The above picture is a perfect microcosm of how we felt about the albums on our short list today. We were all excited to some extent or another about each of the disappointing albums found below. In fact, three of the albums below were on our list at the beginning of the year for the Top Ten Most Anticipated Albums of 2013. If you look at that list you will see we definitely have some fine-tuning to do in our decision-making of where to place expectations. I think it may be time to temper expectations so that they are actually exceeded once or twice in 2014. Enjoy the short list and let us know which albums you found to be the most disappointing in 2013.
5. The Weeknd – Kiss Land
After a really solid stretch, The Weeknd went on to release this absolute snoozefest in 2013. With the only collaboration on the album being with Drake, it stands to reason The Weeknd should have gone a little farther outside his comfort zone on Kiss Land.
4. Iggy Pop & The Stooges – Ready to Die
Plenty of aging artists release lackluster albums every year. Iggy Pop was not alone this year, joined by the likes of Paul McCartney among others, but he was by far the worst offender. Ready to Die seems like just a quickly thrown together trash rock record, and also a record which proves Iggy has still not learned that Google is a thing (come on, please don’t use the same album title as one of the greatest rap records of all time).
3. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience Pt. 2
The first part of JT’s 20/20 Experience received mixed reviews from many, but LxL stands by it as a very fine album. The second part was a bit of a nightmare. But hey, Timberlake fulfilled his contractual obligations to the record company, so he will probably focus on acting full time and not release another album for twenty years. Way to go out on a low note.
2. Jay-Z – Magna Carta/Holy Grail
Jay-Z albums of late have been pretty weak, with a few solid tracks. Magna Carta/Holy Grail keeps in line with this precedent. The disappointing part of Jay-Z’s newest is the involvement of producers Rick Rubin, Pharrell, Hit-Boy and Swizz Beats. That promise went unfulfilled with a collection of pretty neutral tracks surrounding a couple great ones.
1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
I can not reiterate this enough: Worst cover art ever! While that has nothing to do with the quality of the music, Yeah Yeah Yeahs turned in their first below average offering to date with an album we were all super pumped to get into. The strength of debut single “Sacrilege” was rarely approached on the rest of the album, and we were left with a pretty formless effort.
Austin: The Knife – Shaking the Habitual
I was really torn between Shaking the Habitual and Yeezus as my “just missed” for most disappointing album of 2013. I finally decided Shaking the Habitual has much larger swaths of unlistenable material than Yeezus.
Wes: The Strokes – Comedown Machine
I’ve never been a fan myself, so a poor album by The Strokes was not a disappoint to me, but more of an expectation. On the other hand, I was pretty shocked that Wes, a constant apologist for any band once considered great, would be so sour on an album coming from a band with the pedigree of The Strokes. He has finally accepted that boring is boring, no matter what pretty tag is put on an album.
Todd: Local Natives – Hummingbird
I think the big flaw in Hummingbird compared to Local Native’s debut, Gorilla Manor, is the less focused nature. The percussion is noticeably less sharp and the melodies border on meandering. Hopefully this is more a case of the classic sophomore slump and Local Natives still have plenty of quality music left in the tank.