The hardest thing about being a famous rock star is that people get sick of you. The only solution is to keep coming back as somebody else. After all, think of how quickly the world would have buried the Beastie Boys if they'd trotted out five albums that sounded like License to Ill.
The artists that do a good job of reinvention are allowed to hang around (like Radiohead and even Madonna, brief reign of terror as a rapper notwithstanding). But sometimes reinvention goes horribly, hilariously wrong, and none were worse than these:
15Smashing Pumpkins Go Electronic
When Smashing Pumpkins released Adore, Billy Corgan was so wrapped up in his vision of himself as an invincible genius that he believed he could successfully steer the band's sound away from the guitar rock that made them great and toward an electronic sound driven by drum machines and synthesizers. Corgan wanted this album to have a larger, more universal appeal, and to possibly reach out to the--at the time--untapped robot demographic.
While we won't know how the robots feel about the Pumpkins' work until long after Billy Corgan is dead, just about every human can agree it was awful. Drummer Jimmy Chamberlain was absent on this album, and the remaining members changed to a more gothic look, which presumably was meant to convey that the band was dead and needed to be put in the ground before it began to stink up the room.
14KISS Make a Concept Album
Aiming to recover from a string of failures, KISS decided to release a concept album. Rather than follow the path of successful concept albums by writing about clearly drawn characters that specific journeys, they instead went the Styx route and made a murky, ambiguous and ultimately unnecessary concept album. Music From "The Elder" was intended to be the soundtrack to a movie never released, and instead became an album never purchased.
Music From "The Elder", was so bad that the band didn't even go on tour to promote it. Let's take a second and consider that the boys who weren't above painting up their faces to look like stars and cats and wrote songs almost exclusively about partying, didn't want to go on tour with this album because it would have been too embarrassing.