Friday, September 21, 2007

Weekend Listomania (Give 'Em Enough Rope Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are booked on a flight to Las Vegas, where we will be having a clandestine rendezvous with some vendors of possibly suspect sports memorabilia. Hop-Sing tells me one of the dealers starred in the Naked Gun movies, so naturally I'm beside myself with the thought of meeting that silver fox Leslie Nielsen. In any case, posting by moi will necessarily be sporadic until we return.

In the meantime, here's a little puzzler for you:

Worst Album Ever Made by a (Theoretically) Important Pop/Rock Artist!!!!!!

You know -- an album so skull-crushingly annoying and/or stupid that it's very existence is an assault on human dignity. Or else one that just sorta sucks in a "what where they thinking?" kind of way.

My totally top of my head Top Seven:

7. Elvis Costello -- Almost Blue (Almost dreck is more like it)

6. U2 -- Zooropa (Note to Bono, the Edge, et al: If you feel the overwhelming need to totally reinvent yourself, break up and start a new band)

5. Bob Dylan -- Self Portrait (although the version of "The Boxer," where Dylan duets with himself in his protest era and "Nashville Skyline" voices is pretty funny)

4. Elvis Presley -- Having Fun With Elvis on Stage (I know it's shooting fish in a barrel, but still...)

3. Lou Reed -- Metal Machine Music (ditto)

2. Paul McCartney -- just about any record he made from the late 70s till now (although the current album is kind of cute)

and last but not least --

1. Guns N' Roses -- Use Your Illusion I and II

Why does UYI suck? Well, for starters, the songs seem endless (see "November Rain," whose nine minutes feel more like ninety). The production's a subaquatic mess. Axl's vocals, when they're not so over the top they sound like a Jim Brewer parody, suggest the yowlings of a meth-crazed ferret but without the charm. Slash's vaunted guitar moves are mostly anemic sounding and/or cliche squiggles (Slash, you're no Johnny Thunders if you know what I mean). And the overall theme and feel of the thing is best described as a gigantic pre-adolescent temper tantrum; it's less the sound of a band than that of a bratty two year old banging on a highchair. In short, UYI is awful on multiple levels, with numerous demerits added for the chutzpah of releasing it as seperate albums rather than a double (and we all know that as a rule most double albums suck).

So -- over to you, kids. What's your worst?


Anonymous said...

The Rolling Stones' "Their Satanic Majesties Request."

Mick, just stay away from acid, 'kay?

steve simels said...

BG -- I actually like that album a lot.

"2000 Man" is one of my all-time fave Stones songs.

dave™© said...

"2000 Light Years" is pretty good, too...

And "Citadel". The Damned did a great cover of that!

Anonymous said...

And She's A, that's sweet stuff.

In no particular odor:

1. Goodbye Cruel World - Elvis Costello (decent songs with awful 1984 arrangement and a lackluster performance)

2. anything by the Beach Boys after Love You

3. Cut The Crap - The Clash (a Clash record in name only)

4. anything by Rod Stewart post 1972

5. Mardis Gras - CCR (the album that gets picked on plenty)

6. Everybody's Rockin' - Neil Young

7. Synchronicity - The Police (one of my favorite bands growing up, but man, did/do I hate this record)

danny1959 said...

Anything by Sting. Boy did he get pretentious. BTW Axl Rose's screeching always ruined G&R for me, so no loss.

Anonymous said...

I always thought "Down in the Groove" was actually much worse than "Self Portrait." As for the Stones, I'd have to say it's a tioe between "Emotional Rescue" and "Dirty Work." The Who's "Face Dances" and "It's Hard" were also pretty embarrassing. CSN&Y didn't do anybody any favors with "American Dream," and Van Morrison had a bunch in the 80s and 90s that he should apologize for, including "Beautiful Vision," "No Guru," and few others not worth mentioning.

TMink said...

Steve, I agree completely with your points about Use Your Illusion. Too shorten your point, it had too much Axl. They all did as far as I am concerned.

Don't forget that horrible Marvin Gaye album, the one he had to do to give the money to his ex wife, Here, My Dear.

Or how about those records released after Hendrix died where the Experience parts were stripped and some Swedish yokels recorded over them? Not Jimi's fault, but those suck in that they exist the way they do.

Others mentioned I disagree with, but then it is hard for me to find fault with Elvis (the one with the glasses who has not yet died on the throne.)


NYMary said...

steve, I am shocked--shocked, I tells ya!--that you are not a *Back to the Egg* fan! When a man can't write love songs to salamanders, what is the world coming to?

Anonymous said...

Pink Floyd's "The Final Cut" is pretty dire...but the track "Two Suns in the Sunset" redeems it.

Joe Jackson's "Will Power" is pretentious, overblown and unlistenable.

