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:
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.
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.
Sales of the album were much lower than anticipated, and because the project was equal parts of Brooks out of his league and just being totally stupid, the film was canceled and Chris Gaines politely faded away. This appeased those diehard Brooks fans who were worried if they supported the Gaines album, they would lose the doofy singer-songwriter they'd all come to love, for some reason.
Take note, country-haters: If you buy Chris Gaines' album, Garth Brooks will disappear. Just as a warning though: If you buy Chris Gaines' album, you will own a Chris Gaines album.
He got fucked like an animal in record--sales figures. Deciding that he wasn't nearly close enough with Reznor already, Bowie decided to co-headline the Outside tour with NIN. Reznor and company would occasionally play in the middle of Bowie's set to keep young fans from leaving. And, Bowie, presumably, would lock himself in a closet backstage during NIN's set for the exact same reason.
Somehow, inexplicably, Eddie Van Halen decided to take what was broke in the band and make it even more broken by singing lead vocals on one track, sending a message of, "Hey, it could be worse," to the many fans dissatisfied with Cherone's performance.
Bassist Michael Anthony appears in only three tracks on the album, marking what were either tensions within the band or forward-thinking wisdom on his part. Cherone was quickly dismissed from the VH lineup, and fans did their best to pretend he was never there in the first place.
For some strange reason, nobody would buy the idea that this clean-cut group of guys who used to beg girls not to go in falsetto voices had any hard edges to them whatsoever. Their music significantly supported this idea.
This is pretty self-explanatory, right?
Besides, what's more metal than hearing your song blasted from the convertibles of stockbrokers? More crappy albums followed, and then the final straw, Some Kind of Monstera weepy documentary where they hug and cry and threaten to reunite with former band mate and fellow out-of-steam rocker Dave Mustaine. Now, die-hard Metallica fans are left like that guy in the video for "One," banging out "S.O.S." with their heads for eternity.
The fault landed mostly on Jagger who, afraid to fall behind in this crazy new MTV generation, forced reggae and new wave influences in 1983's Undercover. Jagger also famously clashed with guitarist Richards who, finally emerging from a decades-long drug coma wanted to steer the band to its blues and rock roots. The compromise resulted in an unfocused and inconsistent album that alienated preexisting Stones' fans and repulsed the MTV crowd Jagger was so convinced he wanted.
U2, presumably armed with the idea that "We're U2, we can do whatever the hell we want," marched into the studio and proceeded to churn out 12 tracks of synthesized, sampled, techno dance beats with a few traces of guitar and some obligatory Bono wailing. When you're possibly the biggest band on the planet, we don't really understand the mentality in branching out to different genres. Who are you trying to reach, Bono? Is it space? Are you trying to conquer space, Bono? Do you think that space likes shitty dance music? That's pretty presumptuous, even for you, Bono.
Step One: Get rid of song writing partner and guitar visionary John Frusciante.
Step Two: Replace him with metal-inspired possible trannie, Dave Navarro.
Step Three: Press record.
Singer and songwriter Anthony Kiedis was so depressed that he fell back into drugs after five years of sobriety. As a result, the album was less about sex and funk and more about drug-induced soul searching and heavy metal. Dave Navarro, the source of the metal, was reportedly concerned about the RHCP recording process. He often wondered why so much "jamming" was involved in the making of the album, which lead many music scholars to question whether or not Navarro had actually ever heard the Chili Peppers.
The album was commercially and critically unsuccessful and, with Frusciante's return to the band a few years later, it's easier for everyone to just pretend One Hot Minute never happened.
Rolling Stone described the sounds of the album as "The tubular groaning of a galactic refrigerator" and "a night in a bus terminal," while popular comedy website Cracked.com drew similarities between listening to MMM and "[G]etting ear-fucked by a toaster."
The album was a busy and unfocused mess with too many guest stars that received negative responses both critically and commercially. To illustrate just how far removed this album was from Dylan's previous work, we've included some lyrics from the song "Wiggle, Wiggle" that, we feel, really represent the album as a whole:
"Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle like satin and silk,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle like a pail of milk,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, rattle and shake,
Wiggle like a big fat snake."
Pretty deep, right? Because sometimes don't you just need to wiggle wiggle wiggle, like a big fuckin' pail of milk? No? You never find yourself in desperate need of some serious, milk-like wiggling? Hmm. Must be just Dylan, then.
You'll recall he had the Hammer Pants sued off of him for sampling Rick James without permission, and this must explain why he is parading around in a male thong in the video for single "Pumps and A Bump."
Take notes, 50: nothing says gangster like a banana hammock.
The video opens with Hammer calling a friend and speaking either like someone raised on the streets or a rich pop-rapper who found a Street Dictionary, ("Yo, G, Peep this"). Regardless, neither pumping nor bumping rescued this train wreck of a video.
John Frusciante is a writer living in New York City. He hopes to reinvent himself as a phrenologist.