Miserable Melodies
February 14, 2002 3:49 PM   Subscribe

Miserable Melodies has collected some the world's most excremental music for your masochistic listening pleasure. See if you can make it all the way through Linda McCartney singing backup on Hey Jude or the Portsmouth Sinfonia's rendition of Also Sprach Zarathustra without clutching your head like a stunned monkey. Requires RealPlayer, unfortunately.
posted by MrBaliHai (15 comments total)
Wow, that is some truly awful stuff. The two you picked out were definitely the worst out of the dozen or so I chose to listen to. It's really surprising that someone put out a CD with the Portsmouth Sinfonia playing, and that the group is half professional musicians. They sound worse than an elementary school band.

I actually find Leonard Nimoy's Proud Mary a little bit endearing, in a weird sort of way.
posted by chacal at 4:18 PM on February 14, 2002

I'd heard about William Shatner's version of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, and I was expecting it to be terrible. It was much, much worse than I expected. Also, I've found that the Pat Boone heavy metal album sort of grows on you after a while.
posted by swell at 4:58 PM on February 14, 2002

I believe Brian Eno is directing the Portsmouth Sinfonia, so it's either an exploration of what happens when the entropy of precisely defined classical music is increased or a joke. You choose.

For what it's worth, I don't believe they took themselves seriously.
posted by skyscraper at 5:14 PM on February 14, 2002

Here's an interview with Eno regarding the Portsmouth Sinfonia. Postmodern orchestral deconstruction or just truly awful shite? You decide.
posted by MrBaliHai at 6:01 PM on February 14, 2002

Thank you Mr. BaliHai. I have had a dusty cassette with that mesmerizingly atonal version of "Thus Spake..." for years, courtesy of a sound engineer friend who included it with several other audio bon mots of the type that sound engineers find amusing.

It was labelled "Portsmouth City Symphony." I have been regarding the dour inhabitants of New Hampshire with a certain wariness ever since. Not that that will stop...
posted by umberto at 6:19 PM on February 14, 2002

It doesn't seem right for them to have the Happy Flowers in there. I mean, they're trying to sound that way.

The Happy Flowers (Mr. Anus and Mr. Horribly-Charred-Infant) have a profound message for the youth of America, and will deeply touch your inner child. Not good touch either... bad touch. Their website is worthy of an entire MeFi post in itself.

Add in a little LMNOP for flavor (with extra chunky Baby Sue) and a side order of Caroliner Rainbow and you've got yourself some good eatin'!
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:48 PM on February 14, 2002

No collection of bad music is complete without Enrique and the "Rhythm Divine."
posted by rcade at 7:28 PM on February 14, 2002

Portsmouth, New Hampshire might actually enjoy their UK namesake's Sinfonia. Remember, it's where the Shaggs first hit it big.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:51 PM on February 14, 2002

That Enrique clip really had me bustin' a gut. It's SO awful it make you wonder if he can hear himself. ...If he can, he's gotta be drunk. I almost wouldn't believe it's him, except I saw a clip on MTV news or something a couple years back of Lauryn Hill in concert, singing noticeably flat all the way through. Her monitor must have been turned off... (I still respect her songwriting though)

So pop acts like Enrique really lip-sync live most of the time? They must have to, to keep that star image quality. Our earlier discussion was about studio trickery masking all sorts of mistakes, meaning that model looks are more likely than real talent to get you a record deal. The deception just gets deeper once the recording is released... To continue that thought, Milli Vanilli wasn't the exception but one like all the rest -- only they got caught in the act.
posted by razorwriter at 9:47 PM on February 14, 2002

William Shatner? You need this recording.
posted by rory at 3:36 AM on February 15, 2002

The Portsmouth Sinfonia were a deliberate attempt to produce bad music so I'm not sure they quite count by this site's definition.
posted by kerplunk at 4:18 AM on February 15, 2002

I probably shouldn't admit this, but I found the Living Brass arrangement of Sunshine Superman to be catchy, in a kitschy lounge sort of way.
posted by pmurray63 at 7:57 AM on February 15, 2002

insomnia_lj, thanks for the happy flowers link. i will never forget the moment i first heard 'not fade away', pure genius:
'i'm gonna tell ya how it's gonna be
your gonna give some icecream to me
i don't care what you do or say
i want to eat icecream every day
because i am sick of eating good food like vegetables'
posted by asok at 9:27 AM on February 15, 2002

Very similar to Frank's Vinyl Museum, also discussed at MetaFilter last November, although the only song they share on their home pages is Ethel Merman's disco album. (I got turned on to Frank's a few weeks ago by a friend who loved the Frank Sinatra / Muhammad Ali duet about tooth decay.)

I always thought Hey Jude was about the worst Beatles song ever, but Linda McC somehow made it even more terrible. I could only stand a minute or so; perhaps it could be used in interrogating the prisoners / POWS / whatever they are at Guantanamo Bay.

Not as bad, though, on the cosmic scale, as William Shatner's Lucy in the Sky. That's literally unbelievable. Also, it seems like Rodney Dangerfield, and not Phyllis Diller, should have sung I Can't Get No Satisfaction. The one that really made me laugh was Jack Webb's Try a Little Tenderness.

I've found that the Pat Boone heavy metal album sort of grows on you after a while.

swell: I liked your comment. The first thing I listened to on this site was Pat's Smoke on the Water; I found myself nodding my head and saying, "Actually, in a weird way that's not so bad. But I'd never admit it on MeFi."
posted by LeLiLo at 9:31 AM on February 15, 2002

Very similar to Frank's Vinyl Museum, also discussed at MetaFilter last November

A link which I posted. [sigh] I think I'm getting in a rut. Maybe I should start posting flamebait political rants and pancake links?
posted by MrBaliHai at 10:11 AM on February 15, 2002

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