Tag Archives: Shit Albums

The Worst Albums Ever Made: ‘Everybody Wants To Be On TV’ (2010) by Scouting For Girls

9 Aug

By Slick Nick

Last year, a teenage girl hit the headlines after willingly buying the Scouting For Girls album ‘Everybody Wants To Be On TV’ , one of the worst albums ever made. In a Pop Peelings exclusive, the girl, who we’ll call ‘Stacey’, and her mother, speak for the first time about the ordeal and how the family are coming to terms with those events.

We’re in Ruislip, Middlesex, a quintessentially British suburb on the outskirts of West London.

The home is a 4-bedroom traditional residence, with ample garden space. Family photos adorn ornament cabinets. One shows a young Stacey in a school uniform. She is a pretty girl, alive with the hopes and dreams of any middle class, spoilt 14 year old.

‘That was taken only a few weeks before…’ her mother begins, before stiffling the tears. Stacey’s father was still too distraught to take part in our meeting.

The distress that this record has brought upon an innocent family is painfully obvious.

Just terrible music

When we finally meet Stacey, she is almost unrecognisable from that photo. Youth barely penetrates the gaunt, haggered features in front of us. This is a girl that clearly hasn’t slept properly for the best part of a year.

She is clutching a wrinkled piece of paper. A red, blue and white picture adorns it. The colours fall way outside the lines.

‘That’s the front cover of the album she’s drawn,’ explains mum. ‘She’s done one of those every day for the last three months.’

Stacey suffers from what leading psychologists now refer to as SFG (Scouting For Girls) Withdrawal Syndrome. In layman’s terms, it is a severe psychological reaction to the sheer mundanity of the music as written and performed by Scouting For Girls. The few known cases have seen affected individuals withdraw almost totally from reality. The illustrating of the band’s album covers tends to happen in only the most severe cases.

‘I’m a good girl, mister,’ she begins. ‘Wanna hear the angels sing?’

She doesn’t make eye contact.

I politely decline. For research purposes, I am already well aware of how bad ‘Everybody Wants To Be On TV’ is. It is categorised as a pop record, which makes the distinct lack of melody in the ten songs all the more staggering. The production is deeply flawed, with instruments so heavily mixed together that decifering a guitar from a keyboard becomes an almost impossible task. In addition, the singing is worthless. Monotone and generic, the only emotion it evokes in the listener is that of seething, intense boredom.

The album wears its influences on its sleeve, evoking the music of U2, The Jam, Kaiser Chiefs and contemporary Green Day – all terrible bands in their own right, but certainly preferrable to Scouting For Girls. It’s hard to imagine a worse guitar pop group active in modern times [ unless Bon Jovi are still going? – ed. ].

SFG: How many more families will their crap music rip apart?

Until science can find a cure for her condition, Stacey must continue to live each day immersed in her own world in which nothing but Scouting For Girls exists. Until then, she will never know the simple joy of taking a dip in Highgrove swimming pool during the summer months, or the pleasure of getting fingered in the park behind the high street after a few refreshing cans of cider with friends. She will never know what it is to be normal.

So how does a mother cope with the actions of a daughter led astray by mainstream radio and a government that doesn’t care?

‘My daughter is not a bad person,’ she says. ‘She just has the worst taste in music you can possibly imagine.’

‘Now the whole family are paying the price.’

‘We take each day as it comes. We’re trying to rebuild our lives but it’s not easy when you have to listen to ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’ twenty times a day.’

I can only offer my sympathies to this once wholesome middle class family. Now the lilac walls of their safe, comfortable abode will be forever spoilt with the echos of Scouting For Girls.

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Olly Murs’ (2010) by Olly Murs

28 Jun

By Slick Nick

There is an Olly Murs in every school, every university and every office in the UK; a tiresome, annoying self-centered twat who you dare not get on the wrong side of for fear of being socially ostracised. By no means evil or unpleasant, they can never the less make life hell in so many other ways.

Despite being average-looking, having nothing of interest to say and wearing unremarkable highstreet clothing, they somehow draw people to them like moths to light. Resisting the light will prove controversial, since every conversation or gathering will revolve around this individual, effectively a conversational blackhole, sucking all matter into it that may be even slightly interesting in favour of what the Murs figure may be doing or not doing.

Thanks to Simon Cowell, one of these cheeky chappies was given a record deal, which meant even escaping into a car and puting the radio on presented a confrontation with the mundanity of their existence. The result is ‘Olly Murs’, an album featuring the best part of an hour’s worth of crap music.

Murs came second to Joe McElderry in 2009’s X Factor, arguably the shittest winner in the show’s history, and that’s saying something. This album is described as his ‘debut’, but that suggests a long discography is to follow. I really think, and hope, that this album alone will span Murs’ entire recording history, for the sake of pop music.

Upon first listen, the one thing that stands out alongside the staggering mediocrity is how tonally uneven the material is. It lurches from anthemy pop, to raggae, to sappy ballads. It’s like if a Leona Lewis song suddenly dropped in a thrashy guitar solo.

Looking at the chart positions of the four singles from this illustrates perfectly how fickle the British single-buying public are, and also what a missfire it was on Cowell’s part for launching Murs as a recording artist. Single one was a UK number one. Single four didn’t even make the top 40.

Cunt: Murs glimpses his net worth as a musician in 2011

Hit single ‘Please Don’t Let Me Go’ begins with an old radio effect, which is quite creative for a SYCO release, before stumbling into very dated-sounding raggae pop. I remember Murs being described by Cowell as ‘unbeleivably current’ at his first audition. True – nothing says 2011 like aping the chart music of 1993. It’s not quite as forgettable as the rest of the album but is no Aswad.

Follow-up ‘Thinking Of Me’ is more of the same, but worse.

Murs has a stab at warbling during the closing moments of ‘Heart On My Sleeve’, where things get a bit more serious. It reminds me of the modern Take That. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the army of song-writers and producers that worked on Murs’ atrocity had also spent time in the studio with Robbie and Gary et al. Speaking of the legendary boyband, there was also some serious bro love going down between Murs and Robbie Williams at the time of the X Factor live finals, which saw the two irritants perform an extremely mediocre duet together. This probably carefully spun PR between the managers of Murs and Williams stopped just short of the two sucking each other off on stage, but I digress.

Lyrically, the album sinks to a new low with ‘Busy’. Reminiscent of Bruno Mars, it uses the Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ chord progression, as does ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’. Considering the album had 20-30 people contributing to the music, it’s unacceptable to use this riff on two songs from the same album. It really bugs me how often these chords are used, in pop and rock, and is just illustrative of unoriginal, lazy song-writing. Unsurprisingly, both of the efforts on this album are terrible.

Hold onto your sides: This illustrates visually the points made in paragraphs 1 and 2

Surrounding the four singles, which never get better than way below mediocre, is a lot of filler fluff that barely registers. It’s certainly not worth writing about, apart from noting that Murs as a singer leaves a hell of a lot to be desired.

Finally, the whole Murs persona on television and in the media really winds me up. There is an air of undeserved smugness about him, as if he has always been fully aware that he has fuck all to offer the world of popular music and is completely talentless. I hope everyone involved with his album, from Cowell to the song-writers, to the producers, even down to the intern that did the photocopying for marketing, are thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

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

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.’

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.

 

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