So, without forgetting all the amazing tastes and more they have been bringing to our lives, we decided to pick over the great songs from those bad albums of our beloved rock and metal bands. Nobody might be perfect, but there are still lots of good things that survived among all and are worth saving, after all.
And before we get started, we also point out that this list is not a competition or a ranking at all, but just sharing our tiny little opinions of ourselves. So, if you also have another opinion on your own, we would also be happy to hear you down in the comments.
One-Shot, Tin Machine – Tin Machine II (1991)
Tin Machine, the short-lived rock band of David Bowie, received neither much appreciation nor acceptance as all the fans of Bowie couldn’t just adapt to the new sound the band offered, which they didn’t use to hear from the regarded rock musician. Well, who could blame them? So, while their second album also became their last one, Tin Machine and David Bowie at least give a good memory of them hold on, no matter how poorly their album was criticized, after all.
So, Entertainment Weekly criticized the album nodding “Everything on Tin Machine II … sounds like typically mediocre late-period David Bowie,” while a critic from Billboard praised “One Shot,” among some other positive reviews that the album also received.
Without You, Van Halen – Van Halen III (1998)
After having some line-up issues, it wasn’t that odd for Van Halen to have some adapting troubles, maybe, considering their rush to release a new album. But the results? We guess no one would have imagined this album to become that much disappointing, too. Receiving mostly negative critics, Entertainment Weekly rated Van Halen III a B grade, saying, “judging from the renewed intensity of Eddie’s guitar playing throughout much of III, having a merely competent, relatively ego-free singer seems to have reinvigorated his muse,” while also describing the song Eddie Van Halen sang lead vocals on as “cringeworthy” and “unintentionally hilarious.”
But as for Without You, the song has absolutely proven itself by debuting at number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, as well as with the harmony of Alex Van Halen‘s drums and Gary Cherone‘s screams somehow captured, after all.
Stand Inside Your Love, The Smashing Pumpkins – Machina / The Machines Of God (2000)
After releasing hit songs such as “Today” and “Cherub Rock” that are also defined ’90s dark grunge era, The Smashing Pumpkins had sure their charm on their selves, which would also go up in smoke soon enough. So, after releasing their album Machina / The Machines of God, it was just like they had nothing left except their smugness.
While the album has become the second lowest-selling commercially released The Smashing Pumpkins album to date, it was also criticized for “not sounding like a band in love with the potential and power of music,” by NME. But still, Machina also could manage to garner some positive reviews as Q‘s Paul Elliott described it as “mostly, a wonderful rock album, but not without its faults. Heavy Metal Machine’ is a hokey title for a dull rock song. ‘Glass and the Ghost Children’ sounds like mid-’80s U2 pretending to be The Doors… Often Corgan is at his most effective when he keeps it simple… ‘With Every Light’ is the gentlest song on Machina, and perhaps the best.” And in our opinion, what saved this album was its track called “Stand Inside Your Love,” giving a drum feast along with its pure poetry, and more, of course.
Imitation of Life, R.E.M. – Reveal (2001)
After their former drummer Bill Berry‘s departure, R.E.M carried on for sure, with its broken heart, we all assumed by looking at their adjustment process afterward. And, this is where they kinda failed at the time, as the band seemed like they couldn’t cover Berry’s absence or whatsoever neither with 1998’s Up nor with Reveal, which also didn’t end up very well. Except for their one song, Imitation of Life.
Among the mixed critics, the rock band’s album was received, the Village Voice described Reveal as a “drowsy album about daydreams, a sleeping pill for the unconscious.” and also said, “It makes you wonder if R.E.M. has finally decided to live up to their name.” And we can’t deny its truth, except for one of its tracks may not be deserved to be treated like the rest of it, as well. While the rest of the album of R.E.M weren’t that much likened, also Rolling Stone stood up for the beauty of Imitation of Life, claiming it’s the “most beautiful” song since 1992’s “Man on the Moon” and commending its goosebump-inducing instrumentation.
