Music

5 Worst Albums of 2010

Well, obviously these aren't the worst of the worst: the worst music of the year never got heard by anybody other than its makers. So let's just say that these are the most overhyped/disappointing albums of 2010.

1. Congratulations -- MGMT

Honestly, it's just embarrassing when a band relentlessly hypes the album after their commercial breakthrough by saying "Oh, we just decided to get completely weird and experimental! We downloaded all these albums by these people no one's ever heard of like the Chrysanthemums and R. Stevie Moore and we were like, 'Yeah, that's the kind of stuff we're gonna do!' It's gonna be so freaky and bizarre, everyone's going to think we've lost our minds!" And then the album comes out and it's nothing but utterly ordinary mainstream alt-rock trying hard to seem hip and quirky by writing lyrics namechecking Brian Eno and Dan Treacy. The sad thing is, these guys are so clueless that they probably still think this is an amazingly weird and adventurous record.

2. Maya -- M.I.A.

Joan Didion once wrote "The have nots, it turns out, aspire mainly to having." That pretty much sums up M.I.A.'s third album. Having long since squandered whatever hip rebel-grrl cred she once had by becoming a part-time fashion designer and marrying a billionaire's son and basically becoming the new Gwen Stefani, the embarrassing thing about this album isn't how she pretends she still has political views, but how completely bored and lifeless she sounds, like she recorded all of her vocal tracks while idly paging through a back issue of Vogue.

3. Treats -- Sleigh Bells

Take a girl who was in a fourth-string Spice Girls knockoff at the start of the 2000s. Add a guy who was in one of those cookie-cutter Hot Topic emo bands a few years later. Move them from Florida to Brooklyn and make them pretend that's where they're from. Forcefeed them albums by the Ting-Tings, Matt and Kim and other bands that market research indicates might be What The Kids Are Listening To. Sign them to a major label imprint that's pretending to be an indie (for extra credit, name the pseudo-indie Mom & Pop Records). Record an album of the most irritatingly cliched, openly cynical indie-rock-by-numbers imaginable, and deliberately make it sound absolutely wretched as a sign of supposed authenticity. Marvel that people who should know better actually fall for it.

4. Crush -- Abe Vigoda

This one just pisses me off. A couple years ago, I closed a review of Abe Vigoda's previous album by saying they were in a position where they could conceivably make one of the defining records of their generation. Instead, they decided they're rather become a bad imitation of early Interpol. Fuck you, Abe Vigoda.

5. Up From Below -- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes

Okay, this album actually came out last year, but no one actually heard it before this year when its supremely irritating single "Home" started showing up in movie trailers and commercials. Pretentious faux-hippie bullshit from a bunch of useless neckbeards. It's like all the most irritating aspects of the Arcade Fire and the Polyphonic Spree overpowered those bands' good points and joined forces to create a vortex of suck.