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

That would suck

2 It has a lot of guests

E.g., Jordi by Maroon 5 (2021), judging by the number of tracks that have guests, I have a feeling the album will suck. Plus "Beautiful Mistakes" is a terrible song so it only adds up to this impression.

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.

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

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.).

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

5 The release date keeps being pushed back

Drake's releasing a new album in 2021 "Certified Lover Boy". I don't have much hope for it as it's release date did get pushed back. Let's not hope for a Scorpion 2.0

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.

6 It touches on politics
7 It's an album by a non-singer

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

8 The promotion is very aggressive
9 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.

10 It's a rapper who wants to "bring real hip-hop back"
The Contenders
11 The album is announced shortly after the previous one

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

12 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)

13 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...

14 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.

15 A handful of songs are released before the album

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

16 The last few albums released were terrible

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

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

Covers albums are usually nothing to be excited about. They are either an artistic recreation or a cash-grab. In some countries, covers albums were a method for artists to relaunch their careers, but this trend has since fallen. Luckily there have been some solid covers albums recently, such as Delta Kream by the Black Keys.

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

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
21 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.

22 The title is potentially misleading
23 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.

24 The singer is or collaborated with Justin Bieber

For example, Justin Bieber changes.

25 The lead single was released more than 2 years ago

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

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