Popdose Roundtable: Artists We Used to Love (And Why We Stopped Loving Them)

Jeff Giles: I’m listening to Indigo Dreams, the new album from the BoDeans, and stifling yawns. I used to be a huge fan, and I was thrilled when they announced the reunion in 2004, but their last three albums have done nothing at all for me. I just realized that the last BoDeans record that came with any songs I really liked was Blend, and that was way back in ’96, which makes me very sad. Their music meant a lot to me once.

What about you guys? Which bands have dragged you, kicking and screaming, into indifference, and which records were the ones that did it?

David Medsker: At the risk of being lynched, Crowded House. I love Neil Finn, but I rarely listen to their two most recent albums. I’m worried that the new Kaiser Chiefs record is about to do the same for them. Damn things sound like home demos. I don’t want to hear Kaiser Chiefs demos. I want production. Oh, and here’s another one: Massive Attack. Everything since Mezzanine has left me cold.

Jeff: Yeah, the post-reunion Crowded House records aren’t as…friendly as their older stuff. I wish they weren’t so ballad-heavy. Although I do love “Don’t Stop Now” and “Either Side of the World.”

Scott Malchus: Crowded House’s last album collects digital dust on my iPod.

Chris Holmes: My love of Queensryche hit a big wall on Hear in the Now Frontier, although it was rekindled somewhat with Mindcrime II and American Soldier. Radiohead lost me after Amnesiac, and I remember distinctly listening to Binaural for the first time and giving up on Pearl Jam.

And I have to say that my enthusiasm for Ben Folds isn’t nearly what it once was. The post-Suburbs EPs were the last recordings of his that got me excited.

Jeff: He lost me after the EPs, too — although I still ponied up for the deluxe Way to Normal. Son of a bitch.

Chris: The frustrating thing for me as a fan is I can’t really put my finger on the reason why his new stuff doesn’t resonate anymore. It’s not as if he went off on some weird departure, musically. I feel like there’s no real reason not to love Way to Normal or Songs for Silverman, but I don’t.

Annie Logue: Oh, good lord, I don’t know if I can be friends with anyone who likes the BoDeans. There was a DJ on WXRT who used to go on (and on and on) about how WXRT was the only radio station in the world that played such hip, cutting edge bands like the BoDeans, and I was like, uh, there is a reason for that.

And now I have satellite radio and never have to listen to smug WXRT DJs ever again. (Maybe it’s just that I have come to associate the worst of WXRT with the BoDeans?)

However, I absolutely loved an episode of 30 Rock where Liz and Jenna were talking about their Chicago days, and Liz said something about Jenna dating the drummer for the BoDeans. That’s a slice of Chicago if ever there was one.

Anyhoo, BoDeans trashing aside, I’m quite conventional in that the musical crush who broke my heart is the same one who broke everyone’s heart, Liz Phair. I had a bootleg cassette of GirlySound, darn it! And the record that ruined it for me is the same that ruined it for everyone, the self-titled Liz Phair.

Jeff: Ah, Liz Phair. The one with the post-feminist classic “H.W.C.”

Dan Wiencek: I loved Jolie Holland’s Escondida, which came out around ’04, and have waited more or less patiently for her to make another record as good. Listened just today to her latest, Pint of Blood, and notwithstanding a couple of OK tracks, I am coming to the conclusion that what I am waiting for will never happen. Some folks only have one good record in them.

Oh, and what Annie just said is going in a frame on my living room wall. Nothing quite encapsulates the mediocrity of Chicago radio like XRT’s weird insistence that the BoDeans are a band of consequence.

Jeff: During the mid ’90s, when I was in my BoDeans phase, the stations in my area were proudly breaking local heroes Smash Mouth.

There’s inconsequential and then there’s inconsequential. I’m just saying.

Annie: Smash Mouth played a Boy Scout festival here last fall. I felt bad for them, because it rained something fierce that day. None of the kids I know went. The official count was 1,000 scouts and family members in attendance, but I’ll bet it was a fraction of that.

Matt Springer: I can defend the Liz Phair record. It’s one of my favorites of hers. But I don’t think I’d change anyone’s mind. I’ve been lukewarm on the later-era Ben Folds as well, although not to the point of giving up on him.

I don’t know if there’s any artist where I’ve gotten a record of theirs and thought, “That’s it, we’re done.” I may not like records as much as previous records, and we may drift apart, but somehow I always come back. I’m weak that way.

P.S. YES to everything Annie said about the BoDeans. Although I don’t hate XRT as much as many seem to, there was a time when it wasn’t an hour gone by that they wouldn’t play that goddamned “Good Things.”

Kelly Stitzel: For me, it’s Tori Amos. I’ve talked before about how much her music has meant to me and how huge a fan I once was. But now, my expectations for greatness when she releases a new album are so low they barely exist. And the album that started the indifference? The heinousness that is The Beekeeper, which was released in 2005.

Her new one comes out in September. I’ll give it a try, but I’m not expecting anything good. Especially after finding out her 11-year-old kid provides backing vocals.