Better, Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy (2008)
It wasn’t any news that even Guns N’ Roses fall out of condition at some point, considering their tour, which consisted of almost 200 shows and also lasted two and a half years, had just wrapped up when they started to work on their new album without resting at all. But however, it was also a relief that the regarded rock band had also left a little bit of energy left, which also made fans hold on to their hope thanks to ‘Better,’ which showcased Guns N’ Roses still had its classic brutal, honest, and aggressive music, after all.
So, even though Chinese Democracy was received mostly positive critics, the reason we added it to our list is that it is not really their best one overall, too.
Metallica – St. Anger (2003)
Imagine a Metallica without no Kirk Hammett solos in its songs? Well, it might seem like the best metal in the world couldn’t be a part of any bad work or near of it, as well. But like we said. St. Anger has found its way onto our list just because of that very reason. James Hetfield‘s exhausted voice might have been overlooked as many actually did, considering his rehab situations and all at the time, but featuring no solos of Kirk? Come on, guys.
Our point of view was actually explained best by Adrien Begrand of PopMatters as he noted positive and negative aspects of the album, saying, “While it’s an ungodly mess at times, what you hear on this album is a band playing with passion for the first time in years.”
But still, one of the very reasons how Metallica fib its way out of this album to become much less than the best metal band of all time’s value was sure included Some Kind Of Monster, gladly.
Never Say Die, Black Sabbath – Never Say Die! (1978)
Personal demons and pain might not always work for the musicians to reflect all the emotions in them to their music, contrary to what is commonly known. And also Ozzy Osbourne proved that fact, especially when Never Say Die was released and featured average work that nobody thought was suitable neither for the regarded metal band’s frontman Ozzy or the band’s self, Black Sabbath, as well.
So, it wasn’t a shocker when Never Say Die! received mostly negative reviews, as AllMusic described the album as “unfocused”, saying it “will hold little interest to the average heavy metal fan,” along with Rolling Stone saying it was “not a blaze of glory for the original foursome” but added that it may be “better than people might remember.”
Nevertheless, the first track on the album, Never Say Die could show a sign of hope as it was also seemingly the only song that was any actual effort put into it, featuring catchy and strangely uplifting lyrics as all the musicians completed each other with their instruments and voices playing in a harmony, after all.
Rocka Rolla, Judas Priest – Rocka Rolla (1974)
The debut album of the regarded band Judas Priest might have coincided with their ineptitude. But yet, they have sure promised to the music industry and everyone they had much more to come on its way, with their same-titled track, Rocka Rolla, as well.
So, considering the fact that Judas Priest was a young band in the industry that had just started to crawl, AllMusic‘s critic giving their debut album, Rocka Rolla, a rating of 2.5 out of five stars was a huge success for the metal band although it actually received a little reception in total. AllMusic described the album as a “sketchy and under-focused debut”, and yet said the album”definitely hints at Judas Priest’s potential and originality.”
Kingmaker, Megadeth – Super Collider (2013)
Megadeth was almost got everyone with the opening track of Super Collider, which went sadly on a disappointment after the other songs were being listened to. On the contrary of Kingsmaker‘s thrashy and catchy sound along with combined with dark lyrics, the whole album as a package hasn’t given the same feeling as its opening song. So, unfortunately, Super Collider ended up being described as the regarded metal band’s worst release for featuring an effortless, hard rock sound.
Hey Cruel World, Marilyn Manson – Born Villain (2012)
Featuring the slowest tempo on its tracks, Marilyn Manson sure bored many people to the death when he had released Born Villain as a failed attempt at art-rock. But still, the album’s opening track, Hey Cruel World was so good that made everyone who listened to it believe in finding other tracks like it through the album at some point, which never happened.
Receiving mostly mixed reviews, Born Villain was described as “just a lack of magic, a lack of something special going on. It’s not bad. It’s not good,” by NME, while British magazine Rock Sound complained that “the record contained too many long introductions, which they said disrupted its fluidity.”