Riot Act Podcast's Stephen Hill and Remfry Dedman trawl through the abysmal, the shocking and the maligned in their search for the worst album of all time.
Puddle of Mudd - Re:(disc)overed
Steve and Remfry take a trip down memory lane this week and review an album that one of our hosts has already reviewed at the time of its release in the form of post-grunge no marks Puddle of Mudd's covers album, the confusingly titled, Re:(disc)overed, released on the 29th of August 2011.
It’s an album that could very much have flown under the radar for many people, what with Puddle of Mudd having suffered a serious drop in fortunes and commercial appeal after the mainstream dalliance they had with their 2001 album Come Clean. That record sold over 5 million copies worldwide, but a decade later the band were on something of a downward trajectory, so what better way to pump life into their career than to record a set of their versions of some of the most famous songs in the history of popular music. A good idea on paper, but quite how a band as rudimentary and lacking in quality as Puddle of Mudd thought that they were going to be capable of doing justice to classic songs by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin and Elton John’s ROCKET MAN is a confusing one. Still, they did it, and back on an early incarnation of the Metal Hammer podcast, Steve was given the record to review on a particularly stressful week, resulting in the album, the band, their fans and, more than anyone, frontman Wes Scantlin getting a verbal kicking of the highest order. Ten years on and it’s fair to say that Scantlin hasn’t had the best of decades, being arrested for everything from tax evasion, to drink driving, to riding airport luggage carousels to strapping bombs to his own cars, he even ruined About A Girl by Nirvana. The silly bastard. But, we have to ask, did he really deserve to be thrown at a wall as a baby…?
The Pigeon Detectives - We Met at Sea
We’re a little late this week, apologies for that, but, hey, who can blame us, we’re having to dive back into one of our least favourite scenes in musical history; the indie landfill boom of the mid-00’s. This week we look at the fourth album from Leeds based indie nothing-men The Pigeon Detectives, released on the 29th of April 2013.
You might feel that, having already discussed the likes of Razorlight, The Vines, The Enemy and The Twang there isn’t much gas left in the tank from Steve or Remfry when it comes to yet another one of these artists, but, actually, one of us is particularly wound up by the bands bland, jaunty noodlings. Having had a number three UK hit in 2007 with their debut album Wait For Me, The Pigeon Detectives seemed to make it their life mission to hang out with as many appalling and objectionable people as possible. This meant a record number of performances on Sky’s risible flagship football banter show Soccer AM, going on tour with fellow hometown tossers The Kaiser Chiefs, allowing one of their gigs to be filmed by the internet TV company of gormless everyman and Sunday Brunch presenter Tim Lovejoy and inviting lunatic former Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino up onstage with them to piss all over Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe. So far, so easy to hate.
Unsurprisingly the band suffered badly as the 2010’s quickly re-evaluated the artistic merits of the indie scene, and We Met At Sea was their first album not to chart, was savaged by the critics and even the band themselves struggled to formulate a coherent sentence to justify their existence. But is it really that bad, or is it just really dull?... well… it’s kinda both actually.
The Clash - Cut the Crap
Broken Records is often a painful experience, but it’s made all the more painful when we’re discussing a band as essential and admired as The Clash. Unfortunately, their sixth and final studio album, released on 4 November 1985 by CBS Records, is a record that is truly worthy of the prefix ‘broken’.
Lead guitarist and co-principal songwriter Mick Jones and drummer Topper Headon had been dismissed by lead vocalist Joe Strummer and bassist Paul Simonon. Jones and Headon were replaced by three unknowns: guitarists Vince White and Nick Sheppard and drummer Pete Howard, a line-up that Strummer, somewhat sneeringly, referred to as ‘The Clash 2’. During the tense recording sessions, Clash manager Bernie Rhodes and Strummer fought with each other for control over the band's songwriting and musical direction.
The band wrote 20 songs for the Cut the Crap sessions, 12 of which ended up on the finished album (God only knows how awful the other 8 are). The songwriting is far from The Clash’s best but the real villain of the piece is manager Bernie Rhodes, who’s cluttered and hideously unfocused production ruins and squanders whatever negligible integrity the songs might’ve had.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - One Hot Minute
Steve's already let his feelings on this week's Broken Record be known but can Remfry make him see reason? Short answer ... no. But then, both our hosts have a soft spot of sorts (one more so than the other) for One Hot Minute, the sixth full-length studio album by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
An album which Steve believes ‘justifies their entire ridiculous existence as a band’ and Remfry calls 'the most frustrating RHCP album in a back catalogue full of frustrating albums', One Hot Minute is the follow-up to the world conquering Blood Sugar Sex Magik, an album that firmly established Red Hot Chili Peppers as one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Disaster followed soon after however as John Frusciante became disenchanted with fame and quit, Anthony Kiedis relapsed after 5 years clean, and Flea (gulp) ... sang!
