Top 10 Signs an Album is Going to Suck

The Top Ten
1 It's an old band/artist desperately trying to sound young/modern

Yep, that's clearly gonna stink

Generation Swine - Mötley Crüe (1997)
X - Def Leppard (2002)

E.g., Father of All... by Green Day

Risk - Megadeth
Diabolus In Musica - Slayer

2 It has a lot of guests

E.g., No. 6 Collaborations Project by Ed Sheeran (2019)

3 The artist changes his/her usual genre

E.g., One More Light by Linkin Park (2017), which transitioned them from alt-rock/metal to electro-pop, to a widespread negative reception from fans.

E.g., Liz Phair by Liz Phair (2003), 0304 by Jewel (2003)

Wolfmother went from Hard Rock to EDM with their new single “High On My Own Supply”.

Steam Powered Giraffe

4 It has poor producer/songwriter choices

E.g., Hard Candy by Madonna, where she teamed up with Timbaland and the Neptunes. Coming from her it was seen as a disappointing choice considering she would always choose producers that were relatively unknown (Mirwais, William Orbit, Stuart Price, etc.).

"Scream" by Chris Cornell (2009), which was produced by Timbaland

“Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told“ by Snoop Dogg (1998), which was produced by Master P.

5 It touches on politics

like Bon jovi: 2020

E.g., Revival by Eminem

6 The release date keeps being pushed back

It's generally not a good sign, because it suggests that there is record label interference or the artist is too much of a perfectionist.

E.g., Chinese Democracy by Guns N' Roses

7 It's an album by a non-singer

E.g., Playing with Fire by Kevin Federline (2006)

8 3 or more songs on the tracklist feature samples of well-known songs

Unless these samples are cleverly used or discreet, it shows how creatively bankrupt the artist may be.

9 The promotion is very aggressive

E.g., Changes by Justin Bieber

10 It's a rapper who wants to "bring real hip-hop back"

The Newcomers

? The title is potentially misleading

E.g., Revival by Eminem

The Contenders
11 The lead single disappoints critically and commercially

E.g., "Yummy" by Justin Bieber (this song still went #2, but it didn't go #1 like JB wished)

12 It's a follow-up to a masterpiece

Not really it might seem worse by comparison with it's predecessor but in general I don't think the follow up to a great album is more likely to suck see the list about the greatest album runs of all time as a counter example.

Foo Fighters went from Wasting Light (their best album) to Sonic Highways (their worst album), so that's true.

Also counts for "sequels" to great albums such as Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II, Bat Out of Hell II, etc.

Kid A is a follow-up to a masterpiece and it's better than that masterpiece...

13 It's a "comeback album" after a long hiatus

"Comeback albums" are generally hit or miss, but most of the time they feel like an obvious attempt to cash in on nostalgia, especially when a band was past its prime before its eventual hiatus. Sometimes reunion or anniversary tours are just enough.

14 The last few albums released were terrible

I think this is a better sign than the previous album being a masterpiece.

15 The album is announced shortly after the previous one

Luckily some didn't disappoint such as Ariana Grande with Thank U, Next

16 A handful of songs are released before the album

It just ruins the pleasure of discovery and makes the album sound like a compilation.

17 The title has a pun based on a another album
18 It's a covers album

E.g., "Vanilla Ice Is Back" by Vanilla Ice (2008) or "Thank You" by Duran Duran (1995)

Like Weezer’s Teal Album or Train Does Led Zeppelin.

19 Review embargoes put in place on release date

This is an obvious sign that the artist is still nervous or insecure about sharing his new material, especially if it's a high-profile artists, because he's conscious it may divide a lot of people.

20 The singer is very active on social media

That can be included in the "aggressive promotion" part

21 Every song released before the album has a featured artist

It just makes me feel like this album will have a lot of filler and that the strongest songs are those with featured artists.

22 The singer is or collaborated with Justin Bieber

For example, Justin Bieber changes.

23 The lead single was released more than 2 years ago

I can't think of any albums that do this.

24 It's a rapper trying to sound radio-friendly

I'm talking about rappers who are usually explicit and tone down the profanity in their lyrics in order to appeal to a wider audience.

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