Jeff: Tori’s description of the new album:

“It’s a 21st century song cycle inspired by classical music themes spanning over 400 years. I have used the structure of a song cycle to tell an ongoing, modern story. The protagonist is a woman who finds herself in the dying embers of a relationship. In the course of one night she goes through an initiation of sorts that leads her to reinvent herself allowing the listener to follow her on a journey to explore complex musical and emotional subject matter. One of the main themes explored on this album is the hunter and the hunted and how both exist within us.”

Jason Hare: Isn’t that what “Hungry Like the Wolf” is about?

Chris: Holy shit, even Sting thinks that sounds pretentious and boring.

Kelly: See what I mean? It makes me want to fly to Cornwall and shake her until the weave falls out. I don’t even think she knows what she’s talking about anymore.

Michael Parr: U2 had me until All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Hell, I even loved Pop when it came out, but everything since All That You Can’t Leave Behind has just left me scratching my head.

There are a few others. I absolutely love Tricky’s Maxinquaye and Pre-Millennium Tension, but everything after just falls short of the promise of those first two records. And I’m with Chris on the Queensryche. Oh, and fucking R.E.M. — they just piss me off. I’ve been “Meh” on them since New Adventures in Hi-Fi.

Jack Feerick: I’ll second this. I hate to invoke the myth of the purity of the primitive, but man, when U2 — who for years had been defined as much by their technical limitations as by their abilities — finally learned how to play “properly,” and how to write songs like everybody else, they started, well, writing songs like everybody else. There wasn’t a song on ATYCLB that I couldn’t imagine being covered by Rod Stewart.

Medsker: I completely agree. I’ll take Pop over ATYCLB, and everything since, any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Jeff: R.E.M. is a pretty great example of what I’m talking about. Sometimes I think they’ve spent the last 15 years shedding fans on purpose — although Accelerate wasn’t bad. By the way, Dan: I’m listening to Escondida now. Sweet and smoky.

Michael: Let me ask you this, though: Would Accelerate stand on its own merit if it weren’t a “return to form” after so many dreadful records?

Jeff: I can’t answer that until I finally invent a machine that will teleport me to a reality where I never had to listen to Around the Sun, but right now, I kinda feel like it would have made a decent follow-up to Automatic for the People. But then, I didn’t love Monster, so…

Matt: But what is the “form” to which R.E.M. was returning, other than good songs? I think their new one has good songs. I think New Adventures in Hi-Fi has TONS of good songs. I think Reveal has many good songs.

Dave Steed: I’m with Parr on this one – R.E.M. is really the only group I’ve ever gone from loving to couldn’t care less, and it also started with New Adventures in Hi-Fi for me. I finally really stopped caring after Up.

David Garza is a good example for me as well — This Euphoria is my second-favorite album ever, a great pop record on Atlantic. He followed that up with one more major label album — which was really good — and then, since being dropped, has resorted to making avant garde noise and bullshit about brown bears and art cloud armies that no one in their right mind could listen to.

He’s put out 20-some releases since the late ’90s and I buy every one of them, simply because he’s a really awesome dude who really loves what he does and I can get behind that, but I haven’t had the desire to go back to anything he’s released in the six or seven years.

Medsker: Up isn’t a great record, but “At My Most Beautiful” made it worth the purchase alone.

Jeff: I’ll see your “At My Most Beautiful” and throw in “Why Not Smile.”

Matt Wardlaw: I never thought R.E.M. would record anything worth listening to ever again — Around the Sun was one of the biggest pieces of shit ever committed to tape — but I actually like both Accelerate and Collapse into Now. They’re back on a good streak…for now. We’ll see what the next album brings.

And Springer, I’ll stand there with you and defend that Liz Phair record. I’d love to hear all of the recordings from the Michael Penn sessions…and now that I’m saying that, I feel like those are floating around out there.

Scott Malchus: I liked Accelerate. They took forever to find their voice as a trio.

In high school and college, I loved everything by Sting. Then he released his quiet storm album, Ten Summoner’s Tales, and everything has sounded the same ever since. Even the way the Police performed some of their songs on their reunion tour sounded more like Sting solo than what I loved about the Police.

Shawn Colvin kind of lost me after A Few Small Repairs. Her holiday album was dreadful and I just couldn’t get into her last two studio efforts. And I was listening to the new They Might Be Giants album after reading Jeff’s article on them, and I definitely went “Meh.” The thrill I got from hearing them back when I was 20 years old is no longer there.

Jeff: Aw, I liked Ten Summoner’s Tales — I thought it was easier to get through than Soul Cages, which, while absolutely a more meaningful and important album, has always felt pretty dirge-y to me.

Actually, I hung on with Sting until Sacred Love. Yecch.

Colvin has definitely gotten pretty uneven over her last few records, but I love “One Small Year” from Whole New You and “Fill Me Up” from These Four Walls.

I have no emotional attachment to TMBG’s older stuff, so maybe that’s why I thought Join Us went down so easy. I don’t know. But I do think the new record has a bunch of solid tracks. I had “When Will You Die” on repeat in the car for about 20 minutes the other day.

Wardlaw: Yeah, Sacred Love was the first really painful listen for me. I think both Ten Summoner’s and Soul Cages are borderline Desert Island Discs.

