Top Ten Most Regrettable Album Purchases
ad albums in your record collection are like genital warts: though treatable, they will leave nasty, obvious scars. If you’ve ever touted your music as a representation of you as an individual, then there are definite periods where you were simply a different person—you had either through too much alcohol or pot, found the closest piece of ass like Keane or Coldplay, and got it on for one miserable night. Now I look down at my open CD cases and let out disheartened sighs at those episodes of poor judgment, the differently colored discs staring blankly back at me and my wallet feels just a little lighter. This list is by no means comprehensive—soon enough I’ll get sloshed again and mistake a completely bad idea for aural yumhole.
10. Tricky – Vulnerable
If Blowback was the height of Tricky’s palsied artistic vision, Vulnerable was his failed attempt at a fresh start. Seeking to shed his title as “The Dark Prince of Trip Hop,” this gem takes a more human angle on the Bristol native but comes up bankrupt. The simple fact is that he’s too late to the “reach out and love someone” racket and furthermore, he’s not good at it. Stripping down for him means stripping out anything important, and the chanteuse he used reaches for siren-like coos but ends up sounding like a more susurrant Traci Lords. This is a simple case of delusion: an album I thought would resuscitate trip-hop that only ends up tripping all over itself.
09. Robert Miles – Organik
There are no guitar solos in trance. There is no improvisation and no freestyle. Known originally for the song “Children” which, I believe, was a paean to ravers across the world, Organik is Miles’s intermediate step before jumping headlong into full experimental sludge with Trilok Gurtu. The first four tracks are still decent listens now, but the rest is a stew of misguided self-importance, reaching beyond its bounds in search of any kind of melodic anchor. Oh, and later on I realized that he spelled Organic with a New Age “k.”
08. Paul Oakenfold – Bunnka
This is a simple case of bad mathematics, where I thought Guest Stars That I Like + Big Beat = FUCKING ROCK, MAN! In reality it’s much like a fruitcake: though the chunks of goodness are indeed in there—Hunter S. Thompson, Nelly Furtado, and Grant Lee Phillips to name a few—they’re buried in unpalatable and inedible layers of bland, lifeless music. Oakenfold spoke of how gathering the different musicians and crafting songs that were, you know, different from one another was a taxing process, and I guess I understand why. If you spend an entire career in trance—the closest thing to electronic music’s autopilot—then actually trying to be creative will be burdensome. I listened to this one a little while ago but had to turn it off because I was hemorrhaging cool.
07. Overseer – Wreckage
This is yet another relic from my “Big Beat is more awesomer than any other beat!!” phase. Actually it was a rather virulent episode marked by a complete drop in interest in anything that couldn’t score an Xbox commercial. In all fairness, “Heligoland” is a somewhat decent slice of ambient techno, albeit the 20 or so minutes of white noise that appends the song is beyond asinine, and if you ignore the way songs like “Stompbox” and “Doomsday” disgustingly imitate Prodigy’s Fat of The Land, they become tolerable workout tracks. Well, they did for a little while at least. After some time the music became so atrocious that I actually thought other people in the gym could hear it.
06. Moby – Play
You know, Moby can be good if he wants. He can dazzle with minimal utensils so long as he rides a good melody or, in Play’s case, a good sample. The problem here is that he rides the same fucking melodies and samples throughout. A full album of tracks nipping soul and gospel to cover his utter lack of ingenuity. A full album of the same goddamn keyboard. This pitiable menagerie is only aggravated by Moby’s constant self-effacement and humility, as though what he did was that brilliant. Ugh! Go sell your expensive bubble tea and don’t EVER cover New Order.
05. Live – The Distance to Here
I used to fucking love these guys. I had all their albums, from 1989’s Mental Jewelry to The Distance to Here, and my fealty knew no bounds. It was actually not until they released their encomium to 700 Club religiosity, V, that I officially knew their gig was up and that TDTH bore those religious seeds. Ed Kowalczyck was always sententious, but this time he doesn’t even use the courtesy of trying to be poetic. It’s here that we find the band wholly basking in their thinning hairs, turkey necks, and appreciation of the discount rack at JC Penney. Apparently they’re super popular in Holland now or some shit.
04. Muse – Absolution
These guys really hate Radiohead, they really do. After two pretty decent albums were met with petty comparisons to Yorke and co., Muse decided that they’d excavate Freddy Mercury’s grave and adorn his rotting corpse with a deluge of feedback, theater, and conspiracy theories. This massive hulk of an album desperately wanted to show how important it was by being a constant cudgel that beat senseless all leanings towards subtlety, minimalism, and ambience; nothing was left to the imagination. Oh, and a girl I was crushing on liked it. That may have a little something to do with it.
03. DJ Rap – Propa Classics Volume 1
I often chastised friends of mine for buying saccharine pop because they never fessed up to just liking the singer’s rack. So I figured that I found a loop with DJ Rap’s Propa Classics comp since, hey, her face wasn’t anywhere to be seen on the cover and the album was an homage to her halcyon days in jungle and drum ‘n’ bass—all before she was corrupted by her own narcissism, complexes, and shitty grammar (you really should read her “Bitch of The Week” posts on her site). Soon after buying this tripe I listened again to other albums like Mysteries of Funk, Form and Function, and Darchives only to realize that my desperate attempt to see a female face in the genre made me ignore the shit factory she built as an early career. It was also $0.99 on Amazon.
02. Starsailor – Love Is Here
God, I honestly don’t remember where the hell this one came from. Look, I’m all about Britpop and I’m one of the biggest romantics you’ll probably meet. But this just sounds like a roundtable of eunuchs spouting lines from a Hallmark card to conceal their missing balls. Walsh is just begging you to realize the importance of his quotidian statements on love, life, and imaginary women. The music is painfully uncreative, with acoustic-by-numbers peppered all along its swelling refrains. I wish I could tell you I was drunk when I got this, I really do.
01. Limp Bizkit – Insignificant Other
This, everyone, is why we still have famines, plagues, wars, and Breaking Benjamin. This is why kittens die and nice old ladies don’t receive their retirement checks. Insignificant Other was the album that eased my transition from hip-hop to rock in the 9th grade and goddamn am I glad to have escaped high school.
By: Ayo Jegede
Published on: 2006-07-21