commercially disappointing major label rock/alternative albums of 1996

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it's funny because compare that to "What's The Frequency, Kenneth" doing such a great job of tricking millions into thinking Monster would be awesome (xpost)

some dude, Saturday, 5 May 2012 00:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

'monster' is pretty awesome imo!

omar little, Saturday, 5 May 2012 00:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

my friend Joel always sings "Asshole Son" for "Black Hole Sun" - try it, it's really much funnier

― cosi fan whitford (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Friday, May 4, 2012 8:26 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

This was a "thing" actually, or at least I remember hearing a radio DJ type parody with this. "Asshole son, mow the lawn.." etc. Not exactly Yankovic level.

Yeah, I stan for Monster too, see for example You Wore Your ExPOLLtations Like An Armored Suit: REM's "Monster"

well, the idea isn't that these albums all necessarily followed the band's biggest album (about a third of them didn't). but yeah i may be exaggerating the dropoff just because Factory Showroom's Billboard peak was lower, it didn't even have a moderate hit on the level of "Snail Shell," and they got dropped by Elektra immediately afterwards.

Okay, yeah, that makes sense. I think i had my wires crossed with the "career-killing followups" thread!

In hindsight some of this is just radio listeners and record companies shedding themselves of acts that were ill-conceivedly signed in a rush of post-Nevermind and Ten enthusiasm, right? Like in what universe did REM's bazillon-dollar contract ever look like a long-term Good Idea? Or the idea that They Might Be Giants were the kind of band that clearly was going to just knock out hit record after hit record? Of course they put out a trio of moderate and/or lukewarm-selling things and went back to a cult.

What it meant though is that, as much as some of these records are indeed bloated crap, it was a really fun time to listen to the radio because everything seemed really in flux and you could get exposed to MUCH weirder music than you'd expect for mainstream rock radio. Not just "alternative breaking through" but the idea that some of these records got even a halfhearted push by major labels is pretty cool to me. And the fallout from this is the really vibrant radio landscape of 96-98 when seemingly just any damn thing would be played on the alternative station. It was a lot of fun and made a good gateway drug for getting into indie rock once I hit college.

Doctor Casino, Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

none of these records sounds particularly weird to me, Doctor

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

now if you argue that Kurt Cobain referring to the Raincoats and such, then, yeah

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

to my ears the mid nineties college radio charts really sucked compared to the diverse programming of the 1988-1991 period.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

i dunno, i don't think REM's popularity was on such shaky ground. i mean, it makes sense in retrospect that they went back to being a cult band while U2 stayed in stadiums, but they were neck-and-neck for years and years, i can easily picture an alternate reality in which REM held onto much more of their peak era audience for much longer.

but yeah obviously this whole list is just a testament to the hubris of the majors at that point and the inevitable bubble burst of that 91-95 signing frenzy.

some dude, Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

xpost

some dude, Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

i dunno it was pretty weird that anyone thought cowboy-hats-and-megaphones ers ministry might be a commercial proposition

jesus christ (strongo hulkington's ghost dad), Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

xp to alfred there

jesus christ (strongo hulkington's ghost dad), Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah this is the period when U2 (according to the definitive Bill Flanagan book) and R.E.M. were not quiet about praising each other as the only competition for Biggest Band in the World.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah i mean, at the point that REM signed that ridiculous deal, they were in the artists who had a long streak of every album selling more than the last club for 9 albums straight, they were kind of unstoppable.

some dude, Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

nothing on this list was as disappointing to me as 'freak*on*ica' was several years later

omar little, Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

haha i have a friend who was a huge GVSB stan and he was so excited and then disappointed about that album

some dude, Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

weren't we all

Algerian Goalkeeper, Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

Oh jesus fuck no Freak*On*Ica no no no.

Even after that travesty, I regrettably went back to the well not once but twice (if you count the Session 7 soundtrack. Such a dummy.

You Don't Throw Oranges On An Escalator (Deric W. Haircare), Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

In retrospect, we all shoulda given that title a nice long ponder while we were in line at the music shop.

You Don't Throw Oranges On An Escalator (Deric W. Haircare), Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Keep expecting to find Silverchair's Freakshow in this poll, but, of course, '97.

Doctor Casino, Saturday, 5 May 2012 01:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

97 Would be a good poll too--, Pop, Ultra, Freakshow, er, uh, maybe not

Leslie Mann: Boner Machine (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 5 May 2012 02:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

omg i haven't thought about that record in years

i convinced myself i liked it for a pretty long time

goole, Saturday, 5 May 2012 02:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

er xp, freakonica i mean

goole, Saturday, 5 May 2012 02:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

1st track was great iirc

Algerian Goalkeeper, Saturday, 5 May 2012 02:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

Would have been their perfect final album had they quit at this point,

Absolutely. They very nearly redeemed themselves with this, having rediscovered the joy of playing live/as a unit. Guess that pesky $80 million Warners contract wouldn't allow them to bow out so easily, though.

Tarfumes The Escape Goat, Saturday, 5 May 2012 02:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

Freak*On*Ica - Let's just pretend it didn't happen. GvB broke up after House of GvsB.

earlnash, Saturday, 5 May 2012 03:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

Guess that pesky $80 million Warners contract wouldn't allow them to bow out so easily, though.

