By Jimmy Long
10. Avril Lavigne – Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne, everyone’s favorite rebel, gave us a summer jam that was one of my favorite summer songs. Everything about “Here’s To Never Growing Up” was perfect, but when it came to the album things took a turn for the worse. I don’t know what’s worse about it: that she’s almost 30 and she writes songs called “Hello Kitty” and “17”, that Chad Kroeger co-wrote and produced almost every track on the album (including “Hello Kitty”), or the song with Marilyn Manson. The song sounded like a cool feature at first, but in the end was disappointing because he only sang backing vocals. Her previous album showcased her as a mature songwriter and vocalist and this album was a step back.
Though I’m a huge fan of Selena Gomez, this album made the list. This album marks Selena’s first solo record, as the last three albums she released were under the name of her band Selena Gomez & The Scene. 2013 was a big year for Selena. She starred in Spring Breakers and Getaway costarring Ethan Hawke. Though the successful and catchy “Come & Get It” made the American Top 40, the rest of the album doesn’t live up to its promise.The album goes for a club sound, which is refreshing with the first few tracks, but the sound gets old fast. All of the song sound the same; even the ballads have pulsing beats. Speaking of ballads, you would think they would be revealing about her high profile relationship, but Selena didn’t write one track on the album. So as much as it pains me to say, this album in was a disappointment in many ways.8. Fashionably Late-Falling in Reverse
I will always admire Ronnie Radke as a vocalist and lyricist, but Fashionably Late is a hot mess. The band that released the excellent The Drug In Me Is You should know how to make a decent follow up. The album seemingly can’t decide if it wants to be a post-hardcore, pop rock, or even (surprisingly and not in a good way) a rap album. While genre confusion worked for Bangerz, it’s just a slew of trash on Fashionably Late.
7. Frame by Frame – Cassadee Pope
My middle school self is hurting as I put Hey Monday’s former lead singer on the list. I’ll admit that I’m not a big fan of country music, but I decided I would give Cassadee’s music a chance because of her amazing vocals. The first single, a Taylor Swift-like country song, was an indication of where the rest of her material went. The songs are filled with country clichés and lazy metaphors. However, the production makes it suitable for country fans and Top 40 radio (I mean seriously, since when is an 808 used for country music production?). It makes fans pray for the day that Hey Monday reunites.
6. Nothing to Lose – Emblem 3
I’ve kept an eye on these guys since they auditioned for X Factor in season 2 (the best season) of the failing singing competition. They made it known that they were not a boy band when they auditioned with an amazing original song.
They came in fourth in the second to last elimination, but Simon obviously recognized their talent and signed them. Nothing To Lose is their first album. With songs like “Spaghetti” and three songs about L.A. (we get it, besides the traffic L.A. is awesome), this is the cliché album of a boy band. They seem like One Direction rejects. The sad part is that they wrote the majority of the tracks including their only decent song “Sunset Blvd.” (the song they auditioned with).
5. Journals – Justin Bieber
2013 began as a good year for the Biebs. With the release of Believe Acoustic (which features the awesome “Nothing Like Us”) and the rest of his Believe tour kicking off, all seemed well. That was until he announced what seemed like a genius marketing idea, “Music Mondays,” where he released a new song every week for 10 weeks.
While the first few were a huge step for Justin in an attempt to be taken seriously as an artist, the rest sound the same. The whiny R&B vocals also don’t help the maturity of the lyrics. The album turned out to be a commercial failure. This begs the question: Is this the end of “Bieber Fever?”
4. Blurred Lines- Robin Thicke
The fact that the album is named after one of the worst songs of 2013, probably one of the worst songs ever written, is a good indication of the quality of the album. While the production is flawless, the vocals and lyrics weigh the album down. There’s a creepy vibe from Robin Thicke, maybe it’s the fact that he can change the pitch of his voice from low to super high or the fact that he recorded the song “Blurred Lines.”
3. #willpower- Will.i.am
Known as one of the two members of The Black Eyed Peas that audiences can name, Will.i.am has made a name for himself in the music production industry. He has produced songs for Fergie, The Pussycat Dolls, Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus, and Lady Gaga just to name a few. It was only a matter of time before he pulled a “Timbaland” and released his version of Shock Value and all the songs sound the same. It doesn’t help that the genre of pop club electro music is exhausted. Also, he released the album twice in one year, the only difference being replacing one track. Even that couldn’t save the album.
2. Word of Mouth- The Wanted
Their United States debut was a promising alternative to One Direction with “adult” pop songs such as “Glad You Came” and “Chasing The Sun.” The 2012 release of their EP prompted anticipation of their full-length album from fans. What they got was a steaming pot of disappointment. The best song on the album is “I Found You,” which was released a little over a year before the album. The songs are bland and boring. The song “Walks Like Rihanna” is a bit on the misogynistic side. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea that they are taking an indefinite hiatus.
1. Britney Jean- Britney Spears
Britney Spears’ artistic integrity has never been the selling point of her music. Britney has gotten by in her career with sex appeal and sub-par vocals. The only thing going for her career is decent production (Blackout is one such example). It came as a surprise when Britney said her new album, Britney Jean, would be her most personal record.
The first single, “Work B**ch”, is an indication on just how personal the album gets. Though the opening track, “Alien”, expresses the loneliness of being a pop star and “Perfume” has the purest vocals of her career, these songs are the album’s best. I won’t even begin to talk about the duet she did with her sister. While she does get a co-writing credit on every song (a first in her career), she never delivers on the promised selling point of the album: her personality.