Worst Albums Of The Year 2015
Yuck! These are some of the albums that totally sucked in 2015!
2015 has been a vintage year for bad shit. There was that one time when AIDs-drug price-hiking tosspot Martin Shkreli got his greasy hands on Wu-Tang’s secret album for example. And remember when George Osbourne ruined NWA? That was the absolute pits.
And as if all that wasn’t bad enough, awful fucking musicians insist on putting out awful fucking records. Sometimes even good musicians insist on putting out bad records. Sometimes even our favourite musicians do it. It’s truly infuriating.
Just to remind you what a crap time you’ve had listening to music this year we’ve rounded up the 10 worst albums of the year. Enjoy?
Hands up if you didn’t see this one coming? After Disclosure’s brand of danceable teen-dream two-step had Annie Mac et al practically hailing them as the saviours of UK music, the pressure to follow-up Settle (a decent record peppered with a couple of superb standouts) with something that was easily consumable by even those who’ve never entered a decent club in their lives must have been fierce. Cue a marketing campaign that involved a livestreamed, American Express-sponsored concert that was executively produced by James Corden.
Caracal itself with was clearly built with a budget big enough to rope in news-worthy collaborations. Miguel, The Weekend, Gregory Porter, Lorde and their old friend Sam Smith all appear to try and cover up some of the most tepid, inoffensive, substance-lacking electronic music this side of Gorgon City’s “current productions” folder. But there is no standout. There is no relief from the mediocrity. The whole record feels like a board meeting bereft of ideas, and as a result, you’re left with a record that could soundtrack a festival highlights video where the blokes who aren’t wearing low-cut V necks are the minority.
At the dawn of the 1990s some pompous plonker at Melody Maker coined the term ‘The Scene That Celebrates Itself’. The not-so-tongue-in-cheek label, which still elicits a cringe, described a bunch of young bands who occasionally shared bills at London’s 100 Club. Out of this scene emerged the criminally under-rated, recently-reformed band Lush who never found the acclaim they deserved and the deservedly lauded Blur who went on to be … well, they went on to be Blur. At the dawn of this decade some pompous plonker at the NME tried to coin the term ‘B-Town’ in a desperate attempt to pool together the ‘talents’ of four or five Birmingham bands. Out of this scene emerged Peace.
To be fair to Peace they’re not the worst band to have emerged from their little clique. That’s not really an acquittal though, considering the competition pack about as much collective punch as a damp sheet of Andrex. Now we’re done alienating ourselves from the rest of the music press you may be interested in knowing how good Happy People was as an album? We’ll be honest with you. The best bit is the last song wherein the singer raps a bit like Nathan Barley does when he’s trying to chirpse The Mighty Boosh’s sister. That’s how good Happy People was.
Meghan Trainor is living in a man’s world and she’s absolutely loving it. Her debut LP Title, which was released in January, is proof: it presents harmful gender roles wrapped in a thinly veiled High School Musical-style foil (“You gotta treat me like a trophy, put me on the shelf”); unimaginatively packages played out, sexist scenes filled with cliche (“he holds her hand at the movies, never stares at other boobies”); and suggests women should only value themselves when they’re sure they’ve been appreciatively seen through a man’s eyes (“my momma she told me don’t worry about your size… boys like a little more booty to hold at night”). All of this is packaged in shocking pink and marketed to young women and little girls.
This year has seen so many watershed moments when it comes to feminism – but the fact that the sinisterly sugary video for Dear Future Husband, arguably the most offensive slice of sexism on the album, now has 187 million views and counting, and that this album was Spotify’s fifth most streamed album of the year shows we’ve got a way to go yet. Ultimately, this album is hugely depressing. Girls deserve better than this in 2016.
Across 11 tracks of narcissistic fanfare, George Lewis Jr puffed out his chest and pigeoned his way up to the lofty heights of power ballad pretentiousness. Looking back now on Twin Shadow’s brilliant 2010 debut, all the clues were there – the overblown sentiment, the 80s reverie, the pompous hairdo, the cocaine – and it really just begs one simple question: why didn’t we see this coming?