Absolutely no reason to make any insinuation about this.

timellison, Saturday, 5 May 2012 03:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

Just sayin', if they thought at that time "Yep, we're done," their contract wouldn't allow them to stop (at least, not without paying back the advance).

Tarfumes The Escape Goat, Saturday, 5 May 2012 04:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

lol you have no idea what you're talking about

balls, Saturday, 5 May 2012 04:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

So after signing an $80 million contract, they could've just walked away? Interesting. I'd love to hear about how that would work. (I'm being sincere, by the way; how would they have gone about that?)

Tarfumes The Escape Goat, Saturday, 5 May 2012 04:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

Freak*On*Ica - Let's just pretend it didn't happen. GvB broke up after House of GvsB.

man has there ever been a band that dropped the ball harder than GvsB

cosi fan whitford (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Saturday, 5 May 2012 06:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

So after signing an $80 million contract, they could've just walked away? Interesting. I'd love to hear about how that would work. (I'm being sincere, by the way; how would they have gone about that?)

the first thing you wanna remember about contracts like that by the way is here's how they don't work: you sign a contract and then they send you a check for the full amount. most such contracts stipulate the number of releases the figure in question buys, with dates and amounts of dollar distribution linked to delivery of albums, and probably, with a contract that big, certain amounts of touring stipulated, promotional assistance, etc. A recording is not "here's a bunch of money, enjoy," they're really baroque arrangements. However, when a band is as big as REM, the contract almost doubtless includes "in the event of" clauses that include "in case the band no longer wants to make records" thing that sunset the future $ distributions w/o penalty to the band, and that's the sort of lawyerly strongarming that labels just have to eat if they want the marquee act

you or I would not have the luxury of get-out-of-jail-free clauses but REM almost surely does

cosi fan whitford (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Saturday, 5 May 2012 06:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

Thanks for the explanation, aero. Some of that I knew (artists don't get the full amount up front), some of it I didn't ("in case shit" clauses). Most of the situations I'm familiar with involved lower- or mid-level bands, but I do know of at least one instance where a band had to pay back their advance (or whatever portion of it they'd just received) when they broke up (the Who with Warners).

Apologies for the thread derail. Carry on.

Tarfumes The Escape Goat, Saturday, 5 May 2012 13:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

i'm gonna listen to as much of wax ecstatic as i can until i have to pick my gf up

call all destroyer, Saturday, 5 May 2012 17:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

this may not have been a great idea

call all destroyer, Saturday, 5 May 2012 17:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 minutes too long.

EZ Snappin, Saturday, 5 May 2012 17:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

i still like the little squealy riff from the song wax ecstatic, but my good everything else. the rhythm section of this band is a bunch of fucking stiffs

call all destroyer, Saturday, 5 May 2012 17:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

Originally intended to be a concept album revolving around the death of a Memphis drag queen, that idea was aborted, though many of the tracks that ended up making the cut originated from this idea.

this makes track 4, the drag queens of memphis, slightly less inexplicable but it's a horrible woozy genre exercise. you're supposed to save those for the second half of the album guys!

call all destroyer, Saturday, 5 May 2012 17:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

i'm gonna listen to as much of wax ecstatic as i can until i have to pick my gf up

― call all destroyer, Saturday, May 5, 2012 1:21 PM (12 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this may not have been a great idea

― call all destroyer, Saturday, May 5, 2012 1:25 PM (9 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

lol

some dude, Saturday, 5 May 2012 17:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

man you can't listen to the actual recording of "molly" on spotify which is their only ok song.

actually i'm listening to it on youtube and it's better than ok.

call all destroyer, Saturday, 5 May 2012 17:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

amped-up jangle rock shouldve been more of a thing

call all destroyer, Saturday, 5 May 2012 17:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

"Plowed" is a pretty decent song.

You Don't Throw Oranges On An Escalator (Deric W. Haircare), Saturday, 5 May 2012 17:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah i'm always on the fence about plowed.

call all destroyer, Saturday, 5 May 2012 17:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

listening to it now, the chord progression thru the verse is nice

call all destroyer, Saturday, 5 May 2012 17:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

jesus, youtube really wants me to watch the video for "in the meantime"

fine youtube, happy now?

call all destroyer, Saturday, 5 May 2012 17:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

''Mungo City'' would sit well on this thread.

Doctor Casino, Saturday, 5 May 2012 19:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

otm. does that album have a cult following or am i making that up?

call all destroyer, Saturday, 5 May 2012 19:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 10 May 2012 00:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

bump

some dude, Thursday, 10 May 2012 03:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

Tiny Music... Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop

Bee OK, Thursday, 10 May 2012 03:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

really debating which one of these album titles makes the best euphemism for alienating a fanbase. "oh yeah, they Razorblade Suitcased that shit up on that one." "jesus, they dropped a Fairweather Johnson on that second abum." "you think they went Tiny Music last time? this one is straight up Friction, Baby."

some dude, Thursday, 10 May 2012 04:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

fyi i still probably listen to no code ~10 times per year.

one dis leads to another (ian), Thursday, 10 May 2012 04:08 (2 years ago) Permalink


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