11 great albums disliked by the people who made them
Once they’re released to the general public, albums take on lives of their own. Their songs, aesthetics, and overall identities cement themselves in the minds of listeners. And while they may change over time – the occasional sleeper hit might get bad reviews initially, only to emerge as a fan favorite later on – these pieces of sonic history often turn into something very different than what the artist who created them intended.
What’s especially interesting is when the artist behind a timeless album actually hates it. Whether due to specific songs, technical ability, or the terrible personal experiences they were going through at the time of its creation, maybe musicians have later revealed that records which mean the world to fans are black eyes that they’d just as soon forget. It’s the ultimate display of disparity between the creator’s emotions and the viewer’s perception, a reminder that all art is subjective.
Here are 11 albums disliked by someone involved in their creation…
Weezer – Pinkerton (1996)
For most fans – and Kerrang!’s own list-writers – Weezer’s second album Pinkerton is the band’s best. But frontman Rivers Cuomo expressed a different opinion during an Entertainment Weekly interview: “It’s a hideous record… It’s like getting really drunk at a party and spilling your guts in front of everyone and feeling incredibly great and cathartic about it, and then waking up the next morning and realizing what a complete fool you made of yourself.” Rivers’s feelings are understandable, given some of the more explicit TMI moments on the album. Still, it’s a shame the singer felt as such, given the countless fan-favorites the record contains.
Slipknot – All Hope Is Gone (2008)
It’s unsurprising that Corey Taylor sees his past work according to the emotional state he was in while creating it, given the emotional honesty he shows as a singer and lyricist. And this, the frontman says, is why he holds Slipknot’s 2008 album All Hope Is Gone in semi-high regard at most. “One of the only reasons I can look back fondly on it is I got to spend a lot of time with Paulie [Gray],” said Corey while ranking the band’s albums back in 2015. “So other than that, the rest of it was so much hard work and pulling teeth, I have a hard time listening to that album without conjuring up terrible memories of what happened.” It’s not as though the album’s title paints it as a bastion of optimism.
Killswitch Engage – Killswitch Engage (2009)
Adam D is a harsh critic of his own work – the Killswitch Engage guitarist is quick to note that he hates listening back to his old material – but KsE’s second self-titled record holds an especially low place in his heart, from the name onward. “You can even get the vibe from the name of the record; we were in a weird place on that one,” he told Louder in 2016. “That was pretty much mostly due to Howard being in a really bad place, and we ended up hiring an outside producer [Brendan O’Brien] because he didn’t want me to record him; he was burnt out on me busting his balls in the studio.” Then again, Adam also takes some of the credit for his distaste for the record: “But maybe that’s also just me being a bitch because I didn’t produce it. Who fucking knows?”
Against Me! – Searching For A Former Clarity (2005)
When asked why she put 2005’s Searching For A Former Clarity at the bottom of a 2017 ranking for Noisey, Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace gave a solid reason: “The songs.” While she says the album was full of “good intentions,” Laura considers Former Clarity a little thick in the middle over all. “There’s a lot of fat on it. There’s a lot of stuff that could have been cut that would have made a more concise record. A lot of the songs just weren’t fully realized visions.” Thankfully, the album was followed by 2007’s massive New Wave, so at least it acted as a solid stepping stone.
Slayer – South Of Heaven (1987)
With South Of Heaven, Slayer made a concerted effort to slow their music down and go a more atmospheric route, in order to challenge themselves after the breakneck inferno of Reign In Blood. While the result endeared a whole new legion of fans to their music, guitarist Kerry King still doesn’t much care for the album. “Honestly, it’s one of my least favorite Slayer albums,” Kerry King told Metal Maniacs in 2006, specifically going after the track Cleanse The Soul. “That’s one of the black marks in our history, in my book. I just fucking think it’s horrible. I hate the opening riff. It’s what we call a ‘happy riff.’ It’s just like ‘la-lala-la-la-la.’” Drummer Dave Lombardo also didn’t care for the album, saying in a 2006 interview, “There was fire on all the records, but it started dimming when South Of Heaven came into the picture.”
