Tag Archives: Worst Albums Ever

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 – ‘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.

GUEST ARTICLE: Extracts From ‘Sex And Genre Deconstruction In STAIND’

5 Jun

Extracts from the non-award winning essay by Professor Montgommery Sloan Barnicoat-Fucknozzle III Phd. MA. OBE – esteemed fellow of the arts at London South Bank University.

Science: The professor reveals the patended 'Theory of Why Staind Sell Records'.

…interesting piece written by fellow academics at the independent Canadian research institution Blatant Doom Trip entitled ‘Staind’ which offers a thorough introduction into the psyche of frontman Aaron Lewis through both qualitative and quantitative research methodology. A minstrel of sorts, Lewis is the main composer in the group, an intense youngster whose creativity appears to excel when backed by his blues-based ensemble. On a partially-related matter, the aforementioned BDT article forms much of the recommended reading material for the Autumn course I am running on what it means to be male in an American bluegrass combo in 2009. Students wishing to enrol should send a hand-written letter of interest with an enclosed holiday photo to my office in the cleaning cupboard at the…

… Lewis’ burgeoning unsatisfied sexuality being the driving force of early-to-mid career Staind. We are presented with not only the vision but also the inner turmoil of a sensual, all-American adult male unable to relenquish its seed in the traditional act of physical love with a willing suitor. This seemingly unending bout of involuntary celibasy becomes apparent with the song title of hit single ‘It’s Been A While‘ on the profoundly moving breakthrough album ‘Break The Cycle‘ of 2001. Whilst this record is essentially a post-modern grunge metal symphony, this particular song is a stipped-down exercise in lonliness; Lewis, entirely masculine in appearance (light on hair, heavy on bodyfat) cannot find a ‘home’ for the emotional and biological love he has to give. The singer uses a comparably sparse arrangement of ukulele and full backing combo, including percussion, to attempt to challenge the perception of…

Despair: The painted representation of Aaron Lewis' cerebellum

… particularly resonates is the song ‘Pressure‘ which lurches from the psychological to the physical. Quite simply, it is the description of having a fully erect member within the constraints of a particularly unforgiving pair of camo shorts. It calls to Lewis, challenging him to use it for the purpose God created it for in a hostile world. Thus, physical pressure impregnates a psychological pressure. The irony is not lost on…

… disagree entirely as do many learned gentleman in our field; there can only be one interpretation of the metaphor-drenched ‘Safe Place‘. Quite simply, it is an ode to the female reproductive organ, or a worship if one was feeling particularly generous. Lewis exists in a cold, distant world. The vagina can offer a gateway to the emotional warmth, as well as the physical gratification, that the singer so desperately seeks. Readers wishing for further clarity on theories relating to the vagina’s impact on previously Confederate American states should be pointed towards the…

Sensual: Lewis as primal all-American male

… penis. But if we pause to reflect on the surface of Staind’s later work, what presents itself is an attempt to deconstruct the very conventions of music that we are familiar with. Arguably the most significant piece in this later experimental stage is the wildly ambitious 2005 album ‘Chapter V‘. Note the use of the Roman numeral in the title itself; a confident yet subtle indicator that the listener is about to embark on a concept far removed from what is considered acceptable or enjoyable music on a purely superficial level in the present day. Lewis is looking into the past and asking us – what is music? What is a song? What are supposed to feel when…

Experimental: 'Chapter V' was part of the nu new wave of nu new nu metal

… dirty vests. But it does essentially wipe the canvas clean. We are granted the ‘words’ of the language of music, but little else, as Lewis bestows the listener with a constant sense of the absolute. This is a series of compositions that communicates with its audience, reminding them repeatedly that this they are witnessing some form of music being created. We have musical instruments working cohesively to produce roughly the same rhythmic sounds in the same consonant keys and scales. This is underpinned by a percussion that is ordered to retain a 4/4 time signature at any cost. We have some starse vocals making little attempt to be melodic. What we have in essence are the very foundations of music itself. The memorable guitar riffs and accessible hit singles of early Staind are long gone, replaced with an advanced musical theology that sees Lewis apparently starting again, both as a composer and as a sexually potent…

