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This list 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 be 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 been high-profile at the time of its release, such as an unexpected hit that was highly disliked outside of its fan base, albums with poor material, or songs that are most disappointing by artists. Scholarly accounts are rare concerning the "worst music ever". Most polls or critical lists are light-hearted in nature, especially in pop music. Magazines reflect the preferences of their readers, and polls can provide unreliable results if they are influenced by too small a group of readers or critics. Most "worst ever" lists do not take into account all music ever created, but are limited to certain time periods, styles of music, and geographical areas.
Individual tastes can vary widely such that very little consensus can be achieved. For example, the winning song in a CNN e-mail poll received less than 5 percent of the total votes cast.
Albums contain material that most people will not be familiar with, apart from fans and professional critics. Therefore, "worst-ever" lists usually contain poorly recorded albums that many readers 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 be heard or seen even by non-fans of the artist.
Although it is often cited as one of the best albums ever recorded,Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has also been cited as one of the worst. It was voted the worst record ever made in a 1998 Melody Maker poll of pop stars, DJs, and journalists. Musician and journalist John Robb described the album as "the low water point of rock 'n' roll".Guardian critic Richard Smith said it is "if not the worst, then certainly the most overrated album of all time". He contended that the "excruciating" LP was often named the best ever 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", Billy Childish named Sgt. Pepper and argued that it "signalled the death of rock 'n' roll". Musician and author Bill Drummond called the record "the worst thing that ever happened to music for a lot of reasons". It remains a subject of debate partly due to its "lofty critical perch". The first notable detractor was New York Times critic Richard Goldstein, who in 1967 called it an "undistinguished collection of work" and spoke of its "shoddiness in composition" and "pungent lyrics". In 1981, journalist Lester Bangs wrote that "Goldstein was right in his much-vilified review... predicting that this record had the power to almost singlehandedly destroy rock and roll." In 1985, NME editor Danny Kelly omitted the record from the all time top 100 albums list, calling it a "joke [that] wasn't funny anymore" and "stupendously over-rated and ultimately damaging".
Reappraising on its 20th anniversary and listening to it on "1987 terms", Los Angeles Times music critic Robert Hilburn said that the record's innovation "no longer camouflages the weakness in material." Hilburn and John Lennon's biographer Albert Goldman felt that the album was mostly "mediocre". Writing in his 2004 book Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics, American music critic Jim DeRogatis said it was "39 minutes and 52 seconds of rather unremarkable, uninspired music".
The Shaggs recorded this album at the behest of a 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 it "the worst rock album ever made." Much of the attention surrounding Philosophy of the World was derived from the perception that it was so bad that it was good; Debra Rae Cohen in 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 it was cited as influential to other musicians, including Kurt Cobain, Frank Zappa, Kimya Dawson of The Moldy Peaches, and Deerhoof.
This supergroup was led by Sutch, a pioneer in the horror rock genre. It included 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 The Jimi Hendrix Experience's 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.Rolling Stone called Sutch "absolutely terrible" and lamented that the collection of talented musicians on hand were made to sound "like a fouled parody of themselves".
The only album by psychedelic rock duo 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 has described it 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 between numbers, compiled in an 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, bemoaning the lack of music 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 their 50 worst albums of all time list.
A glam rock and disco Beatles cover album named "worst ever" by Maxim in April 2000, a list which contained pop albums from the '70s to '90s. 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 its failure. The Bee Gees, prominently featured on the soundtrack and in the film, were tarnished by the album's failure (they would recover with their next album Spirits Having Flown, the success of which led to this soundtrack being largely forgotten).
A posthumous bootleg compilation album consisting largely of outtakes and a selection of Elvis' movie soundtrack songs of the 1960s, which was deliberately made to highlight the worst of his career. Critics largely agreed that the compiler of the record succeeded in picking Presley's worst work.
A cover album named the worst ever album by Q magazine in March 2006. Gareth Grundy, the deputy editor for Q magazine, said of the album, "Duran Duran was the one that united everyone in agreement. We put it on in the office to remind ourselves how bad it was. Sometimes these things are redeemed by some sort of kitsch or novelty value, but it didn't even have that. It's not funny for even a split second and not even the sort of thing that you would put on for a laugh if you were drunk." Ken Scott, the engineer of the album, also thought "it turned out pretty badly." The band considered it commercial suicide. Chris Gerard of Metro Weekly ranked it as Duran Duran's worst album.