David: Sting lost me after that godawful “Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot” song. The only song of his I’ve liked since then was “Desert Rose.” And I loved Ten Summoner’s Tales, though I haven’t listened to it in over a decade.

Terje Fjelde: Steely Dan’s Two Against Nature and Everything Must Go torture me. Every single element is played out at exactly the right time and yet everything about them is wrong.

Jeff: There were moments on Two Against Nature that I really dug, but I’m with you on Everything Must Go. That one’s tough, and so are Becker and Fagen’s most recent solo records.

Brian Boone: If a bunch of obsessive music writers don’t like a Steely Dan project, then something is amiss indeed. And for me, the best example is Weezer — from the blue album and Pinkerton to “Heart Songs,” recording for the Marmaduke soundtrack, recording for the Cars 2 soundtrack, recording for the Shrek 4 soundtrack, to being 40-year-old men who call an album Raditude … that band was once my beloved, but now they’re dead to me.

Michael: Yeah, they’re another prime example. There have been moments of brilliance, here and there, but overall they are full of “meh.”

Rob Smith: I’m with the Sting and Shawn Colvin contingent, which hurts a bit, since their music (his through Ten Summoner’s Tales and “Desert Rose” and hers through A Few Small Repairs) meant a great deal to me.

Actually, there’s a lot of artists in the vein of Colvin who once excited me, but who don’t move me much anymore – Mary Chapin Carpenter comes to mind. Melissa Etheridge, James Taylor, Nanci Griffith, Maria McKee all fit into that. My tastes have just changed, I guess.

Paul Simon’s music hasn’t done anything for me since Rhythm of the Saints. Neil Young sorta falls into that category for me, too, and at one time I would’ve bought an album of him flushing his toilet (which is kinda what Are You Passionate sounded like to me). Weezer’s red album was the last straw for me – and they were a band I really liked. A lot. Lucinda Williams lost me there for a while, but her new one won me back.

I am the only person I know (or even know of) who likes Around the Sun? I do. I break it out and listen to it for pleasure from time to time. Now Reveal? THAT sucks.

Steed: Neil Young is weird for me — I love the guy, but even that ridiculously bad album about his car two years ago or so barely fazed me (actually, Le Noise was pretty bad, too). I think it’s because I always trust that he has something good left in him since he often goes off the deep end and then returns back to earth again. I gave up on R.E.M. because I just don’t think they have anything left in them.

Mike Duquette: Full co-sign on Sting post-Brand New Day, Weezer (my oft-repeated joke: the three best Weezer albums are Blue, Pinkerton and everything from the next seven albums that doesn’t suck) and Folds. Though as was stated earlier, I have no clue exactly as to why. His songs (and vocals) started feeling a little off around the EPs (“Rent a Cop” is asinine) and even getting not just someone else, but Nick Hornby, to pen lyrics didn’t do it for me. But I don’t hate any of his works outright.

But that box set he’s working on is likely going to lead to a period of joyful reconciliation!

Dw. Dunphy: I loved Marillion’s Marbles, but found Somewhere Else to be a lot of lists disguised as lyrics. Happiness Is the Road seemed way too long and directionless — trying to be Marbles, but not even coming close.

Since then, it’s been an acoustic versions album and a goat-choking ton of live recordings. I’m shocked they haven’t kicked out a covers album by now. Fanboy that I am, if they record a new album (meaning new material), I’ll give it a try. It pains me though about how unenthusiastic I am anymore.

I’m thirding Queensryche. They actually deserve more of a beatdown for getting my hopes up with American Soldier, then crushing them with Dedicated to Chaos.

Wardlaw: Yeah. The new ‘Ryche reaches levels of suck they’d never visited prior to this album.

Chris: Makes me long for the salad days of Q2K and Tribe. *shudder*

Dave Lifton: I’ve talked about this on the podcast, and in a bunch of other places (cue the jokes about nobody reading/listening):

When I Was Cruel was when Elvis Costello started to lose it with me. It was cold and contemptuous of his audience. I stuck with him for the next few albums and tours, but finally gave up a few years ago.

Dunphy: I’ll agree with When I Was Cruel. It was mostly a middle finger to Cait O’ Riordan. With the exception of two or three songs, the rest is tedious beyond words.

Dan: This is actually the last Costello album I more or less wholly got into. A lot of tunes stood out for me on that record: “Tart,” “Blue Window,” “15 Petals,” “Doll Revolution” (though he did recycle the melody for “Oliver’s Army” a bit, something which no one else has apparently ever heard), the title cut. Kicking Elvis for being bitter is kind of like slagging water for being wet, innit? It’s included with the ticket. Beyond that, I haven’t kept up with him too well. I got Momofuku, but not a lot of songs popped out for me on that one.

Lifton: My problem was that it came at the end of a period in which he was so much more open and even warm, like ending the Costello/Nieve shows with “Couldn’t Call It Unexpected #4″ a capella. I thought there were some good songs on When I Was Cruel when I heard the acoustic live versions, but he buried them with awful arrangements and a horrible guitar tone that he’s still using. Then came the double ripoff of Cruel Smile and the Rhino reissues, followed by North, and a handful of concerts I attended where I thought he acted like a pretentious dick.

