10. Eminem - Music To Be Murdered By
You know, maybe it's a good thing that Eminem prefers surprise drops now because if I would've gotten my hopes up and had expectations set for this album, I guarantee it would be a lot lower on this list. Now, this album, I don't think is awful, I just have the same problems with it that I've had with the last few Eminem albums. The flows are good but the bars are either funny in a bad way or just bad, the beats are either amazing or terrible and while this one hasn't been as prevalent in his past few releases, the longer this album goes, the more I want it to be over. Another problem I have with this album is just how inconsistent it is because there are some genuinely great songs on here. Royce Da 5'9" and Em's verses fit well on top of the insanely produced You Gon' Learn and the song Darkness might be one of the most dramatic songs Em has released in a long time. I also have to mention the big hit single off of this album Godzilla featuring the late, great Juice Wrld who comes through with a solid hook on the track while Em shows off once again that he can rap very fast. But for every one good song, there are three or four head-scratchers, for example, the song Those Kinda Nights featuring Ed Sheeran who is definitely featured on the song, for sure. But what hurts more are Em's bars on the song. Whether it's the one at the beginning of the second verse where he says, "This beat keeps takin' me back like my ex does / Only 'cause how good the sex was" or later on where he says, "'Seriously though, jokes aside, how you doin'? You straight?' / She said, 'No, I'm bi.'" I think the worst offender on this song though is the bar "Gettin' head in a bucket / Marshmello." There's also the song Leaving Heaven which, man, I wish I had someone who had as much faith in me as Eminem does in Skylar Grey because it's been 7 years since her first appearance on an Eminem album and she still does not have a career for herself. I don't think there's a single memorable track after Yah Yah and while Em could definitely do worse, this isn't good either.
9. Glass Animals - Dreamland
This here is a fantastic example of singles being very deceptive, because I went into this album with high hopes after hearing songs like Your Love (Deja Vu), with some of the best production I've heard all year, and Heat Waves which, along with the album, really capture the sound of summer slipping away. But the rest of the songs on this album are either some of Glass Animals' best work or worst work. For example, I think the song It's All So Incredibly Loud is genuinely one of the best songs the band has ever released. The song is about those few seconds after you tell someone something that you know is just gonna crush them, whether it's breaking up with them or telling them about a death close to them. Just the deafening silence of those few seconds. Tangerine and Space Ghost Coast to Coast are songs that are the Glass Animals bread and butter and will be a blast to eventually hear live. But this album falls off real quick. I've grown more and more indifferent to Tokyo Drifting the more I listen to it, because while the beat is insane and Denzel Curry's feature on the song is fantastic, Dave Bailey trying to rap while his voice is layered in effects is almost laughable. There's also the song Melon and the Coconut that I talked about in my Worst Songs of 2020 list so I won't waste any more time with that. There's also the song Waterfalls Coming Out Of Your Mouth which I'm surprised even made the final cut. The lyrics on this song are very very rough. Whether it's the randomly yelled "Big d*cks and big ol' t*tties on the sly" chant at the beginning of the song, or the horrid verses where Dave sings zingers like, "It's chemical warfare / Red lips and television eyewear / Raspberry soda hair / In the pool in a blow-up gummy bear" or even better, "Cheap booze, Pepsi blue / You got bottles in from 2002 / Hot glue, vape juice / Hit undo, how the hell are you so cool?" Yes, there are bright spots on the album, but the weight of the bad on this album weighs it down and gives it a spot here.
8. Lil Uzi Vert - Lil Uzi Vert vs. The World 2
I had a tough time choosing between which Lil Uzi Vert album I wanted to choose for this list but after some thought and relistening to both, I had to go with this one. And while I do find Uzi to be a bit overrated, that has nothing to do with him being on this list. This has nothing to do with his popularity or his postition in rap music, I just think he's already ridden this sound and style to death. At least with Eternal Atake he was coming through with some fresh ideas while also giving his fans the standard trap bangers they wanted. This album honestly just feels like a bunch of B-Sides that were leftover from the Eternal Atake sessions. Also, it's no secret that Uzi isn't exactly a lyrical genius and that weakness really hurts this album. His vocal performances a handful of songs here like Lotus where Uzi comes in almost yelping. The mixing on this song is also terrible with Uzi's voice mixed so high that you can almost forget the beat is there. There's also that hilarious line in the chorus where he says, "On the real, yeah, you a ten / But you cannot pay your rent." While the song Strawberry Peels is without a doubt a banger, it's so short that by the time it gets going, it's over. Gunna's verse on the song also hurts as I don't think any of his bars connect to one another, like he'll jump from name dropping VLONE and Chrome Hearts then in the next line say "she can't talk right now 'cause she's suckin' this d*ck." There's also the weird line he starts the song off with saying, "Let my bro hit her, I'm good with assist." It still confuses me, I don't know why you'd be proud to let your friend have a turn with a girlfriend. I think even worse is the chorus of the song No Auto where Uzi just repeats this phrase of "Oh you scared huh? Oh, you PUSSY!" The way he delivers that "Oh, you PUSSY" part always makes me crack up. I'm praying in the future we see more albums like Eternal Atake that have their own identity rather than more Part 2s that just please the Twitter crowd.
