All of us have had jobs we weren't particularly proud of. Unfortunately, if you choose a profession in the public eye (i.e., rock star), any bunch of dickheads with a computer and too much time on their hands (i.e., Cracked) can bring up your humiliation years later. For instance…
6Alice in Chains
While the majority of bands spawned by the grunge music explosion of the early '90s openly expressed their disdain for the superficial glam metal acts that preceded them, Layne Staley and company quietly sat back hoping nobody would remember they were once a bunch of sissified, hair-teasing, mascara-wearing pretty boys.
Became famous because...
Alice in Chains' seminal album, Dirt, is considered one of the best of the grunge era, although lyrics such as,
A stinging pistol, in my mouth, on my tongue,
I want you to scrape me from the walls.
...mean it's unlikely to be your first choice if you're trying to liven up a party. This record has been recognized for its extraordinarily gritty and realistic representation of the suffering caused by heroin addiction... which may have something to do with the fact it was written and recorded while Staley was suffering from an extraordinarily gritty and realistic case of heroin addiction.
Became famous despite...
While the members of Alice in Chains have managed to distance themselves from a few of their more obscure early incarnations, it doesn't exactly take a team of CSI detectives to connect the dots between the band we know and Layne Staley's effeminate '80s cock-rock act, Alice 'N Chainz. This group of (alleged) men sporting bouffant hair and nancy boy make-up was arguably the most embarrassing of the band's many forerunners. Their now forgotten output from the '80s including sensitively titled tracks like "Fat Girls" and lyrically diabolical party anthems such as "Lip Lock Rock":
Lip lock, Lip lock, Lip lock, Lip lock, Lip lock
Lip lock rock, Lip lock rock
Suffice to say, song writing generally took a backseat to hair and make-up during this era. Perfectly illustrating the band's non-existent musical credibility is a line from their demo tape's thank you notes that reads "If you are blonde, tan, tasty, and tight, the boyz in the band love you lots"... And no, as much as some fans would like to believe it, we haven't gone off topic and started talking about Poison.
A few years before introducing herself to the USA with Jagged Little Pill and its disturbing references to publicly deep-throating the fat guy from Full House, she was responsible for two beyond-awful bubblegum-pop albums that teams of men in black suits have since erased from the memories of all those unfortunate enough to have purchased them.
Became famous because...
Alanis appeared on most fans' radar thanks to the testicle-shriveling payback rant "You Oughta Know." Jagged Little Pill sold enough copies to allow her to consider retiring without ever having to set foot in a recording studio again (a career path that the three people who bought her last album, So-Called Chaos, would suggest probably should have been followed).
Became famous despite...
While it's unrealistic to expect material written and recorded by a 16-year-old former child television star to contain profound and articulate ruminations about the human condition, inflicting the following lyrics upon an unsuspecting record-buying public must surely be considered some sort of grossly irresponsible human rights violation.
My name is Alanis, I'm a white chick singer
The drums are a-smokin' and so's the bass
Shake your thing (chika chika chika, cha)
When you sing (chika chika chika, ooh yeah)
Just sixteen (chika chika chika, cha)
No disco queen (chika chika chika, oh yeah)
That's from "Oh Yeah," from the album Alanis released in Canada in 1992. If that wasn't frightening enough on its own, try and imagine it being sung to an electronic backing track that sounds as though it's been pulled from an early '90s Commodore Amiga game. Then imagine it sung by Alanis Morissette doing a bad impersonation of Sean Connery. Now imagine it not so much sung, as rapped. If you're imagining it correctly, you should now have a thin trickle of blood running out of each ear.
A year after inflicting this upon the Canadian public, Alanis returned with Now Is the Time, an album where Alanis proved she could branch out from terrible dance songs and could make terrible ballads as well. Here's a sampling of lyrics from the track "Big Bad Love":
I'm having dreams in the night of you baby
And Sigmund Freud would have thought I was crazy
I wonder why you've become an obsession
All I know is that I need to have your big bad love
The Canadian public decided it wasn't funny any more, and refused to buy the album. Alanis, growing out of the "teen pop sensation" phase, reinvented herself. When Jagged Little Pill became a monster hit in 1995, her label actually got all copies of Alanis and Now Is the Time pulled from circulation. Who would think the music industry could do something so Orwellian?
Oh, wait. Everyone.