Not every musician should be expected to make the same classic album every time they walk into the studio. No one has a perfect average, and you’re bound to want to switch things up and give your listeners something different that they wouldn’t normally expect from you. It’s always nice when it works, but the dropoff from these albums is shocking given the pedigree at work here.
These aren’t just some of the worst albums by rock and roll standards…these may be among some of the worst records that have been put out by mainstream acts. This would be expected for someone that was a flash in the pan, but hearing it come out of bands that we know can do better stings that much more. As much as we want to root for these bands most of the time, there are moments on every one of these records where you’ll start to question why you thought these bands were any good to begin with, either going in a new direction that no one wanted to hear or getting to deep in their own cynicism that it’s hard for us to even care anymore.
Then again, no band can be kept down like that forever, and most of these acts were able to bounce back from these, coming through with more classic records down the line and leaving these in the past. For a brief few moments though, it felt like all of the magic that they had created over the years had been tapped out for good.
10. Ummagumma - Pink Floyd
There's definitely a clear split in Pink Floyd's discography from their psychedelic sounds to the prog rock gods. In the time when Syd Barrett left the band, you can hear the band trying to cope with his loss in whatever way they can, whether that's going on long tangents or writing songs that try to capture that same type of whimsy that Syd could. Progressive music is all about taking risks though, and before we got songs like Echoes, we had to give everyone their own right to be weird on Ummagumma.
While the first half of this record plays as a pretty decent live record with songs like Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, the back half is where everything gets thrown out the window, with every band member contributing their own avant garde rock piece into the mix. This may have been on their minds after performing different shows with Frank Zappa, but the actual music here is the wrong kind of experimental, as songs like Sysyphus and Several Species of Small Furry Animals sound like the band trying to make noise than write an actually coherent song.
Even though David Gilmour's contribution on this album is a decent look at avant garde sounds, he doesn't have very much warm feelings towards this record either, thinking that they didn't have enough time in the studio to actually make something decent. The loss of Syd was not going to be easy, and this is basically an album's worth of growing pains stretched across almost an hour and a half.