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The worst albums by great punk bands

Even great bands make mistakes.

Bad Religion - No Substance

Perhaps the most aptly named album in this list, this iconic band’s 1998 effort represents a pointless era in the band’s almost 40 year career. Although they somewhat survived the departure of founder and songwriter Brett Gurewitz in 1994, and went on to release the uninspired yet passable The Grey Race, