As far as music goes, “the worst” is a slippery category: the worst album of all time was probably made by some godawful crunkcore/pop-punk band in a garage somewhere in 2004 and never saw a formal release. Still, there are better-known records that, for whatever reason, you never, ever want to hear again — the songs are awful, the band’s awful, the music’s awful, or all of the above! So, in the (lighthearted) spirit of our recent list of the worst films ever made, here’s a completely subjective list of the worst albums ever …Read More
If you’ve ever studied any music theory or are just given to reading about music, you’ve probably heard of the tritone — it’s an interval that’s three whole tones apart, and its dissonance means that it sounds sinister as hell. Some time in the 18th century, possibly earlier, it was dubbed diabolus in musica (the devil in music), and its use has historically been frowned upon in liturgical music, which generally relies on unison and harmony. (This, perhaps, gives rise to the oft-repeated story that the tritone was banned by the Catholic Church.) All this, of course, means that using it in your songs carries a certain inherent badassness — something exploited by the musicians who populate this list.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… half-naked Michael Keaton running through Times Square. Well, really, it’s your afternoon links!
When album art succeeds, it becomes wholly embedded in our conception of the music it introduces. Whether you like it or not, Nirvana ensured that you wouldn’t be able to listen to Nevermind without envisioning a wet, cash-hungry baby. You’ll likely never listen to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy without thinking about a butterfaced illustration of Kanye fucking a more-butterfaced angel, and you certainly can’t listen to Raffi’s Bananaphone without thinking of a phone that’s a banana! Aware of the stubbornness of such images, a Flickr user who goes by Harvezt decided to provide another dimension to these otherwise invariable visual associations (spotted via Stereogum). Here, Harvezt flips the album art, showing these covers from behind and opening our imaginations to what might have lurked beyond these famous frames.
And so, the Grammys again. Since half the awards are given out before the ceremony even takes place, the abiding sources of interest these days are a) the outfits and b) the performances. As far as 2014 goes, the relevant points of interest on the former point were Pharrell’s hat (which, inevitably, already has its own Twitter account) and Kacey Musgraves’ curious dress. And the performances… well, as ever, they ranged from the almost sublime to the utterly ridiculous. Here’s our rundown of each any every one, starting with the best and working through to the ones that sent you to the fridge for several more …Read More
Y’know what they say about buses — you wait forever for one, and then two turn up at once. So it has proven with Justin Timberlake albums, with the key difference that the albums that have arrived this year aren’t so much buses as a couple of those gigantic stretch limos from Aphex Twin’s “Windowlicker” video. Both volumes of his The 20/20 Experience are contenders for the most overlong and overblown albums of the year, which is a shame, because their predecessor — 2006’s Futuresex/Lovesounds — was a well-crafted, lean pop delight. Still, for all that it’s kinda self-indulgent, the Timberlake double-act still has a ways to go to rival some of the truly overblown and self-indulgent records people have made over the years. Behold: the hall of shame.
Remember Napster? If you’re old enough, the name probably conjures up memories of two things: a) furtively trying to download questionable MP3s at dial-up speeds and b) Lars Ulrich. The Metallica drummer is still living down the disastrous legacy of his legal battle with the file-sharing company, a battle that made him the most hated man in the music industry circa 2000 and a poster boy for the idea that old people just don’t understand the Internet. But with the backlash growing against the pittance that artists get paid by new post-Napster services like Spotify, it seems like a good time to ask: are we all living in the Lars Ulrich free-music dystopia? And was he maybe right all along?
Game of Thrones is back this week, and we’re celebrating its return by raising our pitchers of mead and embarking on a week-long feast of all things fantastic (which we mean, of course, in the traditional/geeky sense of “related to the fantasy genre”). Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper party without some music for the bards to play, so we’re commencing the week with a bumper selection of songs and albums inspired by classic fantasy stories. Join us as we put on our robe and wizard hat and set out on an epic quest to create the ultimate sword-and-sorcery playlist!