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Worst Record Reviews Ever

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Chief, Feb 21, 2006.

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  1. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Fresno, California
    Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the all time heavyweight champion of overheated hyperbolic schadenfreude in the name of critical epistemology concerning modern popular music---Nick Tosches!

    “The Box

    Why is this box different from all other boxes?
    The answer is nine-fold; irony abounds.
    Its spine is predolated. A hint of verdrian lake at the upper right-hand spinal corner. Spinal imprinting is off center. Intentional so as to affect casualness? Unintentional, the fault of the paste-up man or production assemblist? Conjecture reigns. Mainly on the plains.
    Acoustics: a pen placed on the hollow of the box takes on the obsidian and macabre aire of silence. When shaken in a regularized forward-backward pattern, one is reminded of the somnorific chuga-chuga-chuga of a trans-continental express train. A lighted cigarette in the box and shaken alternates mammalian thud with hushed anguish, ember ‘gainst cardboard.
    Imprinting: front and back. “Chicago” as sole dominant hieratic, empiricized, stately lection, the last remaining leaf of autumn.
    Timeliness: as perishable and auto-obsolescent as all get out. Will dissipate into a laughable-looking piece of spineless crap within a decade. This could have been prevented by re-inforced binding.
    The rectangular opening of the box veritably reeks of the ricorsic saga of Man. If only it could speak! What wonders it might unfurl for the curious and callow ears and young at heart alike. Nor Byron with his lecher limp, nor Poe with his starry stare, nor Villon, that petty thief and pimp, but the sere testament of muted existence. Once a sapling, now pulp.
    It might be used as a large, rather unorthodox dice-shaking cup if one is actually quite stupid. This and Linear B have perplexed scientists for years, simply years.
    For a total of five exterior planar surfaces involved in the whole kit ‘n’ kaboodle, the angular vectors are only slightly less than unique.
    It cannot house a runaway child.
    The implications are myriad, the teeth shiny and white. Dental Floss. Vitamin D. Nibbling the coronal regions, lips parted softly wet. All while it quietly snowed outside.
    What we have here is a historical process.”

    This is from “The Nick Tosches Reader”, a collection of his writings from his first published work in the late 60’s up to 2000. It has an even more caustic review of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”, so scabrous and scatological as to be unpostable in this forum.
  2. psubliminal

    psubliminal Forum Resident

    Westland, MI
    Ed Naha used to write some pretty scathing reviews in Circus in the early '70s. I can't recall any of them off the top of my head, and the mags are boxed up with the Creems and Rolling Stones. He used to crack me up, though.
  3. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport New Member

    Seattle, WA, USA

    Black Sabbath - Paranoid

    A young girl's voice. She is dressed in a nun's habit. The boy turns and faces her. She proffers a chalice of cervical exudate and he drinks from it. She gets down on her knees and elbows, como peros, and tosses the nun's hem above her posterior. On each naked buttock is the scrawled sign of Ashirikas; "**** me, Rolf." The boy whips out a 10" personal vibrator, adorned in waterproof acrylics with the image of the Nazarene. He intones the words "nuk Khensu tenten nebu" and approaches her intendant fundament...impletion...across the room the fresh corpse of an illegitimate hippie baby is dis-impaled from the ceremonial sword of Baph-omet. The myrrh is extinguished with the collected saliva of priests listening to tales of carnal abuse in warm, dark confessionals. The Shadaic numinae are chalked over with the mirrored sign of Ariael, the eleven rubies returned to the vessel of Dione. A dark, handsome youth with the physique of a Dionysos–eyes, though, glazed and cold–grasps the two-foot stem of an imported El-Douhab hookah by its hilt and shoves its tip, sans mouthpiece, into the dry, collapsed rectum of the dead hippie baby, pushes until thin rivulets of blood ooze from the nostrils and lips of the infant. The hookah's stem-tip surfaces and the suck-piece is restored. Those in the room gather about. One youth wears a mosaic-inlaid Aztec skull mask, ornamented with the symbols of Gnostic adoration. He fills the hookah bowl with black opium tars and a dash of Asthmador powders...in the corner of the room, clutching a smuggled police photo of Sharon Tate with her hacked-off tit crammed up her snatch, a lone boy masturbates slowly, moaning "tempora mutantur et nos muta-mur in illis."

