FEATURE: Like a Broken Record: The Worst Albums Ever



Like a Broken Record


 PHOTO CREDIT: Unsplash 

The Worst Albums Ever


I am going to look at more serious and timely things…


 PHOTO CREDIT: Unsplash 

as the day ticks on but, looking back at my seven-year history; I don’t think I have ever assessed the worst records ever created! It sounds rather mean but, when you look back at all the fantastic albums that have been released through the decades, I wonder whether we ever consider the terrible records that, really, should not have seen the light of day (or were far beneath what we expected from that artist). I have been having a think and compiling selections from other sites, too; here is a rundown of those albums that critics all agree on: they are pretty darned naff!

ALL IMAGES: Getty Images



Lou Reed Metal Machine Music

Release Date: July 1975

Label: RCA Records

Critical Review:

Lou Reed’s private obsession or a tired joke? Reed’s always claimed that MMM was a misunderstood recording that pushed the envelope of classical music. Since its 1975 release, critics have generally argued over the sincerity of this, or whether it was just a record label “fuck you” and a load of ear-shredding noise that’s impossible to sit through.

Truth is, we’re in neither camp. Recorded by manipulating a feedback explosion spewing forth from two amps sat next to two guitars, the album has its moments of hypnotic beauty. You can, if you really want to, hear anything from birdsong to ice cream trucks in its loops” – Record Collector


Duran Duran Thank You

Release Date: 4th April, 1995

Labels: Parlophone/EMI; Capitol (U.S.)

Critical Review:

An album of Duran Duran covering their "influences" was never something even the most dedicated fan wanted to hear, yet the band had the audacity to record Thank You, a collection of the group's favorite songs. Featuring songwriters as diverse as Bob Dylan and Sly StoneThank You works best when the band realizes the monumental silliness of its cover, as on "White Lines," which is performed with Grandmaster Flash himself, and the acoustic blues rendition of Public Enemy's "911 Is a Joke." Or it works when the band can reinvent material like Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" into a slick MOR ballad. When Thank You doesn't work, it's because the band doesn't quite get what made the original version special ("Lay Lady Lay" and "Watching the Detectives")” - AllMusic


The Enemy Streets in the Sky

Release Date: 21st May, 2012

Labels: Cooking Vinyl; eOne Music

Critical Review:

Fifteen minutes into the third album from The Enemy and already I'm feeling dangerous. I feel sulphuric. I am a creature. I am a planet killer. My nice Italian flatmate is singing in the next room and all I want to do is hurt him. If I strangle him, say, I will probably cry throughout. SOS, Mayday, Tom Clarke is screaming but no one is listening. I wave from the shore. I feel as though I've been left alone with you, Clarkey. This is a low point in British guitar music. For pity's sake, deliver us from evil” – Drowned in Sound


Limp Bizkit Results May Vary

Release Date: 23rd September, 2003

Labels: Flip; Interscope

Critical Review:

They are also that bit more insistent than their scores of imitators. Durst demands to be heard, and on Results May Vary, he goes to any lengths to make sure he is. If he's not blasting out the speakers on the generic Gimme the Mic, he is sulking "Nobody knows what it's like to be hated" on a slo-mo version of the Who's Behind Blue Eyes.

At least Limp Bizkit can't be accused of festering in the rap-rock ghetto: Durst's moody aggression adapts to gothic gloom (Underneath the Gun), Bon Jovian bubble-rock (Build a Bridge) and old-school funk (Red Light, Green Light, featuring a supremely sleepy Snoop Dogg).

But Durst's problems are ever-present - and does anybody still care?” – The Guardian


Dirty Vegas One

Release Date: 18th October, 2004

Label: Parlophone

Critical Review:

This English trio’s self-titled 2002 debut made the combination of dance beats and rock guitars feel surprisingly cozy and calm. It also won a Grammy and sold a million copies, aided by Mitsubishi’s TV campaign using “Days Go By.” Still, it was snapping street-punk compared to the follow-up. Pinpointing the worst element here is tricky: The hokey tunes of a million AOR nightmares? Or the jarringly stupid lyrics (on “Walk Into the Sun,” overly earnest singer Steve Smith informs, “Lately, I’ve been feeling different/Like I’ve come from outer space”)? Oh, but let’s not ignore the sound; less like, say, Underworld than Richard Marx being persuaded by his accountant to go electronic. If this exhaustingly awful album repeats its predecessor’s success, the world will seem more confusing than ever” - Blender


