And Now the Bad News: The 10 Most Disappointing and/or Overrated Records of 2010 

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Sufjan Stevens
The Age of Adz
Sufjan has been experimenting with electronic music for pretty much as long as he's been making music at all—but with The Age of Adz, he made it his focus, and in the process revealed what is at best a cursory knowledge of the genre and the tools used to create it.

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The Hold Steady
Heaven is Whenever
This is difficult for us to say (and by "us" we really only mean Conklin), but Heaven is Whenever simply isn't that good a record. There are moments of greatness, of course, but now months since its release, it's even harder to ignore the fact that it's the sound of a band trying to figure out where to go next and, in the meantime, sounding a little bit lost.

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It is telling, we think, that in the months since this album was released, amidst all that talk of truffle fries and terrorism and whatever, we got really bad at typing its stupid title, which we'd actually gotten pretty good at for a while. But then the record came out and everyone realized that, in its attempt to convey the chaos of the digital age, it wound up being a sloppy batch of songs that offered little in the way of insight and even less in the way of memorable hooks.

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Of Montreal
False Priest
Kevin Barnes went full-on sleazy R&B with False Priest, and anyone who doesn't like it runs the risk of being called out as an indie rock nerd who's "uncomfortable" with sex, when in actuality they might just mean that the compositions are really thin and that the album's silliness is exposed by just how one-note it is.

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Thank Me Later
We didn't understand this dopey Torontonian's appeal last year, and since then he's dropped his million-selling debut, notched a Grammy nom for "Best New Artist" (even though he was on Degrassi, like, years ago!), and we still can't think of a more boring so-called entertainer.

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Best Coast
Crazy For You
To be fair, even we will acknowledge that there are things to like about this record. Bethany Cosentino is an excellent singer, and her meticulous approach to her craft is admirable. But at the same time, we really, really wish she would push herself a bit more, to the point where she maybe sings about something other than smoking weed and watching television. Her prideful lack of intellectual rigor is grating and childish.

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Nicki Minaj
Pink Friday
There have been plenty of really interesting debates about this record, mostly centering on whether it's an example of a woman in hip-hop doing what she believes is expected of her rather than what she actually wants to do. Aside from all that, though, there's this one thing Nicki Minaj does really well, which is to sound like an absolute crazy person with a million different voices and personalities, and she mostly refrains from doing that thing on here, which is a shame.

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How to Dress Well
Love Remains
Much was made this year of How to Dress Well, aka Tom Krell, lovingly rehashing the sounds of classic 90s R&B, and to an extent, he did. But what no one seems to be mentioning is that those classic 90s R&B songs had discernible melodies, while the songs on Love Remains do not.

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Band of Horses
Infinite Arms
What's weird here is that the only people who don't realize this is the worst Band of Horses record ever are the ones who decide who gets nominated for Grammy Awards. Idiots.

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Broken Bells
Broken Bells
James Mercer: talented dude. Danger Mouse: maybe an even more talented dude. On paper, this collaboration of the Shins frontman and the producer-artist extraordinaire sounds like a knockout of melody and experimentation, but, in reality, Broken Bells was bland and unimaginative. This apparently didn't account for much, though, since they've already announced plans for its follow-up.

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