Not only is this our first video feature, the video was produced with the new Has it Leaked 2.0 site version in mind. Due to a number of reasons the site relaunch has been delayed. Even if the video use the style and graphics set for our future revamp, we thought it would be nice to share it in time for both yours and our holiday break, and give your a glimpse into what we have planned for next year.
The best or the worst. Perfect or thrown-together pretentious garbage. I’m not a music journalist so I don’t have to deal with being the hundredth writer trying to find the unique superlatives to describe just how good Arcade Fire’s album is. I did want to do something creative, a year-end list like no other, but what did I end up with? Not the best or the worst. The mediocre, forgettable two or three star albums. Therefore, while I’m pretending to be both creative and a journalist, I let you spend time telling me how terribly wrong I am in the comments.
Let’s start off with an album, by which Has it Leaked’s standards was actually out last year – Long.Live.A$AP (hip-hop). A$AP kicks off the album with a soundscape which isn’t just experimental. It sounds determined to introduce an album and a proper debut with momentum and creativity but it so quickly turns to boredom and reveals an artist simply limited by his vocabulary.
Another New York act, which had the classic sophomore album dilemma facing them, were DFA and Brooklyn’s based Holy Ghost! and their album Dynamics (electronic/indie). We all know that time spent making an album isn’t going to make or break the quality of the album per se, but when the duo’s second album was surprisingly released close to its debut, you did get worried. Especially since the first one took years to make and it is unfortunately a very flat result. Maybe waiting for the Avalanches sophomore album for over ten years isn’t such a bad idea after all. Wait, I just remembered Chinese democracy (13 years in the making) and Human after all (Six weeks in the making), both so very mediocre.
Phoenix had their latest single, from the album Bankrupt! (indie), directed by Sofia Coppola. Phoenix are pop masterminds with an impressive back catalog including four impressive albums in a row. The Coppola video, featuring fans weeping in a black-and-white, intimate live performance is in itself mediocre. While the music video is probably to be interpreted as teary-eyed young women expressing their admiration for the band and the song’s impact, it could as easily be them crying out for a better album. Oh, and the single is titled Chloroform, insert joke here.
Remember the hit track “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me”? If you were like me, all you were thinking was, “I really don’t wish that”. If Sky Ferreira released a track with a similar title, I would be totally on board. She’s artistic, bold, and exciting but Night Time, My Time (pop) is cohesive mediocrity at its purest form. I know that the hype and cool factor might have put too much pressure on my expectations but if Kanye can tell me he’s going to follow up his best album with a God-like record and at the same time declare he’s the ruler of everything creative, and still not disappoint, why can’t Ferreira’s LP at least be a few of the adjectives Pitchfork chooses to describe her album as?
And here it comes… Queens of the Stone Age’s … Like Clockwork (rock). Maybe one of the more difficult judgment calls I’ve made about an album and yet I’m only calling it mediocre. A lot of time and contemplation went into this choice and if I only made the list to be provocative, I would go for Churches instead. Why so difficult then? I appear missing could well be a rock track of the year and with a sense of style like no other, both musically, lyrically and artistically. Homme delivers tension while somehow successfully managing to combine dark, psychedelic, merciless, dirty, desert rock with a sense of commerciality. While his protégé, Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys, delivers a solid but nevertheless an album with less bite. Homme’s latest offering delivers more one-offs than an album you want to put on repeat.
Is that it? You know as well as I do that there’s plenty more. And while we’ve got the proper Has it Leaked 2013 Top 10 list from our legit authors, let me summarize with a few notable mediocre mentions.
Liam Gallagher’s Beady Eye, adding a couple of minutes of psychedelic buzz to some of the tracks doesn’t make your sophomore album any less bland. Depeche Mode, without that stark and beautiful first single your album wouldn’t even make this list. Alice in Chains, give DuVall some vocal time, please. Boards of Canada, Burial, The Field and Moderat, it’s time to evolve. AlunaGeorge, while CHVRCHES didn’t make a perfect record either, they at least had more to show than the first singles.
So what does it all mean? I’m going to be a lot less mediocre site admin next year and have a much better Has it Leaked site for all of you. I’ll see you guys in 2014.