Talking of which.....
Talking Heads, Speaking In Tongues
In a 1983 take-down Barney Hoskyns identified a syndrome at work:
Grace Jones, Living My Life
S'alriiiiiight.. But no Nightclubbing.
For the 1995 reissue of Goodbye Cruel World, EC penned an in-depth inventory / diagnosis/ mea culpa as regards its defects. The opening lines are:
"Congratulations! You've just purchased our worst album. At least that is the impression I've given over the years and I am sure that you could find many people who would agree with me. "
Good Lord, if ever an album didn't deserve to get reissued once, let alone twice, it would be Goodbye Cruel World.
So bereft is it, it earns the privilege of two videos in this run-down of let-down. The making of the below horror also gets described in those GCW reish linernotes.
Prince - Parade
That’s regardless of the genius of ‘Controversy’ the single, ‘1999’, ‘Pop Life’, ‘Kiss’ etc
Okay, now for the piss de resistance, the absolute Golden Manky Turkey, the glistening black turd of Disappointing Albums....
Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Laughter
Following the half-great Do It Yourself, the terrific big-big-hit "Reasons To Be Cheerful , Part 3" and that monster Blockheads tour of the entire length and breadth of the UK, the band's melodist and musical director Chas Jankel quit, exhausted by proximity to Dury's overpowering personality.
His replacement Wilko Johnson has many virtues but he's not a tunesmith. The first fruits of the new line-up, the single "I Wanna Be Straight" just about made it through chutzpah and greasy funk. But then this lumbering hookless single "Sueperman's Big Sister" came out, herald of the album Laughter - and there was a sicky feeling in the stomach.
Just about the only interesting thing about "Sueperman's Big Sister"is that at least one reviewer thought it was about Dury's recent "encounter" with Vanessa Redgrave. I don't know whether that's a euphemism or not, but the idea of those two converging in space-time is quite a thing to contemplate.
Laughter's reviews were positive, though (clearly in retrospect looking desperately for reasons to be cheerful). So I shelved my apprehensions, ponied up the cash. What a waste, what a waste.... and I ruddy well did mind. A LOT.
Only one half-way amusing tune ("Over The Points" - sung from the point of view of a train - "Sometimes we track this line with decapitated schoolboy's heads still wearing their caps/ Upon me at any given moment ten or twelve people might be taking craps"...). Otherwise it's pub-funk rowdiness all the way, with titles like "(Take Your Elbow Out of the Soup) You're Sitting On the Chicken", and "Uncoolohol", "Oh Mr Peanut" and "Dance of the Crackpots". A cover of "Manic Depression" apparently fitting the mood-swingin' mental state of both Dury (not coping well with fame - see the LP's "Delusions of Grandeur" - and addicted to booze and Mogadon) and guitarist John Turnbull, who'd suffered a head injury.
Apparently Dury called it Laughter to cheer himself up, because the experience of making the album - and the end product - was so miserable.
And that was it for Ian Dury really, sadly.... the reunion with Jankel for Lord Upminster ignited few sparks, even with Sly & Robbie in the engine room.
There is a separate category for Disappointing Debut Albums, coming after a lot of press-generated expectations, some cool singles.... One obvious example being A Certain Ratio's To Each..... (although it's a moot point whether the Graveyard and the Ballroom cassette counts as a debut LP - I would say not). But that's a topic that will have to wait for now...
Stop Press: Loads of good suggestions in comments and also on Facebook, the one that struck me as a big omission in terms of personal disappointments would be:
The Associates, Perhaps
Really badly missing the magic of Alan Rankine.... Sort of camp without delight. Solemn camp.
Admittedly this song / vocal performance is great, and nice beetling bass work
This one's a stiff, though