My, how the game has changed in the two years since Formatâ€™s inception. Rappersâ€™ threatening to retire has become an industry norm. R&B and Foxy Brown are still trying to find their way. Rock is dead and John McCain is still alive. George Bush is closer to being out of the White House (What up Barack!). And yet, Format is hereâ€”50 issues deep, 50 issues strong. The STD crew salutes you.
So, to celebrate this achievement, we decided to do something special: â€œThe 8 Worst Albums of the Format Era (2006-Now).â€ The list has everything, from a rap legend and a rock god to two R&B divas and a questionable hipster alt-rock band. We even threw in Colby Oâ€™Donis for shits and giggles (youâ€™ll get the joke later). What more could you ask for? Haters, this oneâ€™s on us.
T.I. vs. T.I.P.
2007 wasnâ€™t a good year at all for T.I. Not only did he drop this dud, but he also got caught with enough guns to give George W. Bush a hard-on. Seriously, dudeâ€™s closet looked like the prop room for Saving Private Ryan. What the hell is he going to do with hand grenades in Atlanta? I digress. Apparently being diagnosed with schizophrenia wasnâ€™t good for his rap career either as T.I. & Co. piled up enough garbage on this disc to make a bum grab a fork. Not sure which T.I. is going to be serving his jail time next year but hopefully itâ€™s the one responsible for this monstrosity.
– A. Hugh Leonard
Remember Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite? He was an old washed up loser who used to be a football star and had to reflect on his past greatness to make himself feel better. If Uncle Rico doesnâ€™t ring a bell how about the guys who graduated from your high school 4 years ago but they always came back to hang around, thinking it was a cool thing to do? In case youâ€™re not following, rapping about drugs is Jay-Zâ€™s high school and American Gangster is where he comes back to visit, expecting all of his peers to be in awe of his returnâ€¦not so much. American Gangster is far from a terrible album but the idea of a 45-year old man rapping about cooking and selling drugs is absurd. Until Al Pacino starts filming Scarface II, Jay-Z should â€˜JUST SAY NOâ€™.
– A. Hugh Leonard
This is not the Ozzy Ozzbourne you know. Rock legends set standards and blaze trails. Yet, the former architect of revolver rock sounds like a cheap, old imitation on this go-around. Grandpa-esque even. Whereâ€™s the defiance? The inspiring immorality? The rebel we fell in lust with at Ozzfest? Black Rain is like a bad, bad birthday partyâ€”complete with the drunk uncle, unruly friends and outdated tunes compliments of the whack DJ. Somebody find Ozzy his wheelchair and oxygen tank, stat.
– Ahmad Smith
They say if it ainâ€™t broke, donâ€™t fix it. But if youâ€™ve noticed a pattern, isnâ€™t that incentive to try something new? Apparently not to Janet, who will not be denied the right to dish on her desires on KDiscipline. To her credit, she did embrace change to some degree by seeking new producers. Too bad theyâ€™re limited to the touch me, tease me, damn near beat me subject matter Janetâ€™s been stuck on for over a decade. No greater proof than how tired this shtick has become than the title trackâ€”an ode to masochism and S&M in which she asks â€œDaddyâ€ to make her cry. That line, like much of the rest of the album, sounds more like a cry for help than an appealing come on. While Jackson may have succeeded in again pushing the sexual envelope, on Discipline she doesn’t make a dent in the creative one.
– Michael Arceneaux
Though the albumâ€™s title suggests itâ€™s a superior sequel to The Emancipation of Mimi, E=MC2 is anything but. With her now whispering about calling up Shawntae and Mae-Mae to sip Pinot Grigio (possibly the Booneâ€™s Farm brand, since Mimi is hood now) at the club with T-Pain and complaining about a man with baby mama drama (six fold), Mariah Carey continues to regress both lyrically and vocally. When sheâ€™s not following the birdâ€™s guide to singing R&B, sheâ€™s recreating â€œWe Belong Togetherâ€ several timesâ€”reminding listeners that she often writes about love from the perspective of a junior high school girl. Still, Mariahâ€™s merely doing what sheâ€™s always done: Create music for the time. And if mediocre hip hop influenced radio-friendly songs is the current standard, thatâ€™s what Mimiâ€™s going to release.
– Michael Arceneaux
The Open Door
Hereâ€™s a hint: When your founder/ lead songwriter leaves the band, stop while youâ€™re ahead. Despite the commercial feats reached by the albumâ€™s successâ€”five singles, two world tours, certified platinum in the United States just a month after its release, and, to date, selling more than four million copies worldwideâ€”itâ€™s content and direction was lacking. The Open Door was more like a closed door. Donâ€™t believe me? We havenâ€™t heard from the group since this 2006 massacre. The success of the album only proves one thing: Substandard music is contagious. What up Soulja Boy!
– Jay Wonder
The Sun and the Moon
The Bravery ainâ€™t so brave. The Sun and the Moon ,the follow-up to their self-titled debut smash, is far from anything implied by their bold moniker. At least I knew going in that this wouldnâ€™t be a classic album. And one would think when working with production wizard Brendan Oâ€™Brienâ€”whose resume includes Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Velvet Revolverâ€”the albumâ€™s sound would break sonic barriers. But, after all, there are three things guaranteed in this lifetime: death, taxes and the sophomore slump. Will the real Monkees-esque, New York hipster band please stand up?!
– Jay Wonder
Itâ€™s all Akonâ€™s fault. We have the pop crooner to thank for introducing us to T-Painâ€”the half man, half court jester who stole our hearts with his smile and his voice modulator. Now we can thank Akon for introducing us to Colby Oâ€™Donisâ€”the newest New York R&B heartthrob. Diddy and Day 26 better watch out. I mean, when you have Lil Romeo and Paul Wall on your debut album how could it not be a hit? Is the sarcasm obvious? Akon, stick to what you do best: Physically throwing your fans off stage at concerts. Aww, the wonders of YouTube.
– Jason Parham