Top Ten Worst Stylus Albums of the Week
t's 2006, and it’s not just Ariel Sharon's cognition patterns that have changed drastically. It's a whole new Stylus. Sure, the staff is going to remain the same blend of never-been-kissed Americans covering the indie, and a mish-mash of homos and Brits (lol same thing amirite?) covering the rest of the musical sphere, but look at that new layout! You could spend upwards of two hours on HoTMetaL 97 and not come up with a site that looks as nice as this! Anyway, yeah, notice what's gone? Album of the Week. It's over. It had a good two year run, but you don't mind when something that's only two years old dies (TV shows, kittens, cousins). Plus we've got something better now, anyway: Stylus Recommends. We're going to recommend music when we want to, not when some hebdomadally Draconian system forces us to. It'll be just like blogging, only people will actually be reading it.
Anyway, as a tribute to the passing of AOTW, we present one man's (right) opinions. The ten worst albums we elevated into that album of the week spot, whilst true masterpieces of the past few years (such as, say, A Long Hot Summer by Masta Ace) languished in the third review spot of a windy Thursday. Enjoy.
10. Elbow – Leaders Of The Free World
Yeah, I must have missed the moment when Phill Jupitus started writing for us. If you were in your graduating year of university when Britpop was kicking off you'd have a wife, kids, and mortgage by now, so its nice that somebody's making music for the audience, but, y'know, I don't want to have to listen to it. At all. Remember Medal?
09. RJD2 – Since We Last Spoke
I'm pretty sure that nobody has done more damage to music in the past 15 years than DJ Shadow, but when he violently forced himself upon turntable culture back in the mid 90s, this was the rapechild born from the unholy union. An entire CD of songs that advertising directors would consider for Edgy Marketing Campaigns, before choosing that Air song with the whistling in it instead.
08. Embrace – Dry Kids (B-Sides 1997-2005)
Because, you know, The Longpigs or Spacehog didn't have an album out that week. Of all the bands Stylus has become associated with due to excessive pimping by members of our staff (Girls Aloud, Nellie McKay, Sway, Junior Boys), Embrace are the ones who make me bang my head against a wall each time I realise we've given them a grade that's anything above what we would have given, oooh, I dunno, a new album from David Devant and His Spirit Wife. Embrace were a joke within the music industry back in 1998, this is like giving The Bravery's b-sides album a B+ grade sometime in 2012.
07. The Decemberists – Picaresque
Do people actually like The Decemberists outside of online “alternative” dating profiles then? Why? At the best, they produce tedium. At the worst, they make teeth-ruiningly saccharine ‘tweendie. Colm Meaney, or whatever the lead singer of this band is called, seems to bring that much beloved Def Jux approach to lyric writing into these days of the indie, that fantastic “Man, I know so much about stuff, I should fit the contents of roughly three novels into each eight bars, that'll lead to a smooth flowing and easily listenable experience.”
06. Devendra Banhart – Cripple Crow
Look, it isn't just me that thinks that if much-loved internet child molestation icon Brian Peppers was to roll up into the studio and lay down some tracks, it would bear an uncanny resemblance to the recorded output of Devendra to date, right? Brian Peppers' evil acts have only hurt one or two people though, whilst Devendra’s career history has caused physical pain and suffering to anyone who's been in a student cafe within the past eight months. Like Jack Johnson for people too lazy to go on surfing holidays.
05. The Streets – A Grand Don't Come For Free
It's pretty much impossible to remember now, but there was a time that, for some reason, The Streets was taken seriously by publications that actually understood things about music, rather than his contemporary fanbase being the readers of the ten-bob billionaire rags Nuts and Zoo. Anyway, this was his last hurrah before being completely swollen into the folds of fat on Chris Moyles' body, and, just think, if he'd never released this, he'd never have had the money to set up his own label, and thus we would have never have had to hear the fucking Mitchell Brothers. Reason enough to place it into the dumpster.
04. Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
It's not just that we made this Album of the Week, we gave it an A. We didn't even give HMHB's “Achtung Bono” an A, and yet we gave Krazy Konnor's new opus one. Are we meant to be throwing out grades on how attractive the musician is now then? Because in that case Morningwood would have been the first band in Stylus history to get an A+++, and we've had F'd Surfjan. Dude has teeth like Freddie Mercury. Anyway, yes, Bright Eyes: suck. Even if I'd just had my first period I doubt I could bring myself to enjoy this self-pitying drear.
03. Matthew Herbert – Plat Du Jour
Horrid. Bringing to mind Richard Herring's “I don't call him Tony Blair. I call him Tony B-Liar. Because he's a liar. And a bee” routine, Matthew Herbert combined unlistenable bedroom faff-tronica (it's a new genre, I coined it), with some of the worst sixth form “lol dubya morelike dumbya amirite?) politics this side of, umm, a sixth form. During his live act, Herbert destroys Big Macs in order to show those fat cat Washington bureaucrats about the evils of capitalism. Except, of course, in order to destroy the Big Mac, first he has to buy it. lol socialism
02. Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock and Roll
Dreadful, tuneless, novelty rock without the humour, like The Fall if instead of beating women Mark E. Smith took them to see midnight screenings of Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie. Dear US Anglophiles: please stop taking any interest in our culture and stick to watching repeats of The Benny Hill Show. Kthxbi
01. Wolf Parade – Apologies To The Queen Mary
Well, as long as you’re apologizing for the fact that your frontman has the worst vocals in the history of all recorded music; at least that reveals you to be compassionate individuals. My memories of listening to this album are so painful that I can't go back and listen to it again in order to write about how bad it was, because I fear the traumatic outbursts it'll bring back in the future. This piece was going to end with a humorous joke about the criminal exploits of Isaac Brock, who produced this album, but the new look Stylus actually has lawyers now, so that's out of the window. We would like to point out that “Stylus recommends” that “No means no,” though.
By: Dom Passantino
Published on: 2006-01-27