Tag Archives: Alternative rock

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Come Clean’ (2001) by Puddle Of Mudd

2 Apr

By Slick Nick

If there’s one thing this bandd will go ddown in history for, it’s teaching the masses (or maybe just their impressive 9815 Twitter followers) that ddoubling the letter D in things ddoesn’t make them any better, for example Puddle Of Mudd’s name and song-writing ability.

These chaps were part of the ‘nu grunge’ phenomenon that polluted rock charts during the late 90s and noughties – a genre that when dissected really means ‘to want to be like Nirvana whilst actually presenting music that is a million times shitter.’ Thus, Puddle Of Mudd brought these 13 or so crap songs to the table in 2001 and in doing so, effortlessly crafted one of the worst albums ever made.

Merely six seconds into opening single ‘Control’ and one thing becomes tragically clear; listening to this album will be as interesting as watching paint dry at a bus stop. Anyone that has been listening to rock for even a couple of years will likely have heard all these riffs in far better songs by other bands.

‘She Hates Me’ is another mindfuckingly awful single, sounding like a rejected song from Grease and quite unwelcome in an album that is fundamentally slow, grungy butt rock. Given how  different and obviously commercial it sounds compared to the other songs on the record, it just screams of gimick-single-to-get-band-on-the-radio, so much so that it makes Offspring’s noughties work look like fucking Despised Icon by comparison. Appalling.

Perhaps, given the overall listening experience, the most accurately-titled song on here is ‘Bring Me Down’. Its only point of note is the attempt at a tempo change that underpins a middle eight, but executed by musicians as talentless as Puddle Of Mudd, the piece is just clumsy and awkward, like admitting you watch Loose Women without irony to a small group of friends.

The final single ‘Blurry’ is passable I’ll admit, with some enjoyable moments. Apparently about the end of frontman Wes Scantlin’s marriage and not getting to see his kid, it’s the heartfelt tale of a woman not wanting her only child to be associated with a sub-par Kurt Cobain wannabe, and no one would blame her. Poor lyrics do undermine this tolerable pop song though.

Scantlin: 'I've written this many crap songs today.'

Considering how shit this music is, and how underwhelming the lead singles are, I did start to wonder what on earth any respective A&R professional would deem worthy enough in this band to invest valuable time and money in getting them on the music channels and into the music collections of people that like extremely crap songs. Delving into the Mudd biography it all became crystal clear – this lot were signed to Fred Durst‘s label for their big break. No further explanation is necessary after uncovering that nugget of music trivia, considering Durst is a man seemingly hellbent on bestowing the world with as much bad rock music as humanly possible.

Puddle Of Mudd have managed to sell a mind-boggling number of records, stretching into the millions. I’d love to meet a genuine fan of the group to ascertain what made this music good enough to purchase. Is it the boring guitarring? The excitement of the slow, ploddy music relentlessly executed in that barely explored 4/4 time signature?  The memorable lack of melody? The mediocrity of Scantlin’s entirely derivative vocal delivery? Perhaps I will never know. But one thing I do know for certain is that if an individual even has a single Nirvana MP3 in their music collection, it pretty much makes this group’s complete discography entirely fucking pointless.

‘She [metaphorically representing people that enjoy good music] fuckin’ hates me.’

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The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘The Black Parade’ (2006) by My Chemical Romance

19 Mar

By Slick Nick

If I want to listen to retro rock, I may delve into my immense iTunes library and put on a bit of Journey or Cheap Trick. If I want to hear a bit of generic pop-punk then Blink182, Midtown or Lit usually does the job. If I want to listen to some piano-driven pop that uses minor sevenths, some Paul McCartney hits the spot. Then, if I fancy hearing some terrible singing, I’ve been known to enter ‘X Factor shit auditions’ into YouTube’s search bar. Luckily, if I ever want to hear all that at once, I can turn to this 2006 release by My Chemical Romance, one of the worst ‘alternative’ bands to make it big in the noughties.

After starting their career as a pretty bog-standard pop-punk group with a slightly different sound to all the billions of Greenday/NFG clones, something triggered MCR to become ‘artists’ rather than ‘dudes prolonging the inevitable despair-ridden office-driven existence by being in a band’. They started pulling in a plethora of musical influences largely favoured amongst the Dad community, whilst still underpinning their music with the generic, twenty year old riffs that all their peers had been using all along.

The Black Parade‘ is supposedly a concept album about someone passing away due to cancer, which is enough to put me off even playing it in the first place to be honest. I’m pretty sure in modern times, naming something as a ‘concept album’ is simply a way to protect bad music from harsh critics, who wouldn’t understand what these artists set out to achieve.

Musically, it’s not too far off from the likes of Cheap Trick and Kiss, if the former forgot how to write good songs and the latter wrote even worse songs. There’s also some masturbation over the likes of Lennon and Bowie, which is to be expected, and at least the songs do have one consistent quality running through them in that they are all for the most part total dogshit, particularly the lead singles.

The music is generally staggeringly mediocre at best. It’s not that catchy, it’s not that heavy, it’s not that fast. It’s just there to bolster camp, shrieking monstrosity Gerard Way’s irritating-as-fuck vocals, whilst ripping off Queen‘s harmonic guitar sound. Chord changes can be predicted a mile away, which leaves the album as tedious as wading through a thread about Blade Runner on an internet forum, which is in itself only slightly more tedious than watching the actual film I might add.

Hit single ‘Welcome To The Black Parade‘ was notable only for the music video, which looked to have cost the GDP of Paraguay to make and saw the group dress up as the evil sports jocks from the first Karate Kid movie, an idea that will surely be regretted by everyone involved for the rest of their lives. It’s an interesting song which opens with a minute or so of this album’s few bars of tolerable music, before delving into the group’s roots with an interlude of shitty pop punk before building to an irritatingly over the top chorus seemingly hellbent on ripping off their own breakthrough hit ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise)’.