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Alkaline Trio – Good Mourning (2003)
Most of Alkaline Trio’s aesthetic involves people wearing their hearts on their sleeves – often literally – so it makes sense that 2003’s Good Mourning is frontman Matt Skiba’s least-favorite album for personal reasons. “This record has some of my favourite songs on it, but it was one of the more miserable times I’ve had in the studio and in my personal life,” Matt told Kerrang! while ranking his records. “I was struggling with alcohol and a relationship that was falling apart, and I was really unhealthy and unhappy while we were doing this one.” Sometimes, the best pieces of art come out of the shittiest moments in time.
Ozzy Osbourne – The Ultimate Sin (1986)
With its shredding guitar tone and anthemic title-track, Ozzy’s The Ultimate Sin was the singer’s highest-charting solo record upon its release. Its cover art and delicious riffs were gobbled up by kids riding the hair metal wave. But ask The Prince Of Darkness, and he’ll tell you producer Ron Nevison spoiled the mix and thus the album in his esteem. “They were just put down weird,” Ozzy said in an interview. “Everything felt and sounded the fucking same. There was no imagination. If there was ever an album I’d like to remix and do better, it would be The Ultimate Sin.”
Foo Fighters – One By One (2002)
Dave Grohl seems like a guy who’d be stoked about everything and anything – but the Foos’ 2002 record One By One gets lacklustre reviews from him and the other members of the band. For fans of the band’s harder material, the album is a ferocious return to form, with single Low chugging rather than twanging as the Foo Fighters’s big hits had done around the early ’00s. But while he lauded the songs when the album came out, Dave later told Rolling Stone, “I was kinda pissed at myself for the last record… Four of the songs were good, and the other seven I’ve never played again in my life.”
The Black Dahlia Murder – Miasma (2002)
Plenty of fans on the more metallic side of metalcore were introduced to Michigan death metallers The Black Dahlia Murder with their bruiser of a sophomore album Miasma. But ask frontman Trevor Strnad, and he’ll say the record is a failure as a whole – and the fault is his. “I was in charge of the themes, lyrics, and artwork, and I feel like those are the biggest messes of the record,” the vocalist told Kerrang!. “I had this vision of having the artwork done by Aaron Turner of ISIS, and it was gonna be so gorgeous, and… it didn’t really pan out… At the time, we were on such a high from Unhallowed. There was so much success coming our way, and it was a really exciting time, but I feel like that led to us being less discerning when we should have been. It’s just not the most focused thing we’ve ever done.”
Good Charlotte – Youth Authority (2015)
It’s not that Good Charlotte hate 2015’s Youth Authority, it’s just that their first album after their 2010 hiatus was more about returning to music than writing an especially exciting collection of songs. “We came into this business as poor kids from nowhere,” Joel Madden told Kerrang! last year, “and we walked away for a while with a couple of broken legs, but we came back and we started finding our swing. It was a lot of fun, there were some jams and it let us play live again, but it wasn’t written from the same place of honesty as Generation Rx.” At least the record reignited the band’s interest, even if its flame burns low by comparison these days.
Mastodon – The Hunter (2011)
With The Hunter, Mastodon proved that they could write a kickass rock album that wasn’t a lofty concept album. But according to drummer Brann Dailor, that purposeful challenge came with its own set of obstacles. “It was almost a backlash against ourselves,” he told Noisey. “We tried to not go down any crazy wormholes and get frustrated in the practice space because mentally it just wasn’t possible, especially for Brent. We needed it to be a happier place.” That said, Brann’s quick to note that just because he associates The Hunter with a difficult moment doesn’t mean it’s a necessarily a bad album, just a problematic one. “The state of things, it wasn’t really that great, personally… I still love that album.”
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