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Top 10 Albums I Loved Passionately At First, but Have Grown to Hate

By Scott Reid | 22 November 2005

10. Korn: Korn (Immortal/Epic; 1994)

I’d still argue this the pinnacle of non-Deftones ’90s "nu-metal," but even by the latter half of the decade, when Korn began the duets with Fred Durst about whose dick was bigger, the gimmick began to wear awfully thin. Jonathon Davis’ lyrics, like most records you’ll see on this list, were once "passionately loved" solely because I was a terribly insecure teenager that used music to regress. And, in that context, records like these hit the fucking spot.

But then one day I wasn’t that young paranoid, insecure teenager who found solace in lyrics about hating everything, and I grew to discover that records like these —- and their modern day equivalents, I’m sure, given time —- suck. And that’s why these bands never really evolved into much, why most either imploded right away or opted for the years-long trainwreck. Hell, even insecure teenagers moved on.

But Korn did fill a void for a very specific and lucrative demographic for grunge/metal, and was good enough to spearhead a shitty genre (what else is selling well these days? HIP HOP? Join ‘em up!), but not nearly good enough to make up for even its earliest signs of retardation (Bizkit).

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9. Everclear: Sparkle & Fade (Capitol; 1995)

Again, here’s a group that made an exceptional album for its genre/era and then became more annoying with each subsequent release, without changing much in the process. Because as much as I used to think that "Strawberry" was a great, heartfelt ballad about drugs (that he wrote the chorus for after just waking up one time!), or that "Pale Green Stars" was his one affecting, cathartic shot at confronting his father through the empathetic guise of a little girl, the band quickly went stagnant; Alexis spent every subsequent record bludgeoning the the same topics to death. Then came "Wonderful," and suddenly the world had exactly what it craved: another Sugar Ray.

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8. Gandharvas: A Soap Bubble & Inertia (MCA/Watch; 1994)

OK, I’ve gotten shit about the Gandharvas for years, so to clear a couple of things up:

First, "First Day of Spring" is still probably my favorite Can-rock single of the ’90s, and they did ruin it with that American re-release of Sold for a Smile. But c’mon: for a one-hit-flash-in-the-pan for a joke band, it still strikes me as a rather huge "fluke."

Second, "Shadow" is also still good, even with that hokey production.

Third, everything else about this record (don’t get me started on Kicking in the Water) —- and it probably won’t need to take years for anyone else to discover this —- is ridiculous. On completely different levels, too, as to confuse a younger me that an instrumental with empty cans was the greatest. I have no idea what I was thinking.

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7. Local H: As Good As Dead (Island; 1996)

I’m not even going to bother explaining this one. See the second paragraph of the Korn blurb.

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6. Rusty: Fluke (EMI/Handsome Boy; 1995)

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5. Matthew Good Band: Underdogs (A&M/Darktown; 1997)

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4. The Tea Party: The Edges of Twilight (EMI; 1995)

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3. Moist: Creature (EMI; 1996)

More Can-rock!

How embarrassing. The brief rundown, though you could probably just consult that Korn blurb again:

Rusty: Way back when Treble Charger had "Even Garble" and Hayden posters in their videos, Rusty had this one great single called "Misogyny" that I liked more than "Possum Kingdom" before playing it to death in terrible high school bands. Which was also about the time I started realizing that "Wake Me" and "Warning" were the only two songs that I actually liked besides it. And then, well, if you don’t know the story, you’ll recognize it: they release a fumbling sophomore record that makes fun of a slump (irony!), then a terrible covers-n’-remakes and one decent single record to end it off. And then everyone promptly forgot that Rusty existed.

Matthew Good Band: For a very brief period of time, the concept of writing in monotonously sung slogans seemed like a good one.

Tea Party: Unfortunate circumstance involving a girl and a passing infatuation with "The River" (not on this record) and "Silence," a song with what sounds strikingly like a kazoo.

Moist: David Usher went on to become David Usher the soft-rock solo artist with a single called "Love Will Save the Day" and slow motion flippy hair in his videos, and while I still think Creature has a couple of songs that I’d probably still think aren’t half-bad ("Better Than You"), it’s hard to ignore some of the most annoying of all Can-rock singles this side of The Persuit of Happiness ("Resurrection," "Gasoline," that "Tangerine" song with the the ‘cracked the cock into the socket’ line). Of course, I can’t really say I ever "loved" this record, so maybe I’m cheating.

An allmusic gem on this album: "‘Leave It Alone’ suggests Crash Test Dummies meets Talking Heads (but with a good singer, at least)."

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2. The Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness (Virgin; 1995)

There was a time that I thought that "despite all my rage/ i’m still just a rat in a cage" was a great lyric, that "god is empty just like me" was even better, that "Jellybelly" was worth hearing twice, that "teen machines" was a clever rhyme, that calling a song "Fuck You (An Ode to No One)" was daring, that "love / it’s who you know" was an awesome turn of phrase, that "love is suicide" was worth writing on every notebook I had in junior high, that "Tales of a Scorched Earth" and "X.Y.U." really did fit in on the record, that there really was more to the album than the best song Corgan ever wrote ("1979") and a couple of other bones ("Fear to Tread," "Muzzle," "Thirty Three," "Thru the Eyes of Ruby"). There was also a time that I thought releasing this as a double album with that title was a great idea, and that it would stand as Corgan’s crowning achievement after Siamese Dream and that they just might be my favorite band. Then again, there was also a time that I loved:

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1. Hole: Live Through This (DGC; 1994)

…which just ended up being this:

Sorry.