Tag Archives: Rock Music

9 Songs (2004 dir. Michael Winterbottom)

2 Oct

Young couple disperse unsimulated fuck sessions with several concerts of mediocre retro rockers in dangerous south London area.

2/5

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Anthem’ (2003) by Less Than Jake

11 Jul

By Slick Nick

I’ve been listening to punk bands since 1999, and it’s hard to think of a more worthless sub genre of music than ska punk. Replace any semblance of creativity in a pop punk band with trumpets and colourful shirts, and what presents itself is an irritating and generally unpopular style of music. A record label’s ska punk band/s will almost always be their lowest sellers, regardless of whether the label is an independent or a major.

Being a ska punk album released in the worst ever decade for rock music, I was expecting ‘Anthem’ to be a shitter. The fifth studio album by Less Than Jake (LTJ) doesn’t disappoint in that respect, being one of the worst albums ever made. Appropriately, this was also the Florida band’s return to a major label.

Given their kerazy live show reputation and cartoony album artwork, on record LTJ are actually surprisingly dull. Listen to any Greenday or Blink182 album, and music-wise the entire span of the band’s creativity will be more than covered. Listening to ‘Anthem’ in 2011 as I have done for this post is quite a mind-numbing experience.

A band doesn’t need to be as skilled as Rush in terms of music to keep me entertained, but they damn well better have some killer hooks to lead their songs if they claim to be a pop punk group. ‘Anthem’ not only lacks tunes, but the one or two it does have sound very familiar. A well-trained ear isn’t really required to discover that the melody lines tend to follow the same path from song to song. I am sure reading the sheet music to this record would evoke multiple feelings of de ja vu.

LTJ have two vocalists who tend to share singing duties from song to song – a rarity in rock music. Guitarist Chris Demakes isn’t too bad, in a generic sort of way, but bassist Roger Manganelli really flops on this album. His lead vocal on second single ‘The Science of Selling Yourself Short’ is poor; whiny and irritating, it barely holds the tune together. Incidentally, this song features some of the very sparse proper ska/raggae moments on the album.

Roger: A dreadlock for every time his singing has annoyed me

Speaking of singles, ‘She’s Gonna Break Soon’ really is the pits. I remember when it first came out and was never off the music channels, much to the annoyance of my younger self. I could easily ignore the band’s music but not when this shitter came out. The song really is the crappest, barrel-scraping generic, throw away pop-punk garbage imaginable. It’s also quite a cynical stab at marketing, highlighting their target demographic (tedious angsty teens) lyrically and visually in the song. It makes Papa Roach’s ‘Last Resort’ video look subtle and profound.

Finally, as a ‘bonus’, and I use that word very loosely, LTJ offer a breakneck, inferior cover version of Cheap Trick’s majestic ‘Surrender’. The charm in the original was the melody and the fucking immense, crunchy old guitar sound. It doesn’t work as a 2-minute pop punk song. It just rubs salt into the wounds of the listener; the band have to spoil a good song as well as delivering a miserable album of their own terrible compositions.

I find LTJ’s releases in the wake of ‘Anthem’ quite amusing. Obviously they had blown their creative load on these crap songs, so the next release labelled ‘B Is For B-Sides’ was an album of outtakes from the ‘Anthem’ sessions. Songs too crap for even that album must be beyond worthless. Next came a live album, before they remixed the B-sides album for ANOTHER release. It beggars belief that these fellas grew up in the punk rock scene.

Materials found being used for bedding in the LTJ tour bus in 2009

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Brain Drain’ (1989) by The Ramones

21 Jun

By Slick Nick

It was the year 2000, Christmas day. The world would soon be partying. He had more important things on his mind.

The last few months had been a journey, a musical one. The days of only listening to Oasis and Prodigy albums seemed long gone. It was a thirst for loud, fast guitars and catchy melodies that drove him towards the burgeoning CD rack now.

He’d been studying hard as had his college friends – the A Levels would not pass themselves, after all.

