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10 most embarrassing albums in my CD-collection

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After all I now belong to “A sinister cabal of superior bloggers”, so I guess it’s about time to show that I have mean side too?

As per today (14 March 2005) my CD-collection contains 971 Albums. The few albums aside that my wife brought into our marriage and the few ones I’ve received as gifts, all of them have been bought by me. This means that I must have (or rather should have) been through the typical pattern of purchasing behavior thus having a plausible reason for buying each and every one of them.

Why is it then that I often feel embarrassed when scrolling through the list? Why does it include so many albums that I wouldn’t miss a single second if they disappeared forever? Of course I know that your taste in music changes as time goes by. I mean – I DID honestly like Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones way back then in the 80’s, and I do occasionally listen to them today for nostalgic reasons. And Kenny G did serve a purpose back in the days of dating, which is why I won’t bash any of his albums.

But despite this confession I know for a fact that there are several albums in my collection that I’ve never liked. Not even when I bought them! So God only knows why I did buy them in the first place, though I have a few qualified guesses of my own:
– My girlfriend liked it.
– One of the songs brought back nice memories of a party, holiday etc.
– I wanted my collection to look “hip”.
– Whatever played on the radio or hitting the charts had to be great.
– Great reviews meant great albums.

So it’s time for a nasty round of torture by going through the collection and publicly admitting what albums make me feel embarrassed:

Britney Spears: Baby One More Time
I’m probably not the only one who hopes that this CD will somehow disappear from your collection. I was in NY in the summer of 1999 and back then it felt just right as a memory from that trip. How wrong could I be?

Shania Twain: Come On Over
Just see the lame Britney Spears excuse above. Hopefully no one notices this album, when going through my CD’s? That NY trip really looks like a disaster from a CD buying point of view. Doesn’t it?

Ace of Base: Happy Nation

They very really huge in Denmark back then, so I thought it would look “good” in my collection. Still asking at the record store if I somehow can get my money back!

Snow: 12 Inches of Snow
How can anyone ever take me seriously with an album like this in my collection. But Informer was really popular, so I probably thought that I’d be popular too if I owned this horrible piece of garbage.

Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill
I know this album sold zillions and billions of copies. But by having this in my collection I’m just afraid that some might think that I actually like it. I will never, NEVER, understand why this album became so popular, because it was its popularity that manipulated me into buying it.

Aqua: Aquarium
I bought the album on a market in Italy. This is definitely not an original album, so at least the band didn’t earn any money from this stupid purchase (I really think copying is a bad thing, but just this once I approve). To be fair; Turn Back Time is a fairly decent song, but it can’t save the rest of this dreadful album. I know they came from Denmark (just like me), but it doesn’t really make me proud at all!

Andrea Bocelli: Romanza
I was standing in Mallorca Airport and the record shop played “time to say goodbye” (or whatever it is called). So I spent my last pesetas (this was long before the days of the EURO) buying this sugarcoated stuff. The money would have been better spent on a bottle of vodka!

Eros Ramazzotti: Tuttie Storie
Another Italian singer. Maybe I just believed that if I bought enough CD’s by Italians the women would eventually believe that I was Italian too?

Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas
Honestly – I can’t recall why I bought this. But I must have been madly in love with someone extremely beautiful making me completely irresponsible or just unbelievable hung-over from the Christmas parties.

Technotronic: Pump Up the Jam
This is probably just another album I bought while remembering a fantastic party Saturday night. Hopefully I was still drunk while buying it?

I’ll happily admit that I own a few other albums that I think are just as bad as those listed above. But they don’t meet the embarrassment criteria, because they were made by great (or at least decent) artists. And artists of a certain caliber should be allowed the privileged of misfiring.

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About Stytzer

  • hey, guilty pleasures, everybody’s got em.

  • I had the same tough talk with myself when I migrated everything over to the iPOd. Let’s just say there were plenty which didn’t make the cut. I won’t be so bold as to incriminate myself like you did though.

    ok, I will give you one. Though I am a huge Metallica fan, the worst CD I have in my collection (of about 4 or 500) would have to be St Anger.

  • would have to be St Anger.

    which i like.

    hmmm…the worse cd in my collection…gotta think about that one.

  • hhhmmm…stinkers in the collection? Well, my daughter is 15 years old now and I sure learned about stinkers (not just diapers!) while she was growing to this point. The one thing I learned is that they aren’t all that bad.

    A walk thru her collection of Britney Spears, Cher, Ricky Martin, Spice Girls, Shania Twain, etc. sure made me wonder…but the kid has to figure it out. She is into Evanescence and Voltaire right now.

