Tag Archives: Bruno Mars

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Stereo Typical’ (2011) by Rizzle Kicks

9 Apr

By Slick Nick | @Poppeelings

I do generally ignore hip-hop and dance music as genres, assuming that the majority of albums under these banners will be poor by default, so not worthy my time in writing about them. However, with Rizzle Kicks, I’ve decided to make an exception. It seems impossible to escape them and their terrible music. They have guested on other poor quality singles from the likes of Olly Murs, and have now made enough videos of their own to never be off the music channels and radio. Having captured my attention and invaded my life in the same way Bruno Mars did this time last year, I feel it my duty to explore their debut album ‘Stereo Typical’ in some depth.

These guys are two rappers from Brighton; there’s a couple of reasons right there to avoid their music at all costs. I have to say, the title is slightly misleading, as this is not a typical modern hip-hop record. With retro-sounding backing music underpinning light-hearted, unchallenging lyrics, it’s certainly unlike any other album of the same genre around today.

And therein lies the first problem. There are no big cars, no massive gold chains, no guns, no swearing, no lyrics humiliating women and rival gang members, just nothing fun or interesting. Sometimes I like a bit of escapism in music, and Rizzle Kicks fail to provide it here. There is no conflict or drama in their verse, only emptiness. It’s probably this kind of safe mediocrity that got them paired up with Olly Murs for the rubbish ‘Heart Skips a Beat’ single.

The song-writing is poor at the best of times, with bog-standard rapping permeating each track and ineffective stabs at melody coming during certain choruses. Rap affictionados often get up in arms when someone describes their beloved music as ‘just talking’, but in the case of this album, it really is the truth. Listening to clowns talk about their mundane lives over forgettable backing music is certainly not what I’d call compelling. To add to the misery, they keep reminding the listener of their band name in nearly every song. Trust me, I did not need to be told this so often.

Wankers: The music of Rizzle Kicks isn't as fun as they think it is

The (many) singles are practically as bland and forgettable as the filler fluff, a rarity in modern pop music, with the exception being the insufferable ‘Mama Do The Hump’. This song and title is so bad, it’s almost embarrassing to have to write. Simply one of the worst singles released in recent memory, as if to rub salt into the wounds of music lovers, it also featured a ‘hilarious’ cameo by that blubbery bastion of medicrity James Corden doing a funny little dance in the cheap-looking video.

I find the look of bemusement on the Kicks’ faces quite interesting on the front cover of this hour of crap music, as if they are asking themselves ‘why did so many people buy our singles and this album?’ It’s a question that beats me too. I’m sure it will puzzle music historians for years to come as well.

‘Stereo Typical’ is one of the worst albums ever made. It is a lifeless, mundane, boring effort that fails to do what it says on the tin, performed by two young wankers from Brighton lacking the musical talent and life experience required to make a passable hip-hop album. Take my advice – instead of listening to this record, get the same effect by playing some George Formby on the stereo whilst having a conversation with an old aunt or uncle on the phone, it’s probably less painful.

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Doo-Wops & Hooligans’ (2010) by Bruno Mars

12 Mar

By Slick Nick

The first few months of a new year are usually trying times – it’s a struggle going back to work, the weather is shit, school kids are everywhere and Loose Women returns to television schedules. The early part of 2011 will always be remembered as a particularly frustrating period for me due to the compositions of Bruno Mars penetrating my daily morning and evening commutes like fucking wasp stings.

A poor man’s Michael Jackson, Mars shot to fame in 2010, largely for contributing bad ideas to already dreadful songs, like Travie McCoy’s mindfuckingly terrible  ‘Billionairre’, before ‘Doo-Wops & Hooligans’, his debut album, was released to almost total elation from music critics and fans of bad music alike. The problem was, no one knew they were actually listening to one of the worst albums ever made.

Modern pop isn’t really my critical forte. Having grown up on a diet of punk, hardcore, metal, surf and Abba, dissecting rubbish like this takes me out of my comfort zone a little bit. None the less, the two main singles irritated me enough to delve deeper into the Mars discography, which luckily begins and ends with these twelve songs.

This is fourty minutes or so of unimaginative, wishy-washy, forgettable pop. It is a collection of sadsack musings from a man that would have no shame in asking someone ‘why do you think girls don’t like me?’ and rest assured, it is just as annoying.

I will always remain stunned that lead single ‘Just The Way You Are‘ shifted so many units. A song that outstays its welcome after about 23 seconds and then builds to a punishing falsetto warble, it features ridiculously melodramatic lyrics that even fucking Celine Dion would probably be embarrased to sing. Follow-up ‘Grenade‘ is even worse, alluding to the act of suicide over a girl. By claiming to be able to catch a live hand grenade to protect the said girl, Mars also makes light of war and disrespects our boys in Afghanistan or where ever the hell else our forces are stuck these days. That’s just offensive.

I’d love to see this object of Mr Mars’ lyrics; to listen to him, you’d think the broad had been perfetly crafted by the very hands of God himself.

‘Our First Time’ is a tender, boring ode to a couple’s initial fuckfest. It’s little more than a demo, like someone trying out a new microphone for the first time.

