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6.1k voters

Ill-Advised Records By Good Musicians That Totally Bombed

Updated July 13, 2020 29.1k votes 6.1k voters 235.5k views30 items

List RulesVote up if you agree the record is crap

Sometimes a musician gives it their all, and just doesn't make a good record. But other times, they have a terrible idea nobody can talk them out of, push it as far as they can, and don't make a good record. Many of the best musicians of all time have faltered here and there, releasing their worst album, or a record that is just plain weird, and doesn't impress fans... or the critics. What are the worst albums made by great musicians and bands?

Nobody remembers the mediocre records, but everyone knows the terrible, career-killing ones. These are the worst of the worst, awkward veers into genres outside of their strengths, insane concept albums that nobody in the band understands, contractual-obligation filler, arrogant stabs at replacing a lead singer, or just flights of fancy fueled by cocaine and ego. And they're all by musicians that have done great, timeless, platinum-selling work.

Sure, some of these albums even went platinum. But that doesn't mean they were good. In fact, they were all odd forays into musical worlds unknown, and probably would have been better left unexplored. Including Paul Simon's Broadway musical, Elvis's spoken word album, and Garth Brooks's alt-rock record released under an alter ego with a soul patch, these are the truly worst records by good musicians that would have been better left unrecorded.

Upvote the most ill-advised and terrible records by great bands and singers in rock, R&B, and pop below... and listen at your own risk.

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  • Photo: Interscope
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    Robin Thicke Tries To Win His Wife Back

    Paula - 2014

    Robin Thicke followed up his monster 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” with a very public split from his wife, actress Paula Patton.

    A seemingly heartbroken Thicke quickly cut the album Paula, a shameless attempt to win her back through R&B schmaltz and public begging. Both the relationship and the album failed – Paula sold a fraction of Blurred Lines, and Paula Patton filed for divorce from Thicke a few months later.

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  • Lulu - 2011

    Cantankerous rocker Lou Reed and speed metal mavens Metallica went together about as well as oil and vodka. Their joint album, 2011’s Lulu, was derided by critics as a shambling wreck, with Reed’s off-key sing speaking smushed together with some generic bar band thrash. The lyrics, based on German expressionist plays, were all but incomprehensible, and nobody in Metallica sounded like they were playing the same song, much less working on the same album.

    The nearly 90 minute mess was harshly reviewed and soon vanished. Sadly, it was the last album Reed put out before he died two years later.

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  • Photo: MCA

    Victim of Love - 1979 

    One imagines Elton John and disco going together well. They did not. John’s brief foray into the genre with this album was a disaster. Less than 40 minutes long, it features no original songs by John and his longtime writing partner Bernie Taupin, nor do any members of his longtime band play on it. Instead, it's a disinterested John marking his way through uninspired disco tunes – along with a shockingly bad version of “Johnny B. Goode.”

    The public responded by making it his third lowest charting record in the US. John later said that he didn't regret making the record, but that he understood why it didn't resonate with fans or critics.

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  • 4

    Sinatra Goes Disco

    Video: YouTube

    Night and Day (Disco Mix) - 1977

    Despite a reputation for despising rock and roll, Frank Sinatra was surprisingly willing to tap into “youth music.” So it was in the same spirit that propelled his covers of The Beatles, Paul Simon, and Stevie Wonder that crack Sinatra decided to take a swing at disco. Sinatra cut two tracks with disco producer Joe Beck, nightclub-ready takes on his classics “Night and Day” and “All or Nothing At All.”

    The second track was more or less shelved, but the first got released as a single in 1977. Even Sinatra couldn’t pull this one off.

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