You know what they say — opinions are like assholes. Even bad ones are worth exploring once in awhile. Wait, what?
Oh yeah, so albums. Any rock band that's been around long enough has at least one or two clunkers to their name. So the point of this little exercise is to look at what is considered, from a critical and fan standpoint, to be the worst album in each of these huge bands' catalogs.
For reference, I'm using the ratings on allmusic.com, simply because I don't think the internet has a musical equivalent of Rotten Tomatoes. For each album I'll list how many stars the AMG staff gave the album and how many stars AMG readers awarded. For the sake of my sanity I'm not counting live albums or compilations.
Let's explore some subpar music!
AC/DC — Fly on the Wall (2 AMG stars, 3 user stars)
There really was nowhere to go but down after Back In Black, but it wasn't until this record that you really noticed AC/DC starting to run on fumes a bit. That's not to say that Fly on the Wall is by any means bad, just a bit derivative.
The Beatles — Yellow Submarine (3/3.5)
Yeah, I can see this. Let It Be is pretty not great but at least that's all band compositions. Fuck this soundtrack noise. The only real standout here is "Hey Bulldog," which is one of the 20 best Beatles songs ever.
Genesis — Calling All Stations (1.5/2.5)
No getting around it, this album blows. No Phil Collins, no peace.
Kiss — Asylum and Crazy Nights (1.5/3)
If you thought Music from The Elder would be here, guess again! Look, I'll cop to loving a lot of Kiss from the '80s, but even I have a hard time with Crazy Nights. I do dig Asylum even though Gene Simmons turned in some pretty lazy songwriting.
By the way, the correct answer for worst Kiss album is Hot in the Shade.
Metallica — Reload (3/3)
Pink Floyd — More, Obscured by Clouds, and A Momentary Lapse of Reason (2/3.5)
I don't get this at all. I'm not saying More is a triumph, but it's so much more enjoyable than self-indulgent tripe like Atom Heart Mother. I can be convinced that AMOR is a hot mess, but for some reason I instinctively rush to defend the post-Waters era.
Queen — Hot Space (2.5/3)
I actually like the more dance-oriented half of this record and find the more "rock" parts to be rather dull and uninspired. But yeah, there's no way I can defend "Body Language."
The Rolling Stones — Black and Blue (3/4)
I'm not a big Stones fan, so someone who gives a shit about this band (other than the hits) will have to chime in here.
Rush — Rush and Caress of Steel (2/3.5)
I don't think you'll find any Rush fan who thinks the band's self-titled debut is unfairly maligned. It's a decent hard rock album with a few glimpses of what was to come, but that's about it. But man, talk any shit about Caress of Steel in front of me and I will cut you.
The Who — It's Hard (2/3)
Let's just agree to pretend that the band called it quits after Face Dances, and we'll all feel better.