Eclipse was the sound of George Lewis Jr’s hand clapping against his own back. As Lewis Jr croons, “jealousy and ecstasy are slowly taking over me”, the prospect of serving your old lecturer in Tesco seems like a less embarrassing alternative to listening to this record in public, and the album’s title track gives weight to the rumour that he’s the bastard son of Celine Dion and Phil Collins.
Ok we’re done here: there really were no redeeming features.
Darwin DeezDouble Down
Darwin Deez is your mentally unhinged boyfriend. “You wanna play games? Kill your attitude, girl,” he chatters, one eye twitching. “I’m concerned about your health – the way you prostitute yourself,” “Get the fuck out of my face. No, I don’t care to meet your parakeet,” he babbles. These were real-life lyrics from the strange and laughable third full-length effort from Darwin Deez.
Amongst the cacophony of all too straightforward metaphors that last entire songs (Last Cigarette, for example, used hilariously blatant, tooth achingly sweet lyrics to clumsily compare an ex with a nicotine addiction) he outed himself as an overgrown child, lashing out at anything he doesn’t understand, fascinated yet enraged by women with sexual agency, and yet unable to string a song together without inserting nonsensical rhyming couplets that are unintentionally hilarious when they’re not utterly baffling.
The ringleted Brooklynite has built such a solid armour of cutesie-pie ad-friendliness around himself that it’s no wonder we haven’t seen it before. Just because his mindless trilling pairs nicely with a contrived quirky image and Pabst Blue Ribbon doesn’t mean he can’t be a killer.
The ProdigyThe Day Is My Enemy
Lil DickyProfessional Rapper
Few things are more humiliating than rap music when its at its very worst. Following the unprecedented viral success of tracks like Ex-Boyfriend and White Dude, in 2015 the ascending frat rap star Lil Dicky reached the Billboard top 10 with his debut album Professional Rapper and got to high-five Bro-bi Wan Kenobi himself, Judd Apatow.
Like the political views of Donald Trump or the concept of Black Friday, Lil Dicky is the kind of truly American creation which might have trouble fully winning over European audiences. Nonetheless, the fact that a man like Lil Dicky can prosper reflects the relatively universal issue of bro supremacy, where the kind of males who ironically threw up gang signs for garishly watermarked student clubnight photo albums and spent their evenings buffering Entourage episodes while allowing Doritos Chilli Heatwave crumbs to spill across their bedsheets will one day have jobs in the music industry and encourage kindred meatheads to follow. In the age of the thinkpiece, Lil Dicky has trained himself to defend his sniggering insensitivity and auto-tune mockery as “brilliant satire”. But regardless of whether he’s right or wrong, Professional Rapper empitomsises the humour of the modern prick. Sever ties with anyone you think might potentially enjoy this record.
Frank TurnerPositive Songs for Negative People
Positive Songs For Negative People begins with the sound of Frank Turner walking across a room, sitting down at a chair, coughing a bit and then starting to play. So, someone else has already pressed the record button and has been waiting for Frank, right? Or maybe we’re supposed to assume that Frank leaves his recording equipment on all the time – just in case he has a really good idea? Or perhaps it’s just a contrived theatrical device constructed to hoodwink the audience into believing that there’s still a semblance of DIY credibility engrained in Frank Turner’s recordings? Whichever is true, he’s either tardy, an enemy of the environment or a swindler.
So after all that posturing what’s really left of Frank Turner? Well far from bringing ‘punk’ authenticity and real politics to the arena-sized audiences he’s scraped from the pubs of the home counties, it seems Frank has entirely forgotten his ever so edgy, Eton-founded, libertarian roots. Gone is the smug preacher who used to want to save England with po-faced lyrics about the inherent dangers of ‘the man’. Across the 12 spuriously rousing songs on his latest record, he covers subjects as diverse as being kind of sad, not feeling very happy and the constant burden of being a little bit ticked off. The only song that sounds genuinely angry is Out Of Breath, but upon closer inspection, it’s actually just about worrying that you’re a bit shit at life.
