I was thinking the other day about the many years of doing this shit. Having this almost personal obligation to myself to anticipate albums. Doing an albums of the year list and actually it really goes back much further in truth to when I really got obsessive about listening to new albums from bands/artists. I.e. probably when the 1st new Rush album came out after my being a fan, which technically was Counterparts in 1993?
Well, I suppose my memory of that was buying it. Ah, now I recall, the "Stick It Out" video was on Beavis and Butthead, and the summer of 1993 I spent a brief amount of time working at Sam Goody at the Mall of America, and I do recall telling customers or maybe even having a conversation with a customer or two who told me about Rush having a new album coming out.
edit: yes, Counterparts was released October 19th, 1993.
I likely even paged through Metal Edge at the old Shinders stores and saw some stuff about it.
Anyway, long story that avoided being longer, the point or idea of hearing about, anticipating new albums, and then those said albums
a) being AS GOOD as my hopes
b) being BETTER than my hopes
c) being AMONG THE ARTIST'S BEST ALBUMS
d) being THEIR BEST WORK YET
seems to not end up happening all that much. Especially the last 2 c + d.
Whereas when I
a) listen to an album from a band I used to love and am surprised by how good it is
b) a debut album from a band who only had a promising EP or a few singles and the expectation is still not incredibly high given it's their 1st full-length, and it ends up being one of the year/season's best..
b2) and said record ends up being their best work, or even their only really good work
Then there is the
a) album that is a follow-up to my favorite or the artist's best album in a long time, and the follow-up either doesn't compare to that great previous record, or isn't really that good if worth going back to much at all
I guess a better way to illustrate this is to just look at an artist's catalogs and then when those albums came out after I became a fan.
Err, or maybe in a shorter exercise, look at my favorite albums over the last 10 years or so and see how many of them were albums that
a) I knew about going in, or "anticipated" and had high hopes for
b) ended up being among if not their best records in their respective catalogs.
I've listed below my favorite 20 albums or so (or however many going back to 2005 and 2004) AT THE TIME for the most part. Mind you, from each year/season, there are other albums not included on the below lists that I enjoy more of course, and also some of the albums ranked lower, would likely be higher now, and vice-versa. But those were these lists rankings at said time when I made the lists at the end of the year/season.
20 For the Imperium | Hail the Monsters
19 Persefone | Spiritual Migration
18 Foals | Holy Fire
17 Orphaned Land | All Is One
16 Debashish Bhattacharya | Beyond the Ragasphere
15 Genders | Get Lost
14 K Será | Collisions and Near Misses
13 Janelle Monáe | The Electric Lady
12 Mayer Hawthorne | Where Does This Door Go
11 Ours | Ballet the Boxer 1
10 The Dear Hunter | The Migrations Annex [EP]
9 The Dear Hunter | Migrant
8 In Vain | Ænigma
7 Brooke Waggoner | Originator
6 Local Natives | Hummingbird
5 Typhoon | White Lighter
4 Daft Punk | Random Access Memories
3 Steven Wilson | The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories)
2 The Reign of Kindo | Play With Fire
1 The Red Paintings | The Revolution Is Never Coming
23 Debashish Bhattacharya | 'Madeira'
22 Bruce Peninsula | Of Songs
21 Water & Bodies | American Dream [EP]
