Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Black Gold: The Most Unanticipated Albums of 2013 [Oh, the Humility]

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 8:00 AM

It’s flu season, but have you recovered from 2012 year-end-album-list fatigue yet? How's 2013-upcoming-album-preview-list fever treating you? Are you getting burned out on music bloggers salivating over upcoming releases by MBV, Phoenix, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Deerhunter, David Bowie, Daft Punk, Depeche Mode, Queens of the Stone Age, Atoms for Peace, Arcade Fire, A$AP Rocky, Azealia Banks, The Black Keys, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Beyonce? Indeed, there are a lot of albums to look forward to this year, and a lot of albums to not look forward to. This post is about the latter. After the jump is my list of 30 albums slated for 2013 that should be shelved, aborted, burned or steamrolled before hitting airwaves, shelves, streams or download queues. Think of it as an antidote for you countless music blog trolls out there who are suffering from Winter Listicle Syndrome.

Before we get started, let me make a couple things clear: The headline for this post is misleading. Most of the albums on this list are heavily anticipated by many, many music listeners — I’m just not one of them. You may say I’m dreader, but I’m not the only one! Adam Ant, Asia, Fantasia, Sevendust, Deep Purple, Motley Crue, NKOTB and BSB all have albums in the works — Kickstarter-funded long-players not withstanding, those, along with, say, Silver Bullet Bluegrass (a bluegrass tribute to Bob Seger) are likely among the truly least anticipated albums of 2013.

You’ve probably caught on that good faith and open-mindedness have little place in this post. Admittedly, “fair” probably wouldn’t be the first word to define casting snarky aspersions on two-dozen-plus albums I haven’t even heard yet, and hope to never hear outside the context of comic relief. So, to rationalize, in this instance I’d like to think of myself less as a critic and more as a weatherman predicting a big super-storm to rain shitty music all over 2013. Mama raised me to never judge a book by its cover, but we’re not talking about books here, and I only wish all of these forthcoming full-length sonic soundtracks to my future nightmares had cover art I could make fun of, too. Unfortunately, most of them don’t even have titles yet.

Buckcherry, Confessions
Ten-thousandth-tier cock rockers Buckcherry’s sixth discographical crime against sound is a concept album (with an accompanying short film) about the seven deadly sins. In other words, this year we’ll start living in a world where Buckcherry’s two-birds-one-stone answer to Prince’s Purple Rain and David Fincher’s Seven is a thing that exists. Scary shit.

Wavves, Afraid of Heights
Having thoroughly overspent their pseudo-punk street currency in the garage-rock world, Wavves enlisted Jenny Lewis to sing on the title track and M.I.A. and Santigold producer John Hill to produce this up-coming full-length foray into hip-hop, or to at least add some urban flavor to the band's blisteringly obnoxious caveman rock. Will it be enough to finally make Wavves actually interesting? I’d rather not find out.

Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion), Reincarnated
So, Snoop Dogg recorded a reggae album, because — in case you didn’t catch on — he smokes weed. Perhaps he’s finally smoked too much. A “spiritual awakening” inspired the gangsta rap icon to rechristen himself Snoop Lion and go doggy style on a genre that, from UB40 to 311, has already suffered enough. Not to nay say, but really, not even a gravity bong hit and a convincing Bob Marley hologram could save a Snoop Dogg reggae album from sounding like a terrible idea. My prediction? When it comes to taste, murder is the case for this irie answer to Jefferson Starship.

Bon Jovi, What About Now
What about never?

Pearl Jam, TBA
Pearl Jam is perhaps the most considerate band in rock history. Once upon a time, Seattle’s second-best grunge troupe was rock's equivalent to a TV show that only airs on Netflix, abstaining from self-promoting their efforts, keeping only their fan cult in the loop and giving the rest of us the option of ignoring each album’s existence. But with this being the year that Nirvana will inevitably be voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, can Pearl Jam really keep quiet? The band is hinting at a new album for 2013. Let’s hope they don’t promote it.

Justin Bieber, Believe: Acoustic
An unplugged companion piece to The Beib’s 2012 Believe LP is about as necessary as a snooze bar on a smoke alarm. Where’s Bluto when you need him?

Black Sabbath, 13
What’s the difference between Black Sabbath and The Blues Brothers? Black Sabbath should have never gotten the old band back together. I don’t know which listening experience I look forward to least: Hearing a cash-grabby, Bill Ward-less, first Ozzy-led Black Sabbath record in 35 years, or hearing Eddie Trunk and other metal fans pretend it’s good if it ends up not being totally shitty, a la Van Halen’s 2012 Roth-fronted comeback effort A Different Kind of Truth. Rick Rubin (Linkin Park, Slipknot) is producing. Whatever. Bill Ward or bust!

