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 V.17 No.1 | January 3 - 9, 2008 

Year in Music

Bottom 10 of 2007

Whether it was rock, pop or rap, it all sucked in ’07

10) Reel Big Fish

Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for Free (Rock Ridge Music)

If it makes Reel Big Fish happy to cling to the dream of a third-wave ska revolution, then more power to them. Still, making ska for the sake of keeping the genre alive doesn't produce the best results. Even though their songs are still upbeat as ever, I can't help but think there were some tears shed behind the scenes for a genre that once was.

9) Arctic Monkeys

Favourite Worst Nightmare (Domino)

The killer debut album can be a real bitch to top. One of the best ways to fail is to make a follow-up record that sounds rushed and intent on trying to capture the same lightning in a bottle that worked last time. Whether the Arctic Monkeys are one-album wonders remains to be seen, but they aren't doing themselves any favors with this rehashing.

8) Various Artists

Crunk Hits Vol. 4 (TVT)

There's nothing wrong with crunk hits, per se, but they had better be hits. With tracks by Lil Boosie, Webbie and Yo Gotti (who? who? and who?) this album can only claim to have about four real bangers. The rest are either unrecognizable songs, like Birdman and Lil Wayne's "Stuntin' Like My Daddy" or played-out anthems like Chamillionaire's "Ridn' ” (that jam is so 2006).

7) Editors

An End Has A Start (Kitchenware/FADER)

Interpol's songs already sound the same, so they don't need the Editors aping them. Anything that makes The Killers sound like a groundbreaking band isn’t good for indie music,which is already threatening to topple from the stress of talentless bands jumping on its bandwagon.

6) Brian Setzer Orchestra

Wolfgang's Big Night Out (Surfdog)

This year, classical composers had new reason to spin in their graves. The Brian Setzer Orchestra left few stones unturned in their search to find classical tunes with the potential for a swing makeover. Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky all have major works gleefully turned into silly parodies.

5) Smashing Pumpkins

Zeitgeist (Martha's Music/Reprise)

This record isn't horrible in and of itself, but there's something unsettling about a band that refuses to let 1993 die. By revisiting their old, gloomy, alt.rock past, the Smashing Pumpkins come up with nothing new on Zeitgeist. It's better to rip off yourselves than to rip off others, but the result in this case is an uninspiring letdown.

4) 50 Cent

Curtis (Aftermath)

It's hard to believe someone who's famous for being shot a dozen times could lose his street cred, but the proof is written all over 50 Cent's Curtis. When Justin Timberlake sings your hooks, consider yourself a wangster. The backpack-rap of artists like Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco is ushering in a new wave of commercial hip-hop, and gangster rap should look for a new champion.

3) Pittsburgh Slim

Tastemaker (Def Jam)

Pittsburgh Slim's strategy for breaking into commercial hip-hop is clear: Be even more abrasive, degrading and childish than the artists who dominate the genre and maybe people won't notice your music is awful. Instead of letting his skills speak for themselves, Slim is all about image, and the one he's cultivated is that of a Malibu's Most Wanted faux gangster with a frat boy core.

2) Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks (Jive)

With the possible exception of Carrie Underwood, the American Idol winners post- Kelly Clarkson have been total washouts. The debut from Jordin Sparks is no exception. Her vocal range is nothing to write home about, her lyrics are silly even by pop standards and her decision to allow Chris Brown on her album is an unforgivable sin.

1) Britney Spears

Blackout (Jive)

Britney Spears' latest album does nothing to silence her critics. Spears' voice, which was never strong to begin with, has been overloaded with synthesizer to the point that anyone could have laid down the original vocals before they were morphed into a fem-bot's monotone. Her beats sound like someone desperate to steal some of Timbaland's mojo, and even the Spears faithful must be shaking their heads.

 
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