    No "flower children" they, the sinister emanation of a generation who only yesterday, it seems, were set on changing a world in the shadow of nuclear holocaust and overpopulation into a utopia of peace and love. They drop the knee of fealty before the Antichrist. They shoot "M" and they engage in group sex. No act is too depraved, no thought too bizarre as they plunge deeper and deeper into the realm of perversion, into the ultimate "trip" of their own self-fashioned Hell. Orgies, incest, drugs, homosexuality, necrophilia, public nose-picking, Satanism, even living sacrifice.

    And this is their music. Although you may not enjoy its "message," although you may not enjoy a lead singer (Kip Treavor), who sounds like Keith Relf whining about the tampons stuck up his nostrils, you owe it to yourself as a person concerned with contemporary society or merely with the artistic underground of the youth movement in general to be aware of the "heavy" sounds of bubble-gum Satanism and if you see them live sometimes they undress a hippie girl. (RS 80)

  4. off_2_the_side

    off_2_the_side Forum Resident

    Brantford, Canada
    Rolling Stone's review of AC/DC's High Voltage from December 16, 1976:

    In Martin Popoff's Collector's Guide To Heavy Metal, his negative reviews are often funny, but his writings on Def Leppard's post-1983 albums are the most thoroughly scathing ones in the whole book.
  5. dbz

    dbz Bolinhead.

    Live At Leeds (UK)
    heres a good example of the same guy being sarcastic OR simply not listenning to the record-Led Zepplins Wild Dogs anyone?

    On his first solo album Tommy Bolin continues to display the flexibility that enabled him to play with such diverse bands as the James Gang, Billy Cobham and, presently, Deep Purple. Bolin uses his time well—not only as a guitarist who plays well, but also as an above-average composer and singer.

    It is to Bolin's credit that he spends little time on overblown bits of guitar flash—the riff-rock title cut and his two jazz-oriented instrumentals, "Marching Powder" and "Homeward Strut," impress without becoming overbearing. He concentrates instead on exposing his different styles, which include gentle ballads ("Dreamer"), scorching rockers ("Lotus," "The Grind") and even a bossa nova change-of-pace ("Savannah Woman"). Bolin's vocals are as versatile as his guitar, particularly impressive on Led Zeppelin's "Wild Dogs" and "People, People," whose Latin syncopation is neatly augmented by Dave Sanborn's tasty saxophone work. (RS 206)

    Rolling Stone

    (Posted: Feb, 12 1976)
  6. GregY

    GregY New Member

    Everything he says is basically true, but it's still a great album. :)
  7. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Please delete

    I posted this one last year but I thought I'd repeat it here. This is an excerpt from Rolling Stone magazine's review of The Beatles Capitol Box:

  8. jpmosu

    jpmosu a.k.a. Mr. Jones

    Ohio, USA

    I must have missed this last year. Uhhhhh, so what does this review actually mean?

    Have I missed something?
  9. Wook

    Wook New Member

    My favourite..............

    Attached Files:

  10. Aftermath

    Aftermath Senior Member

    Faltering Four is an eye opener :laugh: I have no idea what is being said in the third paragraph.

    As for bad reviews, the old Rolling Stone Record Guide as mentioned earlier does have some great one liners:


    Boogie by the Pound.

    There's also one about Greg Lake "Winding up his pipes for another heaping pile of musical bulls__"

    (I always liked his guitar on From the Beginning though.)

    Great thread!

  11. todd33rpm

    todd33rpm New Member

    What's even funnier is in The Nick Tosches Reader, Tosches wrote an intro indicating that he'd never listened to the album prior to writing the review.

    Also, "the box" mentioned earlier is the box to Chicago's early 1970s live box set.
  12. DrJ

    DrJ Senior Member

    Davis, CA, USA
    Roy Carr and Tony Tyler wrote some damn funny and scathing reviews of some of the Beatles solo records in their book THE BEATLES: AN ILLUSTRATED RECORD (not the first editions, but the later ones that were updated to include solo records by all 4 up through about the time of Lennon's death). I don't happen to agree with many of the reviews but they are vastly entertaining and usually there's at least some grain of truth in what they say. I don't have a copy with me but there were particularly funny yet scathing reviews of some of Harrison's mid to late 70s records and McCartney's stuff in the later 70s/early 80s period (again can't say I agree but points for being well written and enjoyable). I'll try to post some when I have a chance.

