13 Musicians Who Hated Their Own Albums
Whether it was due to creative differences or illicit substance use, sometimes popular bands and recording artists just hate their own albums. Here are 13 of them.
1. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN // BORN TO RUN (1975)
While recording Born To Run in 1975, Bruce Springsteen became so increasingly frustrated with writing and mixing the songs that he grew to hate the album. He hated it so much that he threatened to give up and not release it at all.
“After it was finished? I hated it! I couldn't stand to listen to it,” Springsteen admitted. “I thought it was the worst piece of garbage I'd ever heard. I told Columbia I wouldn’t release it. I told ‘em I’d just go down to the Bottom Line gig and do all the new songs and make it a live album.”
2. JAY-Z // IN MY LIFETIME, VOL. 1 (1997)
Jay-Z believes his second album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, suffered from writing songs for radio play instead of making music he loved.
“I don't listen to that album because I think I messed it up,” Jay-Z said in 2009. “There's so many incredible records on there that I think I missed having two classics in a row by trying to get on the radio ... I can’t listen to it. When that record comes on it just irks me.” He later called the album “the one that got away.”
3. FOO FIGHTERS // ONE BY ONE (2002)
Foo Fighters' fourth studio album, One by One, was a commercial and critical success in 2002, even winning the band a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album of the Year. Despite its success, frontman Dave Grohl grew to hate the album because he felt that it was rushed and poorly made.
"I was kinda pissed at myself for the last record," Dave Grohl told Rolling Stone in 2005. "Four of the songs were good, and the other seven I never played again in my life. We rushed into it, and we rushed out of it."
4. EMINEM // ENCORE (2004)
Eminem had a pretty serious prescription drug problem throughout the 2000s. The albums he released between 2003 and 2008 before he got clean weren’t indicative of his best work, particularly 2004's Encore.
“Looking back on it now, there was some pretty mediocre things that I was putting out,” Eminem admitted to Vibe. “When I was making Encore, my addiction took on a life of its own. I remember going to L.A., recording with Dre and being in the studio high, taking too many pills, getting in this slap-happy mood and making songs like 'Big Weenie' and 'Rain Man' and 'A** Like That.'”
5. WEEZER // PINKERTON (1996)
While Weezer didn’t find commercial or critical success with Pinkerton (Rolling Stone readers considered it one of the worst albums of the year), the sophomore effort from the Los Angeles-based rock band found a cult following over the years. However, when Weezer followed it up after a five-year hiatus with the long-awaited "Green Album" in 2001, frontman Rivers Cuomo grew to resent Pinkerton because fans and critics kept comparing the two albums.
“The most painful thing in my life these days is the cult around Pinkerton,” Cuomo told Entertainment Weekly in 2001. “It's just a sick album, sick in a diseased sort of way. It's such a source of anxiety because all the fans we have right now have stuck around because of that album. But, honestly, I never want to play those songs again; I never want to hear them again.”
6. MORRISSEY // KILL UNCLE (1991)
Steven Patrick Morrissey is very dismissive of his second solo album, Kill Uncle. He believed that he ran against his limits while writing and recording the 1991 record, which he described as “pale and pasty” and "session-musician embalming fluid” in his 2014 autobiography.
7. OASIS // BE HERE NOW (1997)
Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher considers Be Here Now the band's worst album. He described it as “The sound of a bunch of guys, on coke, in the studio, not giving a f*ck. All the songs are really long and all the lyrics are sh*t and for every millisecond Liam is not saying a word, there's a f*cking guitar riff in there in a Wayne's World style.”
8. DRAKE // THANK ME LATER (2010)
Although Drake’s debut album, Thank Me Later, was a mainstream hit in 2010, the Canadian rapper believes it wasn’t his best work because it felt incomplete and rushed. He tried to make a better album with his sophomore effort, 2011's Take Care.
"To be 100 percent honest,” Drake told the Los Angeles Times. “I wasn't necessarily happy with Thank Me Later. People loved it [but] I just knew what I was capable of with a little more time.”
9. R.E.M. // AROUND THE SUN (2004)
In 2004, R.E.M. released their thirteenth studio album, Around The Sun. It was the band’s first record that failed to reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200 since 1988, and received mixed reviews from music critics. R.E.M. was so ashamed of the album that its songs are usually excluded from live shows.
“It seemed like we'd turned into one of those bands that just book like a million months in the studio and just beat it to death,” said R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. “The last record, for me, just wasn't really listenable, because it sounds like what it is, a bunch of people that are so bored with the material that they can't stand it anymore.”
10. THE STROKES // ANGLES (2011)
After The Strokes released their third studio album, First Impressions of Earth, in early 2006, the New York City-based band took an extensive five-year break from recording and touring. They came back together with their long-awaited fourth album, Angles, in 2011. While it was a commercial hit, the record received mixed reviews from music critics.
In an interview with Pitchfork for The Strokes’ 10-year anniversary, frontman and singer Julian Casablancas admitted, “I was going to let things go so there's a bunch of stuff [on the record] I wouldn't have done." Guitarist Nick Valensi mirrored Casablancas’s remarks, saying, "I won't do the next album we make like this. No way. It was awful—just awful."
11. LYKKE LI // YOUTH NOVELS (2008)
Swedish singer Lykke Li admitted that she hates her first record, Youth Novels, because it felt so raw and unrefined. In an interview with The Telegraph in 2014, the singer was quite candid with her feelings about her debut. “I cannot stand my first album,” she said bluntly. “It is so bad. I sucked.”
12. THE CLASH // CUT THE CRAP (1985)
In 1985, The Clash released their sixth and final record, Cut The Crap. At the time, Clash vocalist Joe Strummer was pretty jaded about his band, and was also grieving the death of his parents.
"CBS had paid an advance for it so they had to put it out,” Strummer later explained in 2000. "I just went, 'Well f*ck this', and f*cked off to the mountains of Spain to sit sobbing under a palm tree, while Bernie [Rhodes, the band’s manager] had to deliver a record."
13. AT THE DRIVE-IN // RELATIONSHIP OF COMMAND (2000)
In the year 2000, At The Drive-In released their third and final album, Relationship of Command. Although the hit record brought the El Paso, Texas-based band mainstream success, At The Drive-In broke up shortly after its release due to their growing popularity.
Despite its success, guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López openly bashed At The Drive-In’s final release, telling Alternative Press, "One of my only regrets out of everything I've ever done is the way that record was mixed. People think that was a raw and energetic record, but what they're hearing is nothing compared to what it truly was before it was glossed over and sent through the mixing mill.” He added, “I just find it the most passive, plastic ... It’s the one record I still to this day cannot listen to. The mix ruined it for me."