The Top 10 Most Disappointing Albums of 2012 (So Far)

It's a little past the halfway point of 2012, but mid-July still seems like a good time to round up the albums that came out this year and simply failed to meet our expectations. Some of those expectations were admittedly (and deservedly) sky-high -- leading to decent records that still felt like a bummer -- and some were so modest we're in disbelief that they weren't met. In any case, we All Shook Down writers decided to weigh in on the 10 albums of 2012 that have so far proved most disappointing. Here's what we got.

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Madonna
MDNA
[Boy Toy, Inc./Live Nation/Interscope]

Guess what, Madge? When the whole pop landscape's turned into one wub-wubbing, whomp-whomping, oonce-oonce-ing neon foam party, you're the person we want to provide some relief. With MDNA, we wanted you to show a way forward from the endlessly '90s-excavating Eurobeat obsession that passes for pop music these days. But instead of doing that, instead of adding even just the slightest bit of your own freaky and/or inventive twist, you fell in line and laid vocals over mostly banal big-room beats from Martin Solveig and Benny Benassi, sounding like lesser artists 20 years your junior. Even the presence of two of pop's most promising young females -- Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. -- couldn't save the bland "Give Me All Your Luvin'." The fact that you point out here that "every record sounds the same" just makes us sadder that yours does, too. -- Ian S. Port

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Sleigh Bells
Reign of Terror
[Mom & Pop Music]

What made Sleigh Bells' debut album standout was the fuzz. There were clear metal elements and a certain kind of rawness in songs like "Crown on the Ground." With Reign of Terror, though, the fuzz is gone. The band cleaned up their sound, had their SNL gig and SPIN cover moments. But the hype didn't match an overproduced product. Coming into 2012, Reign of Terror would've been predicted to land on year-end Top 10s, but you won't even find it on a midyear list (outside of this one, sadly). -- Nathan Mattise


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The Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends


[Warner Bros.]

The Ke$ha track abrades in an almost compelling way, and the Erykah track was surprisingly tasteful even if the degrading nightmare of the video was not. But there's so much length and so little release on display; many of these songs are slow, underwritten, or a lesson in collaboration between Interesting Band A and Random Artist B not equaling Captivating Album C. The Flaming Lips' musical imagination is turning gray and sludgy, which is a shame compared to their ultra-colorful ideas for edible gummy album releases and that always-kaleidoscopic live show. When they weren't planning originally on a mass release, they were right the first time.

 -- Dan Weiss


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Curren$y
Muscle Car Chronicles


[DD172]

In 2010, stoned Louisiana native Curren$y released Pilot Talk and Pilot Talk II, which pushed the boundaries of stoner rap indeed. But 2011 brought three more Curren$y albums that barely managed to get out of bed. So did anyone so soon need another vault-clearing from this relentless self-promoter ? He announced this live-band experiment so long ago and the title's so cool, at the very least it would have be to be decent, generic funk, right? Wrong. This is cheapo product with no reason to exist other than to be product -- it's like Pokemon cards with street cred. 

 -- Dan Weiss


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2 comments
Chingy
Chingy

How cold MDNA possibly disappoint?  She has been irrelevant for decades.  You can't fall off the floor.

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