Yes, another year is over and yes it’s time for another Worst of List. I don’t know if it’s old age (55) or that 2012 had more than it’s share of bad music. It may be that I’ve become more discerning or that I no longer have the patience for noise that is meant to be called legitimate music. I mean, where’s the talent and the skill? As Mrs. Slocum would famously say, “It’s weak, weak as water!”
1) Fortune – Chris Brown: How do I say this nicely…To quote Verlaine, this is a “heavenly praline” in its worst form. I thought Mr. Brown had hit rock bottom with the single “Don’t Wake Me Up”. I mean after 3 cocktails and repeated listens, Chris imploded into my ears and the results were immediately and repeatedly disastrously unbearable. That was until I listened to the rest of the album. It’s always the same song. I’d like to shoot the person who invented AutoTune! Nothing on this CD is salvageable. What a waste of plastic! This one literally went straight into the trash. I couldn’t in good conscience sell this one on for another person to listen to. And to think this is labeled R&B. It’s an insult to all the great singers to ever have graced that genre.
2) Overexposed – Maroon 5: OMG! How did such a good dance-pop band fall so low? The CD title says it all. ‘What a great biting self commentary’ I thought. ‘This must mean they understand the criticism from their recent activity and are going to correct it.’ I was really hopeful. With this new release, they became irritating and unbearable, the song’s structures are duller than ever, the production is as cheesy as it gets and the lyrics are based on the most laughable of the common place you can think of, achieving a whole new level of shallow. Maroon 5 has ceased being a band, but just a vehicle for Adam Levine’s vanity.
3) The 2nd Law – Muse: I like Muse. I had great hopes. The 2nd Law was simply staggering…staggeringly BAD! I honestly had a lot of fun listening to this – I was in awe of the gall of this band. Not surprising, then, that this album provoked more of an emotional response out of me than many others this year, emotions that manifested themselves physically in some way – A grunt of disgust, a condescending eye roll, a head scratch, a cringe of humiliation and (most frequently) riotous laughter. Matt Bellamy has finally lost his mind. This is an over-the-top wanker, it’s almost impossible to believe a sane person did this. Someone mentioned that most of the time, Bellamy sounds like Marc Almond doing a Freddie Mercury impersonation. I tend to agree. The sad result sounds like a parody of Muse, a parody of Queen, a parody of Radiohead, a parody of music.
4) Black Flute – Keepaway: Oh god, I hate the vocals. In addition to that, the lyrics are absolutely atrocious. These songs are blander than powdered milk from a dystopian future. In addition to that, I don’t hear no frekkin’ flute anywhere in this recording. Maybe they auto-tuned a broken flute to make those vocals? That would be pretty cool neoclassical-psychedelia, I guess. Nah, this is all black, no flute. A singularity of poop in audio form and I am most unanimous in that! Oh yeah, it’s 2012 going on 2013. I’m a little afraid now…that stuff like this is still released. Did I say no flute?
5) Push and Shove – No Doubt: Not that I’ve been a long time No Doubt fan or anything like that, but I was really disappointed in this CD…disappointed that it was much worse that I could have imagined. Did we REALLY need this album? No Doubt is one of those bands that better reside in our memories much like the Missing Persons. Pop, Pop, Pop and Pop…That is what this album is all about. Where, oh, where is the edge? What I used to love about Gwen Stephani was her attitude, but this is two steps away from Jessica Simpson’s grunts during labor. I would like to take all the copies I could find of this disc and throw them into the air to use them to practice skeet shooting. Unfortunately, you will be seeing this CD in the 3-4-$1 used bins, collecting dust.
6) Anarchy, My Dear – Say Anything: The demise of Alternative Rock has been coming for years; by with the release of “Anarchy, My Dear”, that genre is certainly beginning to take its final death rattles. This CD is so trite and the songs so vapid. “I once courted a boy, He looked a lot like me, But his eyelids were destroyed, And his pupils, Kept sucking on, Data files like noodles” Really? Oooooooo, I’m so scared now! True anarchists don’t go around shout shite like this before they terrorize. They just blow themselves up and this is what should happen to this band. In the new digital age, anyone can put out music – Oh! How I long for the old days when records companies had the sole power to drop bands like this, melt their vinyl and let them fade into oblivion.
7) Relapse – Ministry: Once upon a time, there was a once-famous new wave-ish turned industrial metal band that decided to retire because they were rich and couldn’t write anymore good music. After they’d realized nobody gave a shite that they were gone, they decided that the appropriate action to take would be to reform and write a shitty, plastered together album full of predictable and generic elements that once made them notorious in the first place. It sucked, disappointed about 43 people. Everybody else, except for some over-aging Goths, continued to not give a frekkin’ damn. Let this once great band die. The End.
8) Covered – Macy Gray: I love Macy Gray. It takes a lot of listening fortitude to both be able to listen to her CDs and to understand where she’s coming from. Wow! This album is just wrong in so many ways. It’s a CD full of covers. Which in itself is not a bad idea, but her approach to these songs seem to feel like she’s in a holding pattern or a career impasse. There is limpness to the covers and she brings nothing exciting or new to the original arrangements. “Here Comes the Rain Again” is treated to a slowed down tempo and her vocals make the song nearly unrecognizable. Some covers should be left alone – Her version of Radiohead’s “Creep” is well…just plain creepy and wrong. If I were Tom Yorke, I would file a cease and desist order preventing her from doing this song in concert. All is not lost though – Macy put out another cover album, this time covering Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book LP in its entirety. Fortunately, that one is pretty good.
9) Kings & Thieves – Geoff Tate: Ok, so I may be very loyal to Pacific Northwest bands and artists. Most of the time, I am rewarded for my loyalty. So after all the infighting within the Qüeensryche ranks, I had to know how things would shake down. Kings and Thieves is Geoff Tate’s first CD after the split. OK, I wanted to believe Geoff was handed a raw deal by the ‘Ryche guys, but…Avoid this album at all costs! This band and album sounds if it had been thrown together too quickly. The songs are terrible, ill-formed and the music is dreadfully uninspired! I counted how many times the phrase “I’d Take a Bullet” was repeated in the song of the same name by the now bald-headed Tate. I counted 26 times in 3:47 and one improvised “a bullet” so I think that should count as 27 times. What is this song called again? Who in the Hell is at the control board? The production is atrocious. This really gives Prog Metal Rock a bad name.
10) Havoc and Bright Lights – Alanis Morissette: Mid-stream is a horrific place to be if you’re an artist. Which side of the river should she go? Alanis Morissette’s new album is the absolute embodiment of the “Middle”. No perils, no possibilities, no vitality. Sure the songs are immaculately produced and Alanis’ voice is in top form, but where is her soul? Has wedded bliss and motherhood tamed her inner fire? Her lyrics in the past could be a little esoteric; at least they were sincere and adult. Here, she’s regressed to the simplistic. Maybe, I’m being too hard. If this was a new artist or band, it would probably be heard as promising. But we’re talking a veteran, Grammy award winner who should have known better. I’ve not given up on Alanis, but she’s on notice that she’s treading on thin ice.
Also on the dishonorable list: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – Nicki Minaj; Spark Seeker – Matisyahu; Sounds from Nowheresville – The Ting Tings; ¡Dos! – Green Day, Living Things – Linkin Park; MDNA – Madonna; Battle Born – The Killers; Oxidation – Prurient; Born Villain – Marilyn Manson; Year of the Dragon – Busta Rhymes