That album Bowie did after "Let's Dance" is execrable.

Klaatu's "Endangered Species" is mighty weak.

The Cavedogs' second album is a real misfire, coming after the brilliant "Joyrides for Shut-ins."

The Monkees' "Instant Replay"...bad.

Zappa's "The Man From Utopia" never gets a spin at my place.

REM's "Monster." Yawn.

Alex Chilton's "Like Flies on Sherbet."

Love's "False Start" is just that.

John & Yoko's "Some Time in NYC"...what can I say?

Traffic's "Welcome to the Canteen" is a snooze.

George Harrison's "Gone Troppo." 'Nuf said.

Firesign Theatre's "Not Insane" lacks their usual sharp focus.

The Tubes' "Love Bomb" is just plain awful.

I could go on.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes -- and I say this as a lifelong Dylan fan -- he's made MUCH worse albums than Self-Portrait.

Down in the Groove
Knocked-Out Loaded (what does that even mean??)
the second 'Christian' album (can't even remember the title)

John Lennon - Sometime In New York City: going political doesn't mean you have to jettison your lyrical and melodic talents, but that's exactly what John did on this tuneless piece of crap; an unlistenable 'jam' record just made it worse.

I LIKED Almost Blue. But anything with Costello's name on it since 1990 can go on the list.

No room here to list all the crappy Grateful Dead albums (and again, I say that as a lifelong Dead fan). Let's just say, between 1974 and 1987, the studio was NOT their friend.

Can't forget "McCartney II". Or "Red Rose Speedway" -- ugh. "Oh, lazeeee dynamiiiite" - how about one fucking lazy superstar?

Patti Smith's late 80s sort-of comeback album -- the one with "People Have the Power" on it -- is pretty damn embarrassing. No wonder she re-retired for another decade.

Oh, there's just so so many....

Anonymous said...

I vote for Dylan's "Under a Red Sky." Need I say any more than "Wiggle Wiggle"?


Anonymous said...

6. Everybody's Rockin' - Neil Young

Oh, yeah, boring as hell, plus that fact that, IIRC, it's less than a half-hour long....

shrimplate said...

I guess it's safe to say that Duran Duran's 2nd album Rio shouldn't be mentioned on this list. Of course it blows totally, but they weren't and still aren't "an important band."

If that was the only music in the world, I would gladly donate my ears to medical research. Before I died. Way before.

Anonymous said...

Will Rigby (dB's) "Sidekick Phenomena" is execrable.

and I thought EC's "Goodbye Cruel World" should have been named "Jump Off the Cliff Already"

Cleveland Bob said...

I'll probably take some heat for this, but most everything by Led Zeppelin and specifically Houses of the Holy.

I. Hate. Led. Zeppelin.

Anonymous said...

I love 'Almost Blue'-- I danced naked in my kitchen many-a-night to that record, I even bought it again when they released the extended version...

I also love Chet Baker's version of the song 'Almost Blue' on the soundtrack for 'Let's Get Lost.' I love that album.

I don't know artists well enough to know the bad records (if artists I love make one, I just don't listen to it & soon forget its existence).

steve simels said...

whiskey girl said...
I love 'Almost Blue'-- I danced naked in my kitchen many-a-night to that record, I even bought it again when they released the extended version...


Jeez...I think it's the single worst white guy , hell, anything guy -- just crap --

oh, it's just awful.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of does that McCartney video/song/album blow!

Anonymous said...

I like Almost Blue as well. I read a review that tore it to shreds when it was first released, perhaps it was your review Steve, and so I avoided it for years. When I finally heard it at some point in the '90's I enjoyed it. Granted it's not close to being his best, but certainly not his worst.


Mister Pleasant said...

I'm late to the party, but here are a few thoughts on my part.

The Rolling Stones' "..Satanic Majesties.." always seems to crop up on bad album lists, but I don't buy it. May have been a dead end direction for them, but as many have pointed out there are lots of wonderful moments.

Yeah "Red Rose Speedway" sucks out loud. But I'd like to see someone give McCartney a break. Yeah he got lazy, but hell, how many living or dead rollers have written a song as good as "Hey Jude" or "Drive My Car". I'm just sayin'...

I avoid albums by groups well past their prime, so I have only a few worst albums by major acts to add:

"Soap Opera" - The Kinks
"Farther Along" - The Byrds
"Look Hear?" - 10cc

Padre Mickey said...

"Love Beach" by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
Just terrible

wacocrimatty said...

There has been a lot of Elvis Costello thrown around here, but worse than Almost Blue (which has Good Year for the Roses that somewhat redeems that disk--and turned me onto Gram Parsons) is SPIKE. From the Man who's first three disks are some of the best ever comes Cats, Claws and Paws. That is Dreck.