We’ve already written about bad albums by great artists, but what about the other side of the coin – unexpectedly great albums, by awful artists? Read on for our top seven.
Linkin Park: even the lamest bands can strike gold sometimes
7 The Offspring, ‘Smash’
Years before ‘Pretty Fly For A White Guy’, and ‘Want You Bad’, their third album ‘Smash’ – released in 1994 – came out of nowhere. Their previous two records hadn’t experienced any mainstream success, but ‘Smash’ hit the spot. A pop-punk staple (a contemporary of Green Day’s ‘Dookie’), ‘Smash’ proved that the Offspring could go mainstream and still be legit. For one album, anyway.
6 Hot Hot Heat, ‘Make Up The Breakdown’
What a debut this was. Spiky, new-wave pop, produced by Jack Endino (Sound Garden, Nirvana), the 2002 LP from ‘Hot Hot Heat’ made the Canadian group seem an impossibly thrilling prospect. By their second album, the shtick was wearing thin, and by the third album, they’d lost their lead singer.
5 CSS, ‘CSS’
Cansei de Ser Sexy had such a promising beginning. Before band members began to drop like flies, and neon became a less popular fashion choice, their debut reeled listeners in. Hooky tracks like ‘Music Is My Hot Hot Sex’ and ‘Off The Hook’ stand up six years on.
4 The Kooks, ‘Inside In/ Inside Out’
I’m going to get a lot of stick for this one, and that’s OK. Just listen: ‘Naive’. ‘Ooh La’. ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’. It doesn’t matter how awful you think Luke Kook is, those are solid tunes. Solid.
3 Linkin Park, ‘Hybrid Theory’
It doesn’t matter how you feel about rap-metal, or nu-metal, or whatever you want to call it. Linkin Park’s ‘Hybrid Theory’ is a classic album. The same can’t be said for the rest of their output, however.
2 The Hives, ‘Your Favourite New Band’
Yes yes, we know this is a compilation album. But really, it’s all the best tracks. The other Hives records (and there are five of them), are all variations on the same theme. Why have the skimmed milk when you can have the cream?
1 Travis, ‘The Man Who’
It’s hard to believe that Travis have six studio albums, and harder still to believe that ‘The Man Who’ was their work, since it’s so uncharacteristically awesome. Melodic, subdued and sensitive, its only flaw was that it inspired the bedwetter indie that was to follow (looking at you, Starsailor).