Thursday, December 1, 2011

2011: The Top 10 Most Overrated Albums

It’s been an interestingly low-keyed year for popular music, one that focused more on what wasn’t getting done than what was actually being achieved. Year-end though and the usual rush to over praise records is starting to pile up. As I did last year, here is clarification for this particular list: these records aren’t awful (I do not intentionally listen to bad music) but more precisely, the earth didn’t tilt after I listened to them. This list has the usual suspects that critic love to promote as well as new discernible trends that need further re-examination before the hype can be justified. Here goes:

1. Destroyer Kapput:

we all love Dan Bejar but the love doled out to this opus in January seemed a bit too drunk in its own man-love. Savage Night at The Opera is brilliant sure but the other tracks are good but not as life-altering. Maybe it’s the lush horns but once they’ve played part then Bejar doesn’t really use his beautiful voice long enough to place this in the upper echelons of masterpiece level. (METACRITIC SCORE 84%)

2. St. Vincent Strange Mercy:

in a fitting art-imitating-life moment, the cover for Annie Clarke’s latest describes perfectly the mood one can get into while listening to her music: a stifling scream silently going into abeyance. (METACRITIC SCORE 86%)

3. Gillian Welsh The Harrow & The Harvest:

an ok alt-country record but far from the year’s finest. Not because she’s a veteran that gives her a free pass. (METACRITIC SCORE 84%)

4. Tune-Yards whokill:

there are two masterpieces on this sophomore and then some half-fabulous ideas. That said, when the steam runs out of Garbus she still retreats more into sound and not emotional experimentalism. (METACRITIC SCORE 86%)

5. Radiohead The King of Limbs:

it seems ridiculous for the best rock band on the planet to end up here but then again which Radiohead album doesn’t come with its own overpowering hype? (METACRITIC SCORE 80%)

6. TV on the Radio Nine Types of Light:

not just boring but also, to add insult, the sound of a great band just cruising as way of an obligation. Critics fawned but it’s the type of pre-set fawning that goes as easily as it came. (METACRITIC SCORE 82%)

7. Wild Beasts Smother:

a band that interests me less the more I listen to them. It’s not their ideas--which are exciting enough—but more the execution that seems filtered in a Brit drawl hand down that doesn’t elicit much spontaneity. (METACRITIC SCORE 85%)

8. Drake Take Care:

for Drake to even make this list is astonishing. The first half of Take Care is the trouble but with the astonishing Underground Kings piloting the second half, Drake has found undeniable ground. However, let us not jump shark just yet ok. (METACRITIC SCORE 81%)

9. Fucked Up David Comes to Life:

cool band name aside, a punk rock opera concept is tricky, especially when lyrics are not a highlight. It’s brave but still choppy at best. (METACRITIC SCORE 86%)

10. Kate Bush 50 Words for Snow:

two albums in seventeen years and hardly any rust to show for it. Mama’s a genius alright but her full force lies around the corner and not here. (METACRITIC 87%)