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The list of music considered the worst consists of albums or songs that have been considered the worst music ever made by various combinations of music critics, television broadcasters (such as MTV), radio stations, composers, and public polls. A piece of music needs to have been notable, popular, or memorable to be deemed the "worst ever", or it would be unlikely to top all-time public polls a few years after it was released. As such, a piece usually needs to have had a high-profile at the time of its release, such as an unexpected hit that was highly disliked outside of its fanbase, albums with poor material or songs that are most disappointing by artists. Scholarly accounts of the "worst music ever" are rare. Most polls or critical lists are light-hearted in nature, especially in pop music. Magazines reflect the preferences of their readers, and if polls are influenced by too small a group of readers or critics, they provide unreliable results. Most "worst ever" lists do not aim to take into account all music ever created, but are limited to certain time periods, styles of music, and geographical areas. Furthermore, individual tastes can vary widely, to the point where very little consensus on a worst song can be achieved; the winning song in a CNN e-mail poll received less than 5 percent of the total votes cast. There are a handful of scholars who have done more in-depth analysis of music perceived to be bad, including Irwin Chusid, Barry Hansen (better known by the stage name Dr. Demento) and Darryl W. Bullock, author of the 2013 book The World's Worst Records.
Due to their longer playing time than songs, albums contain material that most people, apart from fans and professional critics, will not have heard and have serious flaws. Therefore, "worst-ever" lists usually contain poorly recorded albums that many readers or viewers have not heard in their entirety, or the "worst" or most disappointing albums by well-regarded artists. An artist's actions or reputation might also influence the results. Such lists are harder to compile in the form of a public poll, unlike singles or music videos, which will usually have been heard or seen even by non-fans of the artist.
Voted the worst record ever made in a 1998 Melody Maker poll of pop stars, DJs and journalists. Among the harshest detractors was musician and journalist John Robb, who described the album as "the benchmark of 1967 - the low water point of rock 'n' roll". In a scathing appraisal of the record prior to its 40th anniversary in 2007, Guardian critic Richard Smith wrote that it is, "if not the worst, then certainly the most overrated album of all time." He also contended that the "excruciating" LP was often ranked by members of the music press as the best ever due to affection for its cultural impact, and "not because of anything intrinsically great about the record". Asked in 2007 to nominate the "supposedly great" album he would "gladly never hear again", artist and writer Billy Childish named Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and argued that it "signalled the death of rock 'n' roll". Musician and author Bill Drummond, in a 2010 publication, called the record "the worst thing that ever happened to music".
The Shaggs, who had previously had minimal exposure to music, recorded this album at the behest of the band members' father, Austin Wiggin; the album achieved wider release in 1980, long after the band had disbanded and Wiggin had died. Chris Connelly wrote for Rolling Stone: "Without exaggeration, [Philosophy of the World] may stand as the worst album ever recorded."The New York Times dubbed the album "the worst rock album ever made." Much of the attention surrounding Philosophy of the World derived from the perception that the album was so bad, it's good; Debra Rae Cohen, also writing for Rolling Stone, was so enthralled by the album's poor quality that she referred to it as "the sickest, most stunningly awful wonderful record I've heard in ages". However, other reviews were kinder, with allmusic giving the album 4.5 out of 5 stars.Blender placed it 100th on a 2007 list of the "100 Greatest Indie-Rock Albums Ever", and the album was cited as influential to other musicians, including Kurt Cobain, Frank Zappa, Kimya Dawson of The Moldy Peaches, and Deerhoof.
This supergroup led by Sutch, a pioneer in the horror rock genre, included a list of some of Britain's best known rock musicians, such as Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page (who also produced the album) and John Bonham, guitarist Jeff Beck, session keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, and Jimi Hendrix Experience bass-player Noel Redding. Many of these players disowned the record when it was released. It was mentioned as the worst record ever released in a 1998 BBC poll. A negative review published in Rolling Stone called Sutch "absolutely terrible" and lamented that under the restrictions of the project, the collection of talented musicians on hand were made to sound "like a fouled parody of themselves".