    Also not really a "record review" book per se but Nik Cohn's ROCK FROM THE BEGINNING is an absolute must read as far as I'm concerned. He wrote little chapters encapsulating certain artists and musical sub-groupings from the later 50s through later 60s in the book. Great writing, side-splittingly funny yet scathing to those he doesn't admire, and again even when you disagree you find yourself having to admit deep in your soul that he just MIGHT be right and you may be the one with the problem!
  13. Mike D'Aversa

    Mike D'Aversa Senior Member

    Wow. That reads like a press release from the band's manager, or one of those Tony Bramwell propaganda pieces on the back of the early Beatles albums. I know that the guy who wrote it, Thom, is one of their "newer" reviewers, but that's still no excuse. He should be embarrassed. How could he not know, even after having physically written it out, that is not journalism (even in the loosest sense of the word...). It's a shame AMG doesn't read emails anymore, someone should contact him. It was probably among his initial contributions to the site, dating back to '03. He probably doesn't remember it and/or realize how poorly it reflects on his writing.

    Maybe Erlewine should spend less time reviewing, and more time being an executive editor, to prevent disasters like this...
  14. Mike D'Aversa

    Mike D'Aversa Senior Member

    If your saying that the best stuff on Ram is as strong as his personal contributions to Abbey Road, I could see that. Though he should have abandoned the no singles on albums philosophy, and included "Another Day". I would also agree that this seemed to signify the end of the "arc", in that, Ram is the last McCartney album I can easily listen to all the way to the end (Band on the Run I can also do, but it's not nearly as enjoyable an experience). On Ram, even the lesser stuff is still enjoyable. Just like even the Beatles' lesser work was still enjoyable. Also, he seemed to use up any backlog of material he had on it, and then started from scratch with Wings.

    Same for me with Lennon's first two, and Harrison's Living in the Material World (All Things Must Pass is in a separate class. Because of all the backlog of Beatle-era tunes, it has enough quality material to spread over 3 Beatle albums). And that's provided he was finally given his rumored increase in contribution from 2 or 3 per album to 3 or 4.

    I think McCartney could have saved himself a LOT of grief, by not using the Beatles split to help sell the record (That's bad/evil Paul. The side of him that sometimes believes a record is of good quality as long as it sells). By doing this, he gave it attention/prominence that it didn't deserve, as it wasn't supposed to be a "proper" first solo record. Then again, he also gave off mixed messages by including songs like "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "Every Night", which were clearly written for the "next" Beatles album. These weren't cute little "throwaway" pieces/instrumentals recorded in his home demo room, and then initially mixed in a "proper" environment like Morgan Studios (IIRC, he didn't have the capability to mix at home even if he wanted to). Those two songs, unlike all the others, didn't even get recorded until the final mixing sessions that took place at Abbey Road. Wasn't the initial intent of the McCartney album to be a semi-counterpart to John and George's "avant-garde" side projects? Things that were never going to "make it" on a Beatle album ("Teddy Boy", "Junk", etc.). He obviously seems to be having made a distinction between what was "important" enough to record professionally, as opposed the home-made material.

    He also, like I said before, should have abandoned the "no singles" policy. "Maybe I'm Amazed" would have been his own counterpart to "Instant Karma", as far as keeping up in the "hit parade" stakes. IMO, Lennon's release of that song was his unofficial separation from the group. First solo song commercial enough to have been saved for the Beatles, and his first single release under his own name instead of the conceptual/non-committal "Plastic Ono Band". I wonder if Lennon invited Harrison's unheard acoustic guitar on the session as a kind of guilty goodwill/farewell gesture, to make up for his lack of participation/absence on many of Harrison's Beatle song sessions (both involuntary and voluntary)? Not to mention the "Ballad of J&Y" session snub.
  15. Driver 8

    Driver 8 Senior Member

    Why would "Junk" have been out of place on a Beatles album? :confused: And if "Wild Honey Pie," "Why Don't We Do It In the Road," and the "can you take me back" snippet at the end of "Cry Baby Cry" aren't little throwaway pieces, I don't know what is. McCartney did not mark the debut of that side of Paul.
  16. Evan L

    Evan L Beatologist

    This was my thought as well, and Spinal Tap's remarks to it in the movie are classic!