    But on the bright side I did learn that the Spice Girls were actually cool (sort of like how the Monkees were to my generation) with the Gary Glitter covers they did. Some just ripped, really hot stuff. Then Shania, with Mutt Lange in the pilot seat, is actually cool. “I’m Outa Here” is a hot one. The drum beat is the hook.

    Anyway, amidst stinkers are some roses. But, who wants to stick their nose in a pile of dung looking for a flower?



    A month or so ago, I bought the Cathy Lee Gifford CD at the Dollar Store, partially because I find her hot in some bizarre way, and partially for a buck, I was curious as to what it sounded like. Well, I couldn’t tolerate scanning through the first 2o seconds of any of the songs, they were so terrible. Mrs. Bricklayer was apalled that I would even purchase such a thing, and we decided we could give it as a gag gift or something. Instead I dumped the cd and inserts and used the nice case for the new Jungle Rot CD promo copy I purchased on half.com. The paper sheath it came in did not do justice to the wonderful groove inflected and hardcore influenced death metal contained within the shiny disc. Now, both the Jungle Rot and Cathy Lee discs have found their rightful places.

    Also, the Cathy Lee booklet contained some disturbing pics of her and Frank, all kind of wet looking, like hey, we just got out of the shower or hot tub together, and she also credits her kids for playing the toy piano or something like that on the album. YUCK! Alas, I am almost cured of the naughty spark Mrs. Gifford once produced in me.

  • OK, I just remembered a real lousy album, but I think intentionally made to be that way: Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed.

    Here is what I figure. It is a 2 record set that came out in the mid 70s. Each side is 16:01 minutes in length. All the album is, is a bunch of electronic sound gear plugged into each other circulating the signal and making random noise. About the first minute of listening and one will wonder how it even got released. 4 sides total of this stuff?

    My theory is that back in those days, record contracts were based on “sides”. Like, you have a 10 side deal, each side constitute at least 16 minutes (or whatever). Lou Reed made up some story about a space-aged culture to validate the noise. I think it was an easy way for a junkie to fill his contract. If I remember right, RCA was the label.

    Anyway, put that one on the list. Anyone remember that stinker?


  • i’ve got MMM, which i purchased not too long ago on vinyl.

    it’s music concrete.

    check out this old Lester Bangs review, entitled The Greatest Album Ever Made.

  • Wow, Stytzer, you tempted me into commenting in Music! I got the best CD in my collection on a trip. In Chicago to teach a tech class, I wandered into a used/new CD place, and bought a cheap CD based on its cover art, mainly to have a disk to play in my rental car.

    Neapolitan Cafe, it turned out, is a Canadian combo that includes an accordian, and an opera singer. Despite this, their music is awesome, a mix of tango, ballads and reed virtuosity. For years after that, NC accompanied me on every trip, and played constantly whenever I had a rental with a player.

    I regularly winnow my collection, trading less-desirable music for something I want. The worst CD in my collection of ~300 is a compilation of 32 different arrangements of La Cumparsita. It stays in my Sony carousel because it was compiled by a dear friend, who is now dead. I do listen on occasion to tracks 3 and 10.

    And one time I put it on constant play to rout an annoying guest…

  • I have the advantage that I didn’t really become a music fan until my late teenage years, so I don’t have many real stinkers dating from when I was 12.

    Much of the really dodgy stuff I have is on vinyl; such as Walter de la Rios(?)’ “Symphonies for the Seventies”; Beethoven and Tchaikovski with 70s disco beats, anyone? (Was a Xmas present from my parents when I was about 10)

    Then there are a couple of LPs of train noises.

    I do have Yes’ “Tales from Topographic Oceans”, but I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as it’s cracked down to be.

  • i’ve got “Tales From Topographic Oceans” too, and it’s actually one of my favorite Yes discs.

    and for the record, i never get rid of anything (ok, i did get rid of Harlequin by Lee Rittenour…but hey, that was before i knew that the grp label was a danger zone)

  • Mark S., yes I could also agree with the positive interpretations of MMM. The concept is good, and if you actually listen for a distance, the random changes in the nuance of sounds can be interesting. hhhmmm…I wouldn’t call it music under the definition of ‘organized sounds’ though.

    Tales of Topographic Oceans. A good effort. There are some passages I find quite nice. Overall, yeah, it can drag…


  • yea, i’m not saying that MMM is any good for the average fan of lou reed. it’s definitely a big pile ‘o noise. i just happen to like it.

  • SFC Ski

    Dude, you must be really sure of yourself to be able to admit purchasing Britney for anything other than the spank fodder cover.