20 British Theatre | Dyed in the Wool Ghost [EP]
19 Hotel of the Laughing Tree | Mammoth Skin, Pt. 1 [EP]
18 Godspeed You! Black Emperor | 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
17 The Gathering | Disclosure
16 Northern Abbey | Northern Abbey [EP]
15 Sucré | A Minor Bird
14 Media Addicts | Autonomy
13 Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra | Theatre Is Evil
12 Mike Linden | Bubble & Squeak
11 Anathema | Weather Systems
10 Marillion | Sounds That Can't Be Made
9 Ramona Falls | Prophet
8 Forest Park | Forest Park [EP]
7 House of Fools | Versus the Beast
6 Ne Obliviscaris | Portal of I
5 Bend Sinister | Small Fame
4 Gatherer | So Be It
3 Vuvuzela | The Hollow Choir
2 Brice Plays Drums | Man the Animal Cannon
1 Pepe Deluxé | Queen of the Wave
20. dredg | Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy
19. Brice Plays Drums | I Laugh at Your Greener Pastures
18. O'Brother | Garden Window
17. Vektor | Outer Isolation
16. For the Imperium | For the Imperium
15. Bruce Peninsula | Open Flames
14. Jimmy Gnecco | The Heart: X Edition
13. Water & Bodies | Light Year
12. *Shels | Plains of the Purple Buffalo
11. Tangled Thoughts of Leaving | Deaden the Fields
10. The Baltic Sea | Period Piece
9. Three | The Ghost You Gave to Me
8. Mercies | Three Thousand Days
7. Battle Circus | Battle Circus
6. East of the Wall | The Apologist
5. Between the Buried and Me | The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues [EP]
4. The Dear Hunter | The Color Spectrum
3. Arch/Matheos | Sympathetic Resonance
2. Kimbra | Vows
1. Hotel of the Laughing Tree | Terror and Everything After
20. Judgement Day | Peacocks / Pink Monsters
19. Timmy Sean | Songs From & Inspired By Noisewater
18. Anathema | We're Here Because We're Here
17. 22 - Flux
16. The Reign of Kindo | This Is What Happens
15. Everything Everything | Man Alive
14. Pure Reason Revolution | Hammer and Anvil
13. Oceansize | Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up
12. Revere | Hey! Selim
11. Jazzkamikaze | Supersonic Revolutions
10. Emanuel and the Fear | Listen
9. Foals | Total Life Forever
8. Warpaint | The Fool
7. Agalloch | Marrow of the Spirit
6. Menomena | Mines
5. Sufjan Stevens | The Age of Adz
4. Cloud Cult | Light Chasers
3. Janell Monáe | The Archandroid
2. Lehto & Wright | Children's Songs
1. The River Empires | The River Empires (Epilogue)
20. Malajube - Labyrinthes
19. The Kris Norris Projekt - Icons of the Illogical
18. Mute Math - Armistice
17. maudlin of the Well - Part the Second
16. Archive - Controlling Crowds
15. Muse - The Resistance
14. Porcupine Tree - The Incident
13. Karen O - Where the Wild Things Are
12. Greg Herriges - Telluric Currents
11. note. - my city of ghosts, stars and hours
10. Kiss Kiss - The Meek Shall Inherit What's Left
9. Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
8. Long Distance Calling - Avoid the Light
7. Pure Reason Revolution - Amor Vincit Omnia
6. Umphrey's McGee - Mantis
3c. dredg - The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion
3b. The Dear Hunter - Act III: Life and Death
3a. Mew - No More Stories / Are Told Today / I'm Sorry / They Washed Away
// No More Stories / The World Is Grey / I'm Tired / Let's Wash Away
2. Soundscape - Grave New World
1. Kevin Gilbert - Nuts/Bolts
20. Arsis - We Are the Nightmare
19. Adebisi Shank - This is the Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank
18. Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - Animal!
17. Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - Not Animal
16. Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer?
