Biggest Disappointment 2002 Year in Review

Biggest Disappointment 2002 Year in Review
Beck Sea Change (Geffen)
It sounds like tired post-grunge rock without the fire. Beck's folk opus showcases that special brand of Eddie Vedder woe-ism and lazy phrasings. While I can appreciate a departure from Beck's days of funk and sass, the album is void of spirit and is 80 percent boring. The kind of album I would expect a victim of chronic fatigue syndrome to make. Carla Gillis

After promises that Sea Change would share similarities to his career-making Mutations, Beck instead took the "mature" road, piecing together an album your parents are likely to love. Nigel Godrich saves the whole thing from slipping into adult contemporary terrain, but the album continues along its level plane throughout, offering little in the way of aural excitement. Neil Haverty

Boards of Canada Geogaddi (Warp)
A highly anticipated follow-up that went nowhere fast. There were two or three really good tracks, but otherwise it was far too much like their first album, but even more aimless. I hope they trash all those one-minute tracks on their future albums. Philip Downey

Dillinger Escape Plan with Mike Patton Irony is a Dead Scene (Epitaph)
I'm not sure what I was expecting from this combination, but I wasn't expecting this. A good concept that ended up as only a good concept. Paul Gresch

Eighties New Wave Revival
New wave was an art form that pushed boundaries and created a movement in a fairly stale music scene. We don't need a half-assed revivals of Echo and the Bunnymen, the Happy Mondays and Flock of Seagulls. I have seen some of the worst shows in my memory this year from new wave acts. I respect that some of these acts have had to return to the road (or that some never really left) to make some cash but really, at least give us a little bit of the nostalgia we are obviously looking for. Put some effort into it! Amber Authier

The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner)
Their previous album, The Soft Bulletin, is a milestone of my adult life; now they sound not so much like charmed astral voyagers as high-concept space cadets. A solar system too far. Michael White

Frontline Assembly in Vancouver
After taking the stage almost an hour late on a busy Saturday night during New Music West, Vancouver's ambassadors of industrial put on a mediocre show to an irritated crowd. Not the best way to re-introduce yourself to the legions who buy your records. Coreen Wolanski

The Gloria Record @ Casa de Popolo in Montreal
They had enough emo street cred to pack the house, but not enough to keep an audience. Attendees preferred to chat outside in the winter cold snow than watch the Record's lead singer slap a tambourine. Jasamine White-Gluz

The Guthries
Two years ago, I was telling everyone I knew about this wonderful Halifax band, like they would change the world. But changing labels and losing one of their key members has reduced them to a patchy, wholly unmemorable bunch. Michael Edwards

The Hives
One amazing single and a spiffy dress code don't make a good album. Once again, a good idea — the return of raw garage rock to public consciousness — quickly became a trend where the best fashion sense wins. Only the White Stripes have the substance to match both their style and their public profile. Michael Barclay

Jam Master Jay's Death
Not only was it a tragic end of a turntable pioneer, but it was the death of an artist who never glorified street crime and senseless violence. Killed in the very studio that Run DMC created in order to give back to New York's community. A giant loss for hip-hop. Noel Dix

Metal Irony
Two-decade-old T-shirts being worn by pop bands. Sadly, the ironic, self-mocking insipidness of namedropping/wearing '80s metal influences is all the rage in the punk, emo and hardcore scenes, while good, relevant aggressive music is ignored. Just because you saw Slayer throw the devil's horns doesn't mean you should do it in your shitty video. Chris Gramlich

Mutabaruka Life Squared (Heartbeat)
One of the best dub poets of all time came back with his first proper album in eight years, but his music remained in '94. Joe Claussell's mix, which closes out the disc, is a taste of what could be done with Muta's voice in a different space. David Dacks

Primal Scream Evil Heat (Sony)
With an incredible career dating back to their jangle-pop debut in 1987, these Scots have covered a lot of musical turf. However, Evil Heat features weak songs, boring production, and a sad stab at the electro bandwagon. The cracks were beginning to show on their last release, and it seems the machine has come off rails. Rob Bolton

Promise Ring Wood/Water (Epitaph)
Can somebody let me know where they were going with this one? I had high hopes for this one but it turned out to be one of the most boring albums to come out in years. Stacey Abramson

Sigur Ros ( ) (Pias/MCA)
Who knew that publicly snoring in Icelandic can be so financially rewarding? Roman Sokal

Teeth Of Lions Rule The Divine Rampton (Southern Lord)
The band pedigree of Cathedral, Iron Monkey, Goatsnake, and Khanate was seething with doom potential; instead, Rampton turns out to be another Sunn0)))-inspired tool for noise suffocation, way too long and one-dimensional for the average ADD-addled fan. Chris Ayers

Themselves The No Music (Anticon)
Jel and Dose created Anticon's best release with their self-titled debut as Them. The follow-up, as Themselves, lost sight of the fine line between hip-hop and poetic experimentation, and just sounds self-indulgent. Thomas Quinlan

Today Is The Day Sadness Will Prevail (Relapse)
I've tried to warm up to this band, but have only ever received nightmares in return. (Literally. They scare me.) I thought this album would be phenomenal, but I couldn't even get through the whole thing: too much ineffective experimentation and weak sounding vocals killed it. Greg Pratt

Tom Waits and Frank Black Doubles
Two new albums by both Tom Waits and Frank Black. Somehow not twice the fun. The Waits albums were recorded nearly a decade apart and handcuffed to the subject matter provided by the stage plays they were written for. The Frank Black releases each featured different bands, but there were only enough good songs for a single standard-length Frank release. Eric Hill

Neil Young Are You Passionate? (Reprise)
He's always risen to the occasion when times were strange, but his weak, knee-jerk response to 9/11, "Let's Roll," was merely a preview of this ironically titled, thoroughly uninspired album. Jason Schneider