Ken Shane: For me, Get Happy!! was the last Costello album that I truly loved. Yes, there have been many really good moments since, but not an album that I love nearly as much as those first four.

For me and Sting, it ended after The Soul Cages, which I think is his best album.

Springer: The last Costello album I truly connected with was actually Momofuku, which inspired me to go back and really give his aughts output a closer listen.

I’m on Lifton’s side with When I Was Cruel, although I don’t think I felt that way at the time…but even in the initial blush after release, there were songs and whole stretches that were more annoying than compelling. The whole “Dust…”/”…Dust” bit is lazy, pretentious and annoying by itself. And yeah, listening to it now, production-wise it does seem really dense in a bad way, like there’s a lot going on but you can’t hear much of it. Having said that, there are (as always) some good songs.

Overall, though, I felt pretty excited/engaged by going back and giving his last ten years or so a second look. I like The Delivery Man; I think Momofuku is just a damned strong set of songs with a loose but engaging vibe. It’s a no-bullshit great rock record with some country/acoustic touches, and adding Jenny Lewis/Jonathan Rice to the mix kinda forced him to step up his game, I think. I’m finding now that I’m drawn into National Ransom, moreso by the songwriting than by the whole Americana/vaudeville approach to arrangement and performance. And even something like My Flame Burns Blue or The River in Reverse has a lot to it that I think I may have not given enough of a chance when it came out.

Not to slag on anyone who has abandoned the guy — to each his own, and so on — but I do think Costello is an example of an artist who requires some work to maintain a relationship with. He’s got the constant stylistic chameleon/shifting going on, and sometimes there’s stuff he does that even if I try, I just can’t get into it (North). But I do find that if I try to meet him halfway and understand what he’s doing, it’s more often than not a rewarding experience. I say that as opposed to an album like When I Was Cruel, when you do give it a good college try and emerge realizing it’s just a kinda lazy, shitty record overall with some nice moments.

Ted Asregadoo: Oh, I have a few artists I could mention. Here’s a list:

Kate Bush after The Sensual World
R.E.M. after Out of Time
Elvis Costello after Painted from Memory
The Cure after Disintegration

Medsker: Oh, man. Automatic for the People is up there with Lifes Rich Pageant as my favorite R.E.M. album of all time.

Agreed on Kate and the Cure, though. And my wife chimes in: “Depeche Mode.”

Michael: The Cure is a definite, though I can hang through Wild Mood Swings.

Depeche Mode is a tough one for me. Every time I count them out, they surprise me.

Johnny Bacardi: From ’88 to ’92, I worked at a small town FM station with a wide-open format, and the BoDeans were one band we played a LOT. I went to see them in Nashville sometime in the early 90’s in a small hall with no air conditioning in August…it must have been 250 degrees in there.

That said, the last BoDeans album I wanted to listen to more than once was Home…and that was a long time ago. The “Closer to Free” song was catchy, but that’s about it for me since.

As to the question, Neil Young comes to mind — I haven’t liked an entire album of his since…oh…Freedom, perhaps, and I rarely even listen to that one. Which is not to say that there haven’t been good tracks on the ones since, but anymore I buy Neil out of habit when I do buy. For that matter, in the ’70s, I was a rabid Frank Zappa fan, but got tired of his act not far into the ’80s. Zoot Allures was the last record I was enthusiastic about.

And for what it’s worth, The Beekeeper was the first Tori Amos album I actually liked! OK, her solo debut had some good cuts, but for some reason (many reasons, actually), subsequent records left me cold until a chance hearing of “Sweet the Sting” and “Sleeps with Butterflies,” both of which I love, along with four or five other tracks. Which is four or five more than I liked on the other albums put together.

Oh, and while I’m ‘fessing up, regarding R.E.M., I liked Up a lot, and I don’t care who knows it.

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  • http://mostlymodernmedia.wordpress.com Beau

    I’ve really enjoyed a couple of singles from a few of these folks. I liked Tori’s “Big Wheel” and Liz Phair’s “And He Slayed Her.”

    And “Accelerate” is proof that bands can come back after losing the plot. So is “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” for that matter.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t fall out of love with my favorites. I either love them unconditionally in spite of things they do that I don’t like, or I don’t. Liz Phair is the only artist here where I had a serious disagreement with her direction post-whitechocolatespaceegg, and even at that, I could still find things about her last few records that I liked. Focusing on the negative just kind of bores me I guess. There’s too much good in the music world for me to get bogged down in the bad.

    Also, I liked EC’s Momofuku but I never really loved it. I don’t get how that record gets so much love and yet National Ransom isn’t being hailed as the second coming of King of America. I really, really love that record and every time one of its songs comes up in my shuffle play it makes me smile. They even make me forget about King of America, which is supposed to be my favorite EC record!