  • i think Richard Thompson picked a Britney tune for his “1000 Years of Popular Music” show.

    …and i’ve gotta say that i kinda like the cover of “The Beat Goes On”.

  • That’s a pretty creepy list, though we all have our musical skeletons.

    Am I nuts, though, or does Ace of Base hold up strangely well for being the 80s/90s version of ABBA? One of their songs is on a fitness gym commercial, and it’s still catchy as hell.

    Finally: I hearby mentally condemn you for getting that God-forsaken Pump Up the Jam back into my head.

  • Yes, embarrassing? Mileage varies, of course; Yes is a favorite part of my record/CD collection (over 3300 and counting) and Tales of Topographic Ocean still intrigues me after all these years. I still love just about everything I have. I don’t regret my ’80s collection, which includes Howard Jones. Neither do I regret my copy of Barry Manilow’s Tryin’ to Get the Feeling. Or Rick Dees’ “Disco Duck.” Or the Captain and Tennille’s “Muskrat Love.” Or the picture disc of Molly Hatchet’s “Flirting with Disaster.” Or Chicago XIII. Or even the first three Phil Collins solo LPs or all but the third of the Now They Call That Music compilation series. Sure, I’d prefer to immerse myself in Coltrane or the Killers or Medeski, Martin & Wood, but everything has its own charm. No mental chains here.

    I do admit one regret, though, and since you were brave enough to share, Mr. Stytzer, it is only cricket for me to do the same. The single most embarrassing LP I own (on vinyl): Rick Springfield’s “Working Class Dog.” What can I say? The canine on the cover is adorable.

    Oh and I am glad that there is NO Britney, Xtina, or anything like that in my collection. I will cop to having a copy of Backstreet’s “I Want It That Way.”

  • Vern Halen

    Oddly enough, Tales from Topographic Oceans always reminded me of…..Metal Machine Music.

  • godoggo

    Embarrassing vinyl only. Hands down winner: some dude’s vanity project that I played on after answering a recycler ad when I was 17.

  • I’m with godoggo in having most of my embarassing stuff on vinyl. Haven’t looked at it in years, but I’m pretty sure there’s a Toto album in a box in my garage.


  • I think Lou Reed and Neil Young had a contest in the last 70s and early 80’s to see who could make the most unlistenable shit. as big fans of both, remember that Neil’s record company sued Young for purposely releasing “uncommercial” music. Granted, it gives him huge rock cred… but there is some genuinely bad stuff out there from our dark Canadian overlord.

    Go ahead and listen to the guitar solo from Southern Man. it is the worst… ah never mind. I am straying again.

  • alienboy

    some of the artists you list are not capable of producing an album’s worth of good music, you should have made your own cd with just the occasional good tracks on…

  • What is so embarrassing about having a Shania Twain album? She actually has some talent and her husband/producer Mutt Lange certainly does.

  • Hey, if we’re going to examine vinyl for less-than-stellar stuff, I have an album of Omohundro music in my collection, with such deathless cuts as, My baby cooks onions and peas in the same pot and I chased ‘er into an apple tree and kissed ‘er between the limbs.

    I’ve never played it, I just pull out the album and read the song titles once in a while.


    Natalie, if you ever want to unload that Molly Hatchet picture disc, let me know. Sweet!

  • Eric Olsen

    Since I own about 25K recordings for a wide variety of reasons — professional needs as a club, mobile and radio DJ; professional needs as a sample-based “recording artist”; professional needs as a music critic/author/historian; and then my own very wide personal taste, which isn’t always easy to distinguish from my “professional” interests. As a result, there isn’t anything I am embarrassed to own, and in fact the concept seems rather alien to me – I can’t imagine feeling the need to “explain” why I owned something to someone perusing my collection.

  • Some people compare “Tales From Topographic Oceans” to The Clash’s “Sandanista” as examples of overblown self-indulgence, and it’s probably an apt comparison. I don’t own Sandanista, so I can’t really say, but there are enough good bits on ‘Tales’ for a OKish single album. But it’s nothing like as good as “The Yes Album” or “Fragile”, or even the later “Relayer” or “Going for the One”.

    But there’s also a comparison with Radiohead’s “Kid A”. Both were praised as masterpieces by hardcore fans, who accused those who disliked the album to be not intelligent enough to ‘get it’.

    But if Kid A is this generation’s “Tales”, then what’s this generation’s “Never Mind the Bollocks”? The closest one I can think of has to be The Darkness’ “Permission to Land”.

  • Re: Molly Hatchet, no way. I love that thing.

