Even on a quote-unquote perfect album, one song has to be inferior to the others, just as one song has to rule the roost. Such is the yin and yang of nature. Here are the six worst songs on the best albums.
6. Wilco - "Heavy Metal Drummer" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Jeff Tweedy brings up his Belleville roots by namedropping the Landing in "Heavy Metal Drummer", and it's easy for us locals to overlook the track's cheese because of its St. Louis cred. The lyrics are nostalgic enough for phrases like "I miss the innocence I've known" to squeak by inoffensively. "Drummer" is the only tune on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to suffer from its production. The electronic drum backbone - which, chronology aside, sounds an awful lot like a Garage Band loop - is reminiscent of fellow Chicagoans the Sea And Cake, but something doesn't hit right. The synth blurps and sunscreen funk end up coming off like some adult contemporary beach bash. In fairness, the track only makes this list because it is surrounded by such great company on its parent record.
5. Beck - "Novacane" from Odelay
Beck valiantly handled the sketchy intersection of rock and hip-hop on Odelay, and "Novacane" is the only moment where the mixture spilled into nu-metal territory. The verses sound like Beastie Boys (R.I.P, MCA, btw) rapping through a CB radio over a Rage Against The Machine b-side. The Dust Brothers guru production team keeps the track above water here and there with well-placed samples; that James Brown horn stab and bass slide break is pretty classic. But a polished, or remixed, turd is a turd nonetheless.
4. The Beach Boys - "Sloop John B" from Pet Sounds
Brian Wilson was writing innovative songs on Pet Sounds amidst internal turmoil and in-band tensions. The group's version of "Sloop John B" is out of place because it feels like pandering -- to the other Beach Boys, to an audience who wanted surfing jams. The harmonies are nice (it's the effing Beach Boys, what do you expect) but otherwise, meh.