    I guess if I had to add one artist to this list it would be Nirvana. I still love the music, but if anything I feel like I don’t really identify with it anymore. It’s difficult for me to put on a Nirvana record when listening to The Blank Tapes or Ash Reiter or Elvis Costello or Paul McCartney or tune-yards or Sonic Youth or Fleet Foxes fills me up with life-affirming energy. I think I’ve outgrown the suicidal energy of Kurt, but man, few people channeled it better than he did.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t fall out of love with my favorites. I either love them unconditionally in spite of things they do that I don’t like, or I don’t. Liz Phair is the only artist here where I had a serious disagreement with her direction post-whitechocolatespaceegg, and even at that, I could still find things about her last few records that I liked. Focusing on the negative just kind of bores me I guess. There’s too much good in the music world for me to get bogged down in the bad.

    Also, I liked EC’s Momofuku but I never really loved it. I don’t get how that record gets so much love and yet National Ransom isn’t being hailed as the second coming of King of America. I really, really love that record and every time one of its songs comes up in my shuffle play it makes me smile. They even make me forget about King of America, which is supposed to be my favorite EC record!

    I guess if I had to add one artist to this list it would be Nirvana. I still love the music, but if anything I feel like I don’t really identify with it anymore. It’s difficult for me to put on a Nirvana record when listening to The Blank Tapes or Ash Reiter or Elvis Costello or Paul McCartney or tune-yards or Sonic Youth or Fleet Foxes fills me up with life-affirming energy. I think I’ve outgrown the suicidal energy of Kurt, but man, few people channeled it better than he did.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t fall out of love with my favorites. I either love them unconditionally in spite of things they do that I don’t like, or I don’t. Liz Phair is the only artist here where I had a serious disagreement with her direction post-whitechocolatespaceegg, and even at that, I could still find things about her last few records that I liked. Focusing on the negative just kind of bores me I guess. There’s too much good in the music world for me to get bogged down in the bad.

    Also, I liked EC’s Momofuku but I never really loved it. I don’t get how that record gets so much love and yet National Ransom isn’t being hailed as the second coming of King of America. I really, really love that record and every time one of its songs comes up in my shuffle play it makes me smile. They even make me forget about King of America, which is supposed to be my favorite EC record!

    I guess if I had to add one artist to this list it would be Nirvana. I still love the music, but if anything I feel like I don’t really identify with it anymore. It’s difficult for me to put on a Nirvana record when listening to The Blank Tapes or Ash Reiter or Elvis Costello or Paul McCartney or tune-yards or Sonic Youth or Fleet Foxes fills me up with life-affirming energy. I think I’ve outgrown the suicidal energy of Kurt, but man, few people channeled it better than he did.

  • Thelegendaryboomboxg

    Guns and Roses. everything by everyone (i have a feeling i could get into Izzy’s solo stuff, if I could find it). everything since Use Your Illusion, which was half suck/half awesome. after that it was awhole lot of zzzzzzzzzzzzzz . Spaghetti Incident, Velvet Revolver, Slash, Duff, appearances on Celebrity Rehab, and of course Chinese Democracy…..Appetite for Destruction, however, best hard rock album of all time.

  • Thelegendaryboomboxg

    Guns and Roses. everything by everyone (i have a feeling i could get into Izzy’s solo stuff, if I could find it). everything since Use Your Illusion, which was half suck/half awesome. after that it was awhole lot of zzzzzzzzzzzzzz . Spaghetti Incident, Velvet Revolver, Slash, Duff, appearances on Celebrity Rehab, and of course Chinese Democracy…..Appetite for Destruction, however, best hard rock album of all time.

  • Thelegendaryboomboxg

    Guns and Roses. everything by everyone (i have a feeling i could get into Izzy’s solo stuff, if I could find it). everything since Use Your Illusion, which was half suck/half awesome. after that it was awhole lot of zzzzzzzzzzzzzz . Spaghetti Incident, Velvet Revolver, Slash, Duff, appearances on Celebrity Rehab, and of course Chinese Democracy…..Appetite for Destruction, however, best hard rock album of all time.

  • Thelegndaryboomboxg

    new R.E.M disc is great. welcome back to my CD collection boys.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnCHughes John Hughes

    I will always defend the Matrix-ized Phair album as fun ear candy.  If that had been her debut, I think it would have been received quite differently. 

    You know the time to jump off the Phair train was her NEXT album, “Somebody’s Miracle.”  What an undistinguished, anonymous pile of slush.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnCHughes John Hughes

    I will always defend the Matrix-ized Phair album as fun ear candy.  If that had been her debut, I think it would have been received quite differently. 

    You know the time to jump off the Phair train was her NEXT album, “Somebody’s Miracle.”  What an undistinguished, anonymous pile of slush.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnCHughes John Hughes

    I will always defend the Matrix-ized Phair album as fun ear candy.  If that had been her debut, I think it would have been received quite differently. 

    You know the time to jump off the Phair train was her NEXT album, “Somebody’s Miracle.”  What an undistinguished, anonymous pile of slush.

  • Matt

    I can defend Somebody’s Miracle to a point, but I’ll say that there was a drop off from S/T. I have nothing nice to say about FunStyle.