The only album by a psychedelic rock duo that consisted of a young Billy Joel and Jon Small, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote, "Attila undoubtedly is the worst album released in the history of rock & roll -- hell, the history of recorded music itself. There have been many bad ideas in rock, but none match the colossal stupidity of Attila." Joel himself has gone on record as describing the album as "psychedelic bullshit".
The album was a recording of an Elvis Presley concert that contained almost no actual music, and instead consisted mainly of banter and jokes from between numbers, compiled in a seemingly incomprehensible manner. It ranked No. 1 in Jimmy Guterman and Owen O'Donnell's list of the worst rock and roll albums in the 1991 book The Worst Rock and Roll Records of All Time, duly noting the lack of rock and roll on the album.
An album consisting entirely of guitar feedback loops ranked No. 2 in the 1991 book The Worst Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time by Jimmy Guterman and Owen O'Donnell. In 2005, Q magazine included the album in a list of "Ten Terrible Records by Great Artists", and it ranked #4 in Q's 50 worst albums of all time list.
A glam rock and discoBeatles cover album, the release was named "worst ever" by Maxim in April 2000-- in a top 30 list which mostly contained pop albums from the '70s to '90s. The soundtrack proved a disaster in the career of the Bee Gees. The Sgt. Pepper's movie soundtrack was the first album in history to "return platinum" as stores took over four million copies of it off their shelves to ship back to their distributors. The RSO Records organization destroyed hundreds of thousands of copies, providing the company with a huge financial hole from the soundtrack's failure.
The only album recorded by Kevin Federline, the ex-husband of Britney Spears. The record holds the distinction of being the lowest-scoring on review aggregator Metacritic, with a rating of just 15. It was also a commercial failure, with first-week sales of only 6,000 in the US.
Mired in development hell for 14 years, this album received widely polarized responses, ranging from positive to scathing. Popular music historian Stephen Davis named it "the worst album ever". Ayre Dworken, former music editor of the now-defunct Heeb magazine, wrote: "Chinese Democracy is the worst album I have heard in years, if not, in all my life of listening to music." The "terrible" record was included in Wired magazine's unranked list of the "5 Audio Atrocities to Throw Down a Sonic Black Hole", and placed first in Guitar Players "10 Awful Albums by 10 Amazing Bands". In Time Out New York, both music editor Steve Smith and columnist Jay Ruttenberg named Chinese Democracy as the worst record of 2008. However, Artistdirect praised the album as timeless, and Rolling Stone ranked the album number 12 on its year-end list of 2008's best albums.
Quigg's only album met with derision, and has been described by numerous reviewers as the worst record ever made. One such writer was Peter Robinson of The Guardian, who called it an "album so bad that it would count as a new low for popular culture were it possible to class as either culture... or popular". Contemplating the worst record of all time, a Popjustice critic said that "decades into the future, Eoghan Quigg's album Eoghan Quigg will be the one that scoops the accolade".
Stuart Berman in Pitchfork Media awarded the album 1/10, and, in pondering its "Worst Album of All Time" status on the Internet, wrote: "Even in that regard, Lulu disappoints. For all the hilarity that ought to ensue here, Lulu is a frustratingly noble failure."NME also noted that the album was "One of the worst reviewed albums ever" and "one of the most critically panned albums of recent years". In response to massive backlash from previous Metallica fans, Lou Reed stated: "I don't have any fans left. After Metal Machine Music (1975), they all fled. Who cares? I'm in this for the fun of it."
Daily Record writer Rick Fulton reported that several of his readers considered Streets in the Sky to be "among the very worst releases of the year , and indeed, all time". Critics were similarly harsh: the album is the second-lowest rated in history at review aggregator site AnyDecentMusic?, and is the worst-reviewed of 2012 at fellow aggregator Album of the Year. John Calvert of Drowned in Sound awarded the record an unprecedented 0/10 and described it as "the un-music"; Neil Kulkarni in The Quietus agreed that the album is not "actually music", and is akin to "shite, in the noonday sun, attracting flies". Both critics wished for no further recordings from the band.
