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12:22 p.m. - December 18, 2006
The Worst Albums
First, an important announcement – yes I will get to the birthday party, probably on Wednesday. But I need time to sort through the photos, and to decompress from the par-tay. And it was a par-tay. They par-tayed har-day!

So, let’s get to something else, shall we??


For some time, I’ve had a registration at Rate Your Music which is a site where you can search for CDs and music you own, and put in ratings for them. The ratings get cobbled together with other users (and if you visit every 30 days or so – your ratings count more than if you just go once and rate albums) and viola, you can get a consensus on how good or wretched an album is.

Some of the interesting lists they have are the best and worst rated albums for each year. Now, they use pretty complicated algorithms to determine these, at least for the top albums, but for the worst lists they weight it using the MOST negative ratings, not the worst rating. So if an album has some people that adore it and a lot of people think it’s total dreck, it will be on the worst list even though the rating isn’t as abysmal as it seems.

Got it?

OK, with that, I decided to look at the lowest rated albums, according to them, for each year that I have been alive, and of course, I’ll spice in some commentary where appropriate. Shall we? We shall…

1965 – The Beach Boys – Party!
1966 – The Rolling Stones – Got Live If You Want It!
1967 – David Bowie – David Bowie

I am certain that there were much worse albums released in those years. However, those records are long gone and long forgotten. Once again, these are records that received the greatest number of negative ratings. What one can see is that for these three releases a lot of completists and zealots have these albums. The Beach Boys record was a stop gap release to get the record company off their back, while the Stones album was a quickie to take advantage of their recent tour and it’s marred with God-awful sound. The Bowie album was a tentative, lightweight record cut after several years of floundering around the fringes of the music biz.

1968 – John & Yoko – Two Virgins
1969 – John & Yoko – The Wedding Album
1970 – Ringo Starr – Sentimental Journey

Here we enter the ‘weird Beatles solo album’ world. The John and Yoko records are absolutely unlistenable avant-garde BS. One side of The Wedding Album is just John and Yoko saying each others names for 22 minutes! No, I am NOT making that up. Ringo’s album was a noble effort. He wanted to record something for his mum. So it’s a bunch of show tunes and standard that Ringo sings the best he can. It’s actually a decent record considering the material and who is singing it.

1971 – The Doors – Other Voices
1972 – King Crimson – Earthbound
1973 – The Velvet Underground – Squeeze
1974 – Captain Beefheart – Bluejeans And Moonbeams

This is what happens when good bands go bad. Honest to goodness, the Doors released two albums AFTER Jim Morrison died with Ray Manzarek as lead singer. Can you imagine? Can you? I don’t even want to think about it. The King Crimson album is a live record documenting a tour of a band that had completely disintegrated, taped on a cassette machine without noise reduction. Nice sound, eh?

As for the Velvet Underground album, please not that this album did not include Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison or Mo Tucker. So basically, it’s not the Velvet Underground. It’s Doug Yule bastardizing the name for a cash-in that never happened. The Beefheart album was the good Captain trying to be commercial – well as commercial as he could be. He failed.

1975 – Keith Moon – Two Sides Of Moon
1976 – The Beach Boys – 15 Big Ones
1977 – Ringo Starr – Ringo The Fourth
1978 – Peter Criss – Peter Criss
1979 – Elton John – Victim Of Love
1980 – The Beach Boys – Keepin’ The Summer Alive

I guess Keith Moon was allowed to make a solo album since everyone else in the Who got to, as well. You know, he doesn’t even drum on some of it! 15 Big Ones was ultra-hyped as “Brian Wilson’s comeback”. It didn’t work out so well. It was a hit, but really it was a pretty schlocky record of covers and tepid originals. Ringo should have stopped making records in 1975, but doggone it, what is a drummer to do?

Peter Criss completes the drummer trifecta with an album that was, well, not good. Bad. Elton John hit a dry spell in the late 70s, and really, has only had a few good moments since then. The Beach Boys kept at it, as Brian withdrew more and more that only meant that Mike Love got more and more control – and you can tell. Pretty gnarly stuff.