  • Christophe Andersen

    “Somebody’s Miracle” is not great but I love a few songs and I love the contrast between the big shiny production of the music with her loud, uneven, and clearly not auto-tuned vocals.  “Funstyle”, on the other hand, is start to finish great.  On first listen I said “WTF?” and then it grew on me and the goofy songs became funny and the other songs became touching.  I find it far more interesting than “Exile in Guyville’s”, which, while pretty great, is a bit overrated.

  • http://www.drcastrato.blogspot.com drcastrato

    Not as big as most of the bands mentioned here, but Built To Spill lost me after “Keep it Like A Secret.” I keep buying their albums but I just don’t listen to them. 

    PS: I like how Jason adds one line to this conversation, and it’s the highlight of the article. Wish he would write more…

  • Anonymous

    Crowded House? Really? I don’t get that. The opening 5 tracks on Time on Earth ascend from very good to amazing. The post-reunion albums are definitely informed by Neil Finn’s solo stuff/Finn Bros. and the various collaborations that have taken place the past 15 years, and then there’s Paul Hester’s suicide, but at least they are still growing and exploring. I’d agree Intriguer is the weakest album in their catalog, but there are still some great tunes to be found (“Archer’s Arrows,” “Either Side of the World,” “Twice if You’re Lucky,” “Inside Out”). Also, if you haven’t seen the reconstituted band live, it’s hard to get how truly great they still are…but different.

    I won’t split hairs about the rest of the list. I will add my own nominee: Peter Gabriel, since US (nearly 20 years ago, mind). He’s had a few nice moments since, but the disappointments have far outweighed the pleasant surprises.

  • http://culturebrats.com Culture Brats

    I broke up with Ben Folds after Way To Normal, Tori after Boys For Pele. But can someone help me break up with Weezer? With every new album, I just forget the past and head right back into Rivers’ outstretched arms.

    I do miss Liz Phair, though.

  • http://culturebrats.com Culture Brats

    I broke up with Ben Folds after Way To Normal, Tori after Boys For Pele. But can someone help me break up with Weezer? With every new album, I just forget the past and head right back into Rivers’ outstretched arms.

    I do miss Liz Phair, though.

  • http://culturebrats.com Culture Brats

    I broke up with Ben Folds after Way To Normal, Tori after Boys For Pele. But can someone help me break up with Weezer? With every new album, I just forget the past and head right back into Rivers’ outstretched arms.

    I do miss Liz Phair, though.

  • Matt

    ‘Twice if You’re Lucky’ is a great tune! The Travelogue live set that Kufala sold compiling the best of the North American shows really is a great collection that shows what a great live band the current version of Crowded House is.

  • Anonymous

    The Rolling Stones and The Who. The older I’ve gotten, the less their tunes resonate with me. I feel like I outgrew the songs of both bands. I never want to listen to a full album of either anymore. Occasionally I’ll put on a greatest hits collection and that’s enough. And I still end up skipping half the songs.

    I haven’t gotten tired of Fiona Apple, and i hope her new CD supposedly coming out this fall is good. Liz Phair is someone I’m totally over, though. I look back on that first CD and mostly what I liked was her then-shocking lyrics. Now they’re not so shocking anymore and I’m always struck by how listless the music is.

    Seems like everybody got tired of Radiohead with its latest album, King of Limbs. From a band that for so long could do no wrong, it was amazing how quickly interest in that record dropped. 

  • Anonymous

    Funny thing about that new Radiohead record – I was very underwhelmed with it when I first heard it and was kicking myself for having spent any money on it. But after living with it for a while now, I love it. I think in time King of Limbs will end up being recognized in the same way as Hail to the Thief – one of those Radiohead records that nobody will ever say is their best, but a core of die-hards will point to it as highly underrated and pretty awesome in its own way.

  • Russ

    These roundtables are like the BoDeans of blogging.  I keep waiting for something to excite me again and after about 20% of the way through I just give up on it.  ;)

    Like the mentioned bands and bloggers, I’ll repeat myself.  The CD killed most of these artists because the running time without the added manufacturing costs stopped them from editing themselves.  Stuff that wouldn’t have made a 35-minute LP gets put on a 65-minute CD.  Geez, we used to complain about filler on a 35-minute LP fer crissakes, on a 65-minute CD you get 90% filler far too often.  And most of this stuff needs more work or time to sit in the artist’s mind and body before it really turns into something special. But since it’s released, the artist is then REALLY pressed for material on the NEXT release.  So instead of half-baked ideas getting released you get quarter-baked ideas getting released.

    I can’t remember the last time I listened to an album all the way through.  Probably some time in the early 90’s.  I don’t think it’s the best way to engage with music.  I find I like songs more if I buy an album download (or rip the CD) and let it flow into the random mix in iTunes.  The last Robert Plant album worked great that way for me, I don’t think I could give it a full 45-minute straight-through listen but I think most of the tracks are great.

  • Joey

    Sadly, I have to agree w/Jeff about the BoDeans.  “Blend” was great, and since then, well, they’ve sucked.  But they were an important band in their time (at least to me) and the stuff they put out in the late 80’s and 90’s holds up still now – while other bands during that time were producing crap that now sounds dated.  They had that really rare knack for an awesome juicy melody combined w/a short, catchy riff.  That’s all you need.  They lost it after Blend and got boring.  Boring as hell. 