… gender issues in NASCAR racing. Though some would argue ‘Chapter V’ exists as pure dichotomy. My own theory as discussed is that Lewis had reached a point where simply making music in the traditional sense could no longer satisfy his cerebral or artistic urges. He hoped to bring in a new wave of American rock and roll whereby the components of music language were present only. Some learned gentlemen, however, have attempted to advance an alternative theory, hypothesising that Lewis had simply reached a point of irreversible psychological trauma brought about by countless years of being ineffective as a sexually capable adult male. Did this turmoil manifest itself in the sadistic aim to simply torture listeners, to encourage them to experience the frustration and despair that had rooted themselves deep within Lewis’ psyche for endless years? For further listening, readers are advised to…

Phallic: Lewis demonstrates both wealth and sexual goals

… archetypal of the ‘hoe down‘. But looking to the future, it is difficult for academics to not approach future Staind releases with unbridled anticipation. The work Lewis has been threatening for years will surely usher in an even newer new wave, likely to feature the composer sitting in the corner of a recording studio, improvising on a single-stringed banjo whilst intermittently sobbing into a brand new Stetson.

The professor can next be seen live in August at the Colchester branch of Costa Coffee, lecturing on the mythical depiction of South London present in the early work of So Solid Crew.

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.

 

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 – ‘Mechanical Animals’ (1998) by Marilyn Manson

12 Feb

By Slick Nick

During the 90s, if you bought even one copy of Kerrang! magazine, you couldn’t help but be exposed to the monstrosity that was Marilyn Manson, who came to represent everything that could possibly go wrong when a bunch of lads entered a recording studio. They were everywhere, and the release of each new album was treated, ironically given their Satanist leanings, like the second coming of Christ himself by the press.

Manson, real name Brian Warner, was the very definition of style-over-substance, where looking like a dick and saying silly things in interviews could generate a shit ton of record sales even if the music on those records was as bad as that of ‘Mechanical Animals’, his third album.

With a lead singer that relied almost solely on image, and a group of cohorts all named after serial killers, it just screamed of childish attention seeking from the get-go, as if they knew they were never going to write any music that was worth listening to but couldn’t bare the thought of making the coffee in an office for the rest of their lives.

Growing up, a few things puzzled me about this band. Obviously the music had zero merit; it wasn’t particularly heavy, and there certainly wasn’t any melodies to remember . There was no sex appeal unless you happened to have a fetish for very ugly, under fed men. The instrumentation was basic and would never be admired by proggy muso types in the same way that something like Tool would have been. Yet the group’s army of misguided fans kept growing. Despite all their controversy, musically they had more in common with T Rex than Slayer, and the only shocking effect they had on the impressionable youth of the day was postponing their discovery of decent music for a few years. For myself, that band/act was Rod Stewart, but I digress slightly.

‘Mechanical Animals’ is an hour of inconsistent, incoherent balls. Every song starts and ends with noise, and inbetween fails to satisfy in every way. The vocals are the same monotonous, crap-sounding dirge, underpinned by sometimes glam/sometimes industrial but always dull nothingness. It’s so fucking slow and drawn-out as well, with each song about two minutes longer than necessary. Lead single ‘Dope Show’ is a particularly big offender; less music, more torture.

There are fleeting moments of listenable guitar work but these are over quickly to make way for more rubbish. It must have been frustrating having to make this album as a guitarist with someone as up themselves as Manson at the helm of the operation. I’m sure they consoled themselves with the buckets of money they made though.

Finally, the genre-skipping really winds me up. This can’t make up its mind as to whether it wants to wank over David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust material or be featured in a straight to DVD film in a scene where a load of douchebag characters enter an ‘alternative’ nightclub for the first time in their lives. If you’re going to dip into every genre found on allmusic.com then before you do so, you’d better make sure you’re some kind of fucking musical prodigy like Brian Wilson or Will.I.Am first, lest you end up with a piece of shit like ‘Mechanical Animals’ on your CV.

 

We’re all slaves in the… crap music show.

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