With killer albums from Grimes, Kendrick Lamar, Wolf Alice and more, it’s been a vintage year for music. But there have been disappointments too. Here are the 15 biggest letdowns of 2015.
The year ended acrimoniously for pop-punkers Paramore, as the tight-knit five-piece announced that original bassist Jeremy Davis was leaving under “really painful” circumstances. In leaving the band, Davis followed brothers Brothers Josh and Zac Farro, who departed in 2010.
Over 100,000 bellends petitioned to have Kanye West removed from his slot at Glastonbury. ‘Ye had a lot to prove. He offered an uncompromising set against a stark backdrop of bright lights (except for a misguided bit where he rode a crane). It was, unfortunately, all a bit underwhelming. Still, imagine being such a tosser that you signed petition because you don’t like a festival headliner.
When it was announced that the second single from Adele’s third album, ’25’, had been co-written by LA hipster singer-songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr., he of skew-whiff pop brilliance, we expected something exciting. Instead we got ‘When We Were Young’, a song that sounds like all of Adele’s other songs. It’s a good song – but did we need it again?
After three banging singles – ‘Where Are Ü Now?’, ‘What Do You Mean?’ and ‘Sorry’ – we hoped Justin Bieber’s comeback album, ‘Purpose’, would atone for his bad behaviour over the years (pissing in a mop bucket in restaurant was the least of it). Apart from those songs, it was mostly soppy ballads as usual. ‘What Do You Mean?’ is still genius, though – no doubt about that.
Everyone was in love with Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen’s third album, ‘Emotion’. We said: “‘Emotion’ is packed with frighteningly relatable songs about love, longing and heartbreak.” Yet it sold only 16,000 copies in the US in its first week and got snubbed at the Grammys. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?
Californian pop-punkers Blink-182: music’s fun uncles. So we were saddened to hear in January that founding member Tom Delonge fell out with the band, leaving and penning an open letter to fans in which he blamed “squabbling and politics”.
Brett Morgen, director of Kurt Cobain biopic ‘Montage of Heck’, revealed that he would be releasing a ‘lost’ collection of Kurt songs that would offer “a rare, unfiltered glimpse into Cobain’s creative progression”. Instead we got a rag-tag ‘album’ (for want of a better word) of demos and half-thoughts that should have stayed where Kurt left them and where he presumably wanted them – forgotten.
New York rappers Wu Tang Clan sold the ONLY copy of their album ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ to a mystery buyer for $2m. That buyer turned out to be the universally reviled Martin Shkreli, a CEO who bought a drug used to treat AIDS and jacked its price from $13.50 per pill to $750. Wu Tang head honcho RZA was aghast and pledged to donate “a significant portion” of the cash to charity.
“is this true??????? I WILL PASS OUT.” The words Taylor Swift tweeted when she learned that singer-songwriter Ryan Adams was planning to release a cover of her entire ‘1989’ album. The wistful, acoustic-based result was okay – but not the instant classic we hoped for. Ultimately it just makes you long to listen to Tay’s original.
11 years ago, director John Roecker filmed Californian pop punk group Green Day making their 2004 opus album ‘American Idiot’. It went down in legend among fans. Finally, this year, he released the film, a dreary, overly-long documentary about some blokes kicking about the studio. Cheers, John.
We looked forward to the Slaves/Skepta collaboration and got SHUTDOWN. In August, Laurie Vincent of the punk group said: “The track is there and we’ve heard it, so it’s exciting but there are no plans for it as yet… It might just pop up one day”. We hoped the punk/grime joint might be out by now, but alas…
This year we hoped for new albums from Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Rihanna and Frank Ocean. And what did we get? Bugger all!
When Kanye brought a whole host of UK grime MC – including Skepta – onstage at the Brits in February, it seemed like a clear message: grime was going to go mainstream. There’s undeniably a resurgence, but no-one from the new crop has emerged as the kind of superstar who’d be interviewed on Newsnight, as old guard grime MC Dizzee Rascal once was. Leave that for 2016.
11 million people voted David Cameron back into office. Smh.
Pop musician and producer Boots’ backstory is murky – he claims he was broke and living in a van when Beyonce plucked him from obscurity to co-write her self-titled fifth album, which sold 1.2m copies in a week. He released his own record, ‘Aquaria’, this year and interviewers tried to get to the bottom of the questions around his background – to no avail. Disappointingly, he remains a mystery.