The following songs have been named by critics, broadcasters, composers and listeners as the "worst ever". Examples of sources include VH1's "50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever" and Blender's "Run for Your Life! It's the 50 Worst Songs Ever!".
Because of the nature of the pop single that developed in the 20th century, most of these entries are five minutes long or less.
In 1977, British DJ Kenny Everett named this novelty song as the absolute worst of a bottom-30 song listing done after a public vote. The single was a moderate commercial success but killed the singing career of its vocalist, Jimmy Cross, who failed to achieve any kind of traction with serious work afterwards. A parody of the teenage tragedy song trend which was popular at the time, the lyrics of the song feature a male protagonist lamenting the death of his girlfriend before finally joining her in her coffin. In the book The World's Worst Records: Volume One, music critic Darryl W. Bullock wrote that the track is "[r]outinely considered the worst record of all time". The track appears on the unranked 1983 Rhino Reccords compilation The World's worst Records.
Featuring a then-unknown T-Bone Burnett on drums, the record, consisting of one-chord strums, seemingly random and mostly unintelligible screaming, and an abrupt bugle solo, was identified in the 1994 book The New Book of Rock Lists as the worst song ever released by a major label. Rhino Records also included it on The World's Worst Records. A historian in his native Lubbock, Texas suggested that the Cowboy's entire career was a "product of desperation" stemming from there being "nothing to do in Lubbock." Like the contemporary band The Shaggs, the Legendary Stardust Cowboy developed a cult following and is an outsider music icon who has received praise for his unorthodox work.
The Jimmy Webb-penned "MacArthur Park" is popularly held as the worst song ever written. In 1992, Miami Herald journalist Dave Barry conducted a poll among his readers who selected the Harris original as the worst track ever recorded, both in terms of "Worst Lyrics" and "Worst Overall Song". Barry commented: "[I]t's hard to argue with survey respondents who chose it as the worst." This is despite the fact that it topped the music charts in Europe and Australia and also won the 1969 Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s).
A disco song with lyrics narrated in the style of a British newscast (Bosanquet was a news anchor for Independent Television News at the time), it was voted number one in the Bottom 30 by listeners of British DJ Kenny Everett in 1980.
This duet, which used the materials that constitute the black and white keys on musical keyboards as a metaphor for the potential for racial harmony, ranked number one in a BBC 6 Music poll of the worst duets in history, number 10 in Blenders poll of worst songs ever, and has repeatedly been described as "saccharine" for its heavy-handed approach to its subject.
The song was voted worst song of all time by a panel of professional music writers and industry experts published in a 2003 Q magazine poll. It was also banned from being played on BBC Radio 1 for a period because it was not viewed as a "credible" song.
Critic Michael Saunders in the Sun-Sentinel named "Sussudio" as the worst song of the rock era, describing it as "insipid" and "indefensibly stupid".Guardian journalist Tom Service wrote: "'Sussudio' brings me out in a cold sweat... there's no colder or more superficial sound in popular music." In listing the track as the second-worst ever, Michael Musto in The Village Voice said that it "could have been the theme song for the Third Reich, it was that insidious and evil".Creative Loafing Charlotte writer Matt Brunson called it "the worst song of the [1980s], no question". The track has also been criticised for sounding too similar to Prince's "1999"; Mark Caro in the Chicago Tribune labelled it a "ripoff".
Despite this single off the group's album Knee Deep in the Hoopla being a No. 1 hit, it ranked No. 1 in "Run for Your Life! It's the 50 Worst Songs Ever!" list in Blender, and "The 10 Worst Songs of the 1980s" in Rolling Stone. Penned by songwriters outside of the band, the track has been disowned by the group's co-lead singer, Grace Slick.
This song was named by Village Voice critic Michael Musto as the worst of all time, and it topped Q100 DJ Bert Weiss's list of tracks he would forever ban from radio. In the "50 Worst Songs Ever", Blender said that "it's difficult to think of a song more likely to plunge you into suicidal despondency than this", and also lambasted its "appalling" lyrics.
