Luke Nuttall (Editor / Writer)
Dance Gavin Dance – Jackpot Juicer
Fair warning—a couple of these entries are the sort where, in a weaker year, they’d likely get lucky and squeak past a list like this on the basis of ‘same old, same old’. So please welcome Dance Gavin Dance to their inaugural worst list, as they (and their defenders) continue to provide a profound annoyance on the basis of pure, rampant obnoxiousness. That’s always been the case, but when they’ve been beating it out for so long, and feel compelled to put out another hour of interchangeable, incoherent and flat-out annoying mathcore with all the plastic left on, is there much more that needs to be said?
Memphis May Fire – Remade In Misery
Say what you want about Dance Gavin Dance though, at least they’ve got a style that’s their own. Memphis May Fire, meanwhile, have been picking the bones of their specific Warped Tour metalcore carcass for a frankly disturbing amount of time, hoping that they might stumble upon something that isn’t utterly worthless. It’d be sad if there wasn’t drenched in the ego of a band who still believe they’re swinging for the fences, and not running in place to fulfill some vainglorious criteria of success that’s been affixed to them for over a decade. The main point of solace comes in how no one actually cares about Memphis May Fire anymore—they’re another band who’d usually fall to the wayside for even lists like this—but when they keep trying and failing to do literally anything of worth with such regularity, it’s worth calling out for the garbage that it is.
Nekrogoblikon – The Fundamental Slimes And Humours
Sure, why not? This may be a marginally better album than their last, but more for eking out something only the tiniest bit less dire overall. It’s still got all the hallmarks of the standard Nekrogoblikon experience—it’s produced to sound like garbage, with songs that fare no better, and an ongoing inkling that metal is simply the most conducive vehicle for a brand of humour that’s just ‘wild’ and ‘wacky’ enough to be swallowed without question. It’s baffling to think that people actually listen to stuff like this with the express intent of finding enjoyment, rather than some form of self-flagellation that’s most quickly achieved via base-level humour around goblins. But speaking of awful humour, or a lack thereof…
ChuggaBoom – Death Pledge
This is comedy-metal for people who don’t know or care about quality in either. It misses the most basic mark by not being even remotely funny, and for as much as subjectivity contributes in an analysis like that, consider this—do you find songs about not knowing which show to watch funny? How about being cut off in traffic? Because this is what ChuggaBoom are trying to pass as comedy, the equivalent of late-season Family Guy bits set to metalcore that’s as generic as it comes, and executed without even the faintest hint of power. Again, you’ve got to be down tremendously bad for comedy to find much appeal in this, maybe even worse than the previous entry for how lacking in any cogent direction or angle it is. Most comedy music is indeed not good, but you shouldn’t just settle for this.
Machine Gun Kelly – mainstream sellout
Okay, we get it—you can stop now! He clearly has no idea where to take this given his next album is reportedly back to hip-hop, but also claims that he never left that world and his pop-punk experiment is merely an addition to “four great albums” (dunno where they are; mustn’t have been released yet), so why does Machine Gun Kelly’s rock saviour complex continue to be fed? Especially off the back of mainstream sellout, where he’s become even worse at something he was never good at, it’s just sad and desperate. In a year where even his partner-in-cringe Yungblud has at least become easier to ignore, continuing to drill down to the most base, uninspired level of nostalgia- and fanbase-pandering has rarely felt more nakedly cynical and contemptible than it is here. All the while, MGK will parade around like a rockstar for the sole purpose of getting his ego stroked, because he knows an industry that’ll feel the benefit of residuals is more than happy to. We’ve wasted far too many words on MGK and his posse of hangers-on over the last couple of years; maybe it’s time to just cut them off and leave them to flail, like they mostly deserve.
Georgia Jackson (Deputy Editor / Writer)
Machine Gun Kelly – mainstream sellout
Haters of Machine Gun Kelly are often accused of prejudice of his rap roots, gatekeeping pop-punk for just those born and bred there. That’s not the case, and this year’s mainstream sellout is just a continuation of why. His completely passionless voice and lyrics almost completely without substance are a snoozefest no matter what the music they’re set to is, especially when other similar acts like blackbear are featured. Once it was hoped Kelly would be able to channel some fire in his voice, but that’s looking more and more like a pipe dream as the years go on.
Jack Harlow – Come Home The Kids Miss You
Imagine releasing an album so dead behind the eyes that it undoes the masses of hype completely behind you. Come Home The Kids Miss You was the lowest effort album Jack Harlow could have made-the energy is that of an old peoples’ home, the creativity has been sacrificed for safe, cookie-cutter songs and the charisma mostly responsible for his fame has taken a holiday. Hopefully the backlash this record has deservedly gotten will be the kick Harlow needs to actually try and make something with some individuality.
Drake – Honestly, Nevermind
Drake is the daddy of cynicism in hip-hop. Nothing the man has done in the last few years hasn’t been fuelled by money-making excess, letting creativity fall by the wayside so he can rest on his laurels. His pivot to house-inspired instrumentals could have been interesting, but it’s Drake, so everything is totally phoned in and sounds as though it’s designed to soundtrack Twitch streams rather than being a bold new direction for the world’s biggest rapper. We sincerely hope this trend of half-baked albums from the most prominent hip-hop stars ends in 2023.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Unlimited Love
While Return Of The Dream Canteen was the better of the two Red Hot Chili Peppers albums we were blessed with this year (though we’re still not forgetting about you, Tippa My Tongue), both that and Unlimited Love are the end to any attention being paid to their new material. Overly long with subpar songs even with John Frusciante back onboard, it’s definitely best to just stick to the classics from now on.
DJ Khaled – GOD DID
Has a DJ Khaled album ever felt like it has a heart and soul? Spoiler, GOD DID didn’t suddenly changed things. It’s overblown, overlong and stuffed to the brim with more than 30 artists definitely not doing their best work, the cherry on top being Khaled’s stupid ad-libs that are usually the most he audibly contributes to a track (some of the shoddy production probably can’t be counted as ‘contributing’). This exercise in maximalism does nothing off its own back to engage, relying solely on the names of others, and does nothing to justify the vast personnel that worked on it.