Not everything was good in the media landscape during the last decade, so to balance out my previous top 10 lists I have to talk about the bad stuff. These are six games, movies, shows, or albums that greatly disappointed me. Disappointment involves having a previous liking, fondness, or hope in something, so I don’t necessarily hate the following but rather was severely let down by them.

6. Pokémon Sword/Shield

Pokémon Sword and Shield are fun games, I’ve already clocked more than 30 hours in my file. Despite this, they are very disappointing to me. These were the first mainline Pokémon games on a home console (Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee don’t count) and developer Game Freak’s laziness is apparent everywhere.

The most obvious example is the cutting of more than half of the Pokédex, “Gotta catch ’em all” no more. The 3D models are evidently recycled from previous games, but they couldn’t bother to port all the previous ones over. Graphics look like upscaled 3DS visuals and feature horrendous pop-up that’s inexcusable in 2019. The world design is exteremely linear and boring, except for the Wild Area (that’s a cool idea). Max Raids are not fun, but rather frustrating and uninsipired. And the list goes on.

Still, these games sold like crazy and they do have some good stuff in it. The new Pokémon designs are still pretty creative and inspired and the music is amazing. Pokémon, I love you, but you can do A LOT better.

5. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

crimes grindelwald

I consider myself a moderate Harry Potter fan. I read all the books, even the fanfic-y script for Cursed Child (which I cannot judge as harshly without seeing the play) and watched all the movies. I respect and admire J.K. Rowling for her creativity and imagination that created a worldwide beloved franchise. I thought the first Fantastic Beasts movie was OK, I did enjoy it and hence thought that things could only improve in the sequel, right? Wrong!

The worst sin of The Crimes of Grindelwald is just how BORING it is. The plot is convoluted and suffers from too much characters doing nothing interesting. There are some very stupid story decisions, like the lame romantic misunderstanding between Newt and Tina, the shying away from Dumbledore’s sexuality, random, unnecessary baby murder (twice!), a surprise Dumbledore sibling (this might change in the following movies), Nagini is a human and serves nothing to the plot, and some more I’m probably forgetting.

J.K. writes good stories, but not good scripts. WB shouldn’t let her write the following movies, or at least bring in some help.

4. The Handmaid’s Tale (TV Show)

handmaids_tale

The Handmaid’s Tale started out as a faithful adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel, the first season covering the original book. It was shocking, gripping, tense, frightening, and very socially relevant. Without more source material to adapt, however, the show turned into a repetitive, glacially paced torture porn borefest.

When you set up the rules for a fictional world, disregarding or ignoring them constantly breaks the suspension of disbelief and makes the story fall apart. June should’ve been killed a thousand times by season three, but her plot armor is so thick that there is no suspense anymore. The fakeouts of her escaping Gilead are so tiresome now that I don’t care anymore. Those lingering close-up shots with a monologue from Elizabeth Moss were interesting the first times, but after seeing them for the hundreth time you feel exhausted.

Meh. At least Atwood released The Testaments and gave a (arguably) satisfying conclusion to Gilead.

3. Utopia by Björk

utopia_cover

I’m all for experimentation in music, but Björk is just fucking with us now. Utopia is avant-garde pop that is not pleasurable to listen to. There are almost no hooks or interesting melodies to latch on to, the Arca beats are cringe-worthy to put it mildly, and songs are just too long without creating an interesting progression to justify it, they just fall flat.

To give her credit, she creates some pretty unique fairy-tale-esque atmospheres that are enjoyable, but would probably serve better as background music for a movie or videogame. By trimming the excess fat, getting rid of those awful glitch drums, and adding some more interesting melodies, this album would actually be very nice. Those nice flutes and inventive music videos are wasted here.

2. Silent Hill

silent_hill_revelations

Silent Hill was once a very respectable survival horror franchise (I love 2 and 3 to death). Although it never reached Resident Evil popularity, it steadily gained its good reputation with its unique setting, monsters and psychological horror. The last decade, however, saw this reputation being dragged through the mud by stupid choices made by Konami.

The games after the fourth were not developed in Japan anymore and thus lost their unique Japanese horror sensibility. The two Hollywood movies were a mess, the second one in particular is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in a theater. The Silent HD collection was a horrible glitch-ridden mess that performed worse despite being in newer generation hardware.

And when things started to look promising again with a new game developed by Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro and (almost) Junji Ito, Konami shut it down. How the hell do you fuck this up? Ugh. RIP Silent Hill.

1. Game of Thrones

Daenerys-Game-of-Thrones-Season-8-Episode-4

By now everyone knows Game of Thrones’ ending sucked. but this was a special kind of sucking because it retroactively made the series impossible to rewatch now, knowing it’s all for nothing. All the fascinating, complex characters and mysteries built during the previous years came crashing down violently. Nothing mattered in the end, the plot became nonsensical, characters turned into complete idiots, others were killed just to get rid of the clutter, and some others were kept alive because of fanservice.

The number one show in the last decade, the global phenomenon, the ratings (and piracy) king was killed in front of our eyes and we sat and watched and died inside. This show will go down in television history as a perfect example of how to turn gold into a turd. At least we have the books for a satisfying conclusion… Just kidding, George R.R. Martin will never finish them ☹️.

Music enjoyment is quite subjective, a lot more than any other types of art in my opinion. Sometimes you just can’t describe, or don’t have the vocabulary to describe why you like something, you just FEEL it. So I’ll try my best to explain or comment on why these are my favorite albums of the past decade. I know some of this stuff is not too mainstream, so I’ve included the Spotify (and Soundcloud in one case) links to listen. Hopefully now I can answer the question of what kind of music I listen to, because I never know what to say.

