The 5 Least Anticipated Albums of 2015
It's 2015! That means all sorts of fun new things will be happening. Music will not be one of those things. Well, that's not completely true. There will obviously be new music from a whole host of musicians in the next 12 months; it's just that a lot of it, in all likelihood, will be completely awful. We talk about some of those terrible albums on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
... where I'm joined by comic J. Vanessa Gritton and Cracked editor Tom Reimann. We kick things off by discussing an oft-delayed new record from everyone's favorite band in the world to relentlessly talk shit about.
Limp Bizkit - Stampede of the Disco Elephants
Keen observers will note that, when I wrote the 2014 version of this article, Stampede of the Disco Elephants was first on that list as well. That's because Fred Durst and friends have been threatening to unleash this on the world for quite some time now.
The first single, "Lights," initially hit Internet piracy shelves in 2012.
Oh, sorry, I guess the title is "Lightz," because of course it is. I trust you have no interest watching that video, especially if you watched it already a year ago. If you're curious as to what it sounds like, all you really need to know is that Fred Durst makes this face a lot ...
He's sad because he knows he's Fred Durst.
... while the rest of the band does their best to crank out a song that might earn some car commercial money someday.
Another single showed up in March 2013, and this time the band's new label mate, Lil Wayne, was along for the ride.
Have I mentioned that part yet? Limp Bizkit is now signed to Cash Money Records, home of Lil' Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Drake, and probably a whole slew of other people. How exciting is that?!?!? Right, no one cares. Lil Wayne doesn't even want to be on Cash Money Records anymore, and he might as well own that fucking place. Not sure what prompted that decision, but I imagine something about constantly having "I'm on the same record label as Limp Bizkit" kicking around as a thought in his head played at least some (huge) role.
Papa Roach - F.E.A.R. (Face Everything and Rise)
OK, right off the bat, as my pal Vanessa pointed out on the podcast that I plugged in the intro that you didn't read, this is not how acronyms work. The word "and" should not be included, which means the grammatically proper way to shorten this album title would be F.E.R., which you might recognize as complete and total gibberish. Don't let that stop you from checking out this album, though. Instead, let the fact that Papa Roach has been a terrible fucking band since their inception do the work for you.
Oh, sorry, you probably like that "Last Resort" song, right?
I did too, except I liked it when it was an Iron Maiden song, and it didn't consist primarily of a grown man complaint-rapping about his station in life.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should add that I haven't actually listened to a Papa Roach album in its entirety in years, so maybe their outlook has changed a bit. Nothing about the motivational speaker-like title of this album implies anything other than "we're still sad and still nu-metal as fuck" to me, though.
For the record, they are and they are.
Those are both deal breakers for me, mostly thanks to the fact that it's not 1999 anymore. The '90s were a simpler time with way less war and slightly less poverty. We needed the music of that decade to provide the angst we weren't getting from everyday life. But that's a ship that sailed a long time ago now. I have my own problems, just like the rest of the world. Taking on those of a rich rock star is way less entertaining now.
50 Cent - Street King Immortal
Yes! Back to something more current! As recently as 2003, 50 Cent was as relevant as an entertainer can possibly get. Of course, that had more to do with the fact that Eminem and Dr. Dre were both pretty important back then. Also, we needed someone to get Ja Rule to stop making albums, and to his credit, 50 Cent filled that role like a goddamn superhero.
Here's the thing, though ... he's not supposed to be making albums anymore either. Remember that? It was 2007, and 50 Cent and Kanye West had designs on releasing their new albums on the same day. To make things more interesting, they generated a friendly little rivalry that sort of doubled as a joint promotional campaign. As part of that rivalry, 50 Cent promised to retire for good if Kanye's album sold more the first week.
And then they kissed.
Well, it did, but here we are, more than seven years later, talking about a new 50 Cent album. Fuck that, a bet is a bet. 50 Cent should no longer be making music, just like every celebrity who's ever vowed to move to Canada if an election didn't go his way should be exiled immediately. It's time to start holding famous people accountable for their words, and I say we start with 50 Cent.
