The Top 5 Albums That Should Have Been Really Good, But Weren’t: 2007

5. The Chemical Brothers We Are The Night

Long since past is the time when The Chemical Brothers delivered their “Block Rockin’ Beats” but 2007 developed as a year in which electronic artists were given their window of opportunity back into mainstream pop music. Veteran acts such as Cassius released new material to critical praise, Justice and Simian Mobile Disco gained strong international success and Daft Punk (simply from the surrounding praise from a few select live shows) was one of the most popular acts of the year. And even with all of the opportunity to succeed, The Chemical Brothers put out an album that was, at best, mediocre. A discussion with a friend during the summer lead us to conclude that the duo was content with their career, and was simply putting music out to have a little bit of fun. But even with that, I don’t see the sense in resting an album’s success on the shoulders of a single that attempts to utilize Fat Lip. That doesn’t seem like fun for anybody.

Peak Billboard Chart Position: #65

4. Arctic Monkeys Favourite Worst Nightmare

Though the group’s first album was released in America with scattered results it was widely believed that the band’s second effort would utilize the still-fresh hype the band had, catapulting the Monkeys into the spotlight. And while the band played sold out shows in 1000+ capacity venues, the album never fully caught on, again, like it did in the UK. The furious “Brainstorm” made a brief impact in terms of US radio play while the album’s other singles “Fluorescent Adolescent” and “Teddy Picker” received hardly any recognition at all. Compared to the band’s status in the UK, their release it the US was a flop.

Peak Billboard Chart Position: #7

3. The Beastie Boys The Mix Up

The Beastie Boys can typically do no wrong when it comes to going out on a limb with their career. The group has gone from Bowery punk sensationalists to drunken party rappers to a forward thinking hip hop troupe to Tibetan-monk loving introspectionists…and their fans haven’t lost touch. With that, releasing an album showcasing the Boys as an instrumental band, an aspect of the group that has popped up in various albums throughout the past two decades, seemed likely to succeed…as on the whole, their instrumental tracks have all historically been gazed upon lovingly.

“The Rat Cage” and “Off The Grid” were both released via video form on the band’s blog, both songs sounding fantastic and both videos showcasing the same sense of vintage snarkiness that made “Sabotage” famous. Unfortunately the rest of the album was entirely bi-polar, each track seemingly drawing from different genres and influences – stripping the entire album of any solid flow. The Mix Up doesn’t sound like a bad idea on the surface, but uncharacteristically, the effort just doesn’t seem there; the proof is in the album’s ten mediocre tracks that failed to come close to the first two teasers.

Peak Billboard Position: #15

2. Smashing Pumpkins Zeitgeist

Given the overwhelming pre-release build up that the “reunited” Smashing Pumpkins had going for them Billy Corgan and crew could have put out a ho-hum album and received nothing but praise, or so one might have thought. “Tarantula” flooded airwaves prior to the album’s release and Zeitgeist (even if every track were to be on pace with the single) appeared on the surface as something that would appeal to those who had brushed Corgan off as a relic from the ’90s. As it turned out Zeitgeist was in fact, as a hole, mediocre and it really didn’t garner the praise it seemed destined for.

Reprise Records then made agreements with iTunes, Best Buy and Target among others so that each retailer would give an exclusive track, album cover or track listing with their release, infuriating fans and causing many to give up hope on the band before the album even hit shelves. All that and one of the album’s best tracks, “Gossamer,” failed to appear on any of the albums…from any retailer…at all.

Peak Billboard Chart Position: #2

1. 50 Cent Curtis

The verbal battle between 50 Cent and Kanye West leading up to the week of their respective albums’ releases was fantastic in terms of media exposure, both sides touting that they would sell the most records in the debut week, both sides guaranteeing the victory. Never before has a publicity stunt been pulled like this, especially so considering that 50 Cent went on record, speaking of himself in the third person saying, “If Kanye West sells more records than 50 Cent on September 11, I’ll no longer write music. I’ll write music and work with my other artists, but I won’t put out anymore solo albums.” But after Kanye dominated 50 in album sales Curtis took his remarks back – noting that it is “impossible” for rappers to quit rapping. Proof, however, that there indeed comes a time when rappers should quit rapping: Curtis.

Peak Billboard Chart Position: #2

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]

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