Time for Your Annual Stapp’s Smear

I received an email recently, asking when the Toaster would be getting back to what we do best here, music criticism. Still not sure if it was a compliment or a shot, but I did have a couple of things to discuss.

Last week, while watching the new video show on VH-1, Fresh, I witnessed something disturbing. Former lead singer of Creed, Scott Stapp, has a new release out. Now, if you were like me and thought that Creed was the musical equivalent of a queef, well, Stapp solo is even more queeful. Just when I thought the guy couldn’t get more pretentious, I was in my car and listening to the local sports radio station, when it was announced before the final NASCAR race of 2005 that Stapp would be singing our National Anthem. If you thought the guy was bad doing his typical Eddie Vedder kareoke impression, his version of the Star Spangled Banner was bombastically beyond . I would rather listen to even Roseanne and Carl Lewis do a duet of the Anthem over Stapp. Hopefully his career will be ending soon, so he can get back to what he does best, being the perfect comic foil for David Cross on Bravo’s Celebrity Poker show.

While on the subject of an American Idiot, Green Day’s 2004 release just continues to grow on me, as even though I rated it the best of 2004, I would now list it as one of the best 100 albums of all-time. In a world of downloads where most new releases are lucky to be filled with quality on half of the disc, “American Idiot” is sensational from beginning to end. Also, I watched their live DVD “Bullet in a Bible” and it just demonstrates how great of a live band they are. “American Idiot” occupies the throne of best release of this decade, so it’s up to someone over the second half of the decade to knock it off the perch.

Will and I will be putting together our Best of 2005 list, so I thought I would elicit some suggestions from our readers. Last year, after I put up my list, I checked out the acts readers suggested in the comments section. After listening, a couple of these suggestions would have made me revise my list. So to avoid an incomplete list in 2005, I’m asking you to put in the comments section your favorite record of this year and also the one that you would recommend that might have went under the radar. Thanks.

25 thoughts on “Time for Your Annual Stapp’s Smear

  1. 2.  Wayne Messmer should be the only person allowed to sing the Star Spangled Banner in public. This should be the law.

  2. 3.  my music faves for this year – and, yes, green day’s album is really good. i thought they wouldn’t have a shelf life past ’99 or so, and then they reinvigorated themselves…

    my albums:
    franz ferdinand – (The 2nd one)
    nightmare of you
    go! team
    bravery
    maximo park
    kaiser chiefs
    alkaline trio

    half a real good album: bloc party, editors, garbage, departure, hard-fi

    songs not above:
    rifles – peace and quiet..(think the jam without the politics)
    party ben remix of mylo vs tegan & sara, walking with a ghost in paris

    and bon jovi and rolling stones’ albums are remarkably solid.

    there’s a few i’m missing, because i’m going off the top of my head, but that’s a good start.

  3. 4.  I’m having a hard time coming up with my favorites, but I can think of one album that flopped big time: Mos Def’s “The New Danger”. Sloppy and out-of-practice, not shockingly. It was so bad that I titled a review I wrote of it “Sucks on Both Sides”.

  4. 5.  Spoon – Gimme Fiction. I haven’t heard a lot of people talk about it, but it’s very good.

    Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Okay, everyone likes this record, but only because it’s so good.

    Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary. This is the Arcade Fire of the year.

    Sigur Ros – Takk. Am I the only person who is in love with this record? Not only is this the best thing I’ve heard this year, it is probably in my top 20 of all time. It’s phenomenal.

    Others to consider:
    The Lucksmiths
    …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
    Harvey Danger
    Nada Surf

  5. 6.  I do think that bands and artists are now releasing albums that are of less quality from beginning to end. Is this due to downloading? Not sure, but it’s almost like a return to the 2 killers + all filler albums of the past.

    Case in point, the song “Forver Lost” by the Magic Numbers is heavenly, but the album is pretty much piffle.

    That being said, and the fact I’m getting old and out of touch – I did like Ryan Adams’ releases (both of them) this year, especially the latter “Jacksonville City Nights”.

    Sleater / Kinney’s “The Woods” was on my playlists for quite a while!

    The Old 97’s live disc was fun!

    “Twin Cinema” by the New Pornographers grew on me. Neko Case really shines on it.

    Ben Folds “Song For Silverman” was pretty good as well.

    Son Volts “Okemah and the Melody of Riot” had its moments, as did the reconstituted Big Star.

  6. 7.  I have to say Green Day was quite possibly the worst band that I have ever seen live. My old manager worked for Warner Bros. and gave me tickets to see them w/ The Living End a few years ago. The Living End put on a pretty good show especially as an opening act, but Green Day was just horrific. They spent a good 20 minutes throughout the show cussing at kids in the front row who had to be 14 at the oldest and spent another good 10 going off on stupid things ike “jocks”. We wound up leaving before the show even ended. When you’re disappointed w/ a free show, there’s something wrong.

