Oct 20th Free For All / Your biggest letdown for the year...

For those wondering how many total reviews are on the site, I passed a small milestone this week with the 1600th review. Now, on to the regular proceedings...

Although I try to stay away from mean comments in my reviews (instead doing my best to be constructive as possible), I will admit that I get disappointed from time to time, especially when I'm really looking forward to something. If you read my reviews this week, you'll know specifically which release I'm talking about.

That leads me to the topic (in addition to whatever anyone wants to talk about) of discussion this week; What release that you've been looking forward to has disappointed you the most this year?

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i dont care how willfully difficult and experimental the new social scene disc is. i dont care how much they muddied the production and smothered the vocals. The last track blazes through the darkness of the soul like an inspirational comet not seen for 70 years. with songs like this ill forgive the tricksy little beggars anything.Oh and if the band are as pretentious as some would have us believe how come they dont print their lyrics?

i hate to say this because i absolutely adore this guy but the new ted leo album just didn't do it

broken social scene was a big disappointment to me. it's not a bad album by any means, of course, but, you know, well...


true, but more specifically, "saeglopur" totally cops the riff from "climbing up the walls," which bugs me every time i hear it. the rest of takk is pretty good though.


sigur ros has been influencing radio head for years now. so that's probably why they're starting to morph into one sound.

midnite vultures IS genius

"Was the NIN really a let down? I hope you weren't expecting much! : ) Have long since given up on Mr. Reznor."

Oh my god! I'm so glad someone mentioned them. Former NIN Chris Vrenna came out with "American McGee's Alice." A Playstation game score. It's a dark Alice In Wonderland feel. I've been listening to nothing but film scores and frankly this one is better than most. Great Halloween listen.

"BOC = not groundbreaking, but still very lovely--no complaints here. BOC can do no wrong!"

I think what ultimately hurt MHTRTC was not the tracks themselves, but having too many. Had the group simply widdle 18 down to around 12, BOC could have had something of an ambient classic. I'll say this though. Has anyone been so seamless in indie since Aphex's Ambient Works II? Let you experts answer that.

"beck (his first album in a while i don't care for)"

Am I the only one who thinks the first 8 tracks or so off of Midnite Vultures is genius?

to sufjan's credit, he did put on one of the best live shows for illinoise that i've seen in years. (except maybe caribou.)

Totally agreed on the Prefuse 73. I was kind of looking forward to that one, but I listened to it several times and just couldn't get into it. He was even doing some different things with the female vocalists and guest MCs, yet I felt like I'd heard it all before.

I'll have to respectfully disagree on the Sufjan, though, that one is most likely going to be my favorite of the year unless something drastic happens.

here i go, bucking the trend...

BOC = not groundbreaking, but still very lovely--no complaints here. BOC can do no wrong!

Caribou = fantastic

The Clientele = slow burner, but well worth it

Jason Forrest = shamelessly exciting!

beck (his first album in a while i don't care for)
out hud (please don't sing)
sufjan (kind of a retread, annoying song titles)
four tet (where's the heart?)
broken social scene (too much filler)
sigur ros (one song sounds too much like radiohead, not otherworldly enough)
prefuse 73 (something's lacking--can't put my finger on it)
super furry animals (some annoying songs)

Note to Marshall:

I don't recall any mention of Mogwai releasing a live album this year. As far as I was aware, the Peel Sessions was always going to be the one and only Mogwai release in '05.
I do know that Mogwai have been trying to compile a DVD, which would feature footage from live shows, as well as promo videos. However, I understand that a DVD is unlikely to be ready for quite some time.

Count me as another one who found the new Boards Of Canada to be disappointing. Some of their synth textures are still quite lovely, but overall, very uninspired and I can think of a number of other similar-sounding groups that I'd much rather listen to.

The new Ladytron is pretty disappointing. The first single, "Destory Everything You Touch", absolutely kills, but the rest of the album is bad goth preening (and they rip off a riff from a Doors song, for crying out lout). If I want that, I'll just stick with the new Depeche Mode disc.

The new Clientele was disappointing at first, but it's really grown on me.

Yes, four tet's album is the general letdown here, I'm in.
I'd say "the books" new disc is easily one of the best I've heard all year, but many people think of it as a letdown also (why?, why!?). I'll be uploading a track from them on the motel this wednesday, let you decide.

boards of canada, the campfire headphase. what was once a trailblazing band has morphed into sounding like a 1,000 others. highly disappointing.

Well then! Here are some albums that surpassed my expectations this year ;-)

Espers - The Weed Tree (warmer, more down-to-earth)
Iron & Wine - Woman King EP
Josephine Foster - Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You
Venetian Snares - Rossz Csillag Alatt Született (was growing bored with the similarity of previous albums, this a good change)


Btw, would it be possible to increase the size of the Text field? I find it difficult to organise words and paragraphs as it is. Looking forward to the contest!

Mostly, I think everyone is disappointed in me for starting such a poopy-pants thread. I completely understand.

Next week, I'll do something a little more uplifting, and I'll announce a contest that I'll be running in early November for a pretty cool (and now rare) CD.