15. Demians - Building an Empire
14. The Gutter Twins - Saturnalia
13. Protest the Hero - Fortress
12. Woven - Designer Codes
11. King's X - XV
10. Cloud Cult - Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes)
9. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
8. Sculptured - Embodiment: Collapsing Under the Weight of God
7. Bend Sinister - Stories of Brothers, Tales of Lovers
6. Marillion - Happiness is the Road
5. The Stiletto Formal - !Fiesta, Fiesta, Fiesta, Fiesta!
4. Mutyumu - Il y a
3. Ours - Mercy...(Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy)
2. Burst - Lazarus Bird
1. Apes and Androids - Blood Moon
20 The Ebb and Flow - Attack and Decay
19 Fields - Everything Last Winter
18 The Pax Cecilia - Blessed Are the Bonds
17 Silverchair - Young Modern
16 Pain of Salvation - Scarsick
15 Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City
14 Minus the Bear - Planet of Ice
13 Aereogramme - My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go
12 Biffy Clyro - Puzzle
11 The Receiving End of Sirens - The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi
10. 3 | The End is Begun
9. Karnivool | Themata
8. In Vain | The Latter Rain
7. Kiss Kiss | Reality vs. the Optimist
6. House of Fools | Live and Learn
5. Fair to Midland | Fables From a Mayfly: What I Tell Three Times is True
4. Oceansize | Frames
3. Between the Buried and Me | Colors
2. The Dear Hunter | Act II: The Meaning of and All Things Regarding
1. Kaddisfly | Set Sail the Prairie
20. White Willow - SIGNAL TO NOISE
19. The Mars Volta - AMPUTECHTURE
18. Al Di Meola - CONSEQUENCE OF CHAOS
17. Aviatic - ARRIVAL
16. Margot & The Nuclear So And So's - THE DUST OF RETREAT
15. Under The Influence Of Giants - UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF GIANTS
14. Portugal The Man - WAITER: YOU VULTURES!
13. Men, Women And Children - MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN
12. Opus Dai - TIERRA TRAGAME
11. Archive - LIGHTS
10. A Chinese Firedrill - CIRCLES
9. The Decemberists - THE CRANE WIFE
8. Anathallo - FLOATING~WORLD
7. Russian Circles - ENTER
6. Muse - BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS
5. Mew - AND THE GLASS HANDED KITES
4. Oceansize - EVERYONE INTO POSITION
3. MuteMath - MUTEMATH
2. dredg - LIVE AT THE FILLMORE
1. Pure Reason Revolution - THE DARK THIRD
Blackfield - BLACKFIELD
Porcupine Tree - DEADWING
Dredg - CATCH WITHOUT ARMS
The Mars Volta - FRANCES THE MUTE
Shadow Gallery - ROOM V
Dream Theater - OCTAVARIUM
Marillion - Marbles
Pain of Salvation - BE
Fates Warning - FWX
Brian Wilson - SMILE
U2 - How to dismantle an atomic bomb
Courtney Yasmineh - Sufi Line
Happy the Man - The Muse Awakens
I guess I look at these lists and notice a few things in regards to ANTICIPATION during that time.
For One thing, the top albums every year, were not albums I anticipated really:
2006: PRR..I had only just found out about a few months before it came out. And of course it was a DEBUT album.
2007: Kaddisfly..I only had heard them the year before. And honestly, before SSTP, I was a bit lukewarm about them. Which sounds silly now, but it's not like I thought SSTP was going to be even half as great as it turned out to be. I..e had you asked me in January 2006 about Kaddisfly and their next record, if I was looking fwd to it and thought it would be amazing, I likely would have laughed and said I dunno.
2008: Apes and Androids, again, hadn't heard of them.
2009: Kevin..compilations are sort of not fully qualifying in this idea. Soundscape, okay, sure that album I did expect to be amazing and it was. Although it was recorded 10 years before. Plus it wasn't like I expected it to even come out (even though I knew about its existence). dredg, The Dear Hunter and Mew, now those 3 yes, I anticipated and expected big things from and while they all ended up being very good records, However, I'm not sure I would not put them at the top of each band's discography at this point. Or at least I didn't find they topped their previous work quite. But they were close
2010: The River Empires..again, it was a debut LP, and while I had heard about it like a year or 2 before, I had absolutely no clue it would have been as good as it was. I mean sure, I had some hopes for it, but it doesn't really qualify for anticipated greatness exactly.
