Dance music may have become a permanent fixture in the charts this year, but its increasing ubiquity also meant that 2012 saw far more than its fair share of dross. Here’s a look at five of the worst albums from the genre to have been unleashed upon the unsuspecting public over the last twelve months.
Deadmau5 – Album Title Goes Here
Barely a week went by this year without Canadian producer Joel Zimmerman sticking his oar in, most of the time where it wasn’t wanted. Skrillex, David Guetta and the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna, have all had it in the neck from the mouse-headed DJ over everything from the ‘just press play’ argument to references to MDMA. It’s a shame then that he couldn’t have channelled some of his passion for creating conflict to his own material; his sixth studio effort, Album Title Goes Here, was a joyless affair that appeared to have been made by someone who hated dance music.
Calvin Harris – 18 Months
Like Deadmau5’s release, Calvin Harris’ third album was cobbled together from tracks that had already been made available to the wider public nearly two years earlier, meaning it felt slightly outdated even in its first week of release. It wouldn’t have mattered so much had the material been strong enough in the first place. But apart from “Feel So Close,” Florence + The Machine collaboration, “Sweet Nothing”, and of course, the juggernaut that is Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” 18 Months was a strangely anonymous and disappointingly generic affair that had ironed out all the quirks that had previously made Harris such an intriguing pop star.
Madonna – MDNA
The sad thing about Madonna’s 12th studio album isn’t that it’s particularly terrible, but that it’s so uncharacteristically dull. Indeed, a car crash of a record would probably have been more entertaining than the twelve limp dance-pop numbers she offered here, all of which proved that Madonna was now shamelessly following the trend rather than setting it. Indeed, it’s difficult to believe that MDNA arrived 14 years after Ray Of Light and not 14 years before it.
Pet Shop Boys – Elysium
After 2009’s Yes reminded everyone just how glorious Pet Shop Boys can be, Elysium also reminded everyone that they can also be as equally lacklustre. This album’s ten tracks may have been produced by Andrew Dawson (Kanye West, Jay-Z), but rather than beefing up their sound, he appeared to have drained the life out of it, resulting in a series of tired pastiches, twee ballads and probably the least inspiring Olympic anthem ever.
Example – The Evolution Of Man
Appearing to forget the golden rule that it never pays to moan about how hard the celebrity lifestyle can be, Example wallowed in self-pity on a fourth album that was as unlistenable as it was charmless. Wasting an impressive behind-the-scenes team (Blur’s Graham Coxon, Benga, Skream), The Evolution of Man was apparently intended with stadiums in mind, but its abrasive mix of grunge, rave, dubstep and even nu-metal was more suited to the toilet circuit.