2011 in Review: More of the Worst Music


Lou Reed & Metallica – Lulu (Vertigo)
What else can really be said about this album that hasn’t been said already? It’s the sound of a homeless man ranting next to some warmed-over metal riffs. It’s the most earnestly horrible rock albums since KISS dreamed up Music from ‘The Elder.’ It makes Nickelback look inspired. If the choice came between hearing Rebecca Black on a loop until the end of time or ever having to hear this again, I’d live like every day is Friday.


She & Him – A Very She & Him Christmas (Merge)
Lovingly packaged and yet seemingly recorded over a heavily egg-nogged weekend in L.A., the worst of the year’s many terrible Christmas albums is insufferably precious and was the final straw in what has now turned me against Zooey Deschanel. From their bizarre arrangement of “Sleigh Ride” to the gender-flipped, way-too-fast version of “Baby, it’s Cold Outside,” the duo only succeed in irritating the listener. Bah humbug.

· Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee, Part Two
Listen, if it’s been seven years since your last proper album, it better have more than one semi-memorable song. Don’t become the R.E.M. of hip-hop, guys.

· Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys
Aside from “You are a Tourist” and the album’s closer “Stay Young, Go Dancing,” every track on Codes and Keys is ultimately forgettable. And that’s a shame coming from one of the greatest songwriters of all-time. The low-point: the fatalistic, nihilistic “St. Peter’s Cathedral,” in which Gibbard posits “There’s nothing past this,” then proceeds to beat that horse into the ground by repeating that phrase a good 8,000 times. At least those songs provoked a reaction. That’s more than I can say for the rest of the tracks.

· Mat Kearney – Young Love
Apparently, every song needs a marching band bass drum to emphasize how big Kearney’s emotions are. We get it. You love this girl. Nowhere is this more cringe-inducing than on – wait for it – “Young, Dumb and in Love.”

· The Strokes – Angles
Five years after their last album, the Strokes have officially proven Is This It was just a fluke.

· Phil Wickham – Response
And thus his transformation into Chris Martin is complete. Most obvious imitations: “This Love Will Last Forever,” “Heaven Fall Down” and “One God.”

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