Gotta have the A Levels so you can go to University, get a good job, nice home in the suburbs, Ford Mondeo, two kids…

It was a future within arms reach, and he’d be taking punk music along for the ride as well. Bands like Greenday, Offspring, Rancid and most treasured of all, The Ramones. These bands would never make crap music, would they?

He sat in his bedroom, Nesquik in hand, surverying this year’s payload from good ol’ Kris Kringle. Bad Religion’s ‘Suffer’ and ‘Generator’ albums lay at the side of the desk; they could wait. ‘We’re Outta Here’, the final Ramones show, sat close by in compact disc format; he’d bide his time, savour the rest of their discography, before enjoying that one. What he really wanted to do was play ‘Brain Drain’, their 1989 studio album he’d just recieved. The disturbing cover was alluring, and suggested an unforgettable listening experience. He couldn’t wait.

Merry Christmas.

He knew little of the band’s story but took simple pleasure in their early work. These short, catchy punk songs struck a bar chord with him. He’d always have the Ramones on when writing psychology essays.

He removed the seal of ‘Brain Drain’ and placed the CD in the stereo, a cheap device that would surely struggle to cope with the power of what would be unleashed. If the Ramones were close to the bone in the seventies, how extreme would they have become by the late eighties?

He pressed ‘play’.

A strange sensation washed over him, strange because he’d never felt it before whilst playing a Ramones album. It was a feeling he only got whilst listening to extremely shit music.

It’s punk, Jim, but not as we know it.

He laughed out loud at the thought. The eighties drum sound was unavoidable, but the problems ran far deeper into the heart of the album. It was fundamentally bad song-writing.

Opener ‘I Believe In Miracles’ was far too slow to begin a Ramones album, sounding tired and old compared to the likes of ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ years earlier. ‘Don’t Bust My Chops’ suffered from a distinct lack of melody. Years of alcoholism had taken its toll on Joey Ramone’s vocal chords; his singing was barely acceptable on this recording.

He continued to listen, hoping no family members would overhear. If Dad caught him mid way through ‘All Screwed Up’, he’d never live it down, especially after he always gave the old man such a hard time over his ‘shit’ music collection.

Would kill for some Mark Knopfler or Fairport Convention about now though, wouldn’t you?

He hit the ‘stop’ button and snatched the CD out of the stereo, recoiling as the cold, lifeless plastic touched his trembling hand. Yes, this was definitely a Ramones album. There had no been a mistake at the packaging plant. He longed to cast this monstrosity aside and never think about it again, but that was never an option.

‘I must finish what is begun.’

The second half began with ‘Pet Semetary’; disappointing book, terrible film, underwhelming song.

‘Learn To Listen’, despite its crappiness, reminded him of the early Ramones material. At a merciful length of 1.51, it was too little, too late.

He took a sip of Nesquik, wincing at the sweetness. He’d earned it.

‘Comeback Baby, Comeback’ was the album’s absolute low point. He’d only read about songs like these in Stephen King books. He never thought one would cross hs path for real.

Why are they being sexy? They’re not a sexy band, they’re not a…

Silence.

‘Merry Christmas I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight’ had faded out, closing the album, reminding him of Cliff Richard, making him realise what the season was all about. Family. Eastenders. The birth of Christ. It was not about bad music, at least not in unlicensed residential premises.

He returned the CD to its case. He stared one last time at the cover, the cover that promised so much.

He placed it in the CD rack, a giant plastic prison from which it would never escape. Many layers of dust would cover it in the years to come.

Lunch was ready. Time to join the family. They’d ask him what he’d been doing for the last 35.01 minutes. He wouldn’t say. The memories of the morning would only linger in the deepest, darkest corners of his mind.

He had hoped the events of that morning, where he sat through one of the worst albums ever made, would never be re-lived. Then a blog was created, one with barely any readers, that had a category covering terrible music. He knew what he had to do.

Merry fucking Christmas.

END

No Direction Home (2005 dir. Martin Scorcese)

25 May

Jewish minstrel inspires both short and long hairs without needing Fender Stratocasters.

4/5

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.’