To replace Frusciante, the Chilis looked to former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, a wonderful guitarist who errr ... doesn't really like funk. Bit of an issue for the biggest funk rock band in the world, but they persevered all the same, creating the most eccentric album the band would ever release in the process. Largely ignored by a large swathe of the band's fans (and the band themselves to be fair) One Hot Minute has nevertheless garnered devotional cult adoration by a small minority and has become the most celebrated Red Hot Chili Peppers album among those who can not f**king stand the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Coal Chamber - Chamber Music
We’re on home turf this week as Remfry and Steve dye their beards red, dust off their wallet chains and practise their tilted head / bug eyed stares as we head back to 1999 and re-visit Chamber Music, the second full-length studio album by Coal Chamber.
Possibly the only band in the world who were proud to attach themselves to the ‘spookycore genre’ (basically, nu-metal with eyeliner) Coal Chamber effectively ushered in the second wave of nu-metal when they released their self-titled debut album in 1997. Whilst the quality of nu-metal was beginning to decline (bar a few notable exceptions) the genre’s popularity continued to rise and with their second album coming out in September 1999 (just prior to the genre’s commercial peak) they seemed set to ride the incoming nu-metal explosion.
It didn’t quite happen for them though, mainly due to the fact that Chamber Music was an overlong, bloated stinking mess of an album. They tried to broaden their sound in an attempt to escape the, as Kerrang! would have put it at the time, konstant komparisons to Korn’ (the 90s was great but it wasn’t perfect). It didn’t really work, because it turned out that Coal Chamber only had one riff and we’d already heard it 14 times on their debut, an album which had a sort of primal appeal for about two minutes. High profile manager and professional t**t Sharon Osborne roped in her husband Ozzy (who had no idea what was going on) for a cover of Peter Gabriel’s Shock the Monkey which really is as terrible as you remember it being but at least it was a talking point on an album that was utterly devoid of any creative ideas or musical talent … but where will it place on our list of Broken Records?
The Twang - Neon Twang
There’s endless amounts of mid 00’s indie landfill for us to sort through on Broken Records, as you might well imagine, and that’s the territory we find ourselves in yet again, as Steve and Remfry hold their collective breath and dive head-first into The Twang and their 4th full-length studio album Neon Twang.
Released in March 2014, Neon Twang faced a fairly apathetic reaction from the general public whose appetite for paper thin, non-descript and utterly soulless chav-indie had (thankfully) quelled significantly at this point. It was a far cry from the band’s early days when they were hailed by the NME as ‘Britain’s Best New Band’ on the cover of the 31st March 2007 edition of the magazine. A couple of months later, their debut album Love It When I Feel Like This received 6/10 in the very same magazine (déjà vu anyone?), hardly a critical mauling but a score that is somewhat baffling given NME’s cover proclamation just weeks before.
As is sometimes the case with this indie landfill stuff, wavering critical opinion seems a large part of the reason why Neon Twang has found its way onto Broken Records and whilst neither Steve nor Remfry are going to bend over backwards to hand out platitudes to The Twang, the question remains … does Neon Twang really deserve the critical appraisal that it received?
Riot Act is one of my favourite podcasts, and this spin off has really stepped up to the plate. Very funny and fair appraisals of some truly dismal records.
Funny, in depth and informative appraisals of the worst albums of all time
I’m a big fan of the sister podcast ‘Riot Act’ and am delighted the ‘Broken Records’ feature now has its own platform. The show treats each album on merit and gives a modern appraisal if it has been unfairly panned by history or deserves all it gets. All music types from all eras in the firing line. Richard Ashcroft and Sergeant Pepper episodes are both absolute gold.
One of my favourite podcasts, look forward to this every Monday.
Very funny and insightful!
I’ll never get tired of listening to Steve and Remfry open fire on some of the worst music ever recorded... as well as occasionally offering defences of maligned yet misunderstood works.