Top 5 Musical Disappointments of 2006

1. Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. This album is just awful. How it sold so many copies and received such glowing reviews from so many is simply baffling to me.

2. The Flaming Lips, At War With The Mystics
. The Flaming Lips are one of the greatest bands working today. That said, compared to their previous two efforts, this album was rather weak. The first few tracks are strong, but the rest of the album was lackluster and uninspired.

3. The Killers, Sam’s Town. The first album by The Killers is not great, but it is definitely enjoyable. I had hopes that with the ’80s dance rock explosion, The Killers would strive for innovation to keep pushing the genre forward. These hopes were not realized. Instead, The Killers produced some of the worst songs I heard all year—insipid, inharmonious, and superficial.

4. Swan Lake, Beast Moans. When the masterminds behind Frog Eyes, Destroyer, and Wolf Parade join forces to make an album, I expect greatness. In retrospect, it seems that the collaboration between three musical geniuses is a detriment. There is a little cohesion between songs, and rather than a complete album with an overarching artistic vision, one instead hears individual songs crafted by individual musicians. Overall, the idea is potentially a good one, but in the future, they need to craft an album which is truly the joint product of three fantastic talents.

5. Death Cab For Cutie, Plans. Death Cab has gone mainstream. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing (e.g., Ben Folds), but in this case, it has only done them harm. Transatlanticism was their best album to date. Plans, however, lacks both creativity and musicality—and it’s not even very enjoyable to listen to, which is real shame.

* Thom Yorke, The Eraser. As a bonus, I will mention Thom Yorke’s solo project. If you are a huge fan of Kid A, then perhaps The Eraser is for you. But there is almost nothing here that you haven’t heard already. Yorke offers very little that is new, and if this is all that we can expect from the next Radiohead album, I suspect that many will be quite disappointed.


m@ said…
i wholeheartedly agreed with you until the last couple of paragraphs (dcfc and thom yorke). i actually was not too impressed with "plans" either; however, interestingly, "trans" remains my least favorite of their albums (their first 3 albums are tied for my favorite). the eraser is my favorite album of 2006 (but almost anything thom yorke or radiohead does has a mysterious way of shocking and hypnotizing me).

i think it's amazing when an artist can continue in a stylistic vein and still manage to produce creative, original work (yet it may require several traversals through the work to perceive the originality). this contrasts with most musicians or bands who feel a need to significantly differentiate themselves from past work. too often this gives weaker results, in my opinion (e.g., "trans" and "plans"). in cases like these, sometimes i have to ontologically render the artist as a new/different artist before i can begin to enjoy or appreciate the music without incessantly comparing it to former albums.
Justin said…
I would have to disagree, and place Sam's Town and The Eraser as two of the better albums released last year.
a. steward said…
To your crushing blows against a beautiful album in point 5, I can only respond, "It was creative! It was musicalitous! It was enjoyable to listen to it! And if many more enjoyed than did the Photo Album, how should our response to the public/popular embrace of the truth elicit any response but 'p.t.L.'"?
b.t.w., I'm a friend of Halden's, and I can't figure out how to e-mail you from the blog here. I'm going to be visiting Princeton on the 15th of Feb., and it would be rad to buy you a coffee and ask you some questions, and likely insist that Plans is a good album. My e-mail is if you'd care to make contact. If you aren't the person who runs this blog, please don't forward me jokes.