2008 – The Year in Recorded Musical Performances

2008 Letdowns

Looking at the above albums I guess 2008 wasn’t so bad after all.  What probably soured my feelings on this past year of releases was a handful of albums that failed to live up to my expectations.  These aren’t necessarily bad albums by any stretch, but definitely disappointed me in one way or another.

The RootsRising Down

This was easily one of my most anticipated releases of the year.  And while it’s not a failure, it simply fails to match the intensity and visceral charge of Game Theory.  It sounds angry and urgent, but it just doesn’t connect like I hoped it would.  That said, it does hit the same highs a handful of times with tracks like “Criminal”, “I Will Not Apologize”, and “Get Busy”.  7/10

Tapes “˜N Tapes – Walk It Off

The textbook example of “sophomore slump”.  It’s possible that this group will not join countless other acts that had one good thing to say and then should’ve quit, but I wouldn’t bet money on it at this point.  Only “Hang Them All” is worth salvaging.  2/10

Ben FoldsWay to Normal

I hate to think that Folds’ career is being governed by the law of diminishing returns, but it certainly seems to be the case.  Rockin’ the Suburbs was a very good start to his post-Ben Folds Five career, but Songs for Silverman was a total bore.  Way to Normal seems like a return to form on the surface, but repeat listens have shown it to be mere caricature.  Folds knows the moves and executes them like a professional but, to borrow a cue from early BFF, he’s doing the best imitation of himself on this record.  6/10

Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs / Okkervil River – The Stand Ins

Two new bands for me.  Sorry, I don’t get the hype.  I really tried, but I’m not feelin’ it.  5/10

The Futureheads – This Is Not the World

Not bad at all, but this sounds rather more generic than earlier efforts.  The energy seems to be there, but the songwriting is a tad pedestrian.  Still there are highlights – “Radio Heart” and “Everything’s Changing Today” recall prime Futureheads.  6/10

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