Inspired by the combination of some truly awful records and a recurring feature on Videogum, editor Joe Puglisi proves that even criminally awful albums can inspire us... to seek out which of them is the worst.
Hello sports fans! Just kidding, I don't know nearly enough about 'balling to talk shop. You're talking to the guy who giggles when football announcers talk about "defensive penetration." But I know you like music, because why else would you be procrastinating at work/school by watching our wonderful selection of forty-plus-minute-long-free-streaming concerts? But just so you know we have writing too, and it is very grammatically good, because I write it. Well, some of it. And I've decided that we need to take a step back from our snobbery and say to ourselves; what makes an album "good?" I mean, what is the difference between For Emma
and Merriweather Post Pavilion
? Great albums always boil down to a matter of taste. One mans animal-electro-improv-fantasy is anothers nonsensical noise nightmare. We fight a lot! BUT there is something we can totally all agree on, and that is the god-awful schlopp that is out there! not only is it existent but it sees commercial release and sells! Well, sometimes it sells. Sometimes it settles in the FYE bargain bin and starts a family with Michael Buble covers of TV theme songs. The circle of life.
But Bad records exist, and it is our job to find the absolute worst of them (note: not at all our jobs, in fact kind of the opposite of our jobs). So I've decided to sacrifice at least an hour or two of my happiness and sanity every once in a while to embark on a dangerous, life-threatening mission to
the top of Mt. Doom
the internet to
destroy the ring
listen to bad music. I am going to find the worst album of all time! And then I'm going to throw it into Mt. Doom.
I think we might need some rules.
1. It must have a commercial release.
Look, it would be easy to find the crummiest DAT recording of your band from high school covering Barbara Streisand, that is not the point here. We need things that people actually bought, or at least had the opportunity to buy IN A STORE and not behind the gym during recess.
2. The album must have had at least, the potential, or the money, to succeed.
I want the truly tragic, the stars-turned-losers and major-label-money-grabbers. The blog darling hype-balloons that popped. The celebrity nightmare bands. Hamlet
in CD form. Everybody dies at the end.
3. It cannot be intentionally bad or funny.
No mock bands. The ultimate winner must have taken themselves seriously enough for us to suffer while listening.
4.It cannot be Kidz Bop.
Or any cover albums. I only want painfully original material.
So those are the (maybe not final) rules! You can add to the nominations. Send all your horrible album picks to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your worst records. I'll try to announce nominees as I glue my ears back on from this first one. What's that? I can't hear you, I don't have ears anymore. This will be hard! Let's begin.
The Worst Record Of All Time
What could be worse than a vanity project by someone with more money than Russia, is notoriously promiscuous, AND actually has real producers attached to the project, and only sings about how all the boys drool around her, and can't even sing? Well, that sums it up. But first, let's discuss the most popular of the singles. It wasn't that terrible! Oh wait, yes it was.
Today's nominee: Paris Hilton, Paris
Ugh. Just ugh. I think a good indication of how horrible this forty minutes of one's life really might be comes right at the first utterance of Paris
. The words are "[groan]/That's Hot/[groan]/Scott Storch." Her first word isn't even a word, it is just a "sexy noise." This whole album is just trying to be a sexy noise. No. It sounds more like a well produced gargling-listerine noise. Or a well produced eating-some-pie noise. Or a blowing-your-nose noise. Yuck, "Turn It Up." This song is a poor man's Britney Spears.
Oh lordy, the lyrics on "Fight Ova' Me" seriously got me LOLing like watching Nick Jr. after a bottle of peach schnapps. She says she is "hot to death," which normal English speaking tells us doesn't mean anything, except maybe an A/C malfunction. The songwriter couldn't form a culturally accepted slang euphemism for "foxy," even after given the criteria of including "hot?" Who is the songwriter by the way? I'd like to poison the next piece of cake they eat. Really, who filled the order for ten songs with the instructions: "talk about how hot I am, and sex, and maybe try to emulate every successful female pop star, but very poorly?" Beethoven is rolling over in his grave, or something.
"Stars Are Blind," the song that spent all of 2007 and some of 2008 at number one of the Billboard Hot 100 (nope), is just terrible. It's a poor man's Gwen Stefani. It actually contains the lyric "those other guys that wanna' take me for a ride/but when I walk there's talk of suicide." REALLY? No, really, men are killing themselves because Paris is denying them? Or is it suicide because she continues to walk, i.e. exist? Or is "walk" in there and "suicide" because they rhyme and for no other reason? I asked my friend Wikipedia who wrote the lyrics, but the names listed as songwriters on some of the tracks include Paris Hilton, and then I killed myself.
"Jealousy?" Poor man's Kelly Clarkson. "Heartbeat?" Poor man's Cyndi Lauper remake. See a pattern? The tragedy here is that it is more than likely several half-way decent songwriters made some almost catchy songs that just needed the right person at the other end to make them rich and famous and sex, and instead they took dirty Hilton money and were stuck with an airy dribbling of a vocalist and (gross) sex, AND SHE HELPED THEM WRITE IT. The part when she compares witnessing a male orgasm to a drum in her heart sent me to the ICU with a Bic pen lodged in my brain. With the cap on.
But let's stop here (before that happens) and take a step back. The fundamental issue with Paris Hilton CANNOT be over-sexing her record, because all rock stars do so times a million. OK. I think the tragic flaw here is celebrity breeding music, and not the other way around. Hilton is famous for her money and her childish party-ways, and thus an album of songs about her appeal to the 18-24 male demographic will only appeal to, well, no one. This isn't the worst record ever, my friend even admitted he (yes HE) bought it on iTunes. To be fair, it was with a gift certificate, just proving that the only way ANYONE would actually pay for this music is inadvertently. Next! -joe puglisi
Send in your nominations! In the meantime I'll be busy looking for my thumb, which I gnawed off about two paragraphs ago while listening to "Screwed," which is SO meta because that is exactly how I felt. Thanks for stopping by.