  17. Mike D'Aversa

    Mike D'Aversa Senior Member

    True, Paul had been doing it periodically for years under "Beatle Paul", but not as "Solo Paul". As you note, most of the big offenders are on the White Album. He seems to have been allowed to do this because the monster double-album needed this "padding". It probably drove George Martin nuts (Mr. "this would make a great single album boys"), and simply tolerated by Harrison and Lennon. Then again, this is also the same philosophy that allowed John to "get away" with having "Revolution 9" on a Beatles album (As opposed to "Two Virgins", or some other avant collaboration with Yoko). And we all know how thrilled the primary "custodian" of the late period Beatles was to find out about that one! It was almost like some unspoken mutual "unfit song material" agreement between the two.

    As far as "Junk" goes, I think the lack of it's presence a full year later speaks volumes about it's priority as a "Beatle" song. All those Get Back session hours of playing everything and anything, and it hardly makes an appearance? The song was already fully formed in Maharishi-ville, outside of maybe a few lyric tweaks. It probably got subtly vetoed by John and George during the White Album sessions (much like "Teddy Boy" did during Get Back). Though it's probably the best "throwaway" Paul wrote. Which says a lot, considering "Come And Get It" wasn't even "fit" for the group...
  18. Driver 8

    Driver 8 Senior Member

    I'd rate "Junk" up there with "Blackbird" as one of the very best Paul songs from the White Album sessions. Unless the lyrics were unfinished, I can't see why it was left off of the album.
  19. Mike D'Aversa

    Mike D'Aversa Senior Member

    While I don't rate it as highly as you, it is odd that it never "made it" on the White Album. The lyrics of the Kenwood demo are virtually identical to his solo album. I think McCartney, himself (even outside of the usual Harrison/Lennon criticisms), must have felt the lyrics were "unfinished". Maybe he felt they were too corny/sentimental? He always seemed to like the music of it more than the words. After all, the instrumental version on McCartney seems to be more fully produced/"cared for" than it's lyrical counterpart. Also, I might be wrong, but didn't the song make Wingspan as the instrumental? And Paul personally hand-picked those songs.
  20. Raf

    Raf Senior Member

    Toronto, Ontario
    The real horror is that AMG has been licensing the contents of the site, including the reviews, to other online entities such as the iTunes Music Store. These travesties of music criticism are plastered all over the 'Net, and they're practically inescapable when you do searches for songs, albums and artists.

    They need to hire a full-time copy editor. Someone who isn't also writing reviews. At the very least, someone with wits enough to use a spelling checker before publishing a piece.
  21. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Indeed. Here's an excerpt from their review of Dark Horse:

    "What can be said for this album? For those who believe in ostentatious holiness, it no doubt has a congratulatory quality. And musically, the playing is impeccable. But the lyrics are, in turn, sanctimonious, repetitive, vituperative and self-satisfied. It is a boring album. One wishes that it had not come from an ex-Beatle."
  22. Driver 8

    Driver 8 Senior Member

    One wonders whether they listened to "Far East Man," which is a very loose, fun, playful track, or the title track to the album, which is one of Hari's all-time best, imho. After the twin triumphs of All Things Must Pass and the Bangladesh concert, critical opinion of Harrison's work seemed to do a 180 almost overnight, judging from contemporary reviews.
  23. Mike D'Aversa

    Mike D'Aversa Senior Member

    Out of morbid curiosity, did the Manson family actually do that to poor Sharon Tate? I mean, the writings of blood on the wall thing probably goes back several centuries to Old England. And the baby thing was a very unfortunate, but satanic ritual type behavior. But to have done something like that is disturbing behavior on a whole different level...
  24. Mike D'Aversa

    Mike D'Aversa Senior Member

    I've always been at odds over the title song. I like it, but I sometimes feel like the tempo really starts dragging by the end. Maybe if he had cut out a verse?

    I think the killer for Hari was all the slow, preachy songs on "Material World". People were willing to overlook those on ATMP because they were good songs. But a lot of the ones on LITMW just come off as boring/lazy/uninspired. Add in the preachy lyrics, which put off some even on ATMP, and your settin' youself up for disaster.
  25. Driver 8

    Driver 8 Senior Member

    There are moments where I think that Material World is a better album than All Things Must Pass. A hugely critically underrated lp, imho.
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