10 Most Disappointing Albums of 2016
The 10 albums that grace this list have one thing in common – all are considered to be disappointments in 2016.
You win some, you lose some, as the old saying goes. Some albums are surefire blockbusters, both critically and commercially, while others don’t achieve such accolades. This particular list examines 10 disappointing albums from 2016. Interestingly, not all of these albums are bad, but all have some flaws that hold them back from receiving more critical blessings ultimately. Chrisette Michele leads the charge with Milestone, while Meghan Trainor (Thank You) concludes the list.
1. Chrisette Michele, Milestone
Chrisette Michele possesses a terrific voice. The problem is, she dropped the ball on her first independently released full-length album, Milestone. Milestone sounds uncharacteristic of Michele, who previously has been associated with adult contemporary R&B and neo-soul. At times on Milestone, she attempts to be contemporary, with so-so results. While there’s nothing wrong with singing about love as she does here, the material is forgettable.
2. Post Malone, Stoney
In some respects, for an album to be considered disappointing, there needs to be big anticipation behind it. For some, Post Malone’s debut Stoney may be considered “highly anticipated” thanks to early hit “White Iverson.” For others, it was easy to see through the “fool’s gold” of the silly hit. As a whole, Stoney is messy. There are flashes of potential, but then there’s flaws negating such flashes. One of the main problems is the narrowness of the themes – Malone just doesn’t go deep. Not many 21-year olds do though.
3. Charlie Puth, Nine Track Mind
(Artist Partner Group / Atlantic)
Charlie Puth seemed to have a lot going for him after releasing his Some Kind of Love EP in 2015. Throw in “See You Again,” and things looked hella bright for the pop artist. Then came Nine Track Mind, an album that lacks punch. Ultimately, Nine Track Mind is too sensitive, lacking a killer instinct and more dynamic songwriting. It’s a start for Puth, but there’s potential for much more.
4. Tank, Sex Love & Pain II
For the last couple of albums now, Tank has been off. Hopes were his follow up to Sex Love & Pain would be great. Unfortunately, reality set in for the chiseled R&B singer/songwriter. Sex Love & Pain II doesn’t sound like the album that a 40-year old should be making. Rather than deliver refined, thoughtful material, Sex Love & Pain comes off as sleazy, like any semblance of refinement. Tank can and has done better than this mess.
5. Wiz Khalifa, Khalifa
The first order of business is determining what exactly Khalifa should be classified as? Is this an album or a mixtape? It is technically an album, but the rollout and promo was incredibly subtle. The next order of business is determining where the rapper’s career goes from here. Wiz Khalifa has one surefire album to his name – Rolling Papers. Since then, he’s been delivering albums that are okay, but not blockbusters. Khalifa isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. In his discography, it’s right there with the forgettable O.N.I.F.C.
6. Fantasia, The Definition Of…
This one hurts. Fantasia is a powerhouse vocalist with one of the most distinct voices in the business. The problem is, even at times on her best albums, it seems as if it’s a struggle to find the right material that suits her instrument. That’s a gargantuan problem on The Definition Of, by far the worst album of her career. It has its moments, but the attempts of producers to create something with more widespread appeal fails miserably. Fantasia sounds most like herself on “Sleeping With the One I Love.” The Definition Of… needed more of this.
7. Jake Bugg, On My One
Jake Bugg has never been able to supplant his self-titled debut album. Third album On My One is an attempt for the British singer/songwriter to expand his game. The key word is attempt. While Bugg shows versatility on On My One, he also seems to suffer from an identity crisis that confuses the listeners. The album is ripe with ideas, but those ideas don’t quite translate into excellence.
8. Tory Lanez, I Told You
Tory Lanez entered 2016 with such promise. Then came the album, I Told You. I Told You attempts to blend rap and R&B, the latest trend for numerous male artists. Throughout the course of I Told You, Lanez’ rap skills are so-so, while his singing is stronger. Furthermore, the material is forgettable at times, save for highlights such as “Say It” and of course, “Luv.” There’s still hope for Tory Lanez, and I Told You isn’t a total bust, but it is imperfect.
9. Gwen Stefani, This Is What the Truth Feels Like
First of all, This Is What the Truth Feels Like isn’t a bad album. Compared to her first two solo albums, however, it falls short. Stefani will never release anything else that supplants her work with No Doubt, nor her eccentric solo debut, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. That said, after a 10 year hiatus, most expected something a bit more intriguing than This Is What the Truth Feels Like, which comes off as too tame and somewhat boring for the electrifying musician.
10. Meghan Trainor, Thank You
Meghan Trainor is a captivating artist without question. Her debut, Title, had some terrific moments. The same can be said of her sophomore album, Thank You. Thank You has two big hits with “No” and “Me Too.” Beyond those two, there are a few more highlights. Still, Thank You feels as if it falls just short of being complete. It’s solid, but lacking.
Photo Credit: Rich Hipster, Republic, Artist Partner Group, Atlantic, RCA, Island, Interscope, Epic