The only album recorded by Kevin Federline, ex-husband of Britney Spears. The record holds the distinction of being the lowest-scoring on review aggregator Metacritic with a rating of 15. It was also a commercial failure, with first-week sales of only 6,000 in the US.
This album was mired in development hell for 14 years, and it received widely polarized responses ranging from positive to scathing. Popular music historian Stephen Davis named it "the worst album ever". Music editor Ayre Dworken wrote: "Chinese Democracy is the worst album I have heard in years, if not in all my life of listening to music." It 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".Chinese Democracy was ranked as the worst record of 2008 by several publications, including Time Out New York, Asbury Park Press and IGN.Chicago Tribune noted the record in its end-of-year appraisal of the worst in arts and entertainment. On the other hand, Rolling Stone ranked it 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". Another critic said that "decades into the future, Eoghan Quigg's album Eoghan Quigg will be the one that scoops the accolade" of worst record of all time.Gigwise placed the record at number one in their "20 Worst Albums of 2009."
Stuart Berman in Pitchfork Media awarded the album 1/10 and wrote that Lulu disappoints even in its "worst of all time" status. "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.
Multiple publications have described this as the album which catapulted Abraham to Internet infamy, including The Atlantic,The Fader,Noisey, Jezebel, and The Guardian A writer for Entertainment Weekly discussed the lyrics from its only single "Finally Getting Up From Rock Bottom": "Vocal effects are applied so thickly that you can't really understand a word Abraham is yelping. Blessing in disguise?" Some critics have lauded the record's indescribable sound as "brilliantly baffling and alienating", while others have stated that it will make the listener want to kill himself.
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 magazine's "Run for Your Life! It's the 50 Worst Songs Ever!".
The mock-Japanese novelty record (a cover of a 1925 hit) was one of many released by dialect comicHarry Stewart under an alias (most of his others were under the name Yogi Yorgesson). While Stewart's records routinely got bad reviews in the press, a brief but particularly scathing review in Billboard may have earned the record enough publicity to chart on the magazine's own charts and prompted radio stations to play it. One radio disc jockey disparaged the record on-air as "the worst record (he had) ever heard" when playing it, and the record's poor quality inspired those in the music industry to record intentionally bad songs under the logic that if Stewart's record could be a hit, so could theirs (one example being "There's a New Sound," which purports to popularize the sounds made by worms).
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 vocalist Jimmy Cross, who failed to achieve any kind of traction with serious work afterwards. It is a parody of the teenage tragedy song trend which was popular at the time, and its lyrics feature a male 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 it is "routinely considered the worst record of all time". It appears on the unranked 1983 Rhino Records compilation The World's worst Records.
This record features T-Bone Burnett on drums and consists of one-chord strums, random and mostly unintelligible screaming, and an abrupt bugle solo. It 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. The Legendary Stardust Cowboy developed a cult following and is an outsider music icon who has received praise for his unorthodox work.
Jimmy Webb wrote "MacArthur Park", which 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". 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 Vocalists.
This song was loathed by band members John Lennon and George Harrison, and was voted the worst track ever recorded in a listener poll organised by Mars, Incorporated. It also appeared in Blender magazine's "50 Worst Songs Ever".
A disco song with lyrics narrated in the style of a British newscast. Bosanquet had recently resigned as 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 used the materials that constitute the black and white keys on musical keyboards as a metaphor for racial harmony. It ranked number one in a BBC 6 Music poll of the worst duets in history and number 10 in Blenders poll of worst songs ever, and it has repeatedly been described as "saccharine" for its heavy-handed approach to its subject.
"True" was noted as the worst song ever by St. Petersburg Times music columnist Sean Daly and The Guardian journalist Luke Williams; Williams's colleague Michael Hann described the track as "dreadful wine-barsoul".Seattle Post-Intelligencer critic Robert Jamieson called it the worst love song of all time. The track has also appeared in unranked lists such as the Houston Press "10 Songs We Never, Ever Want to Hear Again, Ever", and NMEs "50 Worst Pop Lyrics of All Time".
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."Michael Musto in The Village Voice listed it as the second worst song ever and 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. The track has also been criticised for sounding too similar to Prince's "1999"; Mark Caro in the Chicago Tribune labelled it a "ripoff".
