Important Questions Raised By...

We Asked People What The ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ of Albums Is

Nirvana's 'Nevermind' is just 42:20 minutes of wailing. Fight me.

by Daisy Jones
27 March 2019, 10:20am

Lead image 'Nevermind' by Nirvana album artwork

Last summer, it was announced that Drake was the first ever artist to surpass 50 billion streams. His fifth album Scorpion racked up one billion streams in a week, beating previous records on Apple and Spotify. He has the highest amount of total number ones of any rapper, again mainly because of Scorpion, which pushed seven songs onto the Billboard Hot 100’s top ten simultaneously. This is all a remarkable achievement. I am very happy for Drake. Although I’m sure he doesn’t care about my opinion. He is probably too busy juggling his four Grammys while laughing maniacally.

That said, whenever a song like “In My Feelings” or “Finesse” comes on, I start zoning out. And by the time it reaches the 1.30 minute mark, I’m gritting my teeth, sighing, waiting for his whining voice to fade out of earshot. I know this is my problem. People love Drake, don’t they. He’s reached a status beyond success, to somewhere between meme and living legend. But that doesn’t mean I find his music any easier to enjoy. If anything, it’s made it harder. I’ve had to keep my annoyance a secret. He’s one of the most listened to artists of the 21st century, and yet I’m sat here like: why?

All of this got me thinking. There are probably millions out there, millions like me who secretly hate a particular album, or the music of an artist, that everybody else on the planet seems to love. Maybe you think Melodrama by Lorde was bloated and sentimental. Maybe you think Frank Ocean should stop whispering stuff about summertime and calling it music. Maybe you’re sick to death of Adele wearing a long black dress and belting about her first love, like get over it already. That black album with the white squiggles? Boring! Anyway, I asked people what their ‘emperor’s new clothes’ of albums is. Because everyone's got one, it seems.

The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

This album is whimsical British crap made to appease Americans and whoever thought they were hip in the 1960s. Not really sure why everyone says this is influenced by taking acid either… it just sounds like something from an Enid Blyton novel. Give me the White Album over this every time. Ryan.

Future - HNDRXX or FUTURE

Future isn't rapping he's talking, but gets away with just reading out the names of different narcotics and saying Nobu six times because he looks like the google stock image of "successful". His flow forever sounds like he's warming up for a rap battle – doing that little ad lib thing your meant to do to get the crowd going and buy you a bit of time before you go all in. But he never does go all in. Jumpman slaps though. Dipo.

Anything by Kanye West

Anything by Kanye West. Sirin.

Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over the Sea

Every algorithm that has ever analysed the music I listen to and spat a recommendation out for me has deemed In The Aeroplane Over The Sea as being an album designed in a lab to be consumed by me and me alone, so perfect is it for me, which means it makes absolutely no sense at all that I simply don’t like it and cannot get into it at all. The album now has gone so far as to grip me with an anxious pang of musical FOMO, because whenever I encounter people who deeply love the album – men in striped t-shirts who can’t take selfies properly! – they are all me, too, and I feel even more alienated for not being one of them, for not understanding the special alchemy of a nasal singing voice, a sea shanty guitar and some lad in the background long-shagging a trumpet. Once a year like clockwork I sit down determined to listen to and this time understand the album – I just did it, now, then turned it off again, because it fucking sucks – and every year I am left cold inside to art, as if I’ve stumbled upon a random episode of a soap I don’t watch and tried to understand why everyone’s murdering everybody. See you again in 2020, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. I look forward to not fucking understanding a note of you then. Joel.

Nirvana – Nevermind

42:20 minutes (I googled it) of wailing. Fight me. Rachel.

Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap

Another terrible album influenced by acid except this one is completely lacking in depth and made by a rich dude with good connects. How else do you think Chance got Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, Childish Gambino and all these beats on his so-called ‘independent’ breakthrough mixtape? Nooooooope. I don’t hate the guy – I’ll listen to “Cocoa Butter Kisses” and “Chain Smoker” when I wanna listen to something innocent and nice with a good hook. This tape is not as good as everyone said it was though. And let’s be honest, if you’re saying Chance is your favourite rapper you probably still can’t tie your shoelaces properly. Ryan.

Radiohead – OK Computer

If I wanted to hear someone going on about technology for an hour I would go to Curry’s with my dad while he tries to argue the shop assistant into giving him a year’s guarantee on a set of speakers. And yeah, I get it, on one hand OK Computer was “prophetic” and “important” and other things music critics like to say about records but like, on the other, the internet has already harvested my data and though someone, somewhere is probably using it for something nefarious, just as Radiohead seemed to suggest they might, equally I can order a pizza extremely quickly now so… who’s the real winner? Riddle me that, Thom Yorke! Lauren.

King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, A New Place to Drown and The Ooz

Every white man between the age of 21 and 50 behaves as if King Krule is the ginger reincarnation of Jesus. I get that he’s talented and these three albums are good. That I am not contesting. But also can everyone stop wanking over some miserable jazz songs about chicken ribs and rizla or whatever, thanks. Daisy.

Arcade Fire – the one with the bible on it

Shit band for shit people. Ryan.

The Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols

I get that the Sex Pistols were groundbreaking or whatever at the time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wince every time I hear Johnny Rotten roar ‘I am an anti-christaaaaaaaah / I am an anarchistaaaaaaaah’. Like wow you’re such a rebel, white guy in a band who stuck a few pins in your jeans and sang out of tune. Imagine if someone said the Sex Pistols were their favourite band. I would run. And their band name is gross. Asha.

Jorja Smith – Lost & Found

Dinner party music for boring people in their 30s, or Americans. Anon.

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