Here on RAW RAMP ISLAND we judge albums by their immediacy, durability, memorability, cohesion, musicainship, artistry and achievement…
You might have your own standards, but they are ours…
But, once in a while, a record comes along that is truly awful.
Here are our seven picks for the worst albums in rock history. (In reverse order):
Metallica Lou Reed
A collaborative album between the most artistic and experimental of all of rock’s exponents (Reed ) and the acclaimed thrash metal heroes Metallica
This concept is bad right from the start, right? Yet somehow the unique, rickety project took off before the death of Reed in 2013.
Even at the time of the release, the label frankly admitted that the album was filled with claustrophobia.
And as a concept piece (Lulu is based on vintage plays by German dramatist Frank Wedekind as well as Alban Berg’s opera of the same name ) it was almost too vexing for most sensible ears. It was always intended to be demanding — but it ended up being unlistenable.
Reed sings from the point of view of the woman wronged (Lulu). Although “singing” in this case would be too loose a description for the utterly unmelodious murmuring that is going on.
Metallica, meanwhile (with a string quartet !?! ) tried valiantly to give some musical texture and perspective to all those mumbles.
Result = Frustrating.
Maybe this was, actually, very brilliant.
But we were never smart enough to figure it all out. Nor has anyone else (for all we know) — The album received overwhelmingly negative reviews upon its release.
But if you are open-minded and a fan of the avant-garde then, perhaps, you should give this a shot.
6: Set The World On Fire
Black Veil Brides
The Black Veil Brides formed in 2007 when the (then) 16-year-old singer, Andy Six, began looking for players to create his vision of a modern day heavy metal band, forged along the same lines as Mötley Crüe or Kiss .
Set the World on Fire became the second studio album for the band (in 2011) and set entirely new (low) standards in what can be musically acceptable.
Yes, the guitar-work is pleasant (even vaguely enjoyable if you do not mind stereotypical riff-work) but the vocals are just dire.
And the lyrics are, frankly, ridiculous.
Perhaps, if we set the world on fire right now, we might save naive and gullible teen-girls from falling for this monstrously over-produced and horribly under-rehearsed pop-metal cack.
5: What About Now
The twelfth studio album by American rock band Bon Jovi (2013) was titled What About Now.
Perhaps the title fore-told the impending departure of Richie Sambora.
Or perhaps, the title was suggesting that the band was going to try to offer “different elements” (in the words of Sambora) to new fans.
In other words, the band (and management) were looking for another audience… in this case, the lucrative markets found in easy listening and country-music. Either way (or not) the album was not critically successful — but it it did manage to sell 1.5 million copies world-wide.
If you like bland ballads, background music and the most unremarkable song-writing witnessed by an entire generation, and you want to go for a long nap, might we recommend this?
4: Having Fun On Stage
Originally published in 1974 by Boxcar (Colonel Parker) and re-released by RCA, the Having Fun With Elvis album managed, somehow, to make it into the Billboard album charts, despite the simple fact that this record does not contain a single melody!
If you want a copy of the disc now, it might set you back upwards of seventy dollars.
So what was the idea behind the release? Tom Parker wanted the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll to appear more accessible. So this is a bunch of jokes, conversational pieces and musty dialogue between the King and his public. Spliced together (badly) then packaged (disingenuously) as if it was an album of music. [Note: It does say in the top right hand corner “Talking Album Only”.]
If Elvis actually said something interesting, useful or even a little bit funny on this album — then at least there would be some merit to it.
But, no. It’s just a collection of meaningless gibberish and unpleasant background hum.
3: Thank You
In the 1980’s Duran Duran were the most successful new romantic band of the “second British Invasion”
But in 1995, the band decided to release an album of covers and their choice of cover-songs is not only fascinating, but has also puzzled critics ever since.
The title “Thank You” is the song written by Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in 1969. The original number was remarkable for its shining crescendo and other extended solo parts. But the Duran Duran version of this classic song was brutally pruned off.
However, Lou Reed thought that their version of Perfect Day on the album was quite acceptable (at the time) and their cover of Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay made the charts in Italy.
But the Public Enemy number (“911 Is a Joke”)… What were they thinking?
Now this collection is so despised that it regularly features in 50 Worst Album lists (and why should we be different?)
But you have to ask yourself, does this album really warrant such a bad reputation? Too right it does! Just listen to “Ball of Confusion” and you’ll agree.
2: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (soundtrack) was a multi-platinum double album venture produced by George Martin.
With a fine line-up that included Aerosmith, Billy Preston, Alice Cooper, the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton and Steve Martin what could go wrong? Oh, and the whole project was financed by The Robert Stigwood Organisation.
* The songs lacked any vocal chemistry.
* The rhythms have no integrity
* The ‘comedy’ moments fall flat
YES, as we said, this was a multi-platinum seller. But we should add a caveat…It plummeted out of the charts just six weeks after it went in — and is now largely forgotten.
It cost $ 12 million to produce!
Now that’s what we call failure. The best songs ever, the greatest artists that money could buy, and the most famous producer in the world… And for what?
1: Two The Hard Way
Allman and Woman
Cher married American rock and blues keyboardist and legendary singer Gregg Allman only four days after divorcing from Sonny.
She started divorce proceedings from Allman only nine days after that!
However, the couple remained married for a while longer, and in that time they managed to release a reckless duet album in 1977 titled Two the Hard Way.
Cher is one of our favourite pop singers of all time. And who does not love the Allmans?
And that’s why this catastrophe gets to our number one slot as the worst album in rock history. Because it is so, thoroughly, disappointing.
It is said that the public’s hatred of this terrible album contributed to the eventual total failure of their troubled relationship.
And here’s why we think it fails on all levels:
* The album didn’t even chart
* Allman didn’t even play guitar on it
* He did not write any original songs for it
* The formula of blues -v- pop was incompatible
* Move Me, the only single taken from the album, was a commercial flop
Words: @neilmach 2015 ©
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