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The '90s Sucked

The 20 Worst Albums Of The '90s: 10-1

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Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 3:30 AM

click to enlarge Crash Test Dummies
  • Crash Test Dummies
The 20 Worst Albums Of The '90s: 20-11

Sure, you had the Bill Clinton blowjob scandal, OJ, Pakistan and India going nuclear, mad cow disease, the Rodney King decision, and Titanic. But what made the '90s truly awful was its music. That's not to say that there weren't bright spots -- early Beck, say, or Ok Computer and much of hip-hop's golden era -- but what passed for mainstream rock was awful, particularly when it was tagged with the "alternative" qualifier.

See also: Guess What Year These Lisa Loeb Photos Were Taken

And considering that internet music platforms hadn't much gotten going, too often the crap on the radio was what we were stuck with. As a mode of catharsis, then, let's take a look back at what was so dispiriting about this pivotal time in our lives. We promise there is no C+C Music Factory. -Ben Westhoff

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10. 4 Non Blondes

Bigger, Better, Faster, More (1992)

Let's just get it out there: "What's Up?" is, bar fucking none, the worst song ever written. The repetitive verse drags on for approximately two hours and the "HAAAYAAAYAAAAAAY" chorus is like grating your own fingers. The rest of the album -- there be dragons, but I love y'all so much, I actually listened to it -- is sub-open-mic-night level tunes of confession and protest ("Old Mr. Heffer," "Dear Mr. President") and ill-advised forays into funk metal ("Superfly"). Remember that particularly naïve freshman in your dorm with an acoustic guitar who fancied him or herself a songwriter? Remember the sense of panic that ensued whenever they reached for their six string? Imagine a whole album of that. -Nicholas Pell

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9. U2

Zooropa (1993)

Even in their youthful exuberance, we consider U2 one of the most pretentious, uncomfortably earnest bands in the world, and never more so than on Zooropa, where they are bizarrely serious and self-important even while being playful and ironic. Bono -- and really, any sentence that begins with his name is bound to be comedy gold -- stated that he thought U2 were working on their Sgt. Pepper. At least they later wised up: Both he and The Edge later said that Zooropa is a decidedly mediocre U2 effort. -Nicholas Pell

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8. Carmen Electra

Carmen Electra (1993)

Carmen Electra, the album, is physical proof that miracles can happen when you're fucking Prince Rogers Nelson. He'll get his team of Paisley Park Records to assemble your whole shitty album, for starters. "Funk is in my round buns, baby," Electra sings, like someone cut from the middle school glee club. And we're glad that funk is somewhere, we guess, because it's nowhere else here. Behind Electra's and Prince's we-wrote-this-in-the-studio-as-we-were-recording-it lyrics is a series of thin dance tracks that Prince can't possibly have been paying attention to. The album appears to be just a launchpad for the primary single, "Go Go Dancer," whose main success is in dissuading aspiring dancers from the profession. This whole record marks Electra as a terrible Fergie before Fergie was a terrible Fergie. And that's, um, pretty remarkable. -Paul Bradley

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7. Vanilla Ice

To The Extreme (1990)

Just four months after Public Enemy released Fear of a Black Planet, Robert Van Winkle gave us more reason to fear a white one. Once you get past the admittedly hard-to-resist "Ice Ice Baby," To the Extreme quickly descends into parachute-pantsed minstrelsy, as Ice delivers unintentionally laughable lines like "I go to work on the floor like a wet mop" in a flow stiffer than his high-top fade. With this work, Ice undoubtedly set back the white (rapper) race a decade. -Andy Hermann

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