Nickelback are the greatest band of all time

26 Mar

By Slick Nick

It really bothers me when so many crap bands get all the attention, acclaim and interest from the general public whilst the most important visionaries often get overlooked. Nickelback, a band I rarely go a day without listening to at least once, sadly fall into the latter category. I want to change this and open minds (and ears!) to the glorious majesty of Nickelback’s recorded output and highlight some of their more significant career moments.

Debut album ‘Curb’ starts rock ‘n’ roll

Many bands had attempted to play in a musical style that we now know as rock ‘n’ roll, but Nickelback were the first group to put electric guitars, bass guitars and drums together all at the same time in a recording studio. This revelation in 1996 left the world with the album ‘Curb’, a record years ahead of its time, almost too far ahead of its time. Though largley dismissed as ‘crap’ upon release, the album quickly developed a cult following and would go on to influence the likes of Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Slayer, Black Flag and Enya. Led Zeppelin in particular would highlight the album’s heavy blues-based riffing as a major inspiration.

Frontman Chad Kroeger turns out to be Jesus Christ

Whilst crafting the follow-up album to ‘Curb’, Mr Kroeger went on record in a number of magazine and television interviews to confirm that he was in fact the reincarnation of popular Christian figurehead Jesus of Nazareth. Though these claims were unsubstantiated at the time, eventually someone came forward with an artist’s impression of the original Christ in a children’s Sunday School pamphlet. Upon comparing this document with an image of Kroger in Metal Hammer magazine, the likenesses were deemed too similar for the story to not be 100% true. With such a significant figure in western civilisation at the helm, there was now no stopping Nickelback from achieving their first hit single.

‘Leader Of Men’ tops charts in all Christian nations for 2 years

With the power of a Demigod coarsing through his veins, Kroeger was able to craft the group’s first of many super smash hit singles. ‘Leader Of Men’ from legendary album ‘The State’ topped the charts in every western country for two years straight, a record that remains unbroken to this day. Manufacturers could barely keep up with the demand, forcing label Roadrunner Records to move production to a gigantic Chinese labour camp. At least seven deaths are known to have occurred there amongst staff quite literally worked until their last breath to cope with the ever increasing record sales.

Pictured below is a queue  of Nickelback fanatics outside Oxford Street’s HMV store, 68 weeks after the single’s initial release. Scientists even made the discovery of a copy of ‘Leader Of Men’ (albeit in an unlistenable condition) amongst the property of an Amazonian tribe thought to be completely untouched by civilization.

The song ‘Never Again’ ends all domestic abuse and wins Nobel Peace Prize

The classic album ‘Silver Side Up’ was notable for being a music scholar’s dream, effectively a rich tapestry of musical ingenuity, creativity, originality and feeling. Opening single ‘Never Again’, though lyrically drenched in metaphor, still delivered the message that the world (apart from Scotland) could relate to; that hitting women square in the face is a pretty bad thing to do.

The song tells the story of an abused wife from her son’s point of view. Kroeger compares the living room to a ‘boxing ring’, poignantly reminding the listener that punches also get thrown in said ring. The antagonist is then berrated by the singer, underpinning a stunning middle eight. From that point onwards, no women were ever beaten to a pulp by their male fuck partners ever again.

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the band in a two-hour ceremony three minutes after the single’s release, culminating in the trophy itself being passed to the eager hands of Kroeger by Frank Bruno.

Dark Horse album recorded in a single take

Finally, the most recent page of musical history written by Nickelback came with the ironically-titled 2008 album ‘Dark Horse’, a record notable not only for its stellar song-writing, but also the manner in which it was made. Broadcast on the internet for the world to see, Nickelback laid every track down in order in a single take, making no mistakes whatsoever. Absolutely no over-dubbing or other studio trickery was used. The songs went into the pressing plant the very next day. Fans were left with what was essentially a live album that sounded just as over-produced and watered down for the radio as anything else in the charts with a guitar.

So what next for the band that has apparently done it all? The plethora of unauthorized Kroeger biographies are keen to speculate, however I am content to remain patient with the music I have of theirs knowing that whatever comes next will undoubtedly be life-affirming and massively superior to anything else around.