Composers Carl Barât and Stuart Braithwaite named this track the worst ever. Peer Dean Ween said: "It's as bad as music gets... Everything about the song is so awful that if I sat down and tried to write the worst song ever, I couldn't even make it 10 percent of the reality of how awful that song is." Tara Dublin in The Huffington Post wrote that it is, "without question, the worst song of the 1990s".
Blobby's self-titled Christmas release is regarded by many as the worst single, and indeed, song, of all time. It has been ranked at, or near, the top of various "worst songs" lists compiled from both journalistic and public opinion.
Despite being successful, the song is despised by many and appears on many 'worst songs' list, including #1 on Rolling Stone's "Worst Songs of the Nineties" by a reader poll  and in NME's unranked list, "32 of the Very Worst UK Number One Singles of All Time".
Although "Life" was Des'ree's biggest hit in Europe ("You Gotta Be" was a bigger hit in North America), the song was widely mocked for its lyrics. The song, and in particular the verse "I don't want to see a ghost/It's the sight that I fear most/I'd rather have a piece of toast/Watch the evening news", has been voted as having the worst lyrics ever in polls by the BBC,The Independent, and the Herald Sun.
The song has appeared on various "worst Christmas song" lists. In 2011, the song was named "The Worst Christmas Song Ever" by Gawker.com, following a weeks-long survey of commenter votes.
Voted by music fans as the most irritating track ever recorded in a OnePoll survey.Spike writer D. Sussman called it "the worst song in the history of mankind", and Gigwise editors placed it first in "The 20 Worst Love Songs Of All Time". It was also ranked first in Heavy.com's recounting of the worst tracks of the 2000s.
Despite the song's success, many have considered "Laffy Taffy" to be among the worst songs of all time. HipHop365.com rated the song as the worst hip hop song of all time. In 2013, Bennett the Sage of Channel Awesome rated it the worst song to chart No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, criticizing the beat, flow and confusing title metaphor.
Some critics have given it the distinction of the worst song of all time. The song was listed at number 2 in Buzzfeed's list of the 30 worst songs ever written. They said: "If aliens came to Earth and asked why everyone hates Nickelback so much, this song would be a perfect explanation." A 2008 Popjustice poll voted "Rockstar" as the worst single of the year.
CraveOnline deemed it the worst rap song of all time, and the most embarrassing rap moment of all time.The Phoenix deemed it the worst song ever recorded. The lyrics, most notably "Fucking magnets, how do they work? And I don't wanna talk to a scientist / Y'all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed" have been noted as the worst lyrics of all time.
"Friday" has been widely described as the worst song ever recorded, attracting derision for its weak lyrical content and excessively Auto-Tuned vocals. It became an Internet sensation, making it the subject of multiple parodies and ridicule.
Critic Jan Moir described the track as "dire" and "the worst song in the history of pop".Missing Andy singer Alex Greaves also named it the worst track ever, saying: "Just awful. I hope most people bought it for a joke otherwise there's something really wrong." The song appeared in NME's unranked list, "32 of the Very Worst UK Number One Singles of All Time".
Classical music media have run fewer "worst-ever" lists than pop, either for composers or individual pieces. There have been articles on the worst recorded versions and the worst classical album covers.
^Walker, Gail (21 April 2009). "Don't you worry Eoghan, it hasn't all gone pop just yet". Belfast Telegraph. Independent News & Media. His [Quigg] eponymous debut album, released a couple of weeks ago, has been met with universal hoots of derision... Indeed, it is widely described as the worst album ever.
^Robinson, Peter (27 May 2013). "Factored out". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2009.
^Barry, Dave (2000). Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs. Andrews McMeel Publishing. pp. 18-19. ISBN978-0-7407-0600-4. The worst song in modern history, at least in the opinion of the people who responded to the Bad Song Survey is ... "MacArthur Park," the 1968 hit written by Jimmy Webb and sung hyperdramatically by Richard Harris ... [I]t's hard to argue with survey respondents who chose it as the worst.