10 Albums That Were Released Completely By Surprise

Catching Us Offguard.

in rainbows radiohead

One of the biggest weapons any artist has in their arsenal is the hype behind their album. When you have something that you think is larger than life, you’re going to want to celebrate it accordingly, and bands have gone all out creating some of the biggest records they can possibly muster. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with surprise dropping your album either.

Instead of just waiting for release day to roll around, every one of these artists had virtually no buildup to their albums, just electing to release it whether the fans were ready for it or not. There is a certain risk factor that comes with just dropping things without any notice. You have to worry about the promotional rollout for the record and whether your fans are even going to care if you release something with no real spectacle.

Since there’s no way to anticipate it, why would fans want to hear just some random album? That’s not what happened with these records though. From the moment they were released, these have become critical darlings as well as landmark albums in the artists’ catalog where they become untouchable by the rest of the music world. In that respect, releasing your album by surprise isn’t really for shock factor. It’s a power move.

10. Chinese Democracy - Guns N Roses

For the first half of the '00s, it felt like an urban legend to even talk about Guns N Roses releasing a new project. Even though Axl Rose had teased the album Chinese Democracy for years on end after the departure of the rest of the band, he clearly wasn't going to put it out until it was ready, or if he had a stable enough lineup to tour for it. When leaks started to come through though, that seemed to give him the kick in the ass that he needed.

Arriving in 2008, Axl's long awaited Guns N Roses project was finally released, even getting a tie in with the Rock Band franchise by having one of its songs being featured on the soundtrack. With all of that buildup though, there was practically no way that the album could have lived up to its storied reputation, especially with songs like this behind it. For an album that was worked on for the better part of a decade, you can really tell, as Axl's vocals sound processed in some spots and featuring solos that feel like they were being played by two different guitar players in different years altogether.

As much as some songs on here might be salvageable, some of these songs still seem unfinished as well, like sections that are either too cluttered or haven't gone through proper mastering to be featured on an album by a mainstream rock band. Axl may be the king of keeping his audience waiting for him, but when you lead people on for this long and then drop this, you're not going to see nearly the same turn out the second time around.

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