The Chainsmokers Memories…Do Not Open

Release Date: 7th April, 2017

Label: Parlophone

Critical Review:

“…The female singers all sound like a Sia guide vocal for Rihanna; the men mostly simper shallow emo-EDM cliches about failing relationships. Eventually everything sounds the same - the more you hear the less there is to listen to. This is Trump-pop: shallow, always betraying its influences, with a third-grade vocabulary and ambition that runs no further than emptying the nearest wallet” – The Guardian


Charlie Puth Nine Track Mind

Release Date: 29th January, 2016

Label: Atlantic

Critical Review:

Puth cannot fill this frame of sentimentality with any genuine sentiment: The album’s emotional range covers the spectrum from light longing to light infatuation, contributing to the overall sense that Nine Track Mind is aimed exclusively at hairlessness: children, prepubescents, the discomfitingly waxed” - Pitchfork


Bob Dylan Self Portrait

Release Date: 8th June, 1970

Label: Columbia

Critical Review:

To say the least, it's confusing, especially arriving at the end of a decade of unmitigated brilliance, and while the years have made it easier to listen to, it still remains inscrutable, an impossible record to unlock. It may not be worth the effort, either, since this isn't a matter of deciphering cryptic lyrics or interpreting lyrics, it's all about discerning intent, figuring out what the hell Dylan was thinking when he was recording -- not trying to decode a song” - AllMusic


Spice Girls Forever

Release Date: 1st November, 2000

Label: Virgin

Critical Review:

As if guided by focus groups, tracks like ”Wasting My Time” and ”Let Love Lead the Way” could be any urban radio girl group. Every genre cliché, from homogenized harmonies to delicately plucked stringed instruments to male rapper interjections, is securely in place. The music is so tasteful, restrained, and assembly line proficient that it makes early singles like ”Say You’ll Be There” sound like the rawest punk rock” – Entertainment Weekly


Westlife …Allow Us to Be Frank

Release Date: 8th November, 2004

Labels: Song BMG; RCA

Critical Review:

Having never expressed any interest in the genre before, Allow Us to Be Frank, clever puns aside, feels like a lazy and unimaginative cash-in from a band who, thanks to covers of tracks by Barry ManilowCliff Richard, and Phil Collins, aren't exactly renowned for their cutting-edge invention” - Rovi


The Clash Cut the Crap

Release Date: 4th November, 1985

Label: Epic

Critical Review:

“…too much of Cut the Crap is Strummer's angst running on automatic, superficially ferocious but ultimately stiff and unconvincing” – Rolling Stone


Chris Cornell Scream

Release Date: 10th March, 2009

Labels: Mosley; Suretine

Critical Review:

The idea of Cornell's sex-god wail over Timbaland's mechanized funk is appealing. But "Scream" draws out the worst tendencies in both of them. The icy remove of Timbaland's third-string beats here makes Cornell's lyrics like "Pain and suffering. Will come to those. When I get even." feel cartoonish, while Timbaland's vocal processing sucks the elastic virility from Cornell's voice. "Never Far Away" somehow indulges the grievous ballad excesses of both Akon and Daughtry simultaneously. Only the slinky "Ground Zero" arrives at incendiary friction.

After a recovery in the minor leagues, Ankiel made a successful return as an outfielder. Fans of inventive pop and rock music can only hope that both Timbaland and Cornell have similar comebacks in them” – Los Angeles Times


Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill Acoustic

Release Date: 10th March, 2009

Labels: Maverick; Warner Bros.

Critical Review:

It’s just a shame the new recordings are so damn anemic. I suppose the album was tailor-made for the java-sipping on-the-go types who frequent Starbucks, which is selling Pill exclusively for six weeks (much to the chagrin of traditional retail outlets across the country). We wouldn’t want to overexcite them, what with all the caffeine running through their veins. But I just can’t imagine rushing home to listen to this, and even if I did, it certainly wouldn’t wake my parents up” - SLANT