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1:17 p.m. - January 26, 2008
The WORST 25 Albums I Have Rated
Usually, if I buy a record, I know I’m going to like it. At least I’ve heard one or two songs. In the past, I used to buy albums based on reviews and comparisons, but now thanks to iTunes and allmusic, I’ve been able to ‘try before I buy’.

But alas, sometimes, in being a total completist, or in not doing enough due diligence, I screw up and make ill-fated purchases.

Also, I’ve been able to listen to albums before buying them thanks to friends (yes, I have them…) and sometimes those records have underwhelmed me enough that I avoid purchasing them.

So, using my list on Rate Your Music, I’ve compiled my bottom 25 albums that I’ve rated. Some of these were mistakes when I had faith in an artist and was disappointed. Some of these were just byproducts of completism. And some just were “WTF?” moments.

And again, some I never bought, but my pocketbook was saved by listening before I bought.

(In seeing these lists, since funds are now tight in the Smed household until someone buys house #2, then I need to update some ratings.)

So, here are my bottom 25 rated albums!

25. Tin Machine - Tin Machine. Oh, Lord. Remember this abomination? David Bowie, sensing his solo career had about had it, joined forces with some decent musicians (The Sales brothers and Reeves Gabriels) and made loud rock and roll that was just embarrassing. There was no center, no cohesion – just confusion. Oh, it was awful. Ok, maybe not awful, but it was a mess. Somehow, they made two more albums that I totally avoided.

24. Van Halen - 5150. The beginning of “Van Hager featuring Sammy Headache” and the end of the line for me. You know, Sammy did say “only time will tell / if we stand the test of time.” That’s about as deep as he gets. Too much tequila at Cabo, I think. Eddie should have forgotten the synthesizer existed, and should have just waited for Diamond Dave to stop trying to be Mr. Vegas.

23. Neil Young - Greendale. Young has released good albums. Young has released mediocre albums. But I chose this one to be on the list because it garnered some good reviews and I tried and tired, but never got it. It told a long, convoluted story with a bunch of samey sounding songs. It was staged, even, as a stand alone piece. I tried, I really tried. But nope, I don’t think it’s good.

22. Elvis Costello - Goodbye Cruel World. It’s not the songs that are the problem. OK, some of the songs are weak. But the production is lame, and he was gunning to make a hit record and not doing what he does best. So it’s a collection of lame sounding drivel for the most part with one or two decent songs thrown in there.

21. Bob Dylan – Under The Red Sky. Oh, Mercy was a heck of a comeback for Dylan after an 80’s filled with blah albums, and he squandered it with this messy, unfocused record. He had nothing to say, but decided to say it anyway. Self Portrait was probably worse, but at least he put some heart into it. Here, he had nothing.

20. Fear - More Beer. In a contest to see how lame, unfunny, and misogynistic a punk rock record could be, Fear took the cake. Sure, there were other bands that pushed the envelope even further, but they had at least a little sense of humor. Here, not as such. Plus, the songs were bad.

19. The Three O’Clock - Vermillion. I LOVE early Three O’Clock. Prince is a great artist as well. But putting them together was a mistake. This had none of the original sparkle and psychedelic guitar trappings of the Three O’Clock, and was just a record made to get a hit. And “Neon Telephone”, written by Prince under a pseudonym, didn’t hit.

18. Pussy Galore - Dial M For M*****F******. I read a lot about this band in the early 90’s. They were pushing envelopes and trying to deconstruct rock and roll. Well, I bought this record to see what the fuss was all about, and I just couldn’t figure it out. I have a tolerance for a lot of stuff, and this just flew way over my head. It was too much of people thinking they were smarter than you playing dumb and shocking for shock sake.

17. Liz Phair - Liz Phair. You know, you were better and hotter when you didn’t try to get on the radio, Liz. Now, you’re just an oldster like me, but you’re pandering. And just because your early songs were frank about sex, doesn’t mean you have to force it.

16. Judas Priest - Priest….Live!. I saw a show on this tour (it was the Turbo tour. Fuel for life, as it were). It was a heck of a show – it sounded great and had a lot of energy and excitement. How they translated that into these four lame pieces of vinyl I’ll never know. Unleashed In The East is the live Priest to own. Just stay away from this dead piece of crud.