MCR rough up a fan for not paying for autograph backstage at the London Astoria in 2006

Other single ‘Teenagers’ is far worse; the kind of garbage you’d expect to be playing at the end of an Adam Sandler movie.

Aside from the music, one of the worst things about MCR is watching their press interviews. The band take themselves very seriously considering their childish, stage-school schtick, and hearing them dissect their own body of work and influences you’d think they’d just released the next fucking Sgt. Pepper or Nevermind. This behaviour, from a group that featured Lisa Minnelli on one of their songs, is fucking laughable.

 

We’ll caaaaaaarrrryyyyyy oooonnnn, we’ll wriiiiiiiiiiiiite shit sooooo-oooooongssssss.

 

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Hooray For Boobies’ (2000) by The Bloodhound Gang

29 Jan

By Slick Nick

Setting out with good intentions but then making a shit album is bad enough, but hey, we’re all human and not everyone can be as gifted as John Lennon or Rod Stewart when it comes to crafting unforgetable music. But when a band knowingly records an album of rubbish, then uses the resources and talents of top music industry figures to put it on compact disc for all eternity, that is slightly less forgivable.

Incase the album title doesn’t give it away, rest assured that Bloodhound Gang were not a group that took themselves overly seriously. This was an album full of jokes that would only appeal to the most loathsome of pubescents at best, and at worst, your Dad.

Like a lot of the worst albums ever made, ‘Hooray For Boobies’ encompasses an eclectic range of musical genres. Pop-punk at heart but with cod metal tendencies, the Gang were shrewd enough to ensure they remained current at the time by sprinkling the odd rap break and dance beat across their work. Case in point: hit single ‘The Bad Touch’, which sticks out like a lump of dogshit hanging from someone’s shoe, as well as being reminiscent of the theme tune to the long-forgotten Clothes Show.

One of my pet hates with albums in general is the use of non-musical filler, for example sound samples at the beginning of songs, spoken word clips taken from TV shows and movies, lengthy feedback (with a couple of exceptions) and entire songs used solely for non-musical ‘comedic’ purposes. Five of ‘Hooray For Boobies’ eighteen tracks fit into the latter category, plus there are various spoken word clips littered throughout. So apart from the music being terrible, the whole ordeal of listening to this reord is made all the more painful and drawn out by these techniques.

The production here is a joke, sounding like the instruments were recorded in someone’s garden shed with equipment from Argos. I have no problem with a band looking for a raw, stripped down sound if it suits their music, but when you’re making a pop album for the radio with the backing of a major label behind you, you’d better make sure you don’t come out of the recording studio with anything less than a polished, chunky and aesthetically pleasing sound at the very least.

This album teaches a fundamental life truth about music though – if it’s a terrible gimick, expect it to sell shitloads. If it’s a terrible gimick that features songs about burping and tits, with swear words censored in the videos, then expect it to sell shitloads and constantly permeate your everyday existence. Fucking forget escaping it for even one day unless you plan on spending some time alone in a padded cell. You can’t get away from it. Just suck it up, take it on the chin and make sure to have some decent ‘antidote’ music handy to soothe the agony. I’d recommend anything by the Ramones, Ten Yard Fight and Dire Straits, off the top of my head.

These chaps were a fair few years from being the stereotypical ‘just out of high school and arsing around before getting a proper job in IT sales‘ types at the time of recording this CD. I don’t believe for one second that singer/song-writer Jimmy Pop wasn’t a cold and calculating musical prodigy who knew damn well what he was doing when he wrote these crap songs in his late twenties. He spotted a gap in the market and filled it with ‘Hooray For Boobies’, and ever since has probably enjoyed a carefree existence, listening to the great symphonies of Bach, Mozart and Pachelbel on a $30,000 stereo whilst sitting on a beanbag stuffed entirely of money in a Beverly Hills mansion. The cunt.

 

Mum and Dad this is Chasey, Chasey this is the shit music that will help put my kids through college.

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Trapt’ (2002) by Trapt

22 Jan

By Slick Nick

Trapt’s mainstream musical career was launched in 2002 with the laughably bad single ‘Headstrong’. Three albums later and they’re still in much the same place as they were when they started – a band that is just there, with few people giving a shit.

Coming in at the arse end of nu metal’s popularity peak, this self-titled debut was an interesting beast, which encompassed most of the things that made that genre terrible (muddy production, lazy guitar riffing, similar beats) whilst injecting some fairly neat ideas that took the crapness to the next level.

The songs flit between watered down butt rock and wimpy One Tree Hill-esque self-pitious musings over clean guitars. When things get heavy, Trapt can barely motivate themelves to use riffs of more than two chords at a time. As for the lyrics – pitiful, as in they evoke genuine pity that grown adult males from a developed country could conceive such childish, derivative shite. It’s all about taking people on and breaking down etc. but you don’t win battles with watered down heavy metal music, as far as I’m aware.

The album runs out of ideas very early on. Every song has near identical execution, with clean verses and ‘heavy’ choruses. A couple of fucking breakdowns occassionally would have been welcome, to be honest, but would never have saved this from being another stain in the underpants of alternative rock.

Occasionally the drum timings veer slightly off the tried and tested 4/4 beat. Someone in this band must have been desperate to prove to their disappointed parents that all the money they’d blown on music lessons for their son hadn’t gone to waste. Unfortunately, they had.

Finally, the album cover annoys me. It’s hardly the symbol of cliched teen angst and radio rock superstardom that Trapt were aiming for. Maybe they ended up blowing all their marketing budget on effects pedals for their guitars rather than concept artists?

Headstrong to take up shelf space in charity shops since 2003.

 

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