Wow, we had no idea it was this bad. Yeah, we thought we’d be clever-ish and tie in a story about 2012’s musical turkeys with Thanksgiving (admittedly an original idea). Alas, there were so many more than we remember, it got depressingly unfunny: this might turn out to be one of the worst years ever in recent memory when it comes to the quality of popular music being released. Maybe the album is dead, indeed: 2012 unleashed so many turds in the format, maybe it deserves to die, after all! The year’s sonic stiffs run the gamut, from superstars like Madonna to indie also-rans (POP ETC, anyone?), and beyond… Really, it’s staggering the amount of crass crap we were forced to endure. So, in no particular order, we’ve compiled what in our opinion makes for the worst music of 2012 – well, okay, we put Kreayshawn first on purpose…
Kreayshawn, Somethin ‘Bout Kreay
Hard to imagine an album dropping with a more sickening thud than this. Kreayshawn’s first proper album turned out to be a cautionary tale for rappers who find fame online. Between the pushed-back release date, the 11 month wait for a second single and the exclusive distribution deal with Hot Topic, Somethin ‘Bout Kreay was mishandled at every turn. Sold 3,900 copies in first week. You go, girl!
Silversun Pickups, Neck of the Woods
Blah, uninspired, unmemorable. Makes guitar rock seem even more uncool than it is.
This band makes their homies Coldplay sound like Pig Destroyer. Utter U.K. middle-of-the-road garbage.
Martin Solveig, Smash
EDM does not age well. So why would they release this old-ass album after it’s been out forever worldwide?
Bat For Lashes, The Haunted Man
Natasha Khan used to be so good, but this new effort is oddly whatever and uneccentric. Telling that the best song, “Laura,” was co-written by one of Lana Del Rey’s studio surgeons.
Chris Brown duet. Chris Brown duet. Chris Brown duet. Beneath contempt.
Chris Brown, Fortune
The only thing worse than a Chris Brown duet is an entire album from the infamous woman beater.
Trey Songz, Chapter V
The only thing worse than a Chris Brown album is a Trey Songz album, or vice versa. At least he doesn’t beat up his girlfriends.
The Offspring, Days Go By
Who cares? As bland as its title – an achievement for a band that once covered The Didjits.
The Darkness, Hot Cakes
This whole reunion thing is getting pretty fucking baroque at this point. Not so hot.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Last of a Dying Breed
Appropriate title – these crackers actually supported Romney!
Kid Rock, Rebel Soul
Another proud Romney supporter from the world of ersatz Southern rock. FYI, Confederate flags are never cool.
Phillip Phillips, World From the Side of the Moon
American Idol contestant who idolizes Dave Matthews with bizarrely redundant name. All you need to know, keep it moving.
Pitbull, Global Warming
Not cool. But inescapable in your spin class, regardless.
Aerosmith, Music From Another Dimension!
Notable only for inappropriate use of exclamation point.
Cee Lo Green, Cee Lo’s Magic Moment
When a once great singer and idiosyncratic talent is better known for hosting a TV show than his music, maybe it’s a wrap.
Calvin Harris, 18 Months
A leader in the quest to make dance music boring.
Paul Banks, Banks
Better be banking on a new Interpol album, homey.
Gary Clark Jr., Blak and Blu
Amazing guitarist. Incredible live show. Unique talent. Absolutely yawn-inducing, major-label-music-making-by-committee sounding album.
Swedish House Mafia, Until Now
Thank the almighty these motherfuckers are breaking up.
One Direction, Take Me Home
Incredibly, people go crazy for this junk. Critics have even begun doing the whole “taking One Direction seriously as a pop-cultural force” thing. Fuck that noise.
Trey Anastasio, Traveler
“Phish leader’s new solo album” just rolls off the tongue, don’t it?
Muse, The 2nd Law
Despite overblown ambition, can’t remember one goddamn chorus from this thing.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Pretty cool album from enigmatic indie legends – but it still sounds like Dream Theater at times.
Jessie Ware, Devotion
“Dubstep Adele.” Sounds great at your major-label boardroom meeting, right? Inspired blind critical devotion regardless.
Matt & Kim, Lightning
That cute act only goes so far. Karmin for Brooklynites?
Smashing Pumpkins, Oceania
This whole reunion fever thing does indeed seem to be over – especially when it’s, like, not a reunion at all, exactly. Related: James Iha released a solo album in 2012. OMG…
Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan
Weirdo band tries to write more conventional pop songs. Mmmm-hmmm.
Usher, Looking 4 Myself
R&B star tries to remake his career by copping EDM beats. This shit just writes itself sometimes.
The Hood Internet, Feat
Mash-up dudes try to make non-mash-up album. Fail.
The xx, Coexist
Sounds just like their last album, but not as good.
David Byrne & St. Vincent, Love This Giant
Two annoyingly precious musicians from different eras team up to make even more annoyingly precious music together.
Dave Matthews Band, Away from the World
“Critic proof” is about the highest compliment one can give this shit.
Mumford & Sons, Babel
Used to know a guy who said something to the effect of “If it sells, it probably smells.” Naw mean? This guy does, for sure.
Exponentially grating. Remember when these people were critical darlings? Oy.
Deadmau5, >Album Title Goes Here<
It seems the more tickets an EDM DJ sells, the worse their albums are.
Band of Horses, Mirage Rock
Mirages aren’t real.
The Killers, Battle Born
Break up already, please. Of course, that would inevitably mean more Brandon Flowers solo albums, but we’ll take our chances.
Grizzly Bear, Shields
Shit is mad boring.
Carly Rae Jepsen, Kiss
Better to have one hit than none at all, probably.
