So I’m sure we’ve all been in that place before, where we’ve been utterly disappointed by a movie, videogame, comic book, or even television series where the premise is to follow up on what came before. I’m sure I can name a few ones personally on the top of my list: Bioshock 2, Mass Effect 3, Batman vs. Superman, SAO Pt. II, etc.
When something disappoints you, there are usually two reasons. it’s because it’s either more of the same of what’s before, or trying to fix what isn’t broken. We feel betrayed when someone takes what we’ve loved about a certain piece of media, and does nothing with it in attempts to recreate what we loved in the first place, and completely and utterly fails at doing so. We also feel this betrayal when that certain aspect of what we love about a certain piece of media, say an ALBUM, is completely changed from the original property, and made into something unlike what our preconceived expectations would be. I’m all for artistic integrity and the believe that artists are free to do with their sound or style as they so choose, as I am an artist myself and am constantly changing what exactly I like about the music I make. However, we as the consumer audience, can feel disappointed when that artist or musician deviates from what made them great into something completely different and not what we expected in the slightest. As the artist, they could totally just say “fuck you it’s my art,” to the negative backlash that their album or albums can receive, because as the artist it is their right to be able to write how they please. But in some ways this can be an even bigger fuck you to long time fans, and discourage them from buying any future releases.
In this article, I’m going to talk about some albums that really, REALLY, disappointed me. I’m not saying that these albums are necessarily bad, as some people consider them masterpieces of the artist’s discography. However, in my opinion I consider them huge disappointments in regards to the material the artist has previously written.
#5 Death From Above 1979’s: The Physical World
Death From Above 1979 are a legendary Canadian two-piece dance punk band with members Jesse F. Keeler on bass guitar and synthesizers, and Sebastien Grainger on vocals and drums. The band made waves with their full length album You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine, back in the fall of 2004, and released their second album The Physical World almost 10 years later. The band’s ferocity and wit was pure, with Jesse’s roots in hardcore and electronic music, and Grainger’s over the top scream/singing – taking simplistic dance beats, and running intense hardcore bass overtop. You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine was a critical success, but sadly the band never released anything else, and broke up back in 2006. The band quickly disappeared into obscurity, as bassist Jesse F. Keeler focused heavily on his electronica project, MSTRKRFT. It wasn’t until 2011 that the band reformed and began playing shows again, and released their second full length album back in 2014.
When I first heard about this band in late 2013 into early 2014, I was very excited about the news of this band releasing new material. You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine was a vicious punk rock combination of sexual thrill, hardcore angst, and a rush of refreshing sounds in a world of cheesey metalcore and pretentious synth pop. And when Trainwreck 1979 came on the air back in late 2014, you can bet I was hooked on the second release.
When The Physical World finally came out back in 2014, I was speechless. The first week of listening to it, I was completely enamored with the band. “The release is so good”, I thought. It wasn’t until I realized after a week later how weak this album was in comparison to YAWIAM. The songs blend and meld together – Crystal Ball being the weakest of the tracks – with only traces of the same ferocity I looked forward to from this band found on the track Government Trash. Overall I found myself listening to the Heads Up EP and YAWIAM more than The Physical World, and the album itself has fallen back into obscurity, along with the rest of Death From Above 1979. It’s not that the album wasn’t good, but rather it was a supplement for an album I know the band could put out, but sadly never will.
#4: Joy, Departed by Sorority Noise
Sorority Noise is one of my favorite bands from the emo revival. Forgettable was probably one of the albums that would appear the most in my “most played” que on iTunes. Blonde Hair, Black Lungs will forever be my drink myself to sleep song. However, I just didn’t feel as strongly for Sorority Noise’s most recent full LP. It seems that Cam Boucher focused much more on his troubles with addiction, and honestly, that’s totally fine. It’s not so much that the newest album is bad, actually it’s a very solid album. Nolsey, and Art School Wannabe, are some of my favorite songs by this band. Sadly it’s just not the same for me as Forgettable, and that’s the reason why I was not as strongly pulled towards it. Addiction is something that I can’t relate to, and the fact that I can’t relate to the album is what makes this so disappointing. Joy, Departed is a great record, but sadly not the follow up record for me.
#3: Drones by Muse
Muse. They’re a monolithic identity in the genre of alternative rock. The british three piece was one of my favorite bands through high school, with their pseudo-progressive orchestration, and insane variety in their work. From heavy prog rock anthems like Survival or Stockholm Syndrome to catchy pop jams like Supermassive Black Hole and Hysteria, Muse has always done a good job of putting out sustainable content that tends to dazzle the mainstream alternative audience.
So what the fuck happened with Drones?!