    And R.E.M.?  Sorry, but have they even released anything worth listening to since “Automatic”?  I didn’t think so…..

  • David_E

    Jeff, we could be twins sons of different mothers re: BoDeans, Sting and R.E.M. — same feelings then, same feelings now, and same exact moments of separation.

    That said, I really like several cuts on the Dan’s “Everything Must Go.” The title track, “Things I Miss The Most,” “Godwhacker” … hell, I thought that last one somehow managed to capture a lot of the spit and sneer missing since “Kid Charlemagne” (albeit, yes, in a bit-more-mannered fashion).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1011363683 Clive Young

    The last great Neil Finn song was “Driving Me Mad,” which if you mentally give it the skiffle beat they used to use for “This is Massive” in concert, would have been a showstopper had it been written in 1986 instead of 2001. “Don’t Stop Now” is OK, but otherwise, the last two albums were a write-off. I’ll probably always pick up their latest just to see what they’re up to, but it all seems like “product” recently. Caught one of their shows last summer and the only time anyone woke up (band included) was when David Byrne came out to do “Once In A Lifetime” and “Road To Nowhere” with them (and why weren’t THOSE on the Record Store Day tour compilation?).

    Another disappointment in recent years has been Lloyd Cole, who made that stunning musical comeback with the Lloyd Cole & The Negatives album about 10 years ago and then hasn’t made an album worth sitting through since.

    As for the BoDeans, I was introduced to their music via the 2-CD live album that came out in the mid-90s. Disc 1 is utterly transcendent; disc 2 is a snore. I went back and listened to some of the albums that the Disc 1 songs came from, and they too put me to sleep. I guess that makes an argument that we all prefer our first exposure to an artist, and nothing ever holds a candle to that experience.

  • Matt

    Funny…I like the latest Lloyd album..

  • Matt

    Funny…I like the latest Lloyd album..

  • http://www.jasonhare.com Anonymous

    Mom, is that you? Thanks!

  • http://www.jasonhare.com Anonymous

    Mom, is that you? Thanks!

  • JT

    I couldnt agree more with David Medsker on this…I loved Massive Attack- I worked with Virgin promoting Mezzanine  when thier last albums came out I had high hopes..boy I was wrong….
    Crowded House does feel more Neil Finn than CH, and the last album I thought was zzz…like they just shloged through it or something.

    Coldplay- after the first 2 albumsOasis- after the first 3 albums (+ b side album).Depeche Mode = past decadeNatalie Merchant- everything after her second albumSarah McLachlan – after SurficingDave Matthews Band – after first 3 albumsBon Jovi (after the 1st greatest hits in the 90s)Aerosmith (after 1st greatest hits released in the 90’s)The “singers” from Glee- mid-season 2Alice In Chains post Layne …(sorry William DuVall..nothing personal)
    U2 and REM it seems holds a special place in everyone’s heart.  The return to form for REM has been going on for years…never has materialized…false alarm all the way through
    REM got weird. Does Michael Stipe still wear a hospital gown on stage?  Scary….
    Maybe it was all that money Warner was throwing at them for the record deal, but they sound cold and bored (maybe even hungry).

    U2 last 2 albums have been atrocious. I will still follow them, but Ive stopped attending their shows and dont buy their dvds anymore. I do feel like they have “sold out”. If their newest attempt at music is really found in spiderman, I will be running for the hills next album.
    Get on your boots? worst single of the decade.

  • http://www.popdose.com Michael Parr

    I agree with you on Gabriel, but I would stop at Us, which I thought was amazing. 

  • Matthew Berlyant

    Re: Elvis Costello, I loved When I Was Cruel when it came out and put it on recently. It’s still by far his best album of the last decade and at the time, my favorite of his since at least All This Useless Beauty. None of the records he’s made since then have had the same impact, but The Delivery Man and Momofuku are both good. After Secret, Profane and Sugarcane, I didn’t even bother with National Ransom.

    Re: Ben Folds, he lost me after Songs for Silverman. Sure his most recent material isn’t radically different from BFF or his early solo material, but it doesn’t have the hooks or witty lyrics. Or maybe I just outgrew him. I still like the old stuff, though I rarely play it.

    Re: Weezer, they lost me with Maladroit.

    No one’s mentioned Fountains of Wayne yet and I’m a bit surprised. I love the 1st 3 albums, but Traffic and Weather was a stinker. I hope their upcoming one is better.

  • http://twitter.com/lilmikesf lil mike

    I know that Soul Asylum started sucking for me right about the same time everyone else first heard of them and bought their most popular albums… but that doesn’t take away the pleasures i had from seeing them before that 90’s era & I occasionally check in on what they do now and accept it & respect it… it’ll just never hit me like it did back then, it’ll never be 1986 again… I’m fine with that…and I suppose so are they…

    of course you don’t like the new crap from BoDeans, REM, Sting, Tori Amos, Elvis Costello etc… you grew up, got a life, got a job… so did they… but their job is being BoDeans, REM, Sting, Tori Amos, Elvis Costello, Soul Asylum etc and that seemed pretty hip 20+ years ago, but now it’s more an obligation …i don’t hear any acknowledgement that time has moved on anywhere in these confessionals… but i do hear the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,,,  let’s admit that aren’t we all older and supposed to be discovering something else yet… Jazz? (or worse …)

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    Of course time has moved on. But our bonds with music, and the artists who make it, aren’t rational, are they?

