Is there anything worse than a band you love putting out a crap album? I cringe every time The Rolling Stones release something new. Everything was great up through 1972; Exile on Main St. was probably their peak. Things were okay -- if a little spotty -- until 1981; Tattoo You and Some Girls are both very solid, and though Goats Head Soup and It's Only Rock 'n Roll struggle heavily, each album has a few excellent songs. Black and Blue is just terrible though; there's no excuse for that "Cherry Oh Baby" cover.
Unfortunately, everything from Undercover on is abysmal. Since 1983, everything they've put out sounds like a garage band comprised solely of dads and accountants whose biggest influence is The Rolling Stones. It's like this (at 4:01):
It's not a secret that I'm a very very big Rolling Stones fan. Part of being a true fan is being completely honest with yourself about what is good and what is not. The Stones have put out a lot of both. And while I feel that they truly are one of the best rock bands in the entire world, it's hard to defend them when they keep putting out things like this:
This type of nonsense makes it hard to take them seriously. I recognize that the more material you put out, the more likely it is that some of it is going to suck (statistics and whatnot) but if you haven't put out a decent studio album in 31 years, maybe just stick to touring. I'm pretty sure that's where the money is anyway. (Oh, and when you are touring please quit playing songs from A Bigger Bang. Nobody likes A Bigger Bang.)
On a smaller scale, almost every band I love has one or two songs that I actively dislike, and each one feels like a tiny betrayal. Some of them are legitimately terrible, and some of them just rub me the wrong way. The Kinks almost sound like two different bands to me. Some of their stuff ("This Time Tomorrow," "Strangers," "Act Nice and Gentle," etc.) is completely fantastic but "Come Dancing" is just dorky. Conversely, while I know that "Legal Man" by Belle & Sebastian is probably technically a good song, I just can't listen to it.
(Also, I think "Piazza, New York Catcher" is just okay. It's not bad, but I don't understand why everyone loves it as much as they do. Feel free to shout at me about this.)
I have made a list which includes a few from each category (as well as a few from some of our staff and editors), and I encourage you to play along at home.
"Beverly Hills" - Weezer
In addition to the cheesy opening with Hugh Hefner and Rivers Cuomo's terrifying dead-eye gaze at the 0:54 mark, the song itself is just plain terrible. It's mostly talking, it gets stuck in your head, and while I'm sure the breathy "gimme gimme" in the background is supposed to be some sort of witty social commentary, it's just annoying. This song would probably seem less terrible if we didn't have "The Blue Album" to compare it to, but we do so it seems pretty terrible.
"Whispering Pines" - The Band
Look. I love a good Richard Manuel falsetto. His version of "I Shall Be Released" is heartbreaking in its perfection and the fact that Bob Dylan wouldn't let him sing it during The Last Waltz is a musical travesty. (It's also proof that Dylan is a real egocentric dick.) It would be easy to say "It's just too whiny," but I love a sappy song. "It Makes No Difference" is as sad bastard as it gets and it's in my "Top 3 Songs by The Band" list. For some reason, I just can't listen to "Whispering Pines."
This baffles me.
"Beyond the Sunrise" - Belle & Sebastian
Belle & Sebastian is unique in that I can almost always listen to any of their albums straight through without skipping anything. The only reason I can't do this with Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant is because of this song. I actually don't think I've made it through the song once. I'm not sure why I dislike it so much, but I suspect it's because I find it really boring. This is surprising, because I lovethis song, and the first minute and a half is just "nananananananananana."
But enough about me, let's hear from some of my fellow xoFriends (and you in the comments!).
Unfaithful by Rihanna. Always hated it.
I am a ride-or-die Mountain Goats fan, and I want so desperately to love everything John Darnielle ever produces, but ... something about the horns on Transcendental Youth just sound like elevator music to me. I'M SORRY JD.
Also I feel this slightly less after hearing her intro to it live (WITH TYNAN!), but "Silas" by Betty Who just doesn't fill me with sunshiney face-punching glee as the rest of that album.
"Dear Diary" by Britney Spears, OBVIOUSLY.
"Love is Like a Butterfly" is the worst Dolly Parton song ever.
"Brick" by Ben Folds Five. I'm pro-choice, not pro-abortion-soft-rock.
I WAS LITERALLY TYPING "BRICK" WHEN YOU SENT THIS. Ugh, I've always felt like such an asshole for hating it.
[Note from Claire: I thought the lyric was "She's a prick and I'm drowning slowly" until about two years ago.]
I love Bowie but I hate when he covers songs! His version of "Let's Spend The Night Together" sucks balls.
Because Hannah brought up Bowie, I feel like we can no longer ignore the 1985 Jagger/Bowie cover of "Dancing in The Street." If it hadn't been made for charitable purposes, I would assume the whole thing was an absurd joke. Mick and David (it's weird to call him "David") seem to be embroiled in a battle of silliness, and the result would be hilarious if they weren't completely sincere.
Actually, it's still hilarious. Mick Jagger taking a sip of soda mid-song while the wind tousles his billowy shirt is one of the funniest things I've ever seen in a music video.
I don't hate it at all.