15. Wham! - Fantastic. This was a cassette that I received through Columbia House because I needed to fill out the gold boxes that Dick Clark commanded me to do so. Before they made it big, they tried to be white boy rappers at times. No, really, they did. They tried. Just bad.

14. Brian Wilson - Imagination. Wilson’s solo stuff has its moments, and on first listen, this had moments. But repeated listening revealed a shallowness, a sameness, and a lack of energy that was covered over by overproduction. I’m rating it this low because of what could have been, I guess.

13. The Cult - Ceremony. In one of my great buying sprees, I picked up Badmotorfinger, Nevermind, and Trompe Le Monde. Oh, and this. The Cult were always full of it, really, but they at least had energy and riffs and some great tunes. Here, they really put themselves behind a concept, and it failed. And thus, the Cult started on their long slide into “remember them” status.

12. The Beastie Boys - Some Old B***S***. I thought about not including this here, but they released it, and I bought it. The Beasties were originally a punk rock band, then released “Cookie Puss” before becoming the Beastie Boys as we know them. There are only a couple of glimmers, and a lot of bad recording and punk-by-numbers. And “Cookie Puss” is funny once or twice, but that’s it.

11. Wa Wa Nee - Wa Wa Nee. All I had heard was “Sugarfree”, and I was determined to own that, somehow. I found the CD used, and thank goodness, because aside from one other track, the rest was horrific.

10. Indecent Obsession - Indecent Obsession. All I had heard was “Tell Me Something”, and I bought this on cassette. The rest was horrific, and now I don’t even have that song in my catalog because I can’t find it online.

9. Duran Duran - Seven And The Ragged Tiger. I loved Rio, and liked their debut self-titled album. So I was anticipating this with great fervor. Moose received it as a Christmas present. I went over to listen to it. I. Was. Appalled. I had hoped the rest of it was better than “Union Of The Snake” but I was sorely disappointed. Sorely. Of course, the little girls loved it, but that was it. And I bet they didn’t try to understand the lyrics, because they were indescribably dense and obtuse, like a 15-year old who thinks they understand Sartre, Rimabud, Proust, and Kirkegaard.

8. Prong - Scorpio Rising. One rule of thumb that we all should remember is never buy an album by a band that has gotten back together after a number of years. Face it, would you want the new Styx or Journey record? Well, Prong got back together, and since they were the reason I have my tat, I bought it. Awful on all counts.

7. When In Rome - When In Rome. Another rule of thumb – never buy a CD just to get one song for a mix – even if you bought it used. “The Promise” was a hit, but it wasn’t even that good, and the rest? Piffle.

6. The Clash - Cut The Crap. Yes, this is crap. Total crap. Joe Strummer lost his mind. Who would have thought that Mick Jones was the force that kept the band on track.

5. Chicago - Chicago At Carnegie Hall: Volumes I, II, III, & IV. They were audacious enough to release double albums for their first three albums, and those records did have some great, lasting songs. Yet, this one was WAY over the top. They stretched songs well past their breaking point, introduced cliché upon cliché, and it sounded like it was recorded in Schenectady.

4. Boston - Third Stage. Remember, Epic Records sued Tom Scholz because he took forever to get Boston’s third album ready for release. So this was much anticipated. And it was…lame. The only song with any drive was “Cool The Engines” and even that was flaccid. “Amanda” was the hit, and boy, was that awful. Fortunately, I never heard the other albums they released.

3. Fastway - All Fired Up. Frankly, I only had this because it was the only way to get the debut record by this group. This has none of the good points of Fastway and all of the gunk and excess. No wonder they sunk like a stone.

2. Pink Floyd - The Final Cut. I, along with most of my generation, anxiously awaited this album. They had a huge premier of three videos on MTV. And right after the premiere, I said to myself, “This, this is not good.” And then Moose had a cassette of the album. Only “Not Now John” was redeemable – the rest was Roger Waters at his mopetastic worst, and that’s saying a lot.

1. Wings - Red Rose Speedway. “My Love” was the single, and it never got any better than that. Only “Big Barn Bed” was decent, and of course, McCartney had to construct a medley at the end because he had small snippets of unfinished songs that he had lying around. The bonus tracks are better than every cut on the album – trust me!

There you go, my personal list of the worst 25 albums that I have rated. I’m sure there are worse out there – but thankfully I have shielded my ears from them. But now, I am going to listen to a Hannah Montana CD with Katie, so this may be out of date as soon as I publish it…


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