Rolling Stone is back with another one of its infamous and controversial lists, but this is one you don’t want to be included on. It’s called 50 Genuinely Horrible Albums by Brilliant Artists, and includes legendary acts like Madonna, Billy Joel and Elton John.
The premise of the list is that there are very few artists, no matter how iconic, who haven’t released a clunker of an album over the years. For example, Billy comes in at #49 with his 1986 album, The Bridge. Yes, it features the hits “Baby Grand” and “A Matter of Trust.” But Rolling Stone says the rest of it is “largely lifeless filler,” specifically mentioning Billy’s duet with Cyndi Lauper, “Code of Silence.” Billy has admitted that he wasn’t “that enthusiastic” about it, because he was focused on his family at the time.
Speaking of albums from 1986, Elton lands at #13 on the list with his offering from that year: Leather Jackets. Rolling Stone brutally writes, “There isn’t one memorable melody or hook on the entire record, and the production is horrid even by the feeble standards of 1986.” Even Elton agrees it’s his worst album, blaming his cocaine addiction at the time.
Meanwhile, Madonna’s 2003 album, American Life, comes in at #26. Rolling Stone calls it “hopelessly muddled, when it wasn’t downright embarrassing.” The embarrassing part, the mag says, comes from Madonna’s attempts at rapping. Who can forget the title track, in which she raps, “I’m drinking a soy latte/ I get a double shoté,” and, “I do yoga and Pilates and the room is full of hotties”?
But Madonna, Billy and Elton should take heart: Even Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and John Lennon are on the list, not to mention Prince, David Bowie and Elvis Presley.
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