Why don’t I like this?

I feel like I ask this question a lot.  Reviewing beer and music, I read a lot of other takes on certain bands and beers.  I want to be really informed.  I want to not only formulate my own opinions, but I want to stay current with what is “trending” in society.  I’ll read about one of the best beers someone has ever consumed, and then I’ll taste it and feel a little confused.  Am I missing something?  Why do I not enjoy this particular brew as much as another person?  I’m not sure if these opinions are formed by circumstances, or if they are formed by the way we have developed our taste over time.  Either way, I always find myself a little confused as to why I don’t always enjoy all of the things people tell me are amazing.

I bring this up because I have been feeling this way about a lot of different albums I’m told are top albums of last year.  There were multiple lists I went through where I flat-out didn’t understand what made theses albums top albums of the year.  I’m not saying they are bad albums, but I’m seriously not understanding why they are the best.  Here are some of the albums I just don’t get.  I have a feeling this list will upset some people, but seriously, tell me what I’m not getting.

1. Real Estate – Days

This album wasn’t released all that long ago, and it immediately took off.  I have their self-titled first album, but I feel mostly the same way about that album as I do about this album.  I find a lot of what they are doing a little boring.  The music is tame, the singing is quiet, and the album never really finds the spunk to keep me interested.  Almost every time I put this album on, I have to change it to something a little more interesting.  I just get bored.  What am I missing here?

2. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

Here I did totally buy into the hype of the first album and ep.  I really liked them both, and I agree that they were two of the best albums put out the year they came out.  I, however, have really struggled to find a love for this release.  There are some songs that strike me as being really good, but I once again just can’t find a reason to put this one on.  I think I moderately like it, but to call it a top 10 – 20 – or even 50 album of the year seems a little steep to me.  I enjoy the vocal delivery, but I find a lot of it a little bit of a bore. I really don’t think that it lived up to the success of the previous albums, and I wouldn’t have given it a spot at the top.  What makes you love this album?

3. Wild Flag – Wild Flag

So I already know I’ll be in trouble with this one from a few different readers.  I just don’t really get it.  I like the up beat tempo, and I like the concept of the entire band, but I find it all kind of annoying.  The song “Boom” sort of epitomizes these feelings for me.  Her singing is a little annoying, and the lyrics are even more annoying to me.  Do you see the emphasis on kind of annoying? I really wanted to like this album in particular. However, every time I put it on, I end up changing it.  I can’t get through a song or two before I find myself bothered by some element of what they have put together.  Perhaps I just don’t have an appreciation for the history behind this band, but I just can’t find a reason to love this album.

James Blake – James Blake

I think this guy started to make waves last year with a few ep releases.  Of course when any person starts to make waves, I jump to check them out.  I figure it has to be worth a shot.  Paste has this guy described as a dubstep minimalist which Pitchfork basically echoes as well.  I just don’t get it.  First of all, my kids at school this week introduced me to Skrillex, who is evidently the face of the dubstep movement right now.  He isn’t deemed a minimalist, but I know he is up for best new artist at the Grammy’s.  Of course, I’m sure everyone will argue that James Blake is better than Skrillex, but I’m not sure I like anything either of these artists put out.  I find Skrillex to be a glorified techno musician, and I find James Blake to be really boring.  So what am I missing with this one?

There are of course quite a few different albums out there that I’m just not getting. I probably would have put Cults up here a couple of weeks ago, but I started to click with that one after listening a few more times.  I think other than dubstep, I can also question quite a few different rap artists that are getting a ton of cred.  I’ll leave that alone though because I don’t know anything about those releases.  I’m definitely not saying any of these are bad releases, but I keep seeing these pop up as top releases of the year, and I just don’t get it.  So tell me why I need to like these albums.  I know there has to be something I’m missing.  And, if you have any others that you aren’t really understanding either, let me know what releases of this past year you just don’t get either.  I would love to know if I agree with your thoughts on certain artists as well.

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4 Comments

  1. Most of your list makes sense to me. The Real Estate record was a real letdown for me. Fleet Foxes has grown old quickly and I never got the appeal of James Blake.

    This brings us to Wild Flag… I assume I’m one of the readers with whom you’ll be in trouble for not liking it. I get the annoying factor, but it seems to me that you were never a Sleater-Kinney fan, particularly their early, riot grrrl releases. It’s an aesthetic that’s not for everyone, but the album is just pure rock, ovaries-to-the-walls rock. This can’t be denied. You may not like Carrie Brownstein’s growl or Mary Timony’s deadpan delivery, but this has to be one of the best collection of musicians in indie today. Janet Weiss is maybe the best drummer in rock and both Timony and Brownstein hold down some great guitar parts. The addition of Rebecca Cole only adds depth to their sound…

    I could go on and on, but this is why music is so great. Two people who obviously have similar tastes and are very thoughtful about those tastes can completely disagree on the same thing.

    • Yeah you were totally the one I was thinking of when I said I’m about to get in trouble. With a lot of these albums, I want to like it or understand better why I should like it. You gave me some good reasons to give it a few more tries, but you’re totally right. I never was into Sleater-Kinney, which is why I may never like this particular album. I am still going to give it a few more tries, but I’m not sure I’ll ever really like it. Thanks for explaining it to me without getting too mad at me. Any albums you feel the same way about from this year?

      • Well, the others you mentioned seemed right on. I don’t like the Atlas Sound album. The Iron & Wine record was a real turd. Handsome Furs was a major letdown. I can’t think of many beyond that.

      • Yeah I haven’t really been into a few Atlas Sound albums. I actually was kind of into the Iron & Wine album at the start, but it wore on me. I eventually really stopped liking it.


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