So as we compile our annual list of the lamest albums of the year, we're attempting to bypass the usual suspects (Staind, Limp Bizkit)in order to focus on some of the most overhyped discs of 2005 -- as well as a few crappy albums from normally reliable artists. Once again, it's time to pluck us some turkeys.
50 Cent, The Massacre (Aftermath/Interscope)
Hands down the most overrated album of the year, The Massacre is so damn overlong and tedious, it actually seems to stop time. Seriously, a week of solitary confinement in a Siberian port-a-john flies by faster than this numbing, monotonous LP. Through it all, 50 flows like molasses on sandpaper. He sounds as if he spends way more time chiseling his pecs than writing rhymes. In "A Baltimore Love Thing," 50 flexes his wimpy creative muscle by personifying heroin. "I'm not that genie in a bottle, I'm in a bag," he lamely explains, for anyone who doesn't quite get the metaphor. Wow, how imaginative! That shit's only been done about 13,467 times before, by everyone from Lou Reed to Metallica. Dull and tiresome, this disc has all the personality of a pet rock.
Moby, Hotel (V2)
On Hotel, Moby sounds like a college freshman in the midst of his first mushroom trip. "Look at us, we're all beautiful," he coos on an album so syrupy, you could pour it over your Eggos. Hotel bursts with the kind of lovey-dovey new-age tripe that's usually confined to the self-help section of Christian bookstores. Friggin' Enya makes Moby look like a puss these days. Full of melodramatic synth, sappy strings, and acoustic guitar, this album somehow manages to be both overwrought and hopelessly dull at the same time. "Hotels, in specific, fascinate me in that so much effort is expended to maintain a perfect neutrality," Moby writes in Hotel's liner notes. Funny, we were thinking the same thing about this album.
Ozzy Osbourne, Under Cover (Epic)
Ever find yourself thinking, "Gee, what could really improve a kickass jam like Cream's 'Sunshine of Your Love' is a shitty female backing choir and a vocalist who sounds like a gay cabaret singer"? Well, Ozzy took it upon himself to make this dreadful idea a reality. On Under Cover, metal's most notorious madman gets in touch with his feminine side, adding maudlin violins and horrible female vocals to a slew of rock standards. Ozzy positively castrates Mountain's "Mississippi Queen" before wheezing his way through crappy Moody Blues tunes that sucked the first time around. Truly one of the most wretched albums of all time, this disc will have you questioning the value of recorded sound.
Missy Elliott, The Cookbook (Atlantic)
"In the studio, I'm dropping hits from bootyhole," Missy Elliott rhymes on her latest LP. Well, that helps explain where these flushworthy tunes came from, though labeling them "hits" would be a nice way to put it, sort of like calling a dog turd "lawn fertilizer." Missy Elliott made a name for herself as one of hip-hop's cutting-edge artists, with a slew of inventively produced singles that have really enlivened mainstream rap in recent years. But on her fifth disc, Missy misfires badly, resorting to recycled beats and relying on limp sex talk to raise eyebrows. When not crooning her way through tender blowjob ballads, Missy details how her vagina tastes -- "like apples and a bag of pears" -- but really, how would she know? It's all so pointlessly bland and repetitive, like coitus without a climax.
Mudvayne, Nothing Changes (Epic)
In the past, what separated Mudvayne from all the other nü-metal A-holes in their moms' mascara was an ability to make heady, proglike noodling palatable to dudes in puke-stained Korn T-shirts. But on their third LP, the band largely abandons what made it mildly unique, hedging its progressive tendencies with big crappy choruses and dumbed-down arrangements. Worst of all is how self-pitying this group has become. The heaviest thing about Mudvayne nowadays is the mammoth chip on its shoulder. "No one could ever understand/My life's exhausted," their singer snivels at one point. Trust us, dude: We've got a pretty good idea of how tired you are these days.