My two biggest let downs were the live Mogwai album and the new Mars Volta...

Mogwai: When I heard that there would be a live mogwai album, my hopes went skyhigh. However, this isn't really a "live" album, it's BBC radio sessions. Having seen Mogwai live before, this disc doesn't stack up at all. Some of the songs had more punch on the studio albums than they did here.

Mars Volta: Their first album was just so frickin' good I guess it may have been inevitable. I listen to a lot of weird stuff, that most people wouldn't even consider music, but this album was 75% filler/senseless jamming.

J Neij
Minor letdowns of the year (compared to the artists prior albums - still good and listenable and sort of unique stuff but I expected a little more):

Caribou, Four Tet, Boards of Canada, Vashti Bunyan

All pretty good, but they've done so much better:
FOUR TET Everything Ecstatic
MATT ELLIOTT Drinking Songs
THE WHITE STRIPES Get Behind Me Satan (becoming more of a Jack White solo act with each album)

and then:
ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS I Am A Bird Now (a good album, but way over-rated)

I just remembered what really got me down...
Need New Body's "Where's Black Ben?" After the weird brilliance of "UFO," I was expecting even greater things (especially after seeing them live). But damn, a lot of this album just felt completely half assed and even *more* like an inside joke than previous work. Still, there are a few tracks that give glimpses into what they could be, but they just need to get their act together.

Hey Eric Gen...

Was the NIN really a let down? I hope you weren't expecting much! : ) Have long since given up on Mr. Reznor.


I disagree that Takk is not different in style from their previous albums. Takk is much heavier with the guitars, drums, especially as compared to (), and more hopeful, more melody. I don't think its compareable to any other Sigur Ros album.


Totally agree about Caribou. It took awhile to grow on me as well, and it still is. The first few listens I thought it was a let down from Up In Flames, now I tihnk its a step forward.

Another minor letdown was the new Books disc...but almost anything woul dhave to be compared to their first two albums.

And while I'm not a big Death Cab For Cutie fan, I really enjoyed Transatlantacism. I was expecting a letdown on their major label debut, but not a letdown to the point of it being unlistenable like it is. Awful.


Bummer: Iron & Wine + Calexico. At least the rest of the world loves it.

Id say Four Tet's last album was pretty average. A good idea for a discussion is albums that grow on you

I think I must be the only one that isn't disappointed with the campfire headphase. I'd file it with takk, while its not that different from the style used in previous albums they've both continued the style but made it a bit more laid back/hopeful. I'm quite a big fan of the use of guitars too in campfire headphase, gives them a bit more variation which the other 2 albums didn't have. I'd give campfire headphase 8.25

Eric Gen
BoC, NiN and Four Tet let me down. Thank god for Sufjan Stevens and Sigur Ros!

four tet - everything ecstatic. i remember how excited i was when i listened to pause album for the first time... what a pity...

About the time that I reviewed the Caribou, I would have agreed with both of you that it was a letdown. In the time that's passed since then, though, I've come to really love it. I didn't force myself to listen to it over and over or anything, but one day it just seemed to sort of "click" and it's tickled my ears since (other than a couple of the shorter, "filler" tracks). In fact, it'll definitely end up in my top 10 for the year.

The Four Tet, however, hasn't grown on me and I could mark that one down as a minor letdown. There are a couple songs on there, though, that still kick my ass...

Oh, and I'll be reviewing the Jelinek fairly soon, so keep stopping back. Heh.

Oh man, peter, you're right! The Caribou album was such a big disappointment that it didn't even stick in my mind well enough for me to remember it as the obvious answer to this question! Thanks for reminding me.

The four tet album was bit a disappointment. But I appauld him for not giving us "Rounds Part 2", because then we could just chalk him up there with Sugar Ray or Incubus who found a sound that made them popular, and just remade it time and time again.

The real disappointment was the new Caribou album (which I haven't even purchased). If the mp3 copy I had was in fact the album, it just kind of waltz on by without even saying hello.

My only wish for the rest of the year is that the new Jan Jelinek album is as good as I want it to be. Otherwise, 2005 will go down as the year I just colllected albums from other years.

I didn't exactly have high expectations for it, but the critical buildup I heard early on for Architecture in Helsinki's latest album gave me hope that I was getting something special. It's special in very small ways, and far too delicate for its own good. Technically, it's a giddy album with nice moments. But the disappointment sets in when I try to listen to the entire album from beginning to end. It can't sustain my attention, and those elements that do work tend to collapse and end far too quickly. Listening to "It's 5" six times because it's not long enough is not the same as listening to a great twee chamber-pop song that carries you along for a good five minutes or so.

I agree that the BoC album is a bit of a let down but maybe the score was a little low. I personally would have given it a 7 on the strength of those tracks you mentioned being some of the best stuff they've done yet. Other than that though, great review and I agree 100% about Feels.

Four Tet album Everything Ecstatic...huge step down for him from Rounds. I know a lot of artists sorta hi-jacked his sound since Rounds....but Everything Ecstatic was a major disappointment.