Saturday, December 1, 2012

2012: The Top 10 Most Overrated Albums

Every year albums get released that critics coalesce around that, quite frankly, puzzle me no matter how often I listen to them, such high praise can be retroactive or in good faith, but rarely on an album’s actual merit. Here are the ten most such regarded LPs this year. Overrated in my opinion isn’t necessarily bad but more just not warranted the universal praise something gets. A lot of these albums were considered for my best LPs list but the reality of better albums made that impossible. Here goes:

1.Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel…:

it’s great to have Fiona back after a seven year hiatus but this is hardly in line with the fiery stuff that we’ve come to love throughout the years. It’s an accomplished LP but Fiona has failed for once to find the balance between drunken insight and solemnity. The Idler Wheel sounds like the demo of some personal project that was awaiting its doll parts to become more complete. (METACRITIC SCORE: 8.9/10)

2.Swans The Seer:

first, how adorable is that cover shot of a baby wolf with human teeth. That aside though, the reception of The Seer indicates some post-world revelation when all one hears is either sheer melody or spoken word. Or breathing and repeated lyrics. I like epic recording like everyone else but at some point the songs on a LP have to be actual songs. That’s what The Seer plainly lacks far too often over its 2 hour run time. (METACRITIC SCORE: 8.7/10)

3.Leonard Cohen Old Ideas:

I get that as a legend one basically is given a free pass (Neil Young and Bob Dylan frequently benefit from this, to be fair) but Cohen sounds as if he fell asleep at points on this LP while being revived to growl the rest. This sounds like one of those audio book projects instead of music. (METACRITIC SCORE: 8.5/10)

4.Godspeed You! Black Emperor Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!:

this band has always been able to do the exact same thing on every record and get the biggest critical scores possible. They must be bored with all this excellence by now because critics aren’t even challenging them to include lyrics. (METACRITIC SCORE: 8.4/10)

5.Beach House Bloom:

when Popmatters gave Bloom its highest rating of the year the stage was set for all other publications to follow suit. Indeed, the hype surrounding the album began from late 2011. Its indicative then that most lists have not awarded it top ten status after all the time for repeated listens has set in. This band is a good one-trick pony but still, a one-trick pony. (METACRITIC SCORE: 7.8/10)

6.Andy Stott Luxury Problems:

impeccable production but nothing’s actually inside this huge wrap of bubbles. (METACRITIC SCORE: 8.5/10)

7.Flying Lotus Until The Quiet Comes:

I’m not big on tracks without much actual lyrics and this is why perhaps why I’m not frothing at the mouth like most critics over Flying Lotus. I love the synergy between jazz and electronic music but this is album number four by him…time to cough up some words bro. (METACRITIC SCORE: 8.5/10)

8.Cloud Nothings Attack On Memory:

Dylan Baldi’s vocals eventually wear off the novelty during the course of these eight grunge-meets-hardcore tracks. (METACRITIC SCORE: 8.3/10)

9.Jack White Blunderbuss:

White, one half of The White Stripes, was one of the most important artists of the last decade by any conceivable standard but here on his long overdue solo debut he seems more content for a trial run than a full out attack on our senses. (METACRITIC SCORE: 8.3/10)

10.Bat For Lashes The Haunted Man:

Natasha Khan’s third LP has some decent moments but she’s forgetting that it’s the up tempo beats that made her interesting in the first place.. (METACRITIC SCORE: 7.8/10)