Reviews website Metacritic was founded in 1999 by a trio of movie buffs who wanted to be able to easily tell how well any movie had been received by the world's prominent film critics. By the time the site was officially launched in 2001, they'd expanded to feature music and games.
The idea was simple: take reviews from dozens of other sources, and combine the scores from those sources to provide an average score of all the individual reviews for that film, game or album.
An algorithm would then give more weight to the scores from more reputable reviewers, and the end result was the metascore, a number on a 0-100 scale that let readers know at a glance how well the subject had been reviewed.
Two decades on, and Metacritic has created metascores for over 12,000 albums. So, with all that combined wisdom, they must be the ultimate guide to all the best and worst albums ever (or at least those released since 1999), right?
Well, perhaps not. For everyone critic sneering at the latest Nu Metal releases in 2003, there were a million people actually buying those albums.
With that in mind, here they are. The 10 worst rock albums. According to all the reviewers who apparently matter.
10. Megadeth - Super Collider (Metascore = 41)
PopMatters: "It is Countdown to Extinction taken to its most nightmarish conclusions."
Exclaim: "While there's nothing abhorrent about this album, it's so unobtrusive that it's practically not there, just one more forgettable release from a guy we're all secretly rooting for."
Kerrang!: "Most of Super Collider feels half-hearted and rushed"
Q Magazine: "It ditches classic thrash for bland classic rock."
SputnikMusic: "Truthfully, Super Collider is just a Megadeth album born of complacency and issued with only the faintest interest in remaining relevant."
9. Nickelack - All The Right Reasons (41)
Rolling Stone: "All the Right Reasons is so depressing, you're almost glad Kurt's not around to hear it."
Q Magazine: "Like the rock equivalent of an SUV, All The Right Reasons is huge, polished and ultimately pointless."
Tiny Mix Tapes: "Like all Nickelback releases before it, All The Right Reasons was made for all the wrong ones and follows all the formulas and clichés you should be bored to death of by now."
New York Times: "For hard-rock ridiculousness, Nickelback is tough to beat."
AllMusic: "Despite all their newly developed relative nuances, Nickelback remain unchanged: they're still unspeakably awful."
8. Staind - 14 Shades Of Grey (41)
Alternative Press: "Since when is pairing Jewel's poetry outtakes with modern-rock riffs groundbreaking? "
Dot Music: "14 Shades of Grey features no standout moments or highlights, just a formulaic, plodding, sixty plus moribund minutes that make this album about an hour too long. Avoid at all costs, even if you're a member of Staind's family."
Q Magazine: "Another dollop of rock sludge with a remarkably honest title."
Rolling Stone: "Part of the problem is the thoroughly unimaginative production, a procession of soft-loud modern-rock cliches that breaks up the ho-hum guitar bashing with acoustic interludes and strings."
The A.V. Club: "Not memorable enough to be bad, not heavy enough to pack visceral power, most of these songs–even radio-friendly ringers like So Far Away are indistinguishable from the work of a hundred other bands with misspelled names, hotshot producers, plentiful tattoos, and optional silly facial hair."
7. Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill Acoustic (40)
NME: "In the end, this can't even make you feel angry; just desperately sad."
Dot Music: "Stripped of the rough guitars and eclectic production of the original, two things are exposed - those words and that voice. Neither fare well."
Drowned In Sound: "Where the was once teen angst, there is nowt but middle-aged resignation. And no, the lyrics to Ironic still aren’t bloody ironic."
PopMatters: "The once fist-raising anthems for the Lilith generation have been replaced by the bland."
Uncut: "It was the anger and angst of a jilted 20-year-old that gave the original songs their edge – something entirely absent from these blandly matured acoustic versions."
6. The Panic Channel - One (39)
Mojo: "Could pass for a load of Stone Temple Pilots B-sides."
Drowned In Sound: "Perhaps the worst aspect of One is how on autopilot the band sounds. Even the flat-out rockers – like the opener, Teahouse Of The Spirits – contain no guitar pyrotechnics and come off sounding limp and perfunctory."
Rolling Stone: "Sounds a lot like a collection of rejected Foo Fighters tunes."
Blender: "Isaacs’s indistinct, flannel-waving wail doesn’t add anything to these titanic anthems of soul and struggle, which don’t say much beyond: Dave Navarro, still breathing, still taking meetings."
Uncut: "Distinctly average."
5. Puddle Of Mudd - Life On Display (37)
Rolling Stone: "Third-rate grunge retreads stuffed with overdriven guitars and generic rock-dude melancholia."
Spin: "These hammerheads still sound like the touring company of Grunge-a-Mania."
AllMusic: "They skated by the first time through, due to a couple of fluke catchy songs, but they have no hooks or full-fledged songs this time around, and suffer dramatically because of it."
Blender: "Without the blue-eyed soul conviction of the original, it's enough to make even second-tier grunge has-beens like Seven Mary Three seem like innovators."
Q Magazine: "They cook up an almighty storm, but as winds go, it's rather hollow."
4. Louis XIV - Sick Dogs And Ponies (37)
Slant Magazine: "Though more adventurous than 2005's The Best Little Secrets Are Kept, the band's sophomore LP, Slick Dogs And Ponies, still rings soulless at its core.
Pitchfork: "The slightly more dynamic Louis XIV only give you testosterone-fuelled rock at its least appealing extremes: heedless lust or, arguably even more repulsive, cheesy balladry.
PopMatters: "Louis XIV has a considerable amount of work to do for listeners to regard them as more than aimless glam-rock fetishists."
Magnet: "Aside from a handful of tunes, little here is all that memorable, namely because the hooks can’t see their way clear of the repetitive, robotic arrangements."
Boston Globe: "Sick Dogs never coalesces into anything more than the sum of its noisy, jagged parts."
3. Phil Collins - Testify (34)
Uncut: "Collins sounds dated with his glossy production, precision session-playing and radio-friendly songs all done by numbers with a great big hole where a heart should be."
Q Magazine: "Middle-age is no excuse for such an unforgivably bland collection of over-emoted love songs.
Mojo: "Testify really doesn't work."
Blender: "There is little to compare with either the work of his Genesis heyday or his still heartbreaking 1981 solo debut."
E! Online: "A largely boring affair."
2. Limp Bizkit - Results May Vary (33)
Alternative Press: "Forgettable to anybody with a soul."
E! Online: "Sorry, dude, the Results are in – and they're not good."
Playlouder: "This is so so crap."
Dot Music: "Eventually, Results May Vary could become a fascinating document - a frightening insight into the vacuous state of 21st century culture."
Launch.com: "No, Fred, the results don't vary. The results are consistent throughout your new album – consistently crappy."
1. Bloodhoung Gang - Hefty Fine (28)
Playlouder: "There are already too many Bloodhound Gang albums in the world. This one should be recalled and recycled. Into something that's not a Bloodhound Gang album, obviously."
Billboard: "No, kids, it's not that scatological jokes aren't funny, just that these scatological jokes aren't funny."
PopMatters: "As if the lyrics (and the poop) weren't painful enough, the band actually makes us listen to music that, for the most part, amounts to cheap Blink 182 ripoff – that is, if Blink 182 used more synthesiser and were (get this) less funny."
Blender: "The nu-metal and new wave sendups are too conventional to work as either comedy or music – and the nonstop woman-bashing becomes repugnant fast."
Rolling Stone: "Hefty Fine proves only marginally more welcome than a Jerky Boys reunion."