If you ever signed up for Columbia House or BMG and got 12 CDs for the price of one, odds are good you’ve owned a few stinkers in your day. This isn’t a mark on you, or even the bands really, who probably tried their best, but more so a scathing critique of the business model that profited from having too much to choose from. Some of those choices were just plain crap. I should know, as I’m a method writer, who likes to listen to the bands I’m writing about. And this was pretty much the most painful four hours of my life. I can only hope these laughs were worth my suffering.

“Feeling Strangely Fine” – Semisonic
shitty albums we all owned, terrible albums we all owned growing up, semisonic feeling strangley fine
A lot of these crappy album purchases came from signing up for the club, picking your obvious winners and then realizing you still need six more albums. By that point, you were already exhausted having searched for the first six, so you said something like, “Oh well, I kinda like that song ‘Closing Time,’ so I’ll give this band a chance.” As is usually the case, you should not have listened to yourself, because now you had the rest of 1998’s “Feeling Strangely Fine” to suffer through, which gave you the strangest desire to punch yourself in the face. What’s most surprising is that Semisonic managed to put out a greatest hits compilation in 2003 which isn’t just 13 remixes of “Closing Time.”

“Tubthumper” – Chumbawamba
shitty albums we all owned, terrible albums we all owned growing up, chumbawamba tubthumper album
We should have known from the band name to just leave this group alone. Or at least by the title of the album, and its freakishly catchy tune, “Tubthumping.” Alas, the song has mercilessly become the soundtrack of many an otherwise enjoyable hockey game. In retrospect, I think I was attracted to the creative usage of the Irish folk tune “Danny Boy” within the manic song, but upon the millionth forced listen, I realize that was an overly hopeful interpretation on my part. And now, not only can’t I sell the album, but I have been so thoroughly pummeled by its hit, so knocked down, that I may not get up again.

“Yourself or Someone Like You” – Matchbox 20
shitty albums we all owned, terrible albums we all owned growing up, matchbox 20 yourself or someone like you
Here’s another group you wouldn’t think would have a greatest hits compilation, but these assholes (from Florida, suspiciously enough) actually released a 5-disc box set of their best crap. God knows I would never listen to any more of this 3 hours and 36 minutes of music than a Nazi might force me to, but I can’t imagine any of it is better than the stuff we all actually bought first — their 1996 debut album “Yourself or Someone Like You.” Sure, “3 A.M.” has a catchy allure to it, which makes you think there might be something biting there, but you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. It’s just pure saccharine. Which I believe causes cancer.

“New Miserable Experience” – Gin Blossoms
shitty albums we all owned, terrible albums we all owned growing up, gin blossoms new miserable experience
God, I hope my 33 Spotify followers (bless your hearts) don’t judge me for the horrible selections I’ve been making to write this list. But if there’s one band I want to be associated with the least, it’s the f–king Gin Blossoms. How could I have ever fallen for such a bunch of sucks as these rock infidels? They’re the anti-rock. I don’t care how young and foolish I was or how many CDs I got for one cent, I just can’t forgive myself for not realizing the name of this album was actually a literal interpretation. Shockingly, the Gin Blossoms — I’m softer just saying their name — have three separate versions of “New Miserable Experience,” including the one we all had, as well as a rarities edition and a “Deluxe Edition.” And two separate greatest hits albums, to boot! Who the hell do these guys think they are? This is how softness spreads. This is how the Russians win.

“Silver Side Up” – Nickelback
shitty albums we all owned, terrible albums we all owned growing up, nickelback silver side up
My wife just came upstairs to check on me when she heard this shockingly popular 2001 album playing. Fortunately, she stopped throwing the word “divorce” around once she found out I was doing research. And no, for the record, I didn’t own this album, and I would never own it or any other Nickelback album. Or any album from anyone who had sex with anyone in Nickelback (sorry Avril). But a whole lot of people did own this unfortunate reminder of the empty aughts, and you’re the reason our civilization is enduring “How You Remind Me” until the end of perpetuity, and crumbling because of it.

“Human Clay” – Creed
shitty albums we all owned, terrible albums we all owned growing up, creed human clay
I just realized that I’ve been doing a very good job of ranting about the horrendousness of these albums without doing a very good job of explaining why they’re so bad. In my defense, is there really any way for me to talk you out of your bad taste? Probably not, so I won’t try. But know this: while those who disagree with the commonly held opinion that these albums are terrible will inevitably be more vociferous, their awfulness is still common knowledge. And since popular opinion probably got you into this mess, perhaps it’s time to use popular opinion to get you out. This is best illustrated with Creed, another band full of soulless white dudes (I’m noticing a trend!) who made it sound just rock enough to be classified as such, but are actually the polar opposite of the transcendent meaning of the word. I hate to say this, but the more your human clay is made up of particles of Creed, the better chance you’re going to burn in the kiln of life. They are just another Floridian band poisoning our airwaves, cashing in on a decade of soullessness with a greatest hits album and a three-disc “retrospective.” Careful Florida, if not for Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allmans, I might have to start making some generalizations.

“Backstreet Boys” – Backstreet Boys
shitty albums we all owned, terrible albums we all owned growing up, backstreet boys album 1996
You may think that just because everyone else had the Backstreet Boys debut album, that made it OK to have it, but time has proven you wrong yet again. You’ve probably gone a long time without pulling this one out of the old disc library, right? Because it has no use anymore besides conjuring up dreams of early dirty dancing at the school dance. Not surprisingly by now, this is another big band from Florida that blew up in the late ’90s. It was a f–king epidemic, and something should have been done. Isn’t that why we hired Tipper Gore? (By the way, I’m leaving NSYNC, another possibly deserving Florida band, off this list out of respect for Justin Timberlake.)

“Breathless” – Kenny G
shitty albums we all owned, terrible albums we all owned growing up, kenny g breathless
“Who the hell owned a Kenny G album?” I hope you’re asking, as I did when I came across this questionably authentic list of the Columbia House Music Club’s best-selling albums of the ’90s. Well, apparently at least four million members of the club did. Not only was Kenny’s hair a sign of his softness back then, but it has remained so curly soft since. Which may be great for his lounge act, but I hope Kenny G knows that when he dies, there will be no GIFs of his transformative looks throughout the years. Just curls. Long, well-kept, oft-conditioned curls.

“Out of Time” – R.E.M.
shitty albums we all owned, terrible albums we all owned growing up, rem out of time
I know, a lot of people love this band, but if you’re one of them, I’m pretty sure you’re remembering a better time in your life when you weren’t as sad as Michael Stipe. Perhaps he made you feel better then, but now, he’s abetting your sadness. Look at yourself, you’re pathetically holding onto the most pathetic sad sack band of the ’90s. You are not a shiny happy person anymore, and if you keep listening to “Out of Time,” you never will be again. So let it go.


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