Answer That and Stay Fashionable: What’s Your Favorite ‘Bad Album’?

Welcome back to Answer That and Stay Fashionable, where every week various members of the Dying Scene team will take a question posed by you, the readers, and pour their hearts out in regards to all things punk rock: from favorite records and show experiences to embarrassing purchases and fashion styles. If it’s punk, it’s fair game. This week’s question:

“It seems pretty common that no matter how good a band is, eventually they will release at least one album that is not well-received by their fans, becoming a stain on an otherwise flawless discography. What’s your favorite ‘bad album’ by a great band?”

Read our responses below.

Lauren Mills:
Keep Them Confused by No Use for a Name. This is an easy choice for me. It seems like this album isn’t very well-received by some No Use For A Name fans, but it’s my personal favorite album by them.  It seems to be a “love it or hate it” kind of album. The songs are slower and softer, but it’s a great album. Another polarizing album that I can think of is Alkaline Trio’s Crimson. I’m a big Alkaline Trio fan and Crimson is my favorite album of theirs. It’s layered and so cool. I wish they played more of it during live shows. I love the whole album, but “Settle for Satin” is my jam. Am I cool enough to say my jam? I don’t think so.

Screeching Bottlerocket:
As everyone already knows, “bad” is an extremely subjective term, especially when it comes to music. You might like a record a lot of other people hate, or you might hate an album that is enjoyed by a majority of a band’s fanbase – it all comes down to your own personal taste! Anyway, I guess my favorite not-so-well-received album is probably MxPx’s Secret Weapon. Some of the songs are kinda cheesy, but there are a lot of really solid ones as well; namely the title track, “Here’s To The Life,” “Angels,” “Drowing,” and “Not Nothing.”

Although Recipe for Hate was the album that started to break Bad Religion into the rock mainstream, some say it’s not one of their well-received albums because of its musical direction (with punk and grunge mixed together), and perhaps because of Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) doing guest vocals on it. Despite this, Recipe for Hate is one of my all-time favorite Bad Religion albums.

Mine is Bouncing Souls’ Ghosts on the Boardwalk.  Very unlike all their other stuff, but musical solid and there are some great catchy songs on there.

I love Against Me!’s White Crosses. I know it’s usually received pretty poorly by long time AM! fans. The vocals are processed, and the overall sound is moving away from the anachro-folk of earlier albums to something more like “punk-influenced” arena rock (“Rapid Decompression” anyone?) But even though White Crosses sounds more mainstream than Reinventing Axl Rose, I love this album.

Songs like “I was a Teenage Anarchist,” “ Spanish Moss” and “Bamboo Bones” are among my favorite Against Me! songs because of their melodic choruses and memorable lyrics.  And, “Because of the Shame” is my favorite Against Me! song. In my opinion, there aren’t any really awful songs on the album; instead there are songs which sound like a significant departure from previous work but are still really strong songs.

Bizarro Dustin:
So many possible choices here! I’m a fan of plenty of terribly received albums- I frequently insist that Indestructible is one of Rancid’s most consistent records and that Green Day’s American Idiot doesn’t betray the band’s roots as much as everyone says it does (or at least no more than any of the rest their Reprise output). Hell, Agony and Irony just might be my favorite Alkaline Trio album ever. I’m definitely no stranger to enjoying ‘bad’ albums, which is a purely subjective anyway, but if I had to narrow things down to just a single album, I’d have to pick the Ramones’ 1986 album Animal Boy.

In high school I firmly believed that the first four Ramones albums were the only ones you needed- and even then Road to Ruin was pushing it. Everything else had weird, experimental slow stuff and not worth the time of day. To this day I still know people who follow that train of thought and I’m here to say that they’re wrong (which would also make me retroactively wrong, I can admit that). Animal Boy shows a lot of depth and diversity for a band best known for laying the groundwork of composing songs with just three chords. The songs range from near-metallic (“Somebody Put Something In My Drink”, “Mental Hell”) to goofy pop (“Apeman Hop”, “Crummy Stuff”) to dumb ballads (“She Belongs to Me”) to punk (“Eat That Rat”, “Love Kills”). Let it not go unsaid that the album also contains two of the best Ramones songs of all time: the dual-titled “My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)” and the so-incredibly-sarcastic-it-might-be-sincere “Something to Believe In”.

Animal Boy might not be the punk album that any snotty 15 year old wants, but what does a 15 year-old really know anyway?

Hopeless Romantic:
Well, as my name suggests, The Bouncing Souls are one of my favorite bands… however, Ghosts on the Boardwalk was a little disappointing in comparison to their earlier albums. While it will never live up to Maniacal Laughter, The Bouncing Souls, or Hopeless Romantic, I still think there are still a few gems, and “I Think That The World” is one of my favorite songs.

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