Then, ‘Runaway Baby‘ ups the ante, offering a punchier, jive-inspired number. It fails immediately due to the previous few songs affirming Mars’ status as something of a despair-ridden pariah in the eyes of the opposte sex, and is thus as embarrassing as seeing your relatives dancing at a wedding.

The Lazy Song‘ has ‘hit single’ written all over it, which is a worry. Does the British youth of today really need any more inspiration to do nothing with their lives but listen to rap music and mate? The album’s lyrics reaches its peak of crapness on here though, as proven by this choice cut: ‘Tomorrow I’ll wake up do some P90x / Meet a really nice girl have some really nice sex / And she’s gonna scream out ‘this is great’ (Oh my God, this is great).’ Brilliant. Let’s all destroy every copy of Shakespeare’s complete works – we have a new literary genius to dissect for GCSE English classes now. Sadly, all this cut leaves the listener with is an image of Mr Mars quite literally laying around in bed within the throws of self gratification (wanking).

I have to admit that this album isn’t without its saving graces. ‘Count On Me’ is a pleasant, low-key effort just slightly undermined by childish lyrics, whilst ‘Liquor Store Blues’ has a thunderous raggae bass groove that can be felt as well as heard. It’s no Toots & The Maytals but it’s certainly listenable.

Finally, the album title is woefully misleading. I was hoping for some strong harmony work, maybe some retro acapella ideas and certainly at least one cover of ‘Blue Moon’ by the fucking Marcels. Sadly, there’s no actual doo-wop to be had here at all though.

 

I’d catch a grenade for you, then write a shit song for you.

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Adema’ (2001) by Adema

5 Feb

By Slick Nick

Adema – a word I never thought I’d see again. Still, that’s what this feature is about in a way – digging up long-forgotten shit from the past. And believe me, this is shit.

I suppose in hindsight, Adema serve a small purpose in 2011. People often disagree with me when I suggest that the noughties were generally the worst decade for music since the 1940s. They will claim metal in general, bands like Against Me! and Gaslight Anthem breaking big and the charts never looking better as reasons to cherish the past decade’s recorded output. Next time that happens, I can calmly sit down, load up Spotify and type ‘Adema’ in the search bar. “Come, my friend. Have a seat,” I’ll tell them. “I don’t feel the need to offer this debate anything more than for twelve tracks.”

It would be a feat of inhuman ability for Adema to have been even worse than they were on this self-titled debut, probably only released given the singer was the half brother of Jonathan Davies, vocalist of fellow Californian highschool bully victims Korn. Whilst that latter band had some nice ideas, occasionally effective riffing and rare hooks, Adema had precisely nothing to offer rock music in the slightest, save for a cute frontman. It’s worth noting that the brothers were as equally annoying to listen to on record though.

The Adema song-writing process was a straight forward one – you lay down some terrible guitar parts, execute a couple of forgettable verses and choruses and then go into a middle eight perpetuated by an array of silly effects pedals. The lyrics in particular, after some brief analysis, are dreadful to the point of being a near parody of shitty radio rock. This nugget of poetry from the song ‘Close Friend’ illustrates my point: ‘And now I know because you’ve done everything possible to me / Made me so upset.’ Upset? On a so-called alternative rock album? Even a monumental pussy like Bruno Mars would never write anything so pathetic.

The singing from Mark Chavez is appalling. Frankie Valli he ain’t. If your band can’t nail any semblance of a passable guitar riff, you’d better be sure as fuck that you have an arsenal of immaculately-executed hook-ridden melodies to bestow upon the record-buying public to compensate. Instead, almost every song uses the same tuneless melody, whined by a singer doing a mediocre Korn impression. Combining these factors with the clumsy lyrics and ‘Adema’ makes for one hell of a punishing listening experience.

There are clips on YouTube of the band performing these crap songs live and unplugged. This was an interesting idea – if the songs and singing are awful on record, even with all the modern studio effects and trickery, what on earth was there to gain in filming even more poorly executed versions of these godforsaken tracks? It was just one in a catalogue of poor decisions made in Adema’s career, a catalogue that began with the decision to give them a fucking record deal in the first place.

There were two singles from this piece of dog shit – ‘Giving In’ and ‘The Way You Like It’. In closing, the video for the latter made the least sense. This album is full to bursting point with lunk-headed self pity and despair. Then along comes a video showing the lead singer dancing with a decent bit of skirt at one of Adema’s very own shows. Apart from the obvious self-indulgence, two very different demographics of American teenagers appear to be targetted in the band’s marketing strategy. On the one hand, the clean-cut douchebag, and on the other, unpopular grunge rocker types. This just doesn’t work. Until kids ‘find’ themselves, there are firm boundaries in a social sense that teens stick to, and that music marketing should adhere to. You’re either a confident sportsman that gets to fuck cheerleaders at keg parties, or you listen to Marilyn Manson and cut yourself. The two should not be blurred or combined within music. Ever.

 

Nowadays no one remembers when they were young and made shit music

 

%d bloggers like this: