Save Our Ears: The Worst Albums of 2023

Source: AP 2023

Drake – For All The Dogs OVO Sound; Republic

Let us emphasize right away: you can listen to the eighth solo album of the most famous hip-hop artist on the planet. Drake knows how to write relatively diverse music of an acceptable level, which will automatically enter the charts at least because of the artist’s brand. The sad thing is that both the rapper himself and his team know this, which means that we will again have to listen to as much as an hour and a half of material that definitely needed editing. Drake has been doing this for years now, and so far the trick is working. But, to the credit of the previous album Honestly, Nevermind (2022), there the artist at least tried himself in a different genre. This same release… it just is.

Lil Pump – Lil Pump 2 and 6ix9ine – Leyenda Viva Lil Pump – Lil Pump 2

They had only one task, and they failed at it.

Lil Pump and 6ix9ine, whose releases in this case we decided to write in one place, have never been brilliant songwriters or examples of good public behavior. But they were loved like jesters, and the rappers’ tracks fit perfectly into the party mix of the second half of the tenth.

Lil Pump’s third album is a shadow of “the one.” It’s as if the animator at the party decided to rap along with music from the free library. Although even in such things there is more fiction.

Leyenda Viva is still more interesting. The colorful-toothed artist decided to jump on the hype train and release a reggaeton album. We’ll give it a plus for trying, but listening to this whole thing is pretty boring.

U2 – Songs of Surrender Island, Interscope

In their first major release in six years, the Irish classics decided to re-record hits and favorite songs from their discography in acoustic format. They did not deceive and literally did what they said, but without any invention or interesting solutions.

If you were expecting a record on the level of MTV Unplugged in New York (1994) from Nirvana, then don’t be fooled. Recommended only for the biggest fans of U2 albums who know all previous records by heart. To survive these two hours without yawning is quite a test.

The Smashing Pumpkins – ATUM Martha’s Music, Thirty Tigers

The Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan’s ability to write cool songs is diminishing, and his love for large-scale formats shows no sign of fading. This time the musician released a three-act rock opera. Moreover, this is a continuation of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995) and two albums of the Machina cycle (2000).

Sounds complicated? Everything is fine, these complex matters work perfectly only in the head of Corgan and very stubborn fans. “Mellon Collie…” contained many great (in every sense) compositions, and the release itself became an important part of the nineties. Machina at least had an interesting sound and a couple of catchy tracks. ATUM looks more like a long synth-rock demo album from an author who has nothing left to say. Among the 33 songs there are no truly passable and polished compositions.

ATUM is critically short of a third-party producer, since old Billy himself was responsible for all decisions. Let’s be honest, the author of these lines, whose student years were spent listening to the best works of The Smashing Pumpkins, each time it becomes more and more sad to listen to the new albums of the project. They really are getting worse and worse.

Oliver Tree – Alone In A Crowd Atlantic

One of the Internet’s most beloved merrymakers has released an album that supposedly closes some kind of contract with the label. If previously Oliver’s music could be listened to without enchanting images in the videos, then his third record seemed to be created only as a background for TikTok videos.

Three runs through a typical program: a little pop-punk, a bit of “songs for cars”, a couple of dance songs etc. A little entertaining at the time of listening and instantly forgotten after. The only bright spot is the bonus track Miss You, recorded with electronic engineer Robin Schultz… Yes, this is a remix of the song Jerk from the debut album Ugly Is Beautiful (2019).

Marshmello – Sugar Papi Sony Latin; Joytime Collective

There are albums whose purpose is to decorate dance floors with music for the summer and go into the sunset. Probably, Sugar Papi was created for places where it is always warm, otherwise why was it released in early November.

Exercises in reggaeton, Latin trap and other offshoots of the genre from “Zefirchik” are not so terrible. Sugar Papi on this list only highlights the trend: the currently fashionable sound has already reached its peak. We want either further development of ideas, or something else.

30 Seconds to Mars — It’s the End of the World, But It’s a Beautiful Day Concord

What’s better: watching the movie “Morbius” (2022) once or listening to the band’s sixth album three times? In the first case, you will at least laugh heartily.

Inside the record with a long title is 30 minutes of insipid pop-rock of the modern formation. For fans of this kind of material, it’s easier to listen to other representatives (literally everything that Imagine Dragons has). Even the previous long-play America (2018), which did not grab stars from the sky, was made at least a little with imagination.

Now even neural networks can do more soulful things.

Lewis Capaldi – Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent Vertigo; Capitol

Honestly, we don’t want to offend Lewis. He is probably the nicest guy in everyday life, he definitely knows how to sing beautifully. Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent has become the best-selling album in the UK in 2023.

The songs from the record could have been performed by the Kens in that campfire scene in the movie Barbie (2023), where they played one ballad for four hours. Only with a piano and a strong tear.

I really don’t want to say that the recording was ordered from the Turnkey Romantic Album company, but that’s exactly what it looks like. Sorry, Capaldi, but really not very much.

Godsmack – Lighting Up the Sky BMG

Godsmack decided to give a gift to rock music and released their latest album. Nevertheless, the band is not going to break up and will continue to delight its fans with concerts.

Godsmack’s eighth LP works like a time capsule: it’s like the early 2000s, you just bought Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (2004), and now you need to listen to serious post-grunge music with a stern face. But isn’t it easier then to turn on the band’s album Faceless (2003) than to try to enjoy these hysterical hard rock cuts?

Roger Waters – The Dark Side Of The Moon Redux SGB; Cooking Vinyl

Ex-Pink Floyd Roger Waters has every right to re-record The Dark Side Of The Moon in honor of its 50th anniversary, no question. But it’s up to us to listen to him.

The main problem of the remake: the album does not complement the classic work with new meanings and does not bring anything interesting to the musician’s solo discography. Waters simply declared classic and new texts under lounge art-rock. The only thing I want to do at the end of the “remake” is listen to the original record again.

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