Biggest musical misstep from an artist you usually adore

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm having a really tough time answering this question. I don't think any of my favorite artist's decisions have been great missteps, really. But here are my thoughts ...

Backstreet Boys, "This Is Us" album

When I first heard the "This Is Us" album, I was sorely disappointed. To me, the Backstreet Boys are the "Adult Contemporary" boy band ... the boy band that makes hearts melt through its midtempos and ballads. So when I heard the first single off of the 2009 "This Is Us" album, "Straight Through My Heart," I was a little disappointed/horrified. I hated it.

I still don't like the song, but I can hear certain Backstreet Boys-esque qualities in it. The "This Is Us" album is definitely much more dance-oriented than most of their other albums, but it's not a complete dud. I love "Undone," "If I Knew Then" ... "Bigger" and "This Is Us" are good, too.

(I just watched the "Straight Through My Heart" video for the first time before I posted this. Wow ...)

Still, I went to see the Boys when they came to town in June 2010 ... didn't get too many good photos because I was too busy taking videos. This is one of the few decent photos I have, and it's only of Nick ... go figure.

Jordan Knight

I don't feel 100% qualified to say I think he'd made a misstep because when all of his new solo album promo started happening, I'd been a fan of about a month. I personally think that the release of "Let's Go Higher" as "Unfinished"'s leading single was a mistake. It's kind of catchy, but mostly generic. I think "Stingy" or "One More Night" would've done him a few more favors.

While I'm at it, I like the music video for "Let's Go Higher" even less than I like the song. NOTHING happens, and he looks kind of awkward in a room full of people who look to be in their early 20s. Another reason he should've skipped over this song entirely!

Taylor Swift

I thought Taylor Swift showed so much potential with her debut album ... and then "Fearless" happened. I feel like "Fearless" is to Taylor Swift what "Millennium" was to the Backstreet Boys: not their greatest work, but their biggest-selling album and what they will be remembered for. Taylor slipped into this weird middle/high school fantasy of fairy tales and princesses for an album she released at 18/19 years old, and to me, it seemed like a huge regression from the material she'd written for her previous album. Thankfully, her next album "Speak Now" was more mature.

"Love Story" is an atrocity ("You Belong With Me" is pretty close behind) ... in the same vein that "I Want It That Way" is an atrocity. At least it makes sense, I guess. She had a few good songs on "Fearless" -- I thought "Hey Stephen," "White Horse," "Breathless" were all great.

- "Battle Studies" album, John Mayer
I don't exactly adore John Mayer, but I do love his music. "Battle Studies" was bland and uninspired in comparison to the stuff he'd put out previously.
- "Butterfly," Jason Mraz
I used to love Jason Mraz ... but this song just rubs me the wrong way. He's always had a way with words, like some sort of word prodigy/poet, which is why I thought he could've done this song better. It just screams "arrogant frat boy" to me.

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