7. Shawn Mendes - Wonder
I wish I got as much out of Shawn Mendes's music as the thirsty 14-year-old girls I see in his IG comments because once again, I sat through an entire Shawn Mendes and didn't feel a single emotion. I don't think there is a single memorable song on here and if a song is memorable, it's not for a good reason. Take for example the song Song for No One which is memorable to me because it sounds like something that got left off of Radiohead's last album A Moon Shaped Pool. Why Shawn decided to try and rip off Radiohead of all bands is compelling to me. But what's even more compelling is when the beat switches up and the song changes into somethin almost Beatles-esque? Or like something from Born to Run but in half-time. Either way, it's a weird clash right next to each other. There's also the opening song Intro which is hideously mixed. It starts off sort of sweet and cute and then BOOM! A giant wall of synths comes from out of nowhere and kicks your legs out from under you. I honestly don't mind the song Wonder just becuase Shawn somehow manages to make super surface level lyrics kind of compelling, singing about wanting to live in a world that isn't black or white, or wondering if crying into his hands makes him less masculine. Call My Friends is almost on an AJR level lyrically and it's another mixing nightmare. The chorus features this huge, super unneeded, distorted bassline that makes no sense in this song. The chorus is quite honestly pointless with Shawn singing, "I should call my friends and go get high / I need a vacation from my mind." And the song Monster is definitely a song here. Lyrically, it's like if Idle Worship by Paramore was lame, and instrumentally it almost feels like a John Mayer song. And the Justin Bieber feature on here is rough. Brushing off your controversial past by saying, "Made some bad moves tryin' to act cool" won't get my sympathy. I hope Shawn Mendes can bounce back from this one but knowing who he has to appeal too, I only see his albums getting more and more dumbed down.
6. Green Day - Father of All...
The more time that passes, the more I'm convinced that this was a troll album just to get out of their contract because I don't want to believe that Green Day spent a year recording, writing, and producing an album this bad. I don't know why the band is so hellbent on trying to ruin their legacy but it's not a good look for any of them. The album is 26 minutes, 10 songs, and it is the most blown-out rock album released this year. Now being honest, I still really like the title track and lead single from this album. It's high energy, super punchy, and while Billie Joe's vocals are strange, I've grown to enjoy them. After this song though, it feels like the band started throwing random ideas at the wall to see what stuck. Fire, Ready, Aim sounds like they weren't satisfied with the title track so they just did it again. I Was A Teenage Teenager might be one of the most obnoxious songs the band has ever released. Billie Joe is nearing 50 and he's still singing about being in high school in the most cheesy way possible. He also does the Mr. Brightside style of writing where instead of writing out a second verse, he just repeats the first one again, even though part of me is glad he didn't write a second verse because I can't imagine it being any better than the first one. Stab You In The Heart sounds ripped straight from the 60s with more distortion than you would hear on a Metallica song and is also the closest thing this album comes to having another decent song. And just in case you forgot what Boulevard of Broken Dreams sounds like, the song Junkies On A High is here to remind you what it sounds like. I know that this album is only 26 minutes but it feels like an hour. For as short as it is, I don't think it needs to be this long or as filled with crap as it is. At this point, I'm not even sure if I want to hear another Green Day album because this has left such a poor taste in my mouth.