1981 – Queen – Flash Gordon
1982 – Queen – Hot Space

Back to back bad ones from Queen, though there are some good ones sprinkled in here and there. Hot Space had “Pressure” on it. But Queen tried to be disco and totally failed on that album. And the soundtrack album was as bad as the movie.

1983 – Pantera – Metal Magic
1984 – David Bowie – Tonight
1985 – The Clash – Cut The Crap
1986 – Lou Reed – Mistrial
1987 – David Bowie – Never Let Me Down

The Pantera record is an anomaly. They had a different lineup and sound and focus. Pantera fans only have it for completions sake. David Bowie followed up all of his momentum of Let’s Dance with a pretty mediocre-to-bad album, wasting the good cut “Blue Jean” in the process. The Clash’s record is dismal, as Joe Strummer and Paul Simenon sacked Mick Jones and then proceeded to sound like a bad imitation of Big Audio Dynamite themselves.

Lou Reed’s solo career, really, has never added up to the legend that he is. Sometimes he tries to follow trends and sometimes he sounds like he doesn’t care. Here, it’s both. And once again, Bowie comes through with a totally banal record that has nothing to recommend it, really.

1988 – New Kids On The Block – Hangin’ Tough
1989 – Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead – Dylan And The Dead
1990 – MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em
1991 – Michael Bolton – Time, Love And Tenderness
1992 – The Beach Boys – Summer In Paradise

Well, I think there’s a lot of buyer’s remorse for NKOTB. It is what it is. As for Dylan and the Dead, you may be thinking, “Oh, no they didn’t!” when the sad truth is “Oh, yes they did!” I’ll have to agree, aside from “Can’t Touch This” that Hammer album is pretty darn bad. What is the first phrase that comes to mind regarding Michael Bolton. Um…that would be ‘no talent ass-clown’. And yes, that Beach Boys album has NO input from Brian Wilson at all, and Al Jardine was ‘suspended’ for most of the sessions. So, yeah, just guess…

1993 – Guns ‘n’ Roses – The Spaghetti Incident
1994 – AC – Everyone Should Be Killed
1995 – Black Sabbath – Forbidden

One day, Axl WILL release a new album of originals, but will we care anymore? We’ll see. AC is a vile band (and AC stands for something that I will NOT name) that may or may not be a joke and may or may not be seriously racist, sexist and anti-everything. They’ve released a lot of records, somehow, but I guess so did G. G. Allin. That Sabbath album is the worst record with Tony Martin as lead singer, and that’s saying something.

1996 – The Backstreet Boys – Backstreet Boys
1997 – The Backstreet Boys – Backstreet’s Back

Do I need to say anything?

1998 – Van Halen – Van Halen III

It’s not Gary Cherone’s fault, is it? Did you realize that Eddie Van Halen fired Michael Anthony and replaced him with his kid, Wolfgang? No kidding. But it’s not like Van Halen have done ANYTHING in years besides try to reunite with David Lee Roth.

1999 – Britney Spears - …Baby One More Time
2000 – Britney Spears – Oops!...I Did It Again

I think this was rated by all of the brothers of the little girls who HAD to buy these albums and played them incessantly for weeks on end. Oh, and they’re no doubt AWFUL as well.

2001 – Limp Bizkit – New Old Songs
2002 – Busted – Busted
2003 – Limp Bizkit – Results May Vary

Why would you need ANY Limp Bizkit album, much less a REMIX album? Yick! I had never heard of Busted before. My friends in the UK can no doubt fill me in on their awfulness. Yes, Fred Durst, you, my friend, suck. Case closed.

2004 – William Hung – Inspiration
2005 – Crazy Frog – Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits
2006 – Kevin Federline – Playing With Fire

Ah, yes, three albums that have no reason to exist.

Well, I think the raters have done a pretty solid job with this…product. Tomorrow I’ll look at the highest rated albums over the same time frame. That should be interesting.


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