2011: Hotel of the Laughing Tree, another one that is a debut record and at the time were a band that I would never have expected to make something close to as good as Terror and Everything After. Their debut EP was okay, but I still struggled with it a bit. I mean it showed potential, but Album of the Year potential? I dunno, in 2010 if you mentioned that to me, I again likely would have doubted it.
2012; Pepe Deluxe, came out of nowhere. I didn't know them, thus no anticipation
2013: The Red Paintings, while ultimately, I'm not sure how replay-able it'll become, I guess I found it the most unique and original sounding record of last year. And honestly, more ambitious than I figured it would be at least. But the fact it took so long to come out (like 7 or 8 years), I suppose the amount of time added some higher hopes than I would have had normally. But, I still was just kind of casual about them. The Reign of Kindo of course had pretty big hopes for, and it for the most part fulfilled them. But I also don't know if I regard and will regard Play With Fire as their best record, i.e. if I want to listen to a record from Kindo, I still would go to Rhythm, Chord and Melody 1st. Why? I guess a lot of that has to do with memorable moments and melodies, and energy I suppose.
But looking down more of those lists, and even stuff not on those lists, it seems whenever there's a record I have a lot of hope for, it can't live up to my hopes, or surpass them. And psychologically, I seem to want that. Almost demand that, and it fails to happen nearly every time.
I've spent awhile with this idea on here, and the idea of it was to try and explain why so many albums come out, don't end up being as amazing as I want them to be. I mean there are some cases, and of course there may be even more cases of the amazing albums I discover long after their release time/year/season for whatever reason. I'm not sure if it's pure luck, or coincidence or there is more to it. Perhaps it is just the wanting to be surprised or shocked,that creates that thrill anyway. So almost by definition, none of the albums I find out about ever will have that. Sure, hearing what is on them, maybe how different or how good it may be, can add surprise or shock, but not as much as a new band or maybe even a band I used to think sucked and now don't (or I don't think they do anymore).
So, long essay longer, and I don't think I will put up the list, any list of albums I can come up with yet that I heard them when they were released and ended up being anticipated and my favorite or their best album. There are some I suppose. Transatlantic's Bridge Across Forever I suppose as that is pretty much their masterpiece and I knew about them/it and enjoyed them and loved it the year it came out. Pain of Salvation's Remedy Lane also comes to mind, in at least it is a masterpiece, but, I still don't prefer it to The Perfect Element I. But it's pretty damn close. TPE of course, I never had listened to PoS until it came out, so there was no anticipation or hopes for them other than at the point I was thinking of attending the 1st ProgPowerUSA and wanted to know if they were good enough to spend the time and $ to see. And frankly, they and TPE was.
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence as well. Although while I enjoyed that when it came out a lot, I think I have enjoyed it even more since that time frame. But maybe that has a lot to do with the fact I don't find anything Dream Theater has done since to be as good.
But if/when I do some more thinking and research, I may follow this up with at least a LIST with more back history. I'm not sure how much in terms of commentary there'll be. But I still suspect the list of albums that ended up as good or better with anticipation at the time, won't be incredibly long.
Thus, I can conclude that I am still wasting my high hopes away with expecting masterpieces from bands I know about. Because unless it's a debut album, or a band I don't know about, history says I won't regard it to be as good as something X-band did years before that I loved them. Just in a general sense.
Now does it not warrant the value of anticipation? no, of course not. But it just speaks to my mentality of not expecting something better than before I guess from the bands who I love for a reason; since something they made previously was so damn good. Even in the case of a follow-up (see bands like Umphrey's McGee with Mantis -> Death By Stereo and Similar Skin or Minus the Bear with Planet of Ice -> Omni and Infinity Overhead).
Which almost makes me wonder if I should rename this blog Searching for Unknown or Debut Album Masterpieces or something , lol. The old "looking for the next Apes and Androids" idea. Yeah, I am looking for them, and have found some awesome examples who are close to that quality like Pepe Deluxe or The River Empires, but still, I am still searching for the next AandA's and haven't found them yet, lol.