Yesterday, R&B impresario of yesteryear D’Angelo shocked the music world by dropping “Black Messiah,” his first album in 14 years. Earlier, in September, dad rockers U2 dumped their LP “Songs of Innocence” onto countless hard drives, although this album was much less warmly received. In a lot of ways, 2014 was about sporadic comebacks.
And then there’s everyone else.
Jamie Lynn Spears also had an album this year, one that had real strategy and PR behind it, that her parents didn’t even buy. Same goes for AC/DC, who dropped “Rock or Bust” after six years of silence from the Australian rockers. And boy did it bust.
These examples seem like the lowest of the low, but there was a wide swath of irrelevant artists that tried to use 2014 as their re-launch pad only to fizzle out before ignition. Here, we look at 14 releases that missed every conceivable radar in 2014.
|The Madden Brothers – “Greetings from California”|
What you might know them from: Being the faux goth punx behind Good Charlotte. Being successful despite the fact that absolutely no one likes them.
Previous release: “Before – Volume 1,” a 2011 mixtape released on the twins’ record label, LosMaddens.
Irrelevancy X-factor: During the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC cut away from their float 10 seconds into their performance.
|Susan Boyle – “Hope”|
What you might know her from: Being the female Josh Groban who melted hearts on “Britain’s Got Talent” for being ugly but still having redeemable qualities.
Previous release: 2013’s “Home for Christmas”
Irrelevancy X-factor: Includes a cover of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” a song that has been sapped of all earnestness and reduced to feckless Vine meme in the last few months.
|Sevendust – “Time Travelers & Bonfires”|
What you might know them from: Late ’90s buttrock revolution. The one beautiful moment from Woodstock ’99.
Previous release: 2013’s “Black Out the Sun”
Irrelevancy X-factor: This acoustic album seeks to recapture the magic (magic?) of their 2014 acoustic live LP “Southside Double-Wide.”
|Angels & Airwaves – “The Dream Walker”|
What you might know them from: Being the Blink-182 side project that isn’t Box Car Racer.
Previous release: 2011’s “Love: Part Two,” which also coincided with the release of a feature film.
Irrelevancy X-factor: The lead single for this album was released via PureVolume. Pure. Volume.
|Nick Carter and Jordan Knight – “Nick & Knight”|
What you might know them from: Carter was the heartthrob in boy band revivalists Backstreet Boys. Jordan Knight is somehow even less relevant as the non-Wahlberg from New Kids on the Block.
Previous release: 2011’s “I’m Taking Off” (Carter) and “Unfinished” (Knight)
Irrelevancy X-factor: After the failure of novelty extravaganza NKOTBSB in 2012, these two thought they could rekindle the flame going solo together.
|Trapt – “The Acoustic Collection”|
What you might know them from: 2012 megahit “Headstrong.” Innumerable MMA commercials. Not being very good at spelling.
Previous release: 2013’s “Reborn”
Irrelevancy X-factor: Named to The AV Club’s Least Essential Albums of 2014.
|Yanni – “Inspirato”|
What you might know him from: Perennial punchline. Dude you sometimes confuse for Kenny G.
Previous release: 2012’s “My Passion for Mexico” (!!!)
Irrelevancy X-factor: It’s not fun picking on Yanni, who has never been the most commercial artist in the biz. You just hear the guy’s name and know you couldn’t make it a full listen through the album.
|O.A.R. – “The Rockville LP”|
What you might know them from: Frisbee seshes on the Esplanade. Your RA’s t-shirt.
Previous release: 2012’s “Live on Red Rocks”
Irrelevancy X-factor: Even Dispatch didn’t know this album was released.
|Switchfoot – “Fading West”|
What you might know them from: Being meant to live for so much more.
Previous release: 2011’s “Vice Versus”
Irrelevancy X-factor: In support of this album, Switchfoot played a high school in Vero Beach, Fla.
|The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – “4”|
What you might know them from: 2006’s “Face Down,” a hit song notable for bringing awareness to domestic abuse while simultaneously being totally unlistenable.
Previous release: 2011’s “I Am the Enemy”
Irrelevancy X-factor: The final track of this album is titled “JIMRS (Jesus Is My Rock Star).”
|Monster Magnet – “Milking the Stars”|
What you might know them from: 1998 stoner rock jam “Space Lord.” Also, the leather-dicked producers of “Sons of Anarchy” tend to shove Monster Magnet’s burnout shitjams into their show often (same goes for “Viva La Bam”).
Previous release: 2013’s “Last Patrol”
Irrelevancy X-factor: “Milking the Stars” is a re-imagining of “Last Patrol,” Monster Magnet’s own utterly irrelevant release from the year before.
|Taking Back Sunday – “Happiness Is”|
What you might know them from: Their “I hate my best friend” emo hit “Cute without the E.” Every mix CD you gave to your crush in seventh grade.
Previous release: 2011’s reunion flopper “Taking Back Sunday”
Irrelevancy X-factor: Apropos of everything, TBS released this album on Hopeless Records.
|Blondie – “Ghosts of Download”|
What you might know her from: Ubiquitous ’80s punk icon with telephone-centric hits such as “Call Me” and “Hanging on the Telephone.” Woman your dad has been bonering about for 35 years.
Previous release: 2011’s “Panic of Girls”
Irrelevancy X-factor: Paired with a greatest hits album re-recorded for the release, as if anyone really cared what “Heart of Glass” sounds like three decades into Debbie Harry’s twilight.
|Ashanti – “Braveheart”|
What you might know her from: Her breakout single “Foolish.” Being the enchanting hitmaker on Fat Joe’s “What’s Luv?” Once outselling both Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill in the same week.
Previous release: 2008’s “The Declaration”
Irrelevancy X-factor: The first single for this album was released two and a half years ago.