10 Great Songs on Terrible Albums

 

It’s inevitable, your favourite band, at some point, will announce a new album. After months of blood, sweat and tears, late night studio sessions, and promises of the new material being among the ‘best ever written,’ sometimes it’ll fall flat. Or in other words –  be critically panned and a commercially disappointing steaming pile of shit.

Yet every now and then, this mentioned “steaming pile of shit” comes with the exception of one absolute scorcher of a tune.

Luckily, you don’t have to go fishing in the toilet bowl anymore, because here’s a list of the 10 best songs from terrible albums.

 

10. ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ – Brotherhood, New Order

Okay, so Brotherhood isn’t a terrible album, I lied. However, in comparison to their previous two releases (Low-life and Power, Corruption & Lies), New Order’s 1986 effort is dwarfed by its popular first single, ‘Bizarre Love Triangle.’

Merging the melodic sensibilities of Peter Hook’s legendary bass with electronically sequenced instrumentation, ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ is by far one of New Order’s greatest tunes to date.

 

 

9. ‘Octopus’ – Four, Bloc Party

It’s hard to top an album as good as Silent Alarm.

After a four year hiatus, Bloc Party promised to return to their guitar rock roots with their 2012 album Four, but many fans were disappointed with the records seemingly unpolished songwriting and monotonous, distortion heavy filler tracks.

While a few tracks definitely showed potential, ’Octopus’ stood out as a worthy highlight. A combo of guitarist Russell Lissack’s uncanny use of effects pedals and a killer chorus affirms its status as a live favourite.

 

 

8. ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’ – Be Here Now, Oasis

In the wake of the success of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, Oasis released their 1997 single ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’ to huge critical and commercial success.

Said to be one of Noel Gallagher’s favourite songs, the eight minute psychedelic freakout quickly hit platinum status in the UK, helping to build anticipation for the Manchurian quintet’s third album.

However, despite selling close to 500,000 copies on its first day, Be Here Now is commonly viewed in retrospect by critics as being an overindulgent, coked up Beatles rip off – basically summing up Oasis in a nutshell.

 

 

7. ‘I’m Yours’ – For You, Prince

While the fact that the 19 year old prodigy solely wrote, arranged, produced and played all 27 instruments across this record is indeed impressive, Prince’s debut album was marred by monetary issues and written off by critics as an uninspired disco album.

However, For You included the George Clinton-esque album closer ‘I’m Yours,’ showcasing Prince’s regal guitar flourishes and thrilling falsetto vocals which would soon make him a household name.

 

 

6. ‘Mercy’ – Drones, Muse

Let’s face it, Drones is almost as bad as its album artwork.

Muse’s latest studio offering is a concept album driven by Orwellian themes of modern warfare and a mass computer driven conspiracy, however, the record was full of recycled riffs from previous Muse songs; and to make matters worse, Matt Bellamy’s lyrics were cringeworthy at best and plain shit at their worst – and yet they STILL managed to win a Grammy.

Despite its crackpot lyrics, the single ‘Mercy’ harkens back to Muse’s golden era in the early 2000’s containing everything that made you fall in love with the trio in the first place.

 

 

5. ‘Eminence Front’ – It’s Hard, The Who

’Eminence Front’ sees the British rock heroes dabbling in funk-rock, featuring some piping hot instrumental work from Entwistle and Townshend and seemingly ironic lyrics warning listeners of the dangers of hedonism and cocaine.

The rest of the album, sadly, is rubbish, with singer Roger Daltrey expressing the opinion that with the exception of ‘Eminence Front,’ It’s Hard should have never been released.

 

 

4. ‘Begging You’ – Second Coming, The Stone Roses

After the release of their brilliant eponymous debut album, The Stone Roses were hailed by many as the saviours of guitar rock, however, their second album proved to be a disastrous flop.

Released in a musical era dominated by Britpop, the alternative dance outfit once again faded away after Second Coming; however, ‘Begging You’ stands out as a highlight, mixing soaring guitars with driving drums to paint a picture of the Manchester scene at its finest.

 

 

3. ‘Stand Inside Your Love’ – Machina/The Machines of God, The Smashing Pumpkins.

The Smashing Pumpkins fifth album was released in the year 2000 – a time when Limp Bizkit and Korn dominated alternative radio and listeners no longer had time for Corgan and company’s constant quest for sonic exploration.

Machina/The Machines of God is often credited to being the album that led to the band’s breakup, however, the cascading textural treat ‘Stand Inside Your Love’ holds up as an incredible tune, notably including a wicked E-Bow solo from James Iha.

 

 

2. ‘This Is England’ – Cut The Crap, The Clash.

Not only is Cut The Crap commonly picked apart by listeners and critics, it’s ridiculed by the majority of the music community as being one of the worst albums ever made.

With the absence of core member Mick Jones, producer Bernie Rhodes drastically re-engineered the record without the consent of the band, adding drum machines, synths and sound effects.

Despite the critical and commercial failure, ‘This Is England’ is often considered to be one of The Clash’s best singles, with Joe Strummer labelling the number ‘one of the last great Clash songs.’

 

 

1. ‘Under Pressure’ – Hot Space, Queen/David Bowie

Yet another failed attempt at experimenting with disco and new wave by a renowned rock band, Hot Space was critically panned as being one of the most disappointing Queen albums, prominently featuring half-assed drum machine programming and cheesy 80’s synth tones.

However, its saving grace comes in the form of the magnificent David Bowie on ‘Under Pressure,’ merging Bowie and Mercury’s melodic genius with the now iconic bassline courtesy of John Deacon.

Often regarded as one of the greatest songs ever written, ’Under Pressure’ effectively bookends the otherwise woeful album with a flash of pure brilliance from two of the best British singers of the 20th century.

 

About Will Brewster

19 y.o. Media/Communications and Music student at University of Melbourne. Musician. Avid Kanye enthusiast. Don't really like eggs all too much, but if you do, that's cool with me.

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