Sometimes, our favorite artists let us down. That’s the nature of the artist-fan relationship—still, a disappointing album stings. Whether we got our expectations too high, or the artists hyped themselves up beyond measure and couldn’t deliver, there’s nothing more cutting than sighing after an album ends and realizing things have gone awry.
Below, you’ll find the eight albums that let down our staff members the most in 2019. Enjoy, or don’t.
Case Study 01 — Daniel Caesar
I hate to say it, Daniel Caesar. I don’t know what I was expecting with your new album, but whereas Freudian had me living on a higher level, Case Study 01 barely registered. The album didn’t move me or make me want to fall in love or meditate on the beach, so maybe my expectations were too high. Daniel has an effortlessly beautiful voice, so perhaps I’ll give his next album a try or even consider giving Case Study 01 a second chance. But for now? Nah. — Ronnia Cherry
When I Get Home — Solange
I might get dragged for this, but I’m going to say it anyway: Solange’s When I Get Home was my biggest disappointment. Let me explain. I recognize Solange’s invaluable ability to move us through time with sound. A Seat at the Table was nostalgic but beautifully present at the same time. The skits took us back to her past while the songs kept us seated in our present. That album encouraged us to experience the fullness of our Blackness and all the emotions that come with it. When I heard When I Get Home, I knew what Solange was doing. She was taking us to the future. I was disappointed because I wasn’t ready for the future, not when the present is still so overwhelming and relevant. I won’t deny the brilliance of When I Get Home, but I won’t lie and say I wasn’t looking for A Seat At The Table part 2. — Simi Muhumuza
Jesus Is King — Kanye West
To say I was “disappointed” by Jesus Is King implies I had some expectations it might be good. I didn’t. Nothing about Kanye’s public persona over the past three years suggested he’d be willing or able to mine artistic inspiration from a place of honest spiritual inventory. The album sounds like Kanye took a Watchtower magazine into the studio and said, “Let’s make this slap.” Regardless, even if Kanye never releases a great album ever again, I’ll still listen to all of them and feel a pang of sadness whenever I recall the greatness he was once capable of. — Hershal Pandya
KIRK — DaBaby
I really wanted to like KIRK. DaBaby might be the most exciting star to break in 2019, and I went into his second full-length album of 2019 expecting it to soundtrack the rest of the year. On first listen, I enjoyed it so much I ran it back two more times. But by the end of the weekend, I was already sick of what I thought were my new favorite songs. Now, whenever I’m in the mood for his overwhelming barrage of flow, I play KIRK on loop for hours without fatigue. I’m rarely in that mood. — Kenan Draughorne
Escape From New York — Beast Coast
Posse albums are notoriously hard to pull off, but the mediocrity here still stings. The collective of New York rappers that encompass Beast Coast shows a surprising lack of chemistry across the album’s 13 tracks. The absence of more complementary styles wastes a few fantastic Erick the Architect and Kirk Knight beats. A few songs stand out—lead single “Left Hand” evidenced the group’s massive potential before the inevitable inconsistency of the full project—but with too many cooks in the kitchen, the whole cannot eclipse the sum of its immensely talented parts. — Zachary Miller
The Big Day — Chance The Rapper
The Big Day isn’t just disappointing for me because I expected a return to the more nuanced, inventive Chance The Rapper of the Acid Rap days. It’s my biggest disappointment because of how little it feels like Chance is even trying. The Big Day is not only bloated but oversaturated with material unrelated to Chance’s story. For every moment of bliss, like on one of the year’s standout tracks, “We Go High,” there are five moments of contrived pop-rap Bible-thumping it into oblivion. — Matt Wilhite
I went into The Big Day hoping for a lot of one thing and getting a lot of another. I should start by saying, it’s great to hear Chance so happy and fulfilled. I can never shit on someone finding their wholeness. If only it sounded more pleasing to the ear. I wasn’t looking for Acid Rap, but I was looking for well-thought-out music. The album feels scattered and too big for its good. The Big Day is messy in every sense of the word. It reminds me of the unnatural high of an unseasonably fantastic time, true, but it also reminds me of the inevitable crash. This one makes me want to brush my teeth, and this is coming from someone who loves sugar. — Donna-Claire Chesman
K.R.I.T. Iz Here — Big K.R.I.T.
Big K.R.I.T. took a huge risk with his latest album, K.R.I.T. Iz Here. Notorious for handling the lion’s share of production across all of his projects, K.R.I.T. let his friends handle the production this time around. I appreciate how happy the Mississippi native sounds throughout the album, but his rhymes sound stuck in a holding pattern en route to the next big idea. It would be unfair to expect a project as grand and ambitious as 2017’s 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time so soon, but K.R.I.T. Iz Here didn’t hit the sweet spot. Every artist has the right to experiment, but even our most passionate ideas require a little fine-tuning. — Dylan "CineMasai" Green
Father of 4 — Offset
Father of 4, the debut album by Migos’ member Offset, is the strongest effort from the trilogy of solo albums released by the North Atlanta rap group throughout 2018 and 2019. A song like the Metro Boomin-produced “Red Room” exemplifies Offset’s self-reflective songwriting that highlights how he can stand alone without the inclusion of Quavo and Takeoff. However, outside of a few standouts, Father of 4 doesn’t deliver a listening experience worth revisiting. The Migos’ solo album trilogy proves that none of the rappers are mesmeric, inventive, or fun as singular pieces. Before they make another solo project, I want the Migos to ask themselves: Why be an arm, when you can be Voltron? — Yoh