We covered my favorite songs of 2011 in part one, so now it’s time to tackle a few other things and finish this year off.
Up first we have the “meh” category. These are albums from my favorite groups that didn’t quite make the grade. It isn’t that they’re bad, I just didn’t find myself going back to them.
Blink 182 – Neighborhoods
I was never the biggest Blink fan, but I did really like both Tom and Mark’s post-Blink projects (Angels and Airwaves and +44) so I had high hopes for their reunion. Alas, it was pretty blah. Instead of combining their strengths it seemed more like a compromise. Maybe Blink fans dug it though.
Justice – Audio, Video, Disco
Not sure how you follow up Cross (or † if you’re good with keyboard shortcuts) so I guess they had the deck stacked against them. I loved the video and first single, “Civilization” but the eventual album fell flat for me and I found myself barely listening to it. “On’n’On” is a really good track though, and “Ohio” is decent if you’re from Ohio, Tennessee, or California and like repetition.
Family Force 5 – III
I guess FF5 falls in the category of guilty pleasures for me. They’re kind of like rock’s answer to LMFAO. Dudes just want to have fun. This album never really does. There’s a couple of tracks that are enjoyable as good pop songs, but the party does not get started on III. Apparently there’s a second half on the way (III.V) but my expectations are in check. Still, “You Got It” and “Mamacita” are fun tracks (99% of you—roughly 4 people—will hate those two tracks). Good live band and you have to appreciate that they went and bought a three wheeler and spray painted it gold (in their backyard—they are true white trash) for the album cover:
Cobra Starship – Night Shades
Another album that I didn’t think was horrible but I never really went back to. And probably also another band I’ll take shit for liking. Cobra Starship is turning into the band that everyone assumed they were and hated.
The Sounds – Something to Die For
I love The Sounds, and this album isn’t bad at all, it just doesn’t really go anywhere. It lacks the hooks and energy of previous outings. And I still think Maja Ivarsson is a badass. I’ll definitely come back to this album some day to try it out again. Maybe future Not Zombies will dig it.
Next up are albums that flat-out left me cold. Victims of expectation, I guess you could say. Here are the biggest disappointments of the year:
Gorillaz – The Fall
Here’s the weird thing about The Gorillaz: I don’t think I love any album in its entirety. BUT, Jamie Hewlett is one of my favorite illustrators and there are usually 3-5 tracks on an album that I LOVE. I was sold the first time I saw the video for “Clint Eastwood” and I still have “On Melancholy Hill” and “El mañana” on my playlist and that’s why they’re one of my favorite bands.
When I heard this was kind of a side-project for Damon Albarn, made on his iPad while touring North America, I didn’t really care. I mean, if anyone could make a good album on an iPad it’s Damon Albarn, a dude that’ll learn a new instrument for one song. Yeah. Not so much here. It plays like a mediocre score to a boring movie. I’m not sure there are any standouts. And to make matters worse, it was rumored (I think no longer true) that this would be the last Gorillaz album. Yikes. They need to make one more with Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, amirite?
Yacht – Shangri-La
I never really liked Yacht, so why was I pumped for this album? Hint: the lead single was #14 on my “Best of 2011” list. I couldn’t get enough of “Dystopia” before this album came out. And then it came out and I listened and… ugh. Not good. Nothing like the lead single. It’s like a different, lamer band put out the CD. Oh well.
The Get Up Kids – There Are Rules
Love the Get Up Kids. They called it quits in 2005 only to get back together 3 years later. There Are Rules is their first full-length since reuniting so I was pretty pumped. It was less than stellar. Way, way less. I only like one song from it, “Shatter Your Lungs” which is not good enough. Oh well. I’ll always have the acoustic version of “I’ll Catch You“—every emo dude’s go-to love song.
The Strokes – Angles
Another album that birthed a favorite song of the year. Unfortunately the rest of the album was a bunch of stillborn redheads. Actually, that’s not true, “Macchu Picchu” has kind of an ’80s ska/rock vibe that I like. The rest: shit sandwich.
Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
Sheer denial. That’s how I greeted this album. I’ll be honest, I’m not cool enough to love the super-grungy garage vibe of Ill Communication, but Hello Nasty is one of my favorite albums of all time, so I’m always game to see what The Boys are up to. The answer here: not much. The weird-ass plans for this album (there was supposed to be a part one, but it was scrapped when Yauch was diagnosed with cancer, but part two really is pretty much part one, but part one might still come out, or—man, what?) didn’t bode well, but reviews were pretty much positive, once again proving that I don’t know shit about music.
My least favorite artist of the year:
From his awful voice, to his annoying flow, to his stupid lyrics. Drake somehow managed to insert himself into every single hip hop album that came out in 2011. And his album just came out, so I’m going to have to listen to this poser in heavy rotation for another year. Get in your Acura and go back to Degrassi, Aubrey.
And last, but not least, the worst song of the year:
Foster the People – “Pumped up Kicks”
Here’s me: “Well this is catchy.” “This song’s good, I’m looking forward to their album.” “Hm. This song’s getting a little annoying.” “Yeah, I no longer really like this song, but I’ll just remove it from my playlist and that will be that.” “Oh hey, this song’s getting popular.” “REALLY popular.” “Jesus Christ this song is everywhere.” “WHY DO THEY KEEP PLAYING THIS SONG EVERYWHERE I GO?” “PLEASE GOD, MAKE THIS SONG STOP.” And then it makes a bunch of 2011 best-of lists. The song that had the shortest shelf-life of any song this year. I downloaded that song back in March and had to suffer through it all spring, all summer, all fall, and all winter. Please 2012, can we stop playing fucking Pumped Up Kicks?
And on that salty note, I am out. Please leave comments. When I post these and no one says anything it’s like I threw a Sweet 16 and no one came. At least tell me how killer the below Music 2011 image I made is. Or the awesome diptych post headers.