Ranking 10 Greatest Albums Made Out Of Contractual Obligation

Arms were twisted, musicians were coerced, and magic was made.


Heads lowered, a group of musicians shuffle their feet along the dingy carpeting of the recording studio. This will not be a particularly jovial process, because this isn't a process any of them want to participate in. But if they don't, they'll have to trod through a highly-public litigation that will drain them of more time, energy, and money than they'd prefer to give.

Such is the often-miserable experience of making a contractually-obligated album against your will.

There are a multitude of reasons why an artist has to make these types of albums, but the common denominator usually involves a sour relationship with the record company and a burning desire to break free of their contract. And so, in exchange for their musical freedom, they hunker down in the studio and bang out a collection of songs that are just good enough to get the job done.

But sometimes that original "good enough" mentality doesn't produce a "good enough" album. It yields something far, far better than anyone involved in the situation could have hoped for. Not all contractually-obligated albums are terrible. Some, it turns out, are downright wonderful.


Jacob is a part-time contributor for WhatCulture, specializing in music, movies, and really, really dumb humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JakeTrowbridge.