Ozzy Osbourne and ten other old dudes who should just hang it up already
Like so many new albums from old dudes, it's not that Ozzy Osbourne's Scream, which was released today, is not good, per se -- it's that it's not needed. While Osbourne's new effort updates his shtick a bit -- it sounds like he's been listening to a long of Norwegian opera-metal and possibly some Powerman 5000 -- it just doesn't bring anything compelling to the table. And it's sad, because Ozzy used to be so badass.
But Ozzy's not the first to tarnish a beautiful legacy with unnecessary late-career filler. After the jump, check out our top 10 of aging dudes (and by "dudes" we also mean "bands") riding their laurels to mediocrity.
10. The Rolling Stones
How could the Stones not be on here? It's an obvious choice, but the band gets our 10th slot because, unlike a lot of these guys, Mick Jagger and Co. have stuck to a signature sound and put out some pretty consistent material over the years. 2005's A Bigger Bang -- the band's 22nd studio album -- shows Keith Richards still has a knack for laying down a catchy lick. But still, haven't we heard that lick before?
09. Paul McCartney
We hate to put the poppiest Beatle on any kind of disparaging list. We really do. But have you heard 2007's Memory Almost Full? Sir Paul may have some memories he's got to get out on a record, but what this one's full of is bloated production, ill-conceived contemporary touches, and songs so weightless they hardly register.
Recovering from the disaster that was 2003's St Anger, Metallica took it back to the roots with 2008's Death Magnetic. And the album actually rocks. But it rocks in basically the same way 1984's Ride the Lightning did -- same ultra-fast shredding and winding song structures -- which puts it firmly in the "unnecessary" category. And, James Hetfield, please. We hate your voice now.
With eighteen studio albums out and a nineteenth in the wings, it's clear that Rush has never had quality control for a strong suit. Like most of the band's output since the late '80s, 2007's Snakes and Arrows was okay and all, but it was also overproduced and lacked what made Rush so awesome at its peak: Prog. Just because a song is seven minutes long doesn't make it prog, dude. It just makes it boring.
06. Iggy Pop
Just so we're clear, Raw Power was a fucking masterpiece. After years of lackluster solo efforts, Pop brought the Stooges back together to record 2007's The Weirdness with producer Steve Albini, whose minimalist style proved a good choice. It sounds a lot like Raw Power, but the even the album's best songs, while impressively aggressive coming from old dudes, still can't measure up to even the weaker tracks of the band's best work.
05. Neil Young
Last year's Fork in the Road featured a more rockabilly sound than Young is known for, and in that way, the album is kind of different. It's just not that good. The album forgoes the delicacy that makes Young's acoustic work so compelling in favor of rocking, but not in an angular, Crazy Horse kind of awesome way; rather, in a bland, three-chord kind of way.
In its heyday, Foreigner was a hit-making machine. We challenge you to think of the '80s without thinking of Foreigner. But long after the good times ended, sole remaining member Mick Jones kept plugging away, adding new musicians to the lineup. Last year's Can't Slow Down is impressive in that it pretty much still sounds like Foreigner - - but that makes it, you know, unnecessary. And really, the title track is a tribute to NASCAR. That's not even a joke.
After descending into a cesspool of '90s schlock with such hits as "Dude Looks Like a Lady" and "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing," Aerosmith tried to regain its credibility with 2004's Honkin' on Bobo, an album of mostly covers and one original ("The Grind") that showcased less of the balladry and more of the band's signature, '70s-era bluesy sound. The damage was already done. Few cared.
02. Judas Priest
We'll give some credit to Rob Halford for trying to do something different with 2008's Nostradamus, a two-disk concept album about the 16th-century "prophet." But oh, how it failed. With ominous, heavy synth-strings and corny renaissance-fair lyricism, Nostradamus is uncomfortably similar to Spinal Tap's "Stonehenge."
01. Rivers Coumo
The Blue Album came close to perfection. Follow-up Pinkerton, if not as solid, took some oddball turns that were at least sincere and interesting. And it went downhill from there. In the ensuing years, Cuomo and what it's difficult anymore to even refer to as Weezer have released such a slew of cynical, mind-numbingly crass bullshit it's made even a magnum opus like the Blue Album hard to take seriously. Please, Rivers. Don't ruin that for us. We're begging you.