8 Worst Albums by Iconic Musicians

We all have something at work we’d like to take back: a comment in a meeting, a phone call at the wrong time, an email, or, in some cases, even entire assignments. But when it comes to the life of a professional musician, that work nightmare can equate to an entire album they’d like to take back. For actors, it may be a movie. For athletes, a game or series. And for musicians? An LP.

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As a result, we wanted to dive into some of those albums that, it would seem, their makers would like to wave a wand and pretend never existed. Here are the worst eight albums by standout musicians.

1. Countryman, Willie Nelson

Of course, we would never dispute Willie Nelson’s status as an American icon and a country music legend. However, if you put out more than 70 albums, one or two might not hit the mark. Case in point: Nelson’s 53rd studio LP was a nod to reggae, a genre that perhaps didn’t suit the ol’ Outlaw countryman as well as maybe some thought. The album dropped in 2005 and while it was a love letter to Jamaica and reggae, it wasn’t Nelson’s best.

2. St. Anger, Metallica

This album came at a low point for the band in which lead singer James Hetfield was in the throws of alcohol addiction. Because of that, the recording process was postponed for about a year. It’s also the only Metallica album credited to a trio, with bassist Jason Newsted, having just left the band ahead of the recording of St. Anger. The record also came out at a time when Metallica was battling Napster and file sharing rather publicly. It was an imperfect storm for the group and the music suffered.

3. Idlewild, OutKast

Idlewind was a soundtrack album created by the OutKast duo of Andre 3000 and Big Boi for the 2006 movie of the same name. Sadly, the swing-inspired record didn’t hit like many fans thought it would. The good thing for the rap duo is that the record did go platinum and some songs, like “Hollywood Divorce” featuring Lil Wayne, are solid. The problem was the album suffered from such lofty expectations.

4. Chaos and Disorder, Prince

Released in 1996, Chaos and Disorder was the 18th studio LP by the icon, Prince. However, he put it together under duress and only to fulfill a label requirement with Warner Bros, it would seem. Because it’s Prince, it’s still solid, but not transcendent. Check out the title track below from the record that critics say sounded too much like a collection of demos.

The album did well on the charts, hitting No. 26 in the U.S. and No. 14 in the U.K. The number in the U.S. though was his poorest showing since his debut LP. The album included this message to purchasers: “Originally intended 4 private use only, this compilation serves as the last original material recorded by (love symbol) 4 warner brothers records – may you live 2 see the dawn.”

5. Raditude, Weezer

Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo recently admitted his band may have too much music. Well, the band’s 2009 record might be near the top of the charts when it comes to a take-back. With song titles like “I’m Your Daddy” and “Trippin’ Down the Freeway,” the record might have needed a little more heat before being fully baked. The album, whose title was suggested by actor Rainn Wilson, included the single, “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To.” Raditude hit No. 7 on the Billboard 200.

6. Give My Regards to Broad Street, Paul McCartney

Another soundtrack album, this record was also the fifth solo album from the former Beatle, released in 1984. While McCartney is certainly one of the greatest artists of all time, this might be his cheesiest album. It doesn’t have any heft, just flighty feelings delivered in a tossed-off way.

7. Fun in Acapulco: Original Soundtrack, Elvis Presley

It’s soundtrack time again! We’re definitely sensing a theme. This time it comes from The King, Elvis Presley. Released in 1963, this soundtrack album for the film of the same name did hit No. 3 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart but like the entry above with McCartney, it just fell short of any serious expectations. Like Willie doing reggae and McCartney doing cheese, this album of Presley doing island songs is a no-go.

8. Chinese Democracy, Guns N’ Roses

Ah, the main course in this series of albums. The long-awaited 2008 album from the big rock band Guns N’ Roses was a flop. For all that frontman Axl Rose promised, this album did not deliver. It was the first record from the band in some 15 years since 1993 and the LP, “The Spaghetti Incident?” The album went way over budget, costing more than $13 million and it was in development purgatory for nearly 10 years.

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