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Musical Turkeys: Disappointing Albums of 2015

Musical Turkeys: Disappointing Albums of 2015

As they traditionally do to honor Thanksgiving, several programs feature what they term “Turkeys of the Year.” These undesirable birds are flops that occurred in whatever field the program covers, much to the chagrin of those responsible.

Perhaps most well-received of these involves the world of sports, where ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption shows fifteen minutes of bloopers of the year. The show’s hosts, reporters Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, add some humorous commentary along with the video clips.

In the world of music, the best “Turkeys” segment can be found on National Public Radio’s Sound Opinion. The hosts of the show are Jim Rogatis and Greg Kot, who take turns identifying the albums they found most disappointing during the year.

Among their choices for the Turkeys of 2015 were albums by some legendary artists. One host regretted the solo album of Rolling Stones co-founder Keith Richards, titled Cross-Eyed Heart. They did not like the latest Prince disc, Hit N Run, nor did they care for Mark Robson’s Uptown Funk.

Also panned were Neil Young’s The Monsanto Years, which the hosts felt was one of the weakest efforts in the folk rocker’s lengthy discography. Young’s contemporary, Bob Dylan, also made the list. The Sound Opinion hosts concluded that Dylan singing Frank Sinatra classics made for a disappointing album, Shadows in the Night.

Here are five other records that could qualify for Turkeys of the Year, having been disappointing efforts from otherwise great artists.

Mobile Orchestra by Owl City

After two stellar albums and a third one that showed growth, Adam Young’s latest effort was overly spiritual. It was a strange sensation when the first voice heard on the album was not Young’s, but that of hip hop artist Aloe Black.

Playland by Johnny Marr

No one can question Marr’s musicality, but his guitar wizardry only goes so far to disguise mostly trite lyrics that make fans of the Smiths really long for an unlikely Marr and Morrissey reunion.

So There by Ben Folds

The yMusic ensemble backs Folds on this album, and “Phone in the Pool” was a promising early single. The rest of the songs lacked Folds’ usually reliable wit, and some even relied on distasteful humor about minorities and the obese.

What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World by The Decemberists

The indie darlings took a step back on 2011’s The King Is Dead, so many fans hoped that the long layoff would allow them to recapture the magic of The Crane Wife and Picaresque.

Poison Season by Destroyer

Dan Bejar’s contributions to the New Pornographers are always solid, but most of his stuff with the group he fronts sounds inferior. The album does feature a couple of quality songs, so perhaps it should have been released as an EP instead of the baker’s dozen of mostly forgettable tunes on this disc.