Usually when an artist releases a new album, he or she will assault the press with the message that the new release is the best thing the artist has ever done, and will undoubtedly be something the fans will adore and newcomers will get into. Such is not the case with the new (and long-awaited) Lupe Fiasco album L.A.S.E.R.S.. The process of creating the album was such a struggle that he could really take it or leave it at this point, and in interviews he has been honest about his ambivalence.
“I hate this record, the process of making this record, and I love this record,” Fiasco told the Chicago Tribune. “What I had to go through was not fun, the ugliness I saw in people. But I love the manifesto.” Fiasco went even deeper in the pages of Complex. “A lot of the songs that are on the album, I’m kinda neutral to. Not that I don’t like them, or that I hate them, it’s just I know the process that went behind it. I know the sneaky business deal that went down behind this song, or the artist or singer or songwriter who wrote this hook and didn’t want to give me this song in the first place,” he said. “So when I have that kind of knowledge behind it, I’m just kind of neutral to it like, ’Another day, another dollar.’ As opposed something like The Cool, which is more of my own blood, sweat, and tears, and my own control.”
Of course, Fiasco isn’t the first artist to have mixed feelings about his own work (though in most cases, artists tend to bury their own stuff in retrospect, not in real time). Here are some of the more notable groups who have thrown their own work under a bus.
Foo Fighters, One By One
While Foo Fighters’ fourth album was a commercial and critical hit, it left a bad taste in the mouth of frontman Dave Grohl. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2005, Grohl said of the album, “Four of the songs were good, and the other seven I never played again in my life. We rushed into it, and we rushed out of it.” He has been true to his word, as recent Foo Fighters set lists have only included One By One tracks “Times Like These” and “All My Life.”
When U2 released Pop in 1997, it was hailed as the album that was supposed to bridge the gap between rock music and electronica. That particular marriage was not successful, and the songs from Pop have mostly been retired in favor of the rest of the band’s extensive catalog. The quality of Pop remains a sticking point between the members of the band (Bono still defends it, though).
While Rivers Cuomo never formally buried his band’s second album, it did drive him away from making music for a while. It wasn’t so much that the songs were bad (in fact, they represent some of his best songwriting) but that they were far too personal for Cuomo to handle. The band disappeared for a few years and didn’t play Pinkerton songs live for a while, though they eventually made their way back into the fabric of Weezer.
Eminem had been gone for a minute when Relapse came out, and though that album was greeted with excitement and enthusiasm, it ultimately left a lot of people wanting more. Apparently, those people included Eminem himself, who dissed the album on his next release Recovery.
Mandy Moore, So Real, I Wanna Be With You and Mandy Moore
Of all the teenage singers who made it big at the turn of the century, nobody was more frustrated by her early work than Moore. Once she liberated herself from her record contract, she left her early, frothy pop in the dust. Her true musical self started to come out on her covers album Coverage, and her last two albums (2007’s Wild Hope and 2009’s Amanda Leigh) have established Moore as the sort of artist she wanted to be all along.
Oasis, Be Here Now
Like most Oasis albums, 1997’s Be Here Now was touted (by the band, at least) as one of the greatest albums you’ll ever hear. But by the time the dust settled and the 21st century rolled around, both Noel and Liam Gallagher regularly dismissed the release as a bloated, drug-addled mess (which is mostly what critics said at the time anyway).
Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill
While the Beasties never dismissed their debut album in its entirety, they did make a handful of apologies for some of the tracks over the course of their career. Most notably, they left “Girls” and “Paul Revere” in the past for a long time (though the latter re-emerged in live shows a few years back).
Tori Amos, Y Kant Tori Read
Before she was the critically adored piano-driven siren we know and love, Tori Amos was in an ill-advised metal band called Y Kant Tori Read. They put out one album that Amos discourages people from hearing, though at least one song from the album — the ethereal “Cool On Your Island” — has been rescued and brought into the 21st century.
Foxy Brown, Brooklyn’s Don Diva
Brooklyn’s Don Diva was supposed to be Foxy Brown’s triumphant return to the rap game following a stint in jail, but the album was rushed and Brown didn’t get to hear the finished product until after it was already in stores. She almost immediately apologized for the album’s quality.
Ministry, With Sympathy
Ministry’s Al Jourgensen is best known as the guy who threw the spotlight on the new sound of industrial rock (and whatever you think of Ministry as a whole, The Land of Rape and Honey and The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste are both masterpieces), but his band’s early work (including their debut With Sympathy) was deep in the heart of synth pop (Jourgensen even adopted a fake British accent for the songs). Naturally, he tossed the album under the bus once his group became known as industrial grinders, and Jourgensen never looked back.