You know how a band or solo performer can be really good at what they normally do, but when they try to step outside of those boundaries, they fail utterly and miserably.
Creedence Clearwater Revival. A good, basic, roots-type rock band, pumping out nice little three minute rock-and-roll songs. Then they go and cover “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and subject us to a five minute solo that sounds like a second-year guitar student who just discovered the flanger.
Dick Dale. Brilliant, iconic, seminal surf guitarist. Then he has to go an sing “Mr. Peppermint Man”.
The Beatles. A lot of the White Album seems like aimless messing around in the studio, apart from the many good songs that are there too.
I don’t think anything has ever cracked me up more than when Dee Dee Ramone left the Ramones to record his rap album as Dee Dee King. (And yes, I owned it, though more as a novelty.)
Rhett Miller, lead singer and songwriter of the Old 97’s, was a famous folk musician signed to a major label even as a high school teenager. In between, though, he and future Old 97’s bassist/vocalist Murray Hammond had a brief attempt at a punk rock band: “Rhett’s Exploding.”
Didn’t Garth Brooks release an album under an alternate persona, some rock thing?
Two similiar ones:
Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. Disclaimer: I’ve never heard it. From what I do know, it’s the textbook definition of what the OP is looking for.
Pat Metheny’s Zero Tolerance For Silence. Anyone who blind buys this one based on Pat’s other work is in for a BIG surprise! I gave it to my nephew, who likes Metheny AND experimental music. I don’t hate the tracks after the first one, but I’m not going to listen to it again, either.
General public opinion places Metallica on the list, although there are a few of us who like their later stuff.
Who, though an Australian rocker, sounded amazingly like Garth Brooks. His old French whore alter ego on Saturday Night Live was far more creatively stretching. I think Gaines was a case of “he’s sold 400 billion CDs, we owe him this ego trip” move.
Ray Manczarek (sp?) of The Doors did a techno/almost disco version of Carmina Burana a few years ago that was… a big miss.
Bill Cosby decided he was a singer in addition to a stand-up comic and did Silverthroat. Don’t know if I still have it or not. I don’t recall if it was good enough to go look for…
The Electric “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night” Prunes did “Mass in F Minor” and the “Kol Nidre”. Not cringeworthy on the albums, but so in concert, since the band members didn’t and couldn’t play the music. (Session musicians did the albums.)
Whoever told Elvis Costello he could croon should be hung by their nipples, a la “A Man Called Horse”. The film “Grace of My Heart” has some of his best songwriting with “God Give Me Strength”, but features his dreadful version of that song over the closing credits rather than Kirsten Vigard’s wonderful vocal. This is made worse by Elvis’s croaking version being the only one on the soundtrack album.
George Harrison - Electronic Sound
3 - To the Power of Three (The E and P from ELP)
XTC - Countdown to Christmas
I like alternative rock a lot. I hate country a lot. Yet there are a couple of Garth Brooks songs that I just really love. So that given… would I like Chris Gaines?
Dunno, the only thing I ever heard was one song on his appearance on Saturday Night Live (Brooks’ skits were hilarious). Wiki says the album’s first single broke the pop top 40, but Garth Brooks could probably sneeze and break a chart somewhere.
It not only counts, it wins the thread.
Kiss’ disco phase surely belongs firmly in the “what the hell were you guys thinking” category, with a follow up in “Music from the Elder”.
I can’t quite remember what Neil Young’s experiments with rockabilly and synth-rock sounded like, but I remember not liking them, and that pretty much no one else liked them either.
The Village People were disco kings but then went new wave in 1981. Horrible.
Duran Duran were new romantic kings but then tried to rap with a cover of 911 is a Joke in 1995. Also horrible.
I know some people on this board will disagree but the Rolling Stones’ ill-advised foray into psychedelica with “Their Satanic Majesties Request” is the one album that embarassingly sticks out during what is otherwise the band’s most creatively fruitful period.