of expectations from bands that have shown us they are capable of so much more. See our staff picks, and disappointing albums, after the jump!
RB Staff Picks #4 – Most Disappointing Album of 2011
1. Ronnie: Kasabian – Velociraptor!
You thought I was going to say Dredg, weren’t you? I was over the Dredg album after the first few times I heard it, and I’m chalking it up to a misstep by a band who never settles for the same sound. I can handle that, and in many ways respect that. I want to be perfectly clear here, this is for most disappointing album, not worst. So here it goes… Kasabian’s new album this year came as a surprise, with little pre-release hype here in the US. While the album sounded deep and complex when I did my initial 3 star review, it lost some of its steam after a few months. In no way is this a bad album, its actually very good, its just disappointing when compared to West Ryder Lunatic Asylum which was my top album of 2009. Kasabian have traversed into the realm of where ” very good” can be considered a disappointment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
2. Ryan: Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire
This decision was the result of soaring expectations. Ryan Adams has set such a lofty bar for himself that it would take a masterpiece to reach it. However, he is capable of that! Ashes and Fire is a beautiful album that lacks any energy or edge. Most importantly, it lacks the emotional connection that allows the listener to share in Adams’ experiences. This would be a good album for most artists, but is far below the level Adams’ is capable of.
3. Andrew: Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You
Does everybody remember the fanfare surrounding the release of this album? Five years of waiting, and they release an album that sounds like the B-sides of Stadium Arcadium (which was also disappointing). I’m sure they still kill it on stage, but this album was a major let down. No funk, no energy, no edge, just another phoned-in, formulaic pop album from a group that used to shatter the mold on a regular basis. Plus, Flea is really starting to piss me off on Twitter with his “holier-than-thou” attitude. He’s a like a 1st year undergrad who just took his first philosophy class. Exhale.
4. Tiffany: The Rapture – In The Grace Of Your Love
Five years between albums is quite a long time. Definitely enough time to expect some great music from a band with so much talent for writing catchy hooks. As much as I love early post-punk The Rapture, Pieces of the People We Love was a great indie dance album. So when The Rapture announced they were dropping a new album on May 21 – the would-be day of the Rapture – I thought, finally, another great party album. I have a few bones to pick with this release. First, were I running PR for The Rapture, I would have dropped In The Grace Of Your Love on the Rapture, rather than just announcing it. Second, opening the album with “Sail Away” made me want to immediately turn it off. It took me three attempts to finally make it through the song. After five years, and with eleven tracks, I expected much more than just three solid songs (“Miss You”, “How Deep Is Your Love?”, and “It Takes Time To Be A Man”). The rest of the album flops, and it feels like The Rapture tried a bit too hard to create too many anthems on this album. Can we go back to the post-punk dance days, please?
5. Anthony: Incubus – If Not Now, When?
I actually had to delete this music from my .mp3 player to free up some space…and this is coming from a long time Incubus fan. Some of their peak songs from Morning View, Make Yourself, and even A Crow Left of the Murder were life soundtrack staples of my late teen years. I am not sure where Boyd and the gang were trying to go with the new album, but for a seasoned Incubus fan and music appreciator, that place was nowhere near the realm of what I understand as “Incubus.” The essence of their better stuff was vaguely present, at best, but nowhere near enough to encourage ticket purchases to their live tour. Come back Incubus!
6. Shawn: The Rapture – In The Grace Of Your Love
I agree with Tiffany 100%. Enough said.
7. Stephanie: Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You
RHCP’s latest disappointment. I’ve played and replayed this album in hopes of some track emerging and catching my fancy, but the whole album fails to shine in any interesting way.
…check in tomorrow for our 5th and final installment!