So it’s that time of year again, for my Best-of and Worst-of entertainment (books and music). To see last year’s entries, click here:
This year, I’m stretching this into a four-part series. I’ll start with the Worst CDs. In all, I’ve obtained nearly 70 new CDs last year, not counting random online downloads from Amazon (free!). For this list, a few notes: these CDs didn’t all come out in 2011, they were just obtained this year. I’ve included release date years. Also, I will NOT be including any kids CDs that we had, nor any music I bought specifically for Ash (because some of that country and the Black Eyed Peas would probably appear on the list). One other note, the music from this year was not nearly as big a failure as last year, so this is probably the hardest list to come up with.
4. Join Us – They Might Be Giants (2011): The reviews I’d read on this album were across the board. Many say it was a nice throwback to their old shorter-song style, some said it was the same miserable stuff they’d poured out of their last few albums. I was skeptical, but I bought it. I have to say I lean toward the second. It’s not the actual songs that are bad; in fact I feel there are a few pretty good songs on the album (When Will You Die, Spoiler Alert, and Three Might Be Duende), but it’s the fact that they’re no longer a band playing songs they wrote. They are constantly experimenting with different annoying sounds, silly voices, and in my opinion trying to be weird in an attempt to recreate their olden days, rather than writing and performing songs like they used to. Disappointing.
3. Weezer – Green Album (2001): I know nobody says to buy this CD as the best example of Weezer, but given the catchy hooks of the Blue Album and songs like Beverly Hills, I expected more from this than album. This is some of the blandest music for a band with theoretically as much personality as Weezer. I’ve had the CD for 4 months and I couldn’t sing you a single lyric from it.
2. Past, Present & Future – Rick Wakeman (2010): I was so excited when Ash bought me this 3-CD collection of new piano music. Almost anything that Rick touches is gold. However, I think there should be a disclaimer that this isn’t a collection of 40 well-composed songs. It sound more like him just improvising and recording it. I mean, if you listen to the bass hand in each song, it sounds identical in different key signatures. Sure they’re pretty, and if they pop up randomly on my player, chances are I’ll like the song a great deal, but you simply can’t listen to these CDs in order, it is simply too non-descript.
1. Monkey – UNLV Orchestra (1999): Okay, yeah, I bought this one because of the name. It’s basically a collection of orchestra pieces from a college orchestra. And the playing is fine. But man, they picked an assortment of really lousy songs. There’s a number of them I skip outright, and few others that I make it a ways through before thinking, “Wow, this is a lousy song.” The band sounds fine, at least.