Ben Folds Five, The Sound of the Life of the Mind
If this is the sound of the life of the mind, then the mind is dead. Seriously, who’s screaming for a Ben Folds Five reunion right now?
Nope, there’s not a song on here as good as “Gimme Sympathy.” Oh, well.
Marina and the Diamonds, Electra Heart
It’s tough when someone tries to cross over so hardcore and no one cares. One Florence Welch is enough, thank you.
Uno! Dos! Tres! – or however many Green Day albums were released this year…
That whole Use Your Illusion shtick only worked once. Stick to writing musicals.
Norah Jones, Little Broken Hearts
Danger Mouse producing your record does not equal “edgy.”
Electric Guest, Mondo
Danger Mouse producing your record does not equal “edgy.”
Rick Ross, God Forgives, I Don’t
Rare misstep from one of hip-hop’s more dependable entertainers. Frankly, we’re not going to say anything nastier than that because we’re afraid the Teflon Don might send someone to kill us.
Animal Collective, Centipede Hz
This formless mess “hurts” our ears. Liked these cats better when they were ripping off Pet Sounds.
Paul Weller, Sonik Kicks
What becomes a legend most? Not releasing self-indulgent double albums that feature no good songs.
You’re not missing out on anything except reheated trip-hop space jams.
POP ETC, POP ETC
Indie band turns into weird faux auto-tune R&B crap. Why?
One would need some “molly” to get through this whole album.
Matchbox Twenty, North
Their first album together as a group in over a decade. At least it stemmed the tide of Rob Thomas solo albums.
Yeasayer, Fragrant World
“Fragrant” is a nice way of saying something smells. Brooklyn, you’re past your sell-by date.
Owl City, The Midsummer Station
If you can’t say anything nice… Okay, then, how about “Makes Gotye sound like Throbbing Gristle in comparison”?
Ry Cooder, Election Special
Admittedly excellent guitarist releases “topical” album. As bad as that sounds, and instantly dated. Obama won, by the way.
Bloc Party, Four
Once cool post-punk revivalists get in touch with their nu-metal roots. We can’t make this shit up, people.
The Hives, Lex Hives
Don’t call it a comeback. Call it junk.
Joe Walsh, Analog Man
Admit it, you were jonesing for a new Joe Walsh solo album.
Homey, don’t call your album that. Truth in advertising. Bet Coachella will give you da big bucks for a Postal Service reunion, tho…
Scissor Sisters, Magic Hour
Dim light, indeed.
Garbage, Not Your Kind Of People
Not our kind of warmed-over ‘90s mallternative. Then again, nothing is, really, so…
Gossip, A Joyful Noise
Eh. Not so much.
John Mayer, Born And Raised
Santana, Shape Shifter
Into the shitter.
Macy Gray, Covered
Macy Gray covers a bunch of songs. What an awesome idea!
A relapse would be an improvement on these tame industrial-metal clichés.
Marilyn Manson, Born Villain
Jason Mraz, Love Is A Four Letter Word
So is “Mraz,” motherfucker.
Brendan Benson, What Kind of World
In what kind of world would Brendan Benson release an album on the same day as his more talented and famous bandmate in The Raconteurs, Mr. Jack White? Oh, our shitty one.
Rufus Wainwright, Out of the Game
Snow Patrol, Fallen Empires
Sometimes the mighty fall the hardest. And sometimes, it’s just middle-of-the-road major-label “modern rock” crap that does.
Lee Ranaldo, Between The Time And The Tides
Sonic Youth broke up so dude could make tepid college-rock jangle with a dude from Medeski, Martin, and Wood?
The Ting Tings, Sounds From Nowheresville
Albums like this get titles like this to preclude critics from saying “this just blows.” Sophomore slump from a band no one cared about anyway. Unlistenable.
Meat Loaf, Hell In A Handbasket
As bad as you’d expect, and then some.
The Big Pink, Future This
The big hype, like, three years ago. Today, not so much.
Steve Aoki, Wonderland
The death of EDM, even before the plug is pulled. LMFAO cameos aren’t exactly the expressway to credibility, but nobody appeared to buy this shit, either. (The appearance of a Die Kreuzen member here did send us for a loop, however.)
The Internet, Purple Naked Ladies
Hmmm, is this Odd Future shit over?
Jamie Woon, Mirrorwriting
Easy listening singer-songwriter dubstep. Yeah, sounds like a drag to us, too.
Die Antwoord, Ten$ion
Overhyped Internet crap turned overhyped major-label crap turns into just crap seemingly as overnight as Die Antwoord’s initial success.
Van Halen, A Different Kind of Truth
Classic lineup make not-so-classic album. Ho-hum.
The Phenomenal Handclap Band, Form & Control
Might bring back the “disco sucks” movement.
Dubstep is really big with the kids – except when it’s not. Like this album.
Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball
Self-important nonsense. As an album, it makes a great campaign theme, but not much else. Old shit was better. Duh.
Kaiser Chiefs, Start The Revolution Without Me
Dudes, the revolution long passed you by.
The Cranberries, Roses
Sometimes you realize that band you liked in high school was never any good, anyway.
Katy Perry, Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection
You re-released an eighteen-month-old album. That’s the dumbest idea we’ve ever heard. Even if it was an album we liked the first time around, we’d still object out of principle. Go sit in the corner, Katy.
The Mars Volta, Noctourniquet
Mad unlistenable, yo. And jeez, stupid album title.
Oberhofer, Time Capsules II
Sometimes indie bands get signed before they have anything to say. Voila!
Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
It’s increasingly hard to remember that, underneath all the packaging, Nicki Minaj is actually a really good rapper. Pink Friday, which had a few solid hip-hop tunes buried under layers of generic vomit-y dance pop, didn’t help matters any.