How could it not be, considering Nickelback are without a doubt the greatest band to ever set foot in a recording studio?

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ (2008) by Oasis

26 Feb

By Slick Nick

There is no doubt in my mind that Oasis were the best pop group of the 90s, using a slew of extremely uncomplex singles and albums to end the musical careers of countless raggae and eurodance acts that always seemed to top the British charts at the time. Led by unambitious song-writer Noel Gallagher and starring his knobend brother Liam, the world was theirs for the taking – before Pop Idol, of course.

As enjoyable as the early Oasis compositions were, musically they were never anything more than basic as fuck. ‘Live Forever’ from the debut album ‘Definitely Maybe’, had an opening drum beat that any child could perform after two lessons, and generally you’d be lucky to get three or four different chords in a song. Listening to Oasis and then puting on a bit of Blur, their mortal enemies, was like listening to fucking Mozart by comparison. Sadly, their most ambitious riff from another early single called ‘Cigarettes And Alcohol’ had already been written by heavy metallers T Rex around twenty five years earlier, so they couldn’t lay claim to that.

But, like a lot of bands that start out well, after a few albums and a shit ton of record sales, Oasis could no longer muster the effort to record decent music, and the decline in quality of output during the noughties was quite staggering. The band broke up soon after releasing their final album ‘Dig Out Your Soul’, one of the worst albums ever made.

These crap songs sound like the kind of music you’d find buried on a 100-track bootleg set of long-forgotten Beatles demos that were never intended for release – lifeless, boring and poorly recorded. For all the Gallagher brothers’ rock ‘n’ roll swagger and tabloid punch-ups, this final effort is like someone retiring by leaving the office quietly after an insincere presentation from their boss in front of their co-workers.

There was magic in the initial Oasis singles. Hell, if ‘Wonderwall’ came on the radio during my short commute to work every day, I’d probably punch the air (roof) with elation; I don’t go to nightclubs anymore, I wasn’t reared on a tough inner city estate and I don’t fall for the Simon Cowell PR/marketing machine, so I get very little from the British charts these days. Comparing the songs from that era to the singles from this album is like puting Manchester United against an Albanian school football team – they just don’t compare.

Lead single ‘The Shock of The Lightning’, bolstered by a staggering two chord changes for the most part, sounds like an idea for a song that still needed to be finalised in rehearsals. ‘I’m Outta Time’ is the only listenable effort here, but it still annoys me because the verse always makes me think I’m listening to Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’. Pleasant chorus though, reminding fans that they could still write the occasional hook when they weren’t sitting by swimming pools guzzling Director’s Bitter.

Apart from sounding like the Beatles and wearing John Lennon spectacles, Liam Gallagher even started to look exactly like George Harrison at one point. On ‘Dig Out Your Soul’, the tribute act was completed with the aping of the rather self-indulgent, ploddy sitar-driven stuff that John, Paul, George and Ringo were experimenting with in the mid–to–late sixties. If it didn’t work for the greatest band to ever set foot in a recording studio, what the fuck was it going to do for Oasis?

Noel Gallagher’s lyrics have always been appalling at the best of times. Incoherent rambling sentences ending in words that mostly rhymed with ‘away’, ‘mind’, ‘far’, ‘you’, ‘me’ and ‘why’, they tended to make even less sense than Kurt Cobain’s insane poetry. This final album didn’t break tradition; the problem was the songs were now as equally terrible as a whole. Before, no one paid much attention because the melodies and singing were so effective.

It’s a shame the band that recorded ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ could end their careers with such an underwhelming collection of crap songs. Even their b-sides collection ‘The Masterplan’ was one of the best from 1998, better than most other bands’ proper efforts. Noel Gallagher was supposed to keep rock ‘n’ roll alive, at least from a Sunday Times supplement point of view. His declining song-writing ability combined with Simon Cowell and increasing levels of illiteracy amongst young people have now rendered the British charts almost unlistenable. And this is even before Liam Gallagher kick starts an inevitable solo career for more cigarette money.

 

Slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannon ball, where were you when we were writing shit music?

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.

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