Five 2010 Albums That Should Be Recalled
Congratulations, MGMT. Now go make a better album.
Like many other foods you thought you knew, eggs will now kill you. A salmonella contamination has caused a massive egg recall across the country, and it just seems to be getting worse.
But, you know something, it's for our own good. If only other industries were as considerate about protecting us from disease and discomfort as the food industry. Here's five albums from this year we'd like to see taken off the shelves by responsible record companies in order to better serve the public good.
1. MGMT, Congratulations
Congratulations ranks right up there as one of the biggest disappointments of 2010, if not the biggest. And it's not even terrible. The problem is, MGMT raised our expectations with their 2007 album Oracular Spectacular, which was filled with interesting, catchy dance-pop that was as fun as it was smart. Congratulations, on the other hand, is weird, spacey surf-rock/jam band-type stuff.
Rocks Off has listened to the album about five times, and we can't recall a single note. It's completely unengaging, inoffensive background music, as forgettable as they come. Considering MGMT's previous offering, "forgettable" is a bit of a crime. we understand that every artist needs to experiment, but isn't experimentation supposed to be fun? How did it wind up this damn boring? Next time, MGMT, less ambience, more involvement, please.
2. Kesha, Animal
There may be no bigger club hit this year than "Tik Tok." Admittedly, it's pretty catchy when it's playing in a darkened venue, with strobes, lasers, dry ice and ass-shaking providing atmosphere while the $100,000 sound system pumps every throbbing bass note with crystal clarity. But absolutely anywhere else you try to listen to it, it's out of place and empty.
And "Tik Tok" is one of the better songs on this album, which must have been produced by Dr. Luke in about a day, with all the work it seems like he (didn't) put into it. Every up-tempo number sounds exactly the same: electronic bass drum goes THUD THUD THUD, electronic synth bass goes VWOMP VWOMP VWOMP, and Kesha groans over it like she's not sure if she's experiencing orgasmic ecstasy or a migraine.
The ballads are even worse; slow, plodding numbers filled with sparkly Owl City-style effects (yeah, it rips off a rip-off, it's that bad) accompanied by Kesha's paper-thin vocals. Girl is not a belter. When any song aspires to any kind of intensity, the Auto-Tune swoops in to save her like Superman catching Lois Lane after she's yet again clumsily stumbled off a bridge. All the talkof partying and drugs on this album sounds like someone trying too hard, but that's the only part of the album that sounds that way. The effort certainly didn't carry over into the singing, lyrics or production.
3. The Dead Weather, Sea of Cowards
The Dead Weather's previous album, 2009's Horehound, was great - dirty, grungy bar rock of the highest order. This one isn't bad, it just feels rushed. Were they so excited about this material that they felt they had to get it to us as quickly as possible? It doesn't show. Hell, maybe these songs are terrific live or with better production, but on this album, they're pretty unimpressive.
None of them really stand out, and the whole thing goes by without really grabbing your attention. We'd like to see a recall, not to eliminate this album permanently, but to give it a little more time to bake, put it back in the studio and find some way to make these songs catch fire the way they're meant to.
4. Hole, Nobody's Daughter
Nobody's Daughter has a similar problem as Sea of Cowards, except you really can't say Nobody's Daughter was rushed. It's been six years since we had any new studio material from Courtney Love, so she had plenty of time to work and re-work these songs to get them as good as they could possibly be, but with the exception of a few standout tracks - like we're really gonna sit here and talk shit about the completely badass "Skinny Little Bitch - they're simply mediocre.
What happened? Rocks Off is not one of those people who believes Courtney got all her talent from Kurt. Live Through This, Celebrity Skin and even America's Sweetheart were all great. So why such a middling album from Ms. Love? Has she lost her touch? Rocks Off hopes not. we're still rooting for her to come back with an album that kicks all of our asses; we're just sad that this wasn't it.
5. Train, Save Me, San Francisco
Okay, so technically, this album was released in late 2009. Only the most loyal Train fans (and there probably are some) could have told you that without looking it up. Let Rocks Off be right up front here: We've never heard most of the songs on this album. They could be amazing for all we know.
Save Me, however, is the one which contains the 2010 single "Hey Soul Sister," that ubiquitous, mandolin-accompanied Sensitive Guy Jam you've been hearing all year over multiple commercials, TV shows movie trailers, and, if you're the parent of a girl between the ages of 10 and 15, probably everywhere else. We need for that song to go away, even if it means revoking the entire album. Hell, if it'll make "Hey Soul Sister" go away, Rocks Off will let 'em discontinue the first three or four Beatles albums too.
Whatever they want to do is fine by us; we just want it gone. Gone, you understand?
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