The 2nd Law is one of the heaviest albums the band has released to date, with insane amounts of orchestration, spastic and clever electronic elements, and some of the best guitar work the band has done since Absolution. Not only that, but it’s also the first time we saw anything that featured longtime bassist Chris Wolstenholme, not only on bass, but singing as well – on the tracks Save Me, and Liquid State. I love this album, and would probably put it in my list of top progressive rock albums. However, when Muse said that they were going to release an album with a lack of orchestration, and a more stripped down sound similar to something off of Origin Of Symmetry, I was quite curious of what the band was going to do. The most curious thing about this statement Matthew Bellamy made about the aforementioned new album, was that every Muse song has been heavily orchestrated and calculated since day one. When Psycho released on the internet, I was pumped, as Muse had also taken their incredibly political attitude to the extreme, but sadly this would be the only song that had some semblance of thought and creativity on Drones.
Drones is one of the most bland, unremarkable, and boring albums the band has ever written, with probably the least attractive album art they’ve ever had as well. Not only is the album not stripped down and less orchestrated (the last track has a fucking chorus singing the entire thing), but the oversaturation of the band’s political Ideology falls harder than anything they’ve done before. Muse’s social commentary has always been lacking, but the band has been always backed up by heavy amounts of Queen-isms and Bellamy’s insane composition skills. Every single released after Psycho for this album is mediocre, and stands poorly against what was a solid rock album in their previous release The 2nd Law. I was highly disappointed, as were many other people I conversed about the album with, and hopefully Muse realizes after this bomb that maybe the fans want more of what The 2nd Law had to offer, than trying to hopelessly recapture their roots.
#2: Weezer (The Green Album) by Weezer
I hate the Green Album.
This album is everything that was wrong with the music industry in the early 2000’s. There is not one sincere song on this entire record, and every track is one big and contrived poppy mess. Every track is composed for the sake of being a radio rock hit, and not one song is written with any substance whatsoever.
This album was written out of disillusion and pure desperation.
You may be asking yourself, “Jake how is the album a disappointment? You weren’t aware of Weezer at the time this album came out, but yet you talk like you were there when everyone who loved Pinkerton had their dreams utterly dashed and destroyed by Geffen Records?”
Well dear reader, I have a personal story of how I came across this album.
Let’s go back to the year 2014. A young Jake Bender had been severely disillusioned with the world of alternative rock and 90’s grunge. The world of “Twinkly Emo” had opened it’s doors to me in 2013, and I became obsessed with anything that was given the genre description “emo”. And what’s more emo than Weezer’s 1996 masterpiece, Pinkerton? Lead singer/guitarist/writer Rivers Cuomo poured his heart and soul on to this record, and what we get are stories more outspoken and sad than anything the band has put out in decades. The reason we’ve been getting more records similar to Pinkerton and The Blue Album as of late, is the fact that Rivers no longer feels it necessary to have to stress over whether people like his music. However, when he truly did care about what the masses we got albums like the Green Album and Make Believe. Every song on either of those albums are phoned in pop songs, and especially on The Green Album, lack any amount of craftsmanship or artistry.
And that, my friends, is why I found the Green Album to be so disappointing the summer of my Junior Year. It lacks substance, it lacks passion, and you definitely won’t find me with it on an Island In The Sun.
#1: Hyperview by Title Fight
There are very few words I can use to describe how I felt and continue to feel about Title Fight’s fourth release Hyperview. I was excited as all heck for a new Title Fight album, being that I hadn’t really interested in Floral Green, and immediately downloaded it from their Bandcamp. I paid money for this album.
I have never regretted a decision more in my entire life.
Title Fight, what the fuck happened?!
Did ANTI-Records do this to you?! Did they force you to become so lackluster and boring?! To become just another faceless shoegaze band? Where’s the high intensity riffage, the harrowing and angsty lyrics?! Yes I understand that not every album can be Shed, but why did you build an album based on the instrumental parts of Floral Green people were indifferent about?
I understand that artists change and develop their sounds as they continue their music careers, and while Hyperview may be a more intelligent album musically than their last releases, I have never been so appalled at how much a band can disrespect their longtime fans. Especially with one of the bands that defined what we love about the new wave of pop punk and hardcore: Shed is probably one of the most prolific albums of third wave pop punk, and The Last Thing You’ll Remember is easily one of the heaviest third wave pop punk albums out there. I’m not even really a hardcore fan of Title Fight – however, if this was a way for me to get back into them, it failed tremendously. When I really listened to these guys back in my junior year of high school, there was something magical about them.
Now the magic is lost, thrown to the void for the psuedo-hipster intellectuals to prattle on about how intelligent the band has become, how they’ve “matured.”
Maybe sounding immature isn’t always a bad thing? Maybe that’s why I favor Your Favorite Weapon so much over Deja Entendu (an article I plan on writing with another writer of Teal Cheese as soon as possible)? In my opinion, bands don’t mature from changing their sound entirely; they mature from taking what they’ve already established themselves as, and turn their art into something beyond extraordinary. Why fix what isn’t broken? Why deviate yourself so entirely from what made you so amazing, and walk all over the people who helped you get to where you are today?
Hyperview is my most disappointing album, because it’s one big fuck you to the fans.
Sadly I guess, Title Fight doesn’t feel the same way.
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