Tool, TBA
Supposedly Tool will put out an album in 2013. Drummers, rock-club sound engineers and Ron Paul supporters are stoked. Hopefully the rest of us won’t have to hear them talk about it.

Tim McGraw, Two Lanes of Freedom
If the beyond-laughably asinine 2012 brain-cell annihilator “Truck Yeah” is any indication, Tim McGraw cannot be trusted to continue making music. Nevertheless, Mr. Faith Hill will release Two Lanes of Freedom (i.e., 11 tracks of stadium-country dreck) in February.

Action Bronson, Saab Stories
Full disclosure: I’ve never actually heard Albanian-American rapper Action Bronson. And upon learning that his forthcoming effort is called Saab Stories (perhaps the worst titular pun since Toby Keith’s Shock’n Y’all), I hope I never do.

Miley Cyrus, TBA
Miley Cyrus is easily one of the most tone-deaf entities in contemporary pop culture, and I’m not talking about her singing voice. Whether she’s threatening to “ruin” Radiohead, butchering Nirvana classics, jacking Robyn’s pruned, platinum coiffure or, most recently, tweeting about fantasy make-out sessions with Katy Perry, Cyrus is now, like Britney Spears circa 2002, fully embedded in the treacherous wilderness celebrity limbo that is the awkward transition from teen-pop star to TMZ-headline-grabbing provocateur. And in 2013, Cyrus will set her shenanigans to music. Guest collaborations from Meek Mill, Tyler the Creator and (ugh) Pharrell “literally tone deaf” Williams probably won’t save this record from being a disaster that no one, especially children, should ever hear. That said, if the record yields just one song that’s half as ballin’ as “Party in the USA,” the endeavor will be worth it. Twenty bucks says she tries to rap.

Britney Spears, TBA
A pop star’s career only endures for so long if he/she is either: A) a true, talented visionary, or B) a soul-ravaged, walking dead-eyed tabloid baiter. Guess which category Spears falls into. The singer's continuing celebrity status stopped revolving around her pop hits when she stopped having them a decade ago. So why doesn’t the train wreck-prone turn-of-the-century pop princess just spare us another full-length full of Auto-Tune, bobo beats and bad melody set to launch into the vacuum of sonic footnotes sometime in 2013? Because the Lord of the Underworld works in mysterious ways.

… And Speaking of mysterious ways, U2. This entry comes on a personal note: As a lifelong U2 apologist, I’m exhausted. U2 is due for an album this year, and I don’t have it in me to defend another No Line on the Horizon or, God forbid, another How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Bono and the boys are in their 50s now, and the fact that they’ve drafted Danger Mouse to produce their current work in progress suggests that, like nearly all aging rockers whose names don’t rhyme with Mom Hates, Goose Thingsteen, Veal Gun and Throb Chillin', their ambition is to get with the times instead of define them. I still love U2 — the band that made Achtung Baby, War and The Joshua Tree. That band went missing sometime before Dubya took office, and I’m pretty sure they’re dead.

Grimes, TBA
Grimes wasn’t annoying enough in 2012? Can’t half-baked, hipster-garabe electro-pop take a year off? Apparently not,as the oft comically coiffed artiste told MTV Hive she plans to put out an album that's “halfway between ethereal reggaeton and industrial dance music,” maybe even under a new pseudonym, perhaps as way to trick non-givers-of-fucks among us into hearing it.

Device, Device
Unrelentingly hilarious nu metal musical comedians Disturbed stopped getting down with the sickness in 2011, when the band updated its status to “indefinite hiatus.” Fans of listenable, not laughable music hardly had time to rejoice in the news before perennially face-pierced singer-scatter David Draiman — the Bobby McFerrin of nu metal — announced he’d teamed up with members of Evanescence and Filter to form Device, an industrial-rock-influenced supergroup. ... Recommended if you like The Traveling Wilburys!

Kanye West, TBA
This is actually a tough call. History brims with examples of ego-driven psychosis boding well on record. But between Kanye’s Kan-founding performance at the 12/12/12 Sandy Relief concert and impregnating Kim Kardasian, I’m gonna play this hand tight and bet that the increasingly reality-distanced rapper should have his jaw wired back shut.

Jimi Hendrix, People, Hell and Angels
Seriously, the Hendrix vaults aren’t empty yet? People, Hell and Angels is the latest (and certainly not the last) posthumous release from the king of posthumous releases. By now the completists have to be exhausted. Let them rest, or at least better spend their money on a Gary Clark Jr. album or something.

Eminem, TBA
Ugh. Hearing new music from Eminem is like reading status updates from high school classmates you’d avoid actually interacting with IRL — it’s sad, awkward TMI, but you can’t look away. Is there a way I can block Em’s new release from my ever-consumptive media feed?