Back in Wiltshire nine years ago I went to see Turner in the back room of my teenage local. He’d just left the brilliant post-hardcore band Million Dead, and a few of my friends had gathered to see one of our favourite singers go it alone. At one point, during between-song banter, Frank exclaimed: “I’d be enjoying this gig more if it wasn’t for those fucking scenesters at the back,” pointing into the dim corner in which I was adjusting my studded belt and twirling my dyed black fringe. At least that Frank Turner had the guts to call something out. Even if it was just a dig at a teenager’s questionable fashion choices.
Giorgio MoroderDéjà Vu
Giorgio Moroder has had an illustrious career: several number ones, four Grammys, three Oscars, and one I Feel Love. The music tapered off in the 1990s, and Moroder may have envisaged a comfortable retirement through the 2000s and beyond. In 2015, however, on the back of his appearance on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, Moroder has enjoyed a career renaissance. With tours and an album to promote, in interviews Moroder seemed charmingly bemused by the whole thing; a guileless synthophile ‘just happy to be there’.
That music owes a debt to Moroder is beyond doubt. He is also an extremely likeable guy. But an iconic legacy and an endearing likeability do not make a good album. This is, instead, was a crushingly bad album, a glitzy bauble of vapid nothingness, so dazzled by its own confected effervescence it failed to register the other irony of its title. Experiencing deja vu? That’s because you’ve heard every single one of these songs before. Only the names are different.
The opening bars of title track Deja Vu sound like a pastiche of a pastiche of an 80s-era Stock Aitken Waterman track; Britney Spears’ listless vocal on the butchered classic Tom’s Diner had Susanne Vega fans clutching their ears in distress; the main riff in 4 U with Love sounds so like that of Avicii’s Wake Me Up, both producers should have briefed their lawyers. There is, indeed, almost no enjoyable music on this entire album, except the somewhat catchy Right Here, Right Now (feat. Kylie Minogue) – but even there, the burpy bass and facile lyrics drag us on a grim safari from the anodyne to the asinine.
While Moroder is hardly blameless, it’s clear he just tried to recreate what’s most popular right now: EDM. It’s music depressingly indicative of the moribund cultures that produced it, of the self-cannibalising tendency in mass-market music. Its demise can’t come soon enough.
SlavesAre You Satisfied?
What a pair of fucking fakes.
This pair of papier-mache punks with their mockney lip-flapping, fag-paper-thin-sentiment, derivative riffs, embarrassingly prescriptive pseudo-politics and sixth form poetry, firing barbs as prickly as soup. These two fucking fakes. These two make Royal Blood look like Crass. Cashing in on the dull, numb despair which defines so many young people’s lives – it’s beyond ironic. Slaves’ £50 skinheads will grow back, but they can never take back this act.
This debut album, released on one of the biggest labels in the world, is rotten, insulting from the top down. Single Cheer Up London is a disgrace, a pseudo-ironic call to arms set to a 4/4 electro pulse, a polished version of anarchic, post-riot, disaffected youth emulated and monetised; recession, gentrification, all that shit, that grimy shit that affects people, regurgitated and recorded and aimed at an audience growing up in this shit and not really realising what’s so fucked up about it all, and being force fed this pathetic facsimile. They want your cash, they’ll do what they’re told. Box ticking liars. This album is shit, and Slaves’ borrowing of punk tropes and real problems to peddle this slickly produced hatefully-contrived gunk is despicable, boiling down the kind of heart-breaking, life-ruining issues which define Cameron’s Britain into handy, snappy, cut-out-and-keep jacket-patch slogans like Despair and Traffic. Despair and traffic. Give me a fucking break.
Fakes. Fucking fakes.