10. Metric – Synthetica

synthetica

Metric’s fifth studio album is pretty well rounded collection of energetic, catchy, rock-pop songs. As the name implies, the lyrics and music revolve around the concept of the real vs. the artificial/synthetic. The very first opening line: “I’m just as fucked up as they say”, just oozes cool.

Favorite Tracks:

  • Artificial Nocturne
  • Breathing Underwater
  • The Wanderlust
  • Nothing But Time

9. Gotye – Making Mirrors

making_mirrors

I already knew about Gotye from his previous album Like Drawing Blood and when Making Mirrors broke out to the mainstream with Someone That I Used to Know song and its video I was quite surprised. This relatively unknown musician suddenly had a massive hit and was EVERYWHERE. Something about that song just clicked with the general public I guess, but then it went away. The album is actually quite good and a bit more subdued than expected. The video for State Of The Art is fun and creepy too.

Favorite Tracks:

  • Easy Way Out
  • Eyes Wide Open
  • State Of The Art
  • Bronte

8. NOMAN – Roaring Children

roaring_children

NOMAN is the name of Belgian Kaat Arnaert’s solo project. This first album is full of angst, sadness, sorrow, frustration, gloominess… you get the point. So if you’re into that kind of dramatic, downtempo and slightly experimental music, this is a very recommended listen.

Favorite Tracks:

  • Baby Come Home
  • Fish
  • Honey
  • Wait

7. Goldfrapp – Tales of Us

tales_of_us

Tales Of Us finds Golfrapp at its most dreamy and cinematic. Every song (sans one) are called by a person’s name, reavealing short stories about these people. Alison’s voice is breathy and heavy with melancholia, as if she were revealing her secrets to your ear. It’s a quite sophisticated and rich listening experience. 

Favorite Tracks:

  • Annabel
  • Drew
  • Thea
  • Stranger

6. Geike – Lost in Time

lost_in_time

On her second solo album, Geike Arnaert, former Hooverphonic vocalist, let go of her former band’s sound, instead opting for a more bare, clean sound that lets her voice carry the songs. Her singing is rather restrained and modest here, without feeling the need to show off . You can tell this songs are meaningful to her, and that makes for a beautiful listen. There’s also an very cool b-side that wasn’t included in the record for some reason.

Favorite Tracks:

  • Sea of Fools
  • Question
  • Sirens Call
  • Orion

5. Garbage – Strange Little Birds

strange_little_birds

For their sixth studio album, Garbage went a little bit darker than usual, and that is definitely a good thing. The opening Sometimes sets the mood very clearly. It seems like reflecting on the current state of the world has given Shirley new lyrical ideas to play with. The general sound is unmistakeably Garbage rock-pop, so no big surprises. The slow songs kill it as usual and Amends is a fantastic closer which builds and builds until the very satisfying release.

Favorite Tracks:

  • If I Lost You
  • We Never Tell
  • Teaching Little Fingers To Play
  • Amends

4. Hooverphonic – Reflection

reflection

Ditching their trademark strings and studio sound, Hooverphonic created an album recorded outside a regular studio, instead prefering to perform inside other people’s houses. This pecularity gives the album a very warm, organic, and a bit imperfect sound. The songs are all accesible, short. and sweet, resulting in a constantly pleasent pop experience, which is sometimes all you want.

Favorite Tracks:

  • Amalfi
  • Boomerang
  • Wait For a While
  • Copper (CU)

3. Tommigun – Pretenders

pretenders

Belgian indie rock band Tommigun are relatively unknown (this album is not in Spotify for whatever reason) and it’s a real shame. I find their sound very appealing, especially the mix of male and female vocals. There is something so unpretentious about their sound that I can’t help but like a lot.

Favorite Tracks:

  • Ride With Me
  • Moonshine Moon
  • Sun On My Face
  • Pretenders

2. Kashmir – E.A.R.

e_a_r

The first time I listened to Kashmir I thought they sounded like Radiohead wannabes, but as their sound matured they’ve established their own experimental identity. I would describe E.A.R. as an introvert album, sometimes gloomy and subdued, but also revealing a hidden beauty from time to time. There are some really beautiful melodies here and the lyrics are poetry to my ears.

Favorite Tracks:

  • Piece Of The Sun
  • Peace In The Heart
  • Milk For The Black Hearted
  • Seraphina

1. The Gathering – Disclosure

disclosure

The evolution of Dutch band The Gathering from doom/gothic metal to trip-rock (self described term) is fascinating to me, and Disclosure is the logical and perfect culmination of their many years of career. It ticks all my boxes: beautiful female vocals, melancholic melodies and lyrics, rich, layered atmospheres and a blend of pop sensibilities with a more experimental prog-rock. In an era of consuming media as quickly as possible, these songs take their time to breathe (some are very long) to create an immersive and rewarding experience. I Can See Four Miles blew my mind the first time I listened to it and still does today. I will always love this album.

Favorite Tracks:

  • Meltdown
  • Heroes for Ghosts
  • Gemini I
  • I Can See Four Miles

I’m doing an online course on video game music and this is the first assignment, writing a theme for a town.

The town I had in mind is a peaceful one, but it has recently been through tragedy and it’s still recovering from it. It could be a second or third town in a JRPG.

A few years back I worked with a small coffee company. They wanted me to make a short animation for their website, and since I didn’t want to use stock music (and I had enough time), I produced this track.

It’s simple enough but I think it works for the feeling I was going for.

I hope someday to get to record my personal music with real instruments; but for now, my laptop is my studio.