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    Of course time has moved on. But our bonds with music, and the artists who make it, aren’t rational, are they?

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    Of course time has moved on. But our bonds with music, and the artists who make it, aren’t rational, are they?

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    Of course time has moved on. But our bonds with music, and the artists who make it, aren’t rational, are they?

  • http://www.beatlessongwriting.blogspot.com Matt Blick

    We’d all probably draw the line in different places for different artists but this post is just crying out for parallel discussion. Basically we part with some artists becuase they change and others we part with becuase they don’t. I love to hear your take on why that is…

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    REM has always been weird. That’s why people love ‘em.

  • Anonymous

    REM has always been weird. That’s why people love ‘em.

  • Anonymous

    REM has always been weird. That’s why people love ‘em.

  • Matthew Berlyant

    If, as a general rule, weirdness sold records, Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band would’ve been the biggest rock stars of the ’70s. Of course, there are notable exceptions (Radiohead and The Flaming Lips come to mind). 

  • Anonymous

    I look at the relationship with music in much the same way as the relationship with another human being. After all, what is music but a form of communication that expresses human thoughts and feelings? If we grow apart, such is life. It happens. Ask anyone who has been divorced or experienced a breakup after many years together. But the strongest bonds transcend good and bad. They simply exist as they are. We ebb and flow along with time and we grow together. Of course this requires being committed and listening to everything your favorite artist releases so you can be part of the conversation, just like with a spouse or lover or friend or whatever. Some things you’ll agree with, some things you won’t, in some cases your respective views will be validated, and in others you will find yourselves being opened up to new ways of thinking and feeling, or maybe you’ll clash intensely. It’s a relationship, plain and simple.

    And for what it’s worth, I was one of those people who started listening to Soul Asylum in ’93. I thought they were one of the most solid, dependable live bands I’ve ever seen regardless of the quality of their records. Right up there with Cheap Trick (although I love Cheap Trick infinitely more – that’s just me).

  • JT

    I can
    agree with part of what your saying,..but only for bands like nsyn, backstreet
    boys, modern day pop.  But some of these artists, they feel that they can take
    an “artistic liberty (read:  change, experiment, try new direction,
    take things to the next “level”,  be daring..oohhh,  etc) thinking
    their fans will blindly follow them along as devoted fans ($$$$) who will
    appreciate their art.

    example: I
    enjoyed Natalie Merchants first 2 albums Tigerlily  & Ophelia.

    Her last
    album- a double – was filled with  poems, rhymes, and children lullabies.
    It floped, but to her it was “the best times I’ve ever had as a
    musician”.  Good for her. I don’t think it means that she grew up- or
    that I did- she honestly believes that there is a market for this chunk of
    formage. She clearly didnt make it for my ears, but she did make with the
    assumption that people would buy it because its her music and her fans will eat up anything she does because we trust her as an artists.. (she would probably respond
    that I just-dont-get-it..and shes right..I don’t want to listen to a Irish
    lullaby from the 19th century with my friends at a BBQ).

    I think
    its important to make the distinction between growing up and moving on
    (nsync, spice girls etc) and an artist thinking they have Carte blanche to produce questionable
    material  because they have a fan base.

  • Jamie_lyon

    I think this discussion is awesome as it raises questions I often ask myself. Why do we fall out with some artists when their sound stays the same while we fall out with other bands because they try new things themselves. I love both Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson for the same reason, that they take risks. I don’t always like where they go, but I keep following.
    I agree that the length of the cd is partly to blame. But would we feel cheated if we only got 35 minutes of music by our favorites? And does this suggest that we are ready to go back to the days of singles, when artists weren’t pressured to put out albums every year? Would that be enough??? 

  • David_E

    My current relationship with Tom Petty is … tenuous.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    I don’t think I’d feel cheated. In fact, as a regular consumer of new vinyl, I’ve been re-acclimated to that length. But if we’re talking about CDs for CDs’ sake, artists take upwards of two years between releases. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, artists cranked out two a year, and many of those releases have aged very well. It comes down to blowing out the notion of being an “artist” and becoming a student of craft again. Too many of the folks on our list throw the “A” word around liberally and expect you to accept their latest statement.

  • Glenn S.

    I can’t handle Bjork after Homogenetic.
    Sting lost me on Mercury Falling. 
    I actually like Steely Dan’s two “comeback” albums but their last solo efforts left me cold. Fagen especially just doesn’t seem to know when to let a damn song end.

  • Breadalbane

    No one’s mentioned Fountains Of Wayne because it seems ridiculous to stop liking them on the basis of one subpar album.  If this *next* one is subpar, sure — then we can talk.