Exclaim!'s 2013 in Lists:

Top 10 Disappointing Albums

> Dec 12 2013

Exclaim!'s 2013 in Lists: - Top 10 Disappointing Albums
By Exclaim! StaffWell, it can't all be rainbows and sunshine; sometimes, big hopes mean big disappointments, and 2013 was no different. From hip-hop legends losing step to lesser sequels, below are ten letdowns from the past 365.

To see more of our coverage of the year in music, head over to our 2013 in Lists section.

Top 10 Disappointing Albums of 2013:


Exai is a record that displays Autechre's tedious obsession with certain sonic elements and offers no thematic foothold. It's rife with incredibly interesting aspects but these are then overplayed or end up meandering down cul de sacs. Autechre albums always require some effort, which in turn rewards you, but Exai is a demanding slog. (Daryl Keating)

Boards of Canada
Tomorrow's Harvest

A combination of substance-less padding and lack of memorable tunes dragged Tomorrow's Harvest down from it's proposed podium but that was merely the knockout blow. With six years of silence, feverish, cryptic hype, and a veritable frothing at the mouth from die-hards setting up the fall, it was near impossible to live up to its expectations. (Daryl Keating)

IV Play

While IV Play had all the trappings of a return to form for the "Radio Killa," instead listeners are treated to strip club anthems and "ratchetness" that outweigh his R&B offerings. More interested in mistimed bangers like "Tron" and "Pussy," The-Dream leaves us with one of 2013's most disappointing releases. (Jabbari Weekes)

Jay Z
Magna Carta Holy Grail

Jay Z continues to come up with new ways to assert his vast, entrepreneurial dominance away from the studio, but his artistry in the booth has waned steadily in recent years. Despite a few notable assists from producer Timbaland and a couple of heavyweight guests, this year's lacklustre Magna Carta Holy Grail, with Jay Z's increasingly plodding pace and largely unremarkable lyrical barbs, added more credence to the notion that the creative demands of a solo effort might just be slipping beyond the rap king's grasp. (Kevin Jones)

(OVO Sound)

When Drake signed Jahron Brathwaite (aka PARTYNEXTDOOR) to his OVO Sound imprint, many were hoping for the next Weeknd… or at least the next Illangelo. A talented producer and well-versed vocalist, Brathwaite somehow fails to cement his own personality on PARTYNEXTDOOR, opting to cover the same sonic, lyrical and musical territory already laid out by his more-than-capable Torontonian brethren. (Daniel Sylvester)

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MGMT would get my vote. Sigh
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Is Exclaim covering music or hype these days? If you were to shore up ten records that people were really pulling for out of the gate, many of these choices make sense. But in terms of music quality, several of these titles really satisfied their audience (plus critics), regardless of whether it lived up to some debut they did twelve years ago (in the case of the Strokes). I support bands and artists evolving, not playing call and answer to their past. Any progressive music website should do the same.
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I have to agree with Jazzmatazz. While I was disappointed in the Strokes, I loved the Boards of Canada, Phoenix, Autechre and I found even the Timberlake wasn't that bad. I think his editing would have been better served shortening the songs on the first edition. Even the Snoop Lion wasn't awful and that's what I was expecting. I think the most disappointing thing of the year is everybody freaking about Haim - the boys' answer to Hanson if you ask me.
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Well said, Jazzmatazz!
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Pearl Jam gets my vote.
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I loooove the new Pearl Jam. But who am I to argue with the lead singer.
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Autechre? Really?
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I'm glad there's no downvoting on this site, for I was disappointed by Arcade Fire's latest...
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Way to refer only to the publicity of and preceding works to 'Comedown Machine' and not any of its musical qualities. Shouldn't you, as professional(-ish) music critics, judge a piece of work on its own merits?
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2013 is the year that Random Access Memories was released. How can it not be on this list?

I actually think the BoC and Phoenix albums are great.
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Most Disappointing Music Website of 2013: Exclaim.

"Exclaim used to capture an excitement for music and you could read reviews and feel that the people writing them were actually fans of music. Those people, it would appear, have moved on, and in their place exclaim have hired a bunch of post grad, chin stroking hipster journalism majors, whose craft it appears is to talk less passion into the music they love, and instead stand on an obtuse and inaccessible academic pedestal waxing moronic about the details in music that no one cares about. I find it increasing hard to read anything from this publication and feel like it has even the most remote shred of credibility or usefulness."
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Simon iff for the win ladies and germs
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heard that jay z record everywhere this year
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