Even in a year as awesome as 2007, you can’t win them all. In addition to the glorious singles highlighted last week, and the albums featured here over the next five days, the year’s music landscape also includes weak follow-ups, ill-advised comebacks and rudderless, directionless records that have no idea whether they’re coming or going. While hardly a complete list, these are the five disappointments that hit me the hardest.
What went wrong? I went on-record defending this album earlier in 2007, but time might have proven the doubters right. Unlike other transition records this year, such as the Shins’ Wincing the Night Away, Some Loud Thunder’s failed moments seemed to resonate more than its successes as the year rolled on.
Salvageable moment? “Underwater (You and Me),” not only the best song on the album, but one of the forgotten great songs of 2007.
What went wrong? Interpol’s problem is that they brilliantly emerged fully-formed with Turn Out the Bright Lights and really haven’t figured out what to do next. There’s nothing particularly bad about Our Love to Admire, but almost nothing truly memorable either.
Salvageable moment? “Mammoth,” the only track that sounds as huge and loud as Interpol wants to be.
What went wrong? John Samson goes back to the well one too many times. Reconstruction Site had songs good enough to survive its redundancy, but the same can’t be said here. Why would anyone listen to this when they could put on Left and Leaving instead?
Salvageable moment? A chance to revisit Virtue in “Virtue the Cat Explains Her Departure,” a heartbreaking lyric of love grown cold.
What went wrong? Billy Corgan seems to have forgotten the diversity of the Pumpkins’ sound, re-imagining them solely as a faux-metal band while neglecting everything else that the band used to be. Someone send this guy a copy of Siamese Dream or Mellon Collie, stat.
Salvageable moment? First single “Tarantula” was decent, but “That’s The Way (My Love Is) almost touches past greatness.
What went wrong? Despite having arguably its most talented and exciting lineup yet, Wilco decided to tone things down and make a methodical, laid-back album that I found almost wholly lacking in revelation. Is it a bad record? Perhaps not – it certainly has its supporters – but it simply wasn’t what I was expecting, nor what I think I’m looking for in a Wilco album. Given my esteem for the band, there’s little question that it deserves this dubious slot.
Salvageable moment? Closing track “On and On and On,” one of the most haunting and beautiful songs the band has ever recorded. If only the rest of the record was half as brilliant.