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100 Albums Supplemental: Anticipointments

So every now and then you have an album you really and truly love from an artist who's really impressed you. You were looking forward to the follow-up so much, and then you get let down hard. You know the feeling. It was the feeling you got after watching Star Wars, Episode I or The Matrix: Reloaded. It's especially pervasive in music because of a phenomenon called the "sophomore slump" in which an artist has spent years on the underground circuit cultivating a playlist and their debut album is essentially a greatest hits of their pre-contract work. Then they go into the studio to record a follow up and what they put together is... Sam's Town.

So here's a list of albums that I was really looking forward to and then hated.

Hospitality - Trouble

Hospitality's eponymous debut is a little indie-pop gem with a fantastic single in Friends Of Friends. They're a little twee, sure, but it was a fun bite-sized nugget of a record and I was anxious to see what they followed it up with and bought the album without hearing any of it beforehand. And it was decidedly blah. Not bad, per se, but imminently forgettable.

Scott Weiland - 12 Bar Blues

This was released in 1998 during one of Stone Temple Pilots' many hiatuses (hiati?). It followed a not-very-well-received album from Talk Show--that is, STP minus Weiland plus Dave Coutts of Ten Inch Man. Talk Show was enough of a commercial failure that some of us just assumed Weiland was the true talent behind STP, and then his solo album dropped and oh how wrong we were. 12 Bar Blues is an unfocused mess. It's shoddily produced, overlong, and pretentious. The songwriting isn't there, and Weiland sounds terrible. It's bad enough it's almost worth checking out just as a curio.

Jars Of Clay - If I Left The Zoo

After the stripped-down novelty of Jars Of Clay and the slightly-overproduced-but-still-very-listenable follow up Much Afraid, I was hoping that their third album would bring the back to their roots of acoustic guitars, electronic drums and orchestration. If I Left The Zoo is even more over-produced than Much Afraid was, but without any great songs on it to help it redeem itself.

Counting Crows - Recovering The Satellites

Here's a sophomore slump album if ever I heard one. It's not horrible, but it's such a let-down after the amazing debut August And Everything After. I remember being super psyched for this one on the strength of the lead single Long December--which is an excellent song. And then I listened to it and was bored four songs in. Nothing on the record really stands up as well as Long December does. Even the follow-up single Daylight Fading is kind of a drag.

Evanescence - The Open Door

Hooboy. I completely adored Fallen when it came out. I'd actually gotten hooked on the band from their contributions to the 2003 Daredevil soundtrack, which included their first two singles Bring Me To Life and My Immortal. When Fallen came out, I was floored. It hasn't aged super-well for me, but--spoiler alert--it's going to show up on this list eventually. In the years between Fallen and The Open Door, Evanescence transformed from being a gothy Arkansas band to being the Amy Lee show. This included the departure of their manager, as well as co-songwriter and co-founder Ben Moody. The Open Door is an overdone affair that doesn't have... any... good songs on it, as far as I'm concerned.

Weezer - Pinkerton

Pinkerton is a garbage album. Fight me. I know it's the one that "real fans" think is the best, but "real fans" are wrong. This album is 9/10's trash (Butterfly is okay, I guess, and while it's way too weird, I kind of dig El Scorcho). It's somehow both self-deprecatingly whiny but also too-clever-by-half in its overt references to Madame Butterfly. Yes. We get it. You're going to Yale. It highlights everything ugly about being a guy in college, from the opener Tired Of Sex in which Cuomo complains of being "tired of having sex" or Pink Triangle in which he's fallen in love with a lesbian. (Dude! If you didn't know her well enough to know that she was gay, you weren't actually in love.) My over-thirty self cringes at basically everything on this record. The blue album was delightful, and its proper follow-up is the green album, not this steaming pile of self-important hooey. Fight me.


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