Now that Christmas has ended, it is finally time for one of my favorite parts of the year… LIST SEASON! Now, every two-bit website has their list of the best and worst this, that, and the other thing of the year, but nobody ever gives love to the middle ground. What about those movies, albums, and television shows that were just, you know, “meh”? Average things need love too, people; cue the Sophomore! Today I will be exploring my Top 5 most average album experiences of 2017. Now, there is no real metric that I am using here other than the fact that I didn’t hate or love these albums; they just made me feel all sorts of meh. With that being said… let the listing commence!
5. Prophets of Rage – Prophets of Rage
What happens when you mix two hip-hop legends and the band portion of a premier 90’s alternative protest group? The defining protest album of the decade? HA! Nah. You get reheated Rage Against the Machine music and ripped off LL Cool J verses (which was actually kind of well played, I can’t lie). This should have been a defining musical moment, but it’s just a passable effort from some ageing radicals.
4. 8 – Incubus
Blandon (not a typo) Boyd and the boys return from the dumpster fire that was If Not Now, When with probably one of the most generic (vanilla may be a better word) alternative records of the last 20 years, with a misguided foray into trap to boot ( leave that shit to them youngsters guys). Granted, there are some decent tracks on this thing, and it is better than that last travesty of a record, but the sum is not nearly as interesting as just a few of its parts. Hopefully one day the boys in the Bus will bring the funky weirdness back; though sadly… that’s highly unlikely.
3. The Desaturating Seven – Primus
Huzzah! The lords of Country-Fried Progressive Funk Metal decided to grace us with their presence this year. With what you ask? Well, a concept based on an Italian children’s book about a bunch of goblin creatures who feed on color. Yeah. I mean, it is Primus so that level of weirdness is to be expected. I do really dig that concept too, and the scope, I just wish it was less meandering weirdness and more funked out weirdness.
2. Humanz – Gorillaz
When a group releases a trilogy of greatness, the fourth album is bound to fall a bit short; especially when it is a bloated as hell 22 tracks (well the deluxe version anyway, though the standard is still a tad bloated) in length. You would think more would be better after a 7 year gap, but no, it really isn’t. While there is some true greatness (Ascension, Strobelite, Momentz), there is far more repetition and just blandness. If this was the playlist that was my background music at the end of the world… I’d just want to get it over with after the first batch of tracks.
- Concrete and Gold – Foo Fighters
Let’s break the Foo’s down by decade for a second. In the 90’s they had their own trilogy of greatness with Foo Fighters, Colour and the Shape, and There is Nothing Left to Lose. Then in the 00’s they had a trilogy of descending quality with One by One, In Your Honor, and Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace. Now, here in this decade (the tens, the teens? whatever) we have a trilogy of mixed results. It began with the super solid Wasting Light, then came the better television show than concept album Sonic Highways, and now we have this new record, a typical Foo Fighters rock album Concrete and Gold. That’s all it is, a typical Foo Fighters record. Not bad. Not great. Just good. While I am not yet all Foo’d out… I fear that day may be approaching.
Now, as I come to the end of this post, I realize all of the above acts either came out in the 90’s, are comprised of members of groups from the 80’s/90’s, or came out in the year 2000. What does this mean? Is this me subconsciously saying that we need to burn down the past so the future can move on untethered like a stupidly controversial Star Wars sequel? Could be. Does this mean that when groups moved in to their third decade that the material, while still mildly enjoyable, starts to suffer slightly and maybe it’s time for them to just stick to touring? More likely. In all seriousness, it probably is just me realizing that relevance is a son of a bitch and the maintenance of said relevance doubly so.
With all that being said, just for shats and gaggles here is my list of my 5 favorite albums (featuring only one band from the 90’s!):
- Damn. – Kendrick Lamar
- Relatives in Descent – Protomartyr
- Nothing Feels Natural – Priests
- RTJ3 – Run the Jewels (Sure it’s technically a 2016 album, but it came out in the last week of the year so I am counting it for 2017)
- Villains – Queens of the Stone Age