Paramore, Paramore
It’s 2013 and the emo/pop-punk revolution isn’t dead yet? Since releasing the 2009 chart-topper Brand New Eyes, Franklin’s finest (to use a term loosely) have lost members and had lotsa drama that I couldn’t (and the rest of the world shouldn’t) care less about hearing set to octave chords and half-time breakdowns. Mall punk doesn't need a Rumors, and Paramore makes my soul sad. Pop music is not supposed to do that!

Lil Wayne, I Am Not a Human Being II
In the last year, Weezy took up skateboarding. Recently, he got the word “Baked” tattooed on his face. This year, The Tony Hawk of Idiotic Antics will hurt both our eyes AND our ears with the release of his tenth studio album, I Am Not a Human Being II. Truth be told, the album might actually end up being a good listen, albeit one that, according to this 2009 study, we’ll all be collectively dumber for having ever heard. (No word yet on how many copies will come with free cans of Mountain Dew.)

Coheed and Cambria, The Aftermath: Descension
Next month, gross abusers of the concept album concept Coheed and Cambria will release The Aftermath: Descension, the sonic sequel to last year’s The Aftermath: Ascension. I was gonna make a joke about that, but since Coheed and Cambria is already in its own right a perdurable musical punch line sonically personified — and since ruining music is not funny — I decided against it.

Danzig, covers album; Alice Cooper, covers album
Camera-shy, golden-voiced metal God-turned-Ouija-board salesman Glenn Danzig really likes Elvis Presley and Black Sabbath. And in case you couldn’t tell, Danzig is paying tribute his favorite artists with a new covers album. Just what the world needs. Last year Danzig told L.A. Weekly that “people are going to be totally shocked” by the album, which he says will also boast a duet or two. How ‘bout Danzig dueting with Ozzy Osbourne on a rendition of Elton John and Kiki Dee’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” or trading verses with James Hetfield on Philip Bailey and Phil Collins’ “Easy Lover”? Now THAT would shock me.

In related news: Shock-rock Godfather Alice Cooper is also reportedly planning a covers compilation for 2013. Given how he closed his Bonnaroo 2012 set with a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” this album might actually include a funny musical footnote or two. If it doesn’t, rest assured that you’ll probably never have to hear it.

Young Jeezy, TBA
Young Jeezy has an album coming out this year. Last August, Atlantic Records crowned the rapper its Senior Vice President of A&R, meaning he probably no longer knows anything about music and should stop making it.

Judas Priest, TBA
Guitarist K.K. Downing left Judas Priest in 2011, and the band’s last album, 2008’s Nostradamus, was a torturous, 23-track, 102-minute, double-disc concept album about, you guessed it, Nostradamus. Were Nostradamus alive today, he would probably predict an album of twilight regret for the Episcopal metal gods, who — despite crying heavy-metal-parking-lot wolf with a 2011-2012 farewell tour — are hinting at new music in 2013.

50 Cent, Street King Immortal
Sure, 50 Cent has the scars to prove that he might actually, literally be immortal, physically speaking. But the one-time chart-ruling rapper’s career has proved no less perishable than an avocado. Street King Immortal is 50’s fifth full-length snoozefest and final contract obligation for his label, Interscope Records, who will hopefully cut their losses, shelve the record and/or engage the rapper in a Fogerty-worthy protracted legal battle that keeps the album in limbo before eventually giving up the masters and forcing 50 to release it as a mixtape that I’ll never have to ever hear. That’s my two cents.

Avril Lavigne, TBA
If Billy Idol can sit out the ‘90s, I think Avril Lavigne can sit out whatever the fuck we’re calling this decade. The teens, I guess? Speaking of teens, Lavigne is pushing 30, and her fan base probably is too. She still has a fan base? Inexplicable!

Rick Ross, Mastermind
Rick Ross either makes awful music in earnest, or he’s the Zach Galifianakis of hip-hop. Regardless, he’s overexposed as fuck. The definitively Floridian rapper recently aborted his MMG Tour mid-jaunt. Let’s hope he keeps up that commitment to unfulfilled commitments and halts production on Mastermind, his upcoming contribution to the pantheon of hip-hop artifice.

Blink-182, TBA
Blink-182 making albums in 2013 and people giving a shit about it is like Duran Duran or Loverboy making albums in 1997 and people giving a shit about it, but worse — the former is actually happening.

Korn, TBA
See Blink-182. Add in a drop of dubstep.

Vampire Weekend, TBA
If a flip-flop could sing, it would sound like Ezra Koenig. That’s right, Vampire Weekend’s vivacious charade of frat-house-friendly Jimmy Buffet-for-hipsters hooks stolen from Paul Simon’s playbook of Misappropriated Afrobeat Stylings resumes in 2013. I used to look forward to weekends, now I’m just waiting for this one to end.

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