Top 5: Terrible albums by great bands

Hot Space

It is bound to happen. There comes a time in a band’s career where they completely loose the plot and release that terrible piece of music. The circumstances may vary, but the result is always the same: crappy songs.

Of course, as with any of these lists I do it is a matter of personal taste and everybody can come up with its own list. And I’m already admitting that there are knowingly bad albums that won’t be on the list because I didn’t even listen to it, like Dokken’s Shadowlife or any Queensryche record after Empire (with the exception of Operation: Mindcrime II and American Soldier which I don’t think are that bad).

Anyway, I tried to be as unbiased as I could (two out of my three favorite bands are on the list) and before anyone says anything, no, although far from good, Kiss albums The Elder or Carnival Of Souls are not that bad. Van Halen 3 almost made the cut, but “Without You” and “Fire In The Hole” are good songs, so it stayed out.

So here it goes.

#5: Dio – Angry Machines

The late great Ronnie James Dio died, so we will never know what the fuck went through his mind when he recorded this. It all sounds like a sub-par Soundgarden and all the songs are boring. Besides it was already too late to jump on the “championing of bad taste” (Grunge) bandwagon so not even this excuse he had. “Hunter Of The Heart” is a decent song, but not enough to save the album from complete disaster.

#4: Def Leppard – Slang

Not surprisingly, Def Leppard also tried to modernize their sound and failed miserably. Not only they didn’t get any new fans, they lost those they had. Boy, this is bad. That’s nothing worth mentioning in this record, except that the band even changed its logo. All songs are horrible and there’s no use for the band to try and play their live now thinking that maybe getting heavier they would improve. They are still terrible and this album must be forgotten by all Lep fans.

#3: Iron Maiden – Virtual XI

Now this breaks my heart. After all, with the exception of The Beatles we are talking about my all-time favorite band. Poor Steve Harris. If The X Factor was bad enough to alert everyone of how much the band would miss Bruce, this was the final proof that he needed to be called back. Immediately. Not even the cover escaped. The Eddie is deplorable and what the hell is that soccer game? The keyboards on “The Angel and the Gambler” are pitiful (probably written by Steve’s daughter Lauren who was 5 at the time) and “Don’t Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger” sounds like a Country song. However, the icing on the cake (or the nail in the coffin, if you prefer) is “Como Estais Amigos”. The worst Maiden song ever. There’s a rule of thumb here: a band with Iron Maiden’s stature CAN’T record a song with this title. Period. As simple as that. It’s ridiculous. I swear I blush when I listen to it. Needless to say Bruce was called back afterwards and this is still the only Maiden album not making the British Top 10.

#2: Metallica – St. Anger

A lot of assholes cried “sell-out” when Metallica recorded the perfect “Black Album”. I wonder if they preferred they recorded a piece of trash like this. People argue that the album is not that bad, the problem is the drum sound (which really is the worst EVER), but they are wrong. The songs suck big time. The vocal melodies are horrible, James is at his worst and there’s not a hint of a guitar solo through the whole record! And there’s that rule of thumb again: a band with the stature of Metallica CAN’T record a song that says “Tic-tic” in the chorus. Even Lars’ father said: “What a piece of crap you recorded this time!” after listening to the album.

#1: Queen – Hot Space

Queen was indeed going through some internal turmoil in the early eighties, but that’s no excuse to record this. Songs like “Cool Cat”, “Back Chat”, “Dancer”, “Action This Day”, “Put Out The Fire” and “Calling All Girls” are bad enough, but the rest of the record really challenges human comprehension. I bet “Life Is Real (Song For Lennon)” made the former Beatle roll over in his coffin. And there’s the rule of thumb again: a band with the stature of Queen CAN’T record a song called “Las Palabras de Amor”. It’s embarrassing. Some people argue that an album with “Under Pressure” in it can’t be that bad. Well, the way I see it, this song was a partnership with David Bowie, so it was not actually what Queen was about at the time. I save the worst for last: “Body Language”. Probably the worst song EVER written in the history of mankind, it reflected the influence the club scene in New York was having in Freddie Mercury’s life and how badly affected his career. It’s unlistenable. Remember that song “Gangnam Style” sung by that diminutive Korean guy? Not even that is as bad as this. Live, some songs fared a little bit better, but nothing that can erase this horrible album.

Current playlist:


Black Stone Cherry – Hits, Rarities and Live

Massive – Full Throttle

The Answer – New Horizon


Face The Music: A Life Exposed – Paul Stanley

Michael Jordan: The Life – Roland Lazenby


Fever Pitch

When Harry Met Sally

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal”.

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