Also, this album has disaster written all over it, for a few different reasons. For one, just like the Limp Bizkit album mentioned earlier, the release of Street King Immortal has been getting pushed back since at least 2012. He actually had it completed at one point but decided to write something new and release that instead just last year.
That's a pretty great song, which should give a person hope that his next album will just be that, except improved upon. History has shown that probably won't be the case though. "I already have another album recorded and ready to release" is almost always code for "you'll never hear that album, and if you do, it will be massively disappointing."
Remember the last time U2 released an album that wasn't delivered by way of a computer virus? It was called No Line on the Horizon and, at the time, the band promised a follow-up, Songs of Innocence, would be out by the end of that same year. Well, that album still hasn't arrived, but they swear it's still coming.
Or take The Beatles, for example, who I bring up solely because I know how angry it will make a lot of you that I'm comparing them to 50 Cent right now.
Anyway, the last album they recorded as a band was the goddamn wonderful Abbey Road, and it only happened because they knew the album they were planning to release at the time, Let It Be, wasn't that great of a representation of their ability as a band. That album did finally get released and, sure enough, it was a less-than-impressive end for The Beatles, to the point that Paul McCartney oversaw the release of a stripped down (and much improved) version of the album decades later.
Am I saying 50 Cent and The Beatles deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as musical talents? Not really, but fuck you and The Beatles both if it bothers you that much. What I'm mostly saying is that if Street King Immortal was an album you really wanted to hear, you probably would have by now.
Marilyn Manson - The Pale Emperor
Speaking of musicians who don't matter anymore, how about damn near every single one on this list? Or if that's too much data to take in at once, how about Marilyn Manson? Remember when that guy was all edgy and terrifying? Right, neither do I, but for a few albums there, he at least made moderately interesting music.
The last time I personally gave a shit was sometime around when the Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) album came out.
Again, I think we're talking 1999 or so, which seems to be a running theme throughout this list so far. Foreshadowing alert, it will be going forward, also. At any rate, even by that point, hearing Marilyn Manson sing about "Disposable Teens" was starting to seem a bit ridiculous ...
... even if it was an alright song. His unfortunate and undeserved connection to the Columbine shootings went a long way toward keeping Marilyn Manson's image as the "scariest man in music" intact well past the point where anyone was actually scared of him anymore, if anyone ever was. I mean, it's not like Alice Cooper never existed.
This is shtick we've seen before, and it's an incredibly difficult one to move on from. Manson hasn't so far, and the returns have been diminishing each time out for at least a decade now. Is there any reason to believe things will improve this time around?
Maybe! You still won't give a shit if they do, though.
Dr. Dre - Detox
Is Dr. Dre's Detox the Chinese Democracy of rap? You remember that, right? It was the Guns N' Roses album that Axl Rose promised would be coming out almost every single year for at least a decade, and when it finally did, it was a massive disappointment that no one really gave a shit about. Except for the part where it's actually been available for purchase at any point, that describes Detox, the alleged follow-up to (you guessed it) 1999's confusingly titled 2001.
So, in that way, yeah, maybe all signs do point to Detox being one long wait for terrible. That said, another long overdue album that finally surfaced in late-2014 makes the case that maybe a decades-long delay doesn't always have to mean disaster. That would be D'Angelo's Black Messiah, the damn wonderful follow-up to the also stellar Voodoo.
So, if Detox does finally find an actual release date in 2015, will Dr. Dre be the next D'Angelo or the next Axl Rose? The closest thing we've gotten to an official release, the 2011 single "I Need a Doctor," was pretty not terrible.
But it was also pretty much just another Eminem song that Dr. Dre produced. We've heard plenty of those over the past decade. Will the rest of the album, with all of those newcomers (there are always tons, to varying degrees of effectiveness), turn out as well? I'm going to go out on a limb and say probably not. The reason, of course, is headphones.
This is the closest you will ever get to a new Dr. Dre album.
That's what Dr. Dre makes these days. He's an executive at Apple, for fuck's sake. You might as well be expecting great music from Bill Gates. Finishing this project is probably more of a nuisance for the good doctor than anything at this point. There's always a chance it might turn out well, but don't count on it.
Follow Adam on Twitter @adamtodbrown.
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