  7. 8.  My favorites of 2005 (not necessarily in this order):

    Jack Johnson – “In Between Dreams”
    Coldplay – “X & Y”
    The Boy Least Likely To – “The Best Party Ever”
    Kaiser Chiefs – “Employment”

    I know a lot of people were really disappointed in Jack Johnson’s latest album, but I love it. It’s the perfect album for those lazy Sundays when I’m just laying in bed with my girlfriend. Love the mood of the whole thing.

    I was surprised I liked Coldplay’s album as much as I did, being as how I always thought they were good-but-not great. Kaiser Chiefs are my favorite new artist; there’s a bit of the Jam in them.

    The Boy Least Likely To was just some random recommendation that I ended up playing obsessively for a long time. If you’re like me and are a massive Calvin & Hobbes fan, then “My Tiger, My Heart” is unintentionally the most heartbreaking song you’ll ever hear.

    I haven’t listened to Wolf Parade, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Maximo Park, The Hold Steady, and a few others listed already to form a full opinion. I generally like what I’ve heard, but can’t rank them yet.

    Also, anyone have an opinion on Edan’s “Beauty and the Beat”? Supposed to be excellent, but the only song I’ve heard is “Fumbling Over Words That Rhyme” (which I liked a lot).

    And somewhat off-topic, but I just want to point out that I’m still mad at the guy who recommended Antony & the Johnsons to me. I loathed that album.

  8. 9.  Todd S.- If you liked Creed’s 1st CD My Own Prison, you should try Scott’s new album The Great Divide. The first 5 songs remind me of Scott’s/Creed’s earlier songs.

    As for Scott’s “pretentious” performance of the National Anthem at NASCAR, NASCAR hired him to be their spokesperson and asked him to sing the anthem. That song is hard to sing and he sang it Rock N Roll style. It was an improvement on the song!

  9. 11.  Nobody liked the new Foo Fighters double album? Or Oasis’s “Don’t Believe the Truth”, which is probably as close to the Beatles as anybody (yes, McCartney included) can get these days?

  10. 12.  10 Oh lord () is awful.

    Didnt know there were people with such ecclectic tastes on the toaster..

    My fav’s of the year in no particular order:
    Deerhoof – The Runners Four
    Animal Collective – Feels
    Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
    Broadcast – Tender Buttons
    Vitalic – OK Cowboy
    New Order – Waiting for the Sirens Call
    The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday

    Not much hip hop or pop that I got excited about.. perhaps Im just forgetting.

  11. 13.  CYSY is a very solid album, thing they’re a tad overhyped with the way they’ve exploded but a very solid debut nonetheless. Saw them live with Ambulance ltd and they both put on an amazing show though

    Animal Collective’s new disc is also very good. The Wolf Parade cd is also pretty good. I don’t think any of these qualify as album of the year types, but I’ve liked the new stuff by Elbow and Stars. As a huge fan of Slapstick back in the day (and my teenage years) I dig anything by the Alkaline Trio.

    Think the new Coldplay album is very mediocre. Most of the tracks sound like the b sides from their first two releases. Another huge dud was Weezer’s new disc. What happened to you Rivers? Oh how I long for the days of Pinkerton.

  12. 15.  kylepetterson,

    I had a similar experience the first time I saw Green Day on their Dookie tour. They were actively hostile towards the crowd and not very good performers. However, I saw them later as the “undercard” to Blink 182, and it was a completely different experience. Green Day was excellent (much better than the headliner) and they did something that was one of the coolest things I’ve seen live: they took 3 people out of the audience to play one of their songs for about 5 minutes. It worked out well and was a lot of fun. I left the 2nd show with the feeling that the band had really matured-both as artists and people.

  13. 16.  This is addressed to the “person” blasting Scott Stapp at the above letter…YOU SUCK…Scott Stapp is STILL the great singer he always was…so what if he had a few bumps in the road…who doesn’t…I am sure you are not perfect…Scott Stapp will continue his career in music for a long time to come…his fans are loyal…loyal is probably a word you do not understand…CONGRATS Scott for an excellent new album…at least Scott Stapp can admit his mistakes and move on from them…you are so much of a sissy that you can even sign your name to your letter…Traci, Illinois

  14. 17.  I must retract a part of my earlier statement…Scott Long, you did have enough nerve to sign your name to your letter…well that was the only thing that you did right !!!

  15. 24.  i hate scott stapp’s voice.

    i heard about creed early on, when i was involved in music. i asked someone at the label (wind-up – which had just changed label names from its previous name) what they sounded like, and why i had heard of but not been told about this group. i was told that since i had been bitching about the inferior pearl jam knockoff groups, they figured i wouldn’t like it.

    they were dead right, and i thanked / commended them later…

  16. 25.  I am so tired of the Scott Stapp bashing. He is very talented not only in vocals, but songwriting as well. Most of the bashing comes from men…hmmm…me thinks me smells a little jealousy!!!

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