  • Hmmm – I started my post writing that it was time to show my mean side! I did show it and it gave me far more responses than my previous post, which had a far more positive contents. I always thought that being nice made you popular? 🙂

    However the 10 albums I list make me feel very embarrassed, because they never ever should have been part of my collection for the very simple reason that I think they are really, really awful. But I do have quite a few friends who (if they were allowed to) gladly would put those CD’s on when visiting, because they think that this is great music. So it’s not because I’m in a great need for excuses for owning them and I’d rather look upon this post as a “dear diary” entry gone public rather (in an attempt to start a discussion) than me trying to manufacture (good or bad) excuses for the CD’s I own!

    And if someone someday really should make a comment about the albums we’d probably joke about it. Because they would know that something must have gone completely wrong!

    So maybe I should have called my post “What on earth was I thinking, when I bought those albums?” instead? Then I’m pretty certain everyone would know what I was talking about – even you Eric, because you will never make me believe that with an impressive collection like yours, you don’t regret any of the music purchases you’ve made through the years?!

  • There’s nothing to be embarrassed about in owning any book or record or movie. It just shows you’ve been at it awhile and have different interests and have passed through different phases. But then, I liked Jagged Little Pill. Still play it. Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville, on the other hand, I sold about a week after I bought it. Girl can’t sing.

  • hhhmmm…embarrassed? Ah, a good hook for the article. but in all actuality, only if an album could sneek up behind you and pull down your pants in public, then that would qualify for embarrassing. I had a Black Oak Arkansas album do that once.

    But it isn’t something I would have esteem issues about. By having stinkers in one’s collection makes one more informed about the subject. Sometimes stinkers sound good just to unwind the mind from absorbing all sorts of good stuff…

    Favorite stinkers…. stinkers? well I guess that would be an OK title.


  • My major doh album is Spiceworld.

  • salmoncatchingbear

    well, i’m totally embarrassed and annoyed with myself for spending money on the following:

    R Kelly, Chocolate, or whatever the hell it was called. i dont even like him, but was sufferring withdrawel symptoms from a course of anti-depressants and got talked into it by a guy in walmart…

    sisqo, unleash the dragon- dear god NOOOOO!! why on earth did i buy this?

    all saints- under the bridge was the most horrible thing i’ve ever heard

    appleton- two sisters out of all saints, sales werent going well, and with the withdrawal symptoms going on i felt sorry for them and bought it. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    but, i like so much music, sometimes i falter and get sidetracked by total wank. my collection has sepultura, but it also has britney. it reminds me of myself, of my friends, of good times and times i’d never go back to again. i songwrite, and i like to have a diverse knowledge base and a wide influence. i could never write two tracks that were the same, as my collection is so ecclectic, just teh way i like it!!

  • there’s plenty of stuff i slide to the back of the CD Collection, but nothing extravagantly awful. Certainly some would find the Will Young albums to be uncalled for (he won Pop Idol here in the UK).

  • plus, we’re all so ironic and post-modern nowadays, how the hell can anything embaress us?

  • Eric Olsen

    great one about the Black Oak album Douglas – funny!

    I understand the concept, Stytzer, and I don’t mean to sound critical or self-congratulatory. If I had a collection that was “just stuff I really like a lot” then I could certainly pick and choose those that fit that description and those that don’t. The way it is though, about the only stuff I get rid of are redundancies and duplicates.

  • true enough duke,

    heck, not too long ago, i bought a used Jeannie C. Riley lp just for the inside cover, ahem, ‘art’.

  • hah, the old “artwork” ruse. ah well. least it wasn’t GG Allin.

  • we’re talking embarassing, not disturbing!

  • alienboy

    i used to own a lot more music than today, though not quite on the vast scale of EO’s collection!

    But then it struck me that if i sat down and started listening to the music i already had and ignored anything new, i’d be dead long before hearing it all. and i didn’t really want to have a collection or library on that scale just for its own sake.

    So began a drawn out process of elimination which has resulted in an indiosyncratic but manageable collection of much loved music of oh maybe 2 or 3 thousand, split across a wide variety of formats.

    I plan to digitise it all one day. make that hope to…

  • godoggo

    It occurs to me that I’m much more embarrassed by what I don’t own. Suffice to say that I’m a cheapskate and an impulse shopper, so the list is long.

    OK, records I really want as I type: Bringing it All Back Home, Hejira, the Who Sell Out, and that Japanese import-only live solo Carmen McRae record, whatever it’s called.

  • godoggo

    p.s. The above are not the most embarrassing gaps, though. Those are classified.