This single off the group's album Knee Deep in the Hoopla was a No. 1 hit, but it also ranked No. 1 in "Run for Your Life! It's the 50 Worst Songs Ever!" list in Blender magazine, and "The 10 Worst Songs of the 1980s" in Rolling Stone. It 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.
Spinner editors ranked this the second-worst track in history, while Blender staff placed it fifth. A Houston Press critic named it as the worst song ever to emanate from the state of Texas, and said that it "set back the cause of white people in hip-hop a decade". The track also sampled the 1981 Queen and David Bowie collaboration "Under Pressure" without initially naming Queen and Bowie as co-songwriters, though subsequently they did receive a songwriting credit.
The song has appeared on multiple "worst songs ever" lists. It was named the worst of all time in The Independent on Saturday, and was ranked second in Blender's "50 Worst Songs Ever". It also placed first in a Sydney Morning Herald reader poll to determine the worst track of the 1990s, and was voted by Chicago Tribune readers as the worst song of 1992.
This cover of the 1975 Barry Manilow track was voted the worst song in history in a 2004 public poll organised by Diesel. NMEs Anthony Thornton said of the result, "Thank God that 'Could It Be Magic?' has finally been recognised as the worst song in the world. It is the kind of track that makes you wake up screaming."
Composers Carl Barât and Stuart Braithwaite named this track the worst ever.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 of all time. It has been ranked near the top of various "worst songs" lists compiled by journalists and public opinion.
Despite being successful, with UK sales of 1.83 million as of 2016, the novelty dance track has been included on some worst songs lists, 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". The song was voted number one in the 1998 NME award for Worst Single.
"Life" was Des'ree's biggest hit in Europe, whereas "You Gotta Be" was a bigger hit in America, but it was widely mocked for its lyrics. One verse has been voted as having the worst lyrics ever in polls by the BBC,The Independent, and the Herald Sun: "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".
A cover of the 1970 Joni Mitchell song which was featured in the film Two Weeks Notice. The Village Voice named this cover the worst song of the 2000s. Additionally, NME also included this cover on its list of the worst songs of the 2000s and Ultimate Classic Rock highlighted this song in their Terrible Classic Rock Covers series.The Village Voice's scathing review of the cover is archived and displayed on Joni Mitchell's website.
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.
Oakland Tribune music columnist Oliver Wang reported that the track is "considered by most critics as either the worst song of this decade or in all of recorded music history". Writers who named it as the worst track ever include Nathan Rabin in The A.V. Club,Laura Barton in The Guardian, Joseph Kugelmass in PopMatters and Shaun Bruce in The Stranger; Bruce stated that it "may actually represent the nadir of human achievement". It gained first place in a Rolling Stone reader poll of the all-time "20 Most Annoying Songs", and its lyrics were voted the worst in the history of dance music in a Global Gathering survey.
Despite the song's success, many have considered "Laffy Taffy" to be among the worst songs of all time. HipHop365.com rated it 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 this the distinction of the worst song of all time.The Guardian's Peter Robinson said: "this song makes literally no sense and is the worst thing of all time." It was listed at number 2 in Buzzfeed's list of the 30 worst songs ever written. Buzzfeed contributor Ryan Broderick said that "'Rockstar' is the most unequivocally terrible [song] of their catalog. 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 this 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 have been called the worst of all time, 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".
"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. The song appeared in NME's unranked list, "32 of the Very Worst UK Number One Singles of All Time".
An independent song produced by Patrice Wilson, who also produced Rebecca Black's "Friday". "Chinese Food" has been criticized as the worst song ever created and the worst song of the year by Time magazine. The song and especially the video have also been criticized for being racist due to the heavy Chinese stereotyping present in both.
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.
^Strachan, Robert (2010). "Liverpool's 1970s bohemia: Deaf School, Eric's and the post-punk scene". In Leonard, Marion; Strachan, Rob (eds.). The Beat Goes on: Liverpool, Popular Music and the Changing City. Liverpool University Press. p. 129. ISBN978-1-84631-189-5.
^Walker, Gail (21 April 2009). "Don't you worry Eoghan, it hasn't all gone pop just yet". Belfast Telegraph. Independent News & Media. His 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.