5. The Smashing Pumpkins - Cyr
Billy Corgan going synthpop? That sounds pretty rough just reading it back, now imagine sitting through 20 songs, or an hour and 12 minutes of it. It's not very enjoyable. While it is great that Corgan was able to get the core members of the band back together, why are you bringing them back to play synth-pop songs? If James Iha and Jeff Schroeder are back in the fold, why not try to make some more guitar-based music? I hate to say that they should go back to their classic sound but Siamese Dream and Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness are both ambitious and exciting alternative rock albums that really shine from the 90s scene. The latter of the two is nearly 45 minutes longer than this mess and it manages to be interesting all throughout. There's also the elephant in the room that everyone needs to address, Billy Corgan's voice. We all know it's bad, and we all know it hurts to listen to, but if you hated his voice before, you're really gonna hate it now. And last but not least, the way that Billy is wearing his influences on his sleeve on this album really detracts from trying to enjoy this album. For example, if you played me the instrumental from the opening song The Colour of Love, and told me it was a song by The Cure, I would've believed you. Or if you told me that Purple Blood was something that got left off of MGMT's last album Little Dark Age, I would've asked why it got cut. While I do think it's bold that the band is trying to reinvent themselves, why are you waiting until this late in your career to do it? And yes, synthpop is definitely an interesting direction to go in, half of these songs sound like me going into Garage Band out of boredom. I think it's pretty telling when Deftones are putting out an album that has better Smashing Pumpkins songs than a Smashing Pumpkins album.
4. Florida Georgia Line - 6-Pack
Well, I'm glad that one thing has stayed consistent this year, Florida Georgia Line is still making horrible pop-country music. I try my best not to hate on Florida Georgia Line for no reason but this album is a really good reason to hate on them. The album opens with the song Beer:30 which, the more I listen to it, the more I realize I should've had it lower on my worst songs of the year list because it just gets worse every time I hear it. Super compressed instrumental, blown-out drums that sound like a firework going off every time they come in and the lyrics are the closest you could get to celebrating alcoholism in a song. Ain't Worried Bout It has this annoying refrain with Tyler Hubbard singing "ain't worried bout NOTHIN, ain't worried bout NOTHIN guuuuuurl." Once again, the lyrics are the highlight as the song starts off with the lines, "Bills stacked / Money's tight / Truck's jacked up / and I ain't talkin' sitting high." No clue what that means but okay. Once again, the drums are just pounding into my skull, whoever mixed them needs to be fired. The song Second Guessing makes me super mad because at the core it's not bad. The instrumental on here is the best on the entire album, and the chorus on this song is amazingly written, but it's Tyler and Brian Kelley's vocals that ruin the song. If you put Tim McGraw or Chris Young on top of this song, I would be head over heels for it. Countryside features something that should never be in a pop-country song no matter what. Ad libs. Every line Tyler sings in the first verse is followed up by this stupid "yuuUUUUP" ad lib. At this point, I'm convinced that there are too many yes men in the studio for this to be happening. And the album ends on I Love My Country which gives us one more final taste of why we hate this duo. Distorted guitar and banjos are having a fistfight to see who can be louder in the mix. I honestly think the producer accidentally hit the loop button on the banjo riff because the same riff plays for the entire song, not changing once. It's a song that will probably go down well at their shows but hearing it on Spotify is painful. This is the type of music to drive down a crowded highway with a confederate flag waving in the bed of your Ford F-450 Dually too.
3. Trippie Redd - Pegasus
Usually, when I publish a list like this, I get some pushback or I feel bad for including certain albums because I know I have friends or followers that love said albums. For example, I already know I'm gonna catch some flack for putting the Glass Animals album on the list. This album, however, I don't know a single person who enjoys it so I have no remorse writing this. There are few artists who can pull off 26 song, 75 minute long albums, and Trippie Redd is not one of those people. In rap alone, the last project of that length that I actually enjoyed was To Pimp A Butterfly and that's just because that's one of the best albums I've ever listened to. I think the main problem with this album is that Trippie doesn't know what he wants it to be. It's like he went into the studio with the idea that this was going to be an R&B album but halfway through decided, "Nah, we need to make some hard sh*t. Call Future and Young Thug." The pacing is just bad with smooth R&B slow-burners right next to bland trap bangers with bass clipping like crazy. Seriously, I don't mind a little thump from bass every now and then but songs like Love Scars 4 push my subwoofer almost to its limit. And it's so overpowering that it distorts everything else around it when it hits. It also hurts the album that a lot of these songs start off with similar piano or synth intros before either going to a standard hi-hat and 808 beats or going to a drawn-out R&B beat, so a lot of the songs end up meshing together and becoming forgettable. There are a few notable exceptions though, and I don't mean that in a positive way. Chris Brown and Trippie Redd pair up on the song Mood and the two mix together as well as Dua Lipa would over a Merzbow song. And even though I hate Chris Brown with a burning passion, it hurts me to admit that he kind of killed the chorus on here. The song Spaceships is great for about 5 seconds until Trippie changes his delivery and starts his yelping, rasp voice thing. There's a bar on here where he says, "I just flew in two bitches from overseas / They both from Portugal, they both Portuguese," which, are we sure Kendrick didn't write this? Are we sure J. Cole didn't write this? It's just SUCH a god-tier bar that your fave could never write. I hope Trippie has a little more focus next time he rolls out an album because this definitely is not pleasing anyone.
2. Sam Hunt - SOUTHSIDE
A "sophomore slump" is a music term that describes when an artist or band's second project doesn't live up to the expectation or standards set by their debut project. Don't understand the term? Go back and listen to Sam Hunt's debut album Montevallo then listen to this new album, SOUTHSIDE. (I just realized while writing this that Montevallo is 6 years old, where has the time gone.) Everything about Sam Hunt that has pissed off traditional country fans for his whole career is turned up to 11 on this new album. Snap beats? You got it. That talk/singing thing he does on top of a lot of songs? You got it. I do want to say though that there is one song on this album that I really enjoy and that is the song Hard To Forget because the beat on this song is genuinely great and it's the classic Sam Hunt sound that I enjoy. I want to hate it but I really can't. The chorus is catchy as hell and I can't help liking it. But the rest of this album is probably what Pop Country sounds like to people who hate Pop Country. Kinfolks has one of the most annoying hooks I've heard all year and the snare drums on the song might cause my head to explode if they're any louder. Young Once has one of the worst written pre-choruses in all of country music this year with Sam singing this one line about how as time goes by, it'll "dull like a razor." Let It Down is a hideous blend of R&B and country. The chorus has these tasteful distorted guitars and acoustic guitars blending together and a banjo lick going too and if this was all that was in the chorus, I would love this song, but there's a trap beat over the top for some reason that's mixed so high that it distracts from the rest of the song. The last two songs on this album, Breaking Up Was Easy In the 90s and Drinkin' Too Much are my favorites because hearing them means the album is over. Breaking Up Was Easy In the 90s shows Sam upset that he can't get over a breakup because he keeps seeing this girl's Instagram pictures and she's gotten "twice as pretty" and finally got to go to New York. And Drinkin' Too Much is just Sam on his hands and knees begging for this girl to take him back apologizing profusely for "naming an album Montevallo" and sorry that he's the reason that random strangers hit her up on social media or that she can't listen to the radio. He also says this one line about how he respects that she wants her privacy but he still wants to pay off her student loans? Yes, that's real. The only thing that saves this album from being in the #1 spot is the song Hard To Forget because even though the lyrics are creepy, at least it's enjoyable. And somehow, even worse than that this year, coming in at #1...
1. Justin Bieber - Changes
I want to be super upfront about something before I go in on Mr. Bieber. I don't think this album is horrible because JuStIn BiEbEr BaD and because he's pop music's punching bag, in fact, that's why I wanted to like this album when it got announced. I didn't want to just dismiss it because I still enjoy quite a few songs off of his previous album, Purpose, and I still remember clear as day begging my mom to take me to Walmart so I could buy the My World 2.0 CD. But as I listened to this album for the first time, I really wished I would've let it just slip by. I should've known we were in trouble from the second Yummy dropped. The chorus is about the laziest thing I've heard in a very long time. Just so devoid of any emotion or life. The other big single Intentions featuring Quavo isn't that much better. Sure, the chorus is kind of catchy and yeah, Quavo flows kind of well but geez this song is a lyrical nightmare. Especially that one "shoutout to your Mom and Dad for making youUu" line, sheesh. The lyrics continually drag this album down and Justin's performances don't really sell them. You can sometimes trick me into liking terrible lyrics with a good performance but once Justin reaches into that falsetto, all bets are off. There's another thing that continually kills this album and that is the production and the beats. This album has some of the blandest production and blandest beats on every. single. song. Almost all of the songs on here sound like they were ringtones at one point in time and Bieber even got his bluff called at one point for using a royalty-free loop in the song Running Over featuring Lil Dicky which might be my least favorite song on this album. That's another thing, all of the features on this album either severely underperform or just make you scratch your head and wonder "Why are they on this album?" Take for example, Travis Scott on the song Second Emotion. It's not the fact that Travis is on the song, he and Justin have worked together before on Maria, I'm Drunk, one of my favorite Travis Scott songs of all time, it's how terribly he performs on here. I really hope Travis got a big paycheck from this because he truly did not care when he recorded this. His verse does not have one single good bar and he sort of just shows up and leaves by the time you realize he's there. I understand that Justin wants to move past the cheesy pop music he blew up on and wants to make some more mature music now that he's married, but after listening to this again to do this writeup, I really don't have a doubt in my mind that this album fell flat on its face. This is no question, the worst album of 2020.