Last month, WFNX invited its listeners to pick the Top 101 Alternative Albums of the Decade. The methodology: throw 400 albums into a random-generating web app, then let listeners pick their favorites in head-to-head battles. It's kind of like a democracy-powered centrifuge: the crowd's favorites rise to the top of the list, like Radiohead, the White Stripes, and MGMT. But then there's the other end: the stuff that sunk to the bottom. To wit: the worst alternative albums of the decade.
You can argue with the methodology -- there are certainly some awful records that didn't make WFNX's 40-albums-per-year cutoff -- but, as you'll see below, it's kind of hard to argue with the results. With that in mind, we give you the worst the decade had to offer, as judged by the WFNX listenership. (To keep this straight: we're counting down towards the absolute worst, meaning that #20 is not quite as terrible as #19.) Feel free to annotate in the comments.
20. Twilight: Official Motion Picture Soundtrack (2008). Evidently, WFNX listeners don't give a shit how big a Muse fan Stephanie Myers is: teenage vampire movies still suck.
19. Papa Roach, Infest (2000). The NY Times had the gall to remind us that this album's "Last Resort" was, by dint of its pre-9/11 ubiquity, alternative rock's most-played song of the decade. Also, undeniably, one of the shittiest.
18. Good Charlotte, Good Charlotte (2000). Who?
17. Twilight Singers, Powder Burns (2006). In truth, this wasn't former Afghan Whigs leader Greg Dulli's finest moment. That said, we suspect this made the list because WFNX voters thought it must have something to do with that awful Twilight movie.
16. Yeasayer, All Hour Cymbals (2007). WFNX listeners really, really love MGMT. But they really, really hated their opening act.
15. The Lovemakers, Times of Romance (2005). So many things to dislike about this band -- fake industry buzz, low record sales, Josh Freeze on drums -- and yet they went on to make one of our favorite so-tacky-it's-awesome videos of the decade, which included all the quintessential tropes of '00s indie-rock: writhing, woods, and wolves.
14. Hoobastank, Hoobastank (2001). Stunk.
13. Disturbed, The Sickness. You can see, at this point, where the list is headed. But it gets worse. Much worse.
12. Shinedown, Sound of Madness (2008). Two telling quotes from the Wikipedia entry for this record: "On June 17, 2008, the entire original album was made available for streaming on the band's MySpace page. It was removed again a few days later." Prescient. Also: "The album booklet gives credit to many non-band members for guitar and
bass, leading one to believe the guitar and bass tracks were recorded
by studio musicians and not by any current or former band members."
11. Good Charlotte, The Young and the Hopeless (2002). Oh, wait, now we remember: these were the mallpunk kids who married Lionel Richie's daughter, yes?
10. Puddle of Mudd, Come Clean (2001). Back in the 1990s, we recall seeing Bush and thinking, "Y'know, no matter how long we live, music will never get more cynical than this." Would that it were so.
09. Buckcherry, 15 (2006). No matter how much you hate Josh Todd -- and we realize that could be quite a bit -- consider this: every morning, he wakes up ready to party in a world that ain't.
08. Ed Harcourt, Here Be Monsters (2002). We know what you're thinking: "Ed Harcourt? British? Singer-songwriter? Well, sure, he's a hack, but do people really hate him more than Puddle of Mudd?" Mm-hmm. And we'll tell you why: nobody likes a man who plays with a wrinkled pussy.
07. Athlete, Tourist (2005). If they'd just released this awfully boring record, it would probably have stayed off the list. But this was one of those CDs that came with that fucked up Sony DRM spyware. Curses! May all their sons, and their sons' sons, and their sons, always listen to nu-metal.
06. POD, Satellite (2001). Released on the absolute worst day of the decade -- September 11, 2001 -- this end-stage rap-metal album nearly lived up to the horror.
05. Korn, Untouchables (2002). And this was their "mature" record.
04. Godsmack, Awake (2001). Don't blame us, we just live here. Blame them.
03. Slipknot, Iowa (2001). Ah, the masks. The masks! It's a shame these guys got lumped in with the new-metal hordes -- we bet they'll kill in Rock Band. (Simon and Garfunkel, too!)
02. Limp Bizkit, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (2000). By any measurement, this is the worst album of the 2000s. Has to be. A truly awful title. Worse songs. Created by an appalling group of humans. A perfect monument to crap music. How could it not be #1? Well, here's the rub: as recently as a week ago, it was the worst by measure of the balloting -- but sometime in the past few days, an interloper snuck past in the vote counts. Which means the worst album of the decade is . . .
01. Saliva, Every Six Seconds (2001). Was it really more awful than Fred Durst? Was anyone really more awful than Fred Durst? Probably not, but in terms of sheer insufferability, if there was a single song that could make us consider something worse than Durst, it's probably this.