Top 10 Disappointments of 2011

Each year I like to just vent a little bit about some things that have disappointed me over the last year. Nothing major. Just some things I need to get off my chest before the calendar turns to 2012.

10. Wilco-The Whole Love
I feel kinda bad putting this album on my list of disappointments after the series of shows Wilco just put on, but here we are. With great power comes great responsibility, and with Wilco, it also comes with expectation. If they hadn’t put out Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born, this album wouldn’t have left me so unsatisfied. Knowing the quality of songs the band can put together, The Whole Love just left me wondering what went wrong.



9. No good songs coming out of the Occupy movement

With the number of musicians hanging out around the protests and playing little sets here and there, you would think eventually someone would write a really great song about it. We all know the one thing they’re missing is a song that they can all get behind. Where is our generation’s Dylan to write a new version of “The Times They Are A-Changin’?” The only good thing I’ve heard so far is a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” by Ghost Pal.

8. 2011-Five years since the last Justin Timberlake record

Some guys think they’re too cool to love Timberlake. Not me. I’m unapologetic in letting people know what a talented dude he is. The fact that it’s been five years and he’s still firmly in the zeitgeist of American pop culture is testament to that. He’s said that if he’s never moved to make another album he won’t. And he’s on with that. Well guess what, I’m not. Make a freaking record already!



7. Lollapalooza

Every year I think, this is it. This is the year they get it right. And every year I’m left to go over it again and again. What happened? Where did Perry make a wrong turn? Fact is, they’re never going to please everyone. They had Beirut, Arcade Fire, The Strokes. My real complaint is the timing. How do you make Titus Andronicus play at noon on a Sunday? Are you serious?


6. Das Racist
They’re at the pizza hut. They’re at the taco bell. They’re at the combination pizza hut and taco bell. If I had heard this song and didn’t already know the duo, I would assume they were talking about where they work. The fact that Jim DeRogatis AND Greg Kot included these imbeciles on their top ten albums lists is proof of how out of touch music critics really are.


5. Nicki Minaj’s success

I’m just baffled by it. If someone could explain it, please do. My brother thinks she’s hot, so I’m guessing that has something to do with her popularity.


4. Glee

Hey, do you think we’ll have to wait two weeks to hear another goddam Katy Perry song? I doubt it! Jesus Christ! Does Ryan Murphy owe Perry a blood debt or something? Clear Channel watched an episode of Glee and they were like “What’s with all the Katy Perry music?”




3. Beastie Boys-Hot Sauce Commitee, pt 2

I reviewed this when it came out, and honestly I regret ever even listening to it. When To The 5 Boroughs came out, it was a return of sorts. More like a swan song written as a love letter to New York City. To continue beyond that, and worse yet for people to pretend its good, is criminal. Mike D, Ad Rock, and MCA have gone from the bratty punks America loves to hate, to husband and fathers who drop their kids off at school in hybrid SUV’s. Your time has passed. Hang it up.

2. Watch The Throne

The hype surrounding this album built it up so much that if Jay-Z and Kanye didn’t deliver the greatest album of all time, it would be a failure. When it came out people jumped on board immediately and started calling it the greatest rap collaboration ever. And there I was, off on the sidelines, listening to “Otis” and shaking my head. Surely we weren’t hearing the same record. They put together some good songs, don’t get me wrong. “Murder To Excellence,” “Niggas In Paris.” I can get down with those songs. But as a whole it felt flat to me. Too much typical bragadoccio and not enough reality.

1. Jack White working with Insane Clown Posse

I don’t really feel like I need to write anything about this. It came as a shock to us all when it was announced that Jack White had teamed up with Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope. That the song is about licking ass was just more fuel for the flame. What has the world come to when one of the most interesting characters in rock music is teaming up with two guys best known for drinking Faygo and creating the term “juggalo?” Hopefully this was a lark for White and not something he plans on ever doing again.

4 thoughts on “Top 10 Disappointments of 2011

  1. Completely agreed. I know so many people that feel so powerfully about the movement and the feelings behind the movement, but there’s almost an escape velocity of cynicism and not seeming too corny that must be escaped. Obviously, some of us have a different comfort level with sincerity than others.

    “Of course, you could argue that all those songs have already been written. I hope that isn’t the case.”

    If I believed that even for a second, I would certainly die of a broken heart.
    Not a chance.

    I do think I should have been a little more overt with the chorus with that one. It’s a mistake to think that the average Joe is going to carefully parse the lyrics of some band that they’ve never heard of. Nuance is not always the way to go.

    I guess it’d be exploitive to re-release it as a single with:
    “You just, live life like you’re… under siege, you want to know the solution? Occupy Wall Street!…. (ohehohohohoh… oheohohohohwhoaohwhoahowhoa… Occ-U-Py Wall Streeeeeet… ohehohohohoh… oheohohohohwhoaohwhoahowhoa… Occ-U-Py Wall Streeeeeet… )

    1. Years ago, just after 9/11, Dan Bern wrote a song called NYC 911 about the event that was very plain. Almost a documentarian take on it. But I found it to be very moving and still dwell on it today. Even if someone wrote a very matter of fact song about the movement I think I’d feel better. I look back at all the songs that came out of the Vietnam protests and I wonder who will step up to the plate for us.

  2. You are right about the Occupy song thing. I will say that our song “You Can’t Eat Prestige” is darn close. It’s a peppy little class warfare number, even if we did write and release it 6 months or so before Occupy Wall Street came out.
    I also think most folks don’t realize it at first because the chorus isn’t “Occupy Wall Street”.

    It doesn’t end like this, they don’t get to win.
    This is a cheat, we won’t take the short end
    Keep us scrambling for scraps, while they make off with the bank
    take us from behind and expect us to say thanks

    Well the war is over, the fight was fixed
    a campaign to make you poor, while they stay rich.
    This isn’t the last chapter, i’m turning the pages back
    we’ve been defending too long, let’s plot a counter attack

    You just, live life like you’re under siege
    you can’t pay bills with praise, you can’t eat prestige

    I’ve been down so long, I stopped making up jokes
    I’d need some investors to get up to broke
    and it’s like: 1,2,3,4, they declared a class war
    and all we declared was bankruptcy

    Neverending struggle, neverending strife
    you did a great job, better luck next life
    they look down at us, riding high in the stirrup
    they kick us while we’re down, how about we kick them while they’re up?

    You just, live life like you’re under siege
    you can’t pay bills with praise, you can’t eat prestige

    Kind of cool that it’s up over here though:

    1. I’d agree that song, and many of the songs on These Things Are Facts, deal with a lot of the same issues as the Occupy movement. Makes since that you’ve been so active since the beginning, specifically with the Occupy Oakland movement and the great piece you wrote for Huffington Post. I’m just surprised that this amazing time in our nation’s history hasn’t been the catalyst for some songwriter to take what we all feel and put it to music.
      Of course, you could argue that all those songs have already been written. I hope that isn’t the case.