Top 10 of 2012: Lies Music Critics Told You
As TheVine hurtles towards 2013 and the holiday season, we've asked our critics to give us their Top 10 best music "things" from over the past year -- whatever the hell they may be and in whatever haphazard fashion they so declare.
Have you ever listened to a record after a reading a review and discovered it just wasn't right?
Sometimes they (we?) get it so wrong it’s like the reviewer walked into your home and told you straight up that your mother is dead. But she isn’t dead. She’s sitting right next to you. Screaming furiously at the stupid reviewer for imputing she’s actually dead. How dare the reviewer. How dare they indeed. (Get out of my house already, you good for nothing reviewer!)
10. Sputnik Music: “Deftones play Deftones in a shockingly pale manner most unlike them.”
Some reviews inspire the standard knee-jerk rejoinder ‘Did you even listen to the fucking thing?’ Eli Kleman’s insistence that a well done steak still leaks juice on the plate betrays a slight nuttiness that’s usually welcome in music criticism but in this instance smacks of insanity. Deftones’ wounded and darkly visceral opus Koi No Yokan offers figurative brutality in opposition their usual unbottling of misdirected angst and young adult bravado. Yes, I’ll be the first to admit that they have eschewed much of their screeching riffs and emptied their pummelling fists full of metal but it doesn’t dilute them outright. But hell, at least he didn’t compare them to the fucking Cure like (almost) everyone else.
9. NME: “[W]hat Muse have done is re-establish themselves as a respected British institution.”
Muse singer/guitarist Matt Bellamy tweeted quizzically prior to the recording of the preening The 2nd Law, as recorded via Spin.com: "About to start some recording tomorrow. What musical direction shall we go in?" following it up by “OK, will start on christian gangsta rap jazz odyssey, some ambient rebellious dubstep and face melting metal flamenco cowboy psychedelia." And guess what: we got dubstep. Adding dubstep to things, as I’ve argued previously, is like the well-intentioned tattoo at 3am, waxing exponentially more embarrassing as time chimes on – be it milliseconds or years. Mr. Dan Martin beams “If anything, [the track ‘Survival’] serves as a reminder about how 2012 got us all a bit overexcited; Chris Martin from Coldplay sure did when he described the follow-up, ‘Madness’, as the best song Muse have ever done.” I guess if it bears the Coldplay tick of approval, it must be awesome. The 2nd Law refers to the three laws of thermodynamics. In actuality, if you have enough albums under your snake-skin belt with the cash to match, the 1st law of rock music states thus: your producers and A&R execs won’t have the ticker to say your musical cocktail is nine parts ego, one part genre hopping and mostly garnished with pretentious shite.
8. The Independent: “[Lana Del Rey, ‘Born To Die’] *****”
This pull quote slapped on the front of the kitsch queen of the universe’s debut will simply be these five stars followed by an exclamation mark, wrapped in quotations. This will be its urgent case for you, the consumer to purchase it over albums which do not have five stars. It stares at you, signifying unsurpassable musical quality. Yet it taunts you. What sound does one star make, let alone five? When one star speaks, does it literally sound like Limp Bizkit mashed up with Justin Bieber played over a telephone? When four more stars gather together, do the blissful strains of The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds ring out? Even though none of us can truly define it, we can reasonably assume five stars does not sound like Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die. It doesn’t. It can’t. This neatly assembled quintet of stars stare at each other nervously at the corners of their two-dimensional eyes. “Come on, at least three of you aren’t supposed to be here,” they think in unison. Del Rey’s listless eyes and Priscilla Presley knock-off beehive underscore a blithely counterfeit nostalgi-pop posturing. Even she knows deep down, buried beneath her guardedly cultivated Instagram-vintage that these five stars are a bold indictment on the entire concept of star-based reviewing.
7. Sputnik Music: “[Destruction's Spiritual Genocide] really is amazing in terms of actual content.”
Destruction, along with Kreator and Sodom, form the vanguard of German thrash metal. They basically invented it in the mid-80s. Kreator’s ultra-riot inciting Phantom Antichrist marshalled near unanimous neck-snaps of approval this year. What of Teutonic brothers Destruction? Exhorder of Sputnik Music contends: “Spiritual Genocide marks thirty years of thrash brilliance and embodies everything good about the band, from their killer soloing ability to the absolute (sic) skin-ripping vocals from Marcel [Schmier] Schirmer.” He and hordes of others basically reward Destruction with an A for turning in an essay which only just addresses the assessment criteria. Schmier ropes in guest vocalists from Sodom and Tankard to growl over clod-footed thrash tracks suited for a climate ravaged by hairspray tin CFCs and Romulan High Command standard issue shoulder pads. It would seem Mr. (or Ms.) Exhorder deliberately refused to listen to any other metal band this year lest any other band ever cast a pall over his beaming appraisal of something far less deserving.
6. AbsolutePunk.net: “[Anberlin’s] greatness is palpable.”
The Rasputin-like figure of Superhans in the devilishly funny Peep Show sternly tells us you simply can’t trust people. “They voted for the Nazis and listen to Coldplay,” he grimly declares in one episode. Since the music industry is a subset of people-in-general, Superhans similarly cautions us against industry types, who “wear their ties done up to eleven, clicking their fingers to the fucking Lighthouse Family while getting their dicks sucked by a big Alsatian dog.” Hmm, well, perhaps not. But the teenage fervour for Anberlin proves teen spirit isn’t forcibly wrung from kids, bottled and resold at outrageous mark-ups any longer. Quite heinously, it’s been bred out of teenagers altogether. Onward they trudge, subjects of a dismal accelerated evolution perpetrated under the aegis of a grey corporate dystopia. Strumming out maudlin hosannas sort-of-almost-not-quite baptised in a river of MySpaced pop-punk doesn’t paper over their bleeding hearts lusting for Christian rock dollars. They’re literally grooming these anodyne adolescents for a blinkered life of Coldplay and Michael Buble. Are you happy now, Anberlin?
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