10 Most Disappointing Albums of 2012:
Just to Feel Anything
Whether or not its a good album will be a point of contention argued passionately by synth nerds across the globe, but there's no denying that it was a major disappointment for at least half of the A/V club members out there. That's because, after the career-making synth epic of 2010's Does It Look Like I'm Here?, the group decided to add drums, crank up the cheese and move into some dubiously corny '90s sounds. There are some undoubtedly quality moments on this album, and no one's arguing whether it's a well-crafted record. But it's a well-crafted album that flirts dangerously close to feathered-mullet prog territory, an understandable bummer for some.
9. Ben Folds Five
The Sound of the Life of the Mind
For those of us who once rocked ironic ringer T's and horn-rimmed glasses, the announcement of a new album from Ben Folds Five — their first in 13 years, no less — was a cautiously optimistic prospect. After all, aside from some fruitful Weird Al hangouts and some solid turns on Rockin' the Suburbs, Folds' post-Five material was some of the most forgettable on the Starbucks CD rack. And, sure, The Sound of the Life of the Mind did deliver the signature plinking piano keys, fuzz bass and often humourous lyrics, but it also felt as if the Ben Folds Five were simply doing their best Ben Folds Five impression. In other words, they didn't offer anything that you couldn't already find in a half-assed afternoon on Rdio.
Somethin 'Bout Kreay
Skeptics rightly saw this flop coming from a mile away, but that doesn't mean we couldn't be at least a little disappointed. After all, Chief Keef's Finally Rich proved that you can take one viral hit and spin it into a listenable, if limited, major-label debut. With Bay Area mainstay Kreayshawn, however, nothing panned out the way it should have. In 2011, she dropped the accidental mega-hit "Gucci Gucci" via YouTube and quickly signed on with Columbia for what would become Somethin 'Bout Kreay. Roping in the likes of 2 Chainz and Diplo, the album could've been huge, but came out a flop thanks to its lack of direction or even passion. It's a weird thing to admit, but perhaps more major-label tinkering would've helped. After all, X Factor UK lab creation Cher Lloyd released a much more fun brat-rap album in the boardroom-designed Sticks + Stones.
7. Green Day
iUno!, iDos! and iTre!
These three albums aren't disappointing because we had high hopes for them. They're more disappointing in the way that your mom's not mad, just disappointed, when you forget her birthday or kill her plants while she's on vacation. From the story surrounding them that includes Billie Joe Armstrong's pre-rehab anti-Bieber rant (oh, that's right, Billie, you were on The Voice, while he was on The X Factor.... totally different things) to some embarrassingly corny political lyrics to the fact that there's three fucking albums, there was simply too much bad to go with what little good the band may have produced. It's fitting that Billie also made a cameo in Judd Apatow's This Is 40, because these albums double as physical documentation of some punk dads going through their midlife crises.
6. Best Coast
The Only Place
Depending on who you ask, Bethany Cosentino's school-yard rhyme schemes and borrowed lo-fi aesthetic can come off as immensely manufactured. Crazy for You, 2010's diary-entry set to rudimentary music, felt like a mistaken winner. Then, she signed up with Jon Brion, an endlessly quirky Wes Anderson of sound who could have theoretically added some depth to the whole thing. Instead, it was even more dull. Without the scratchy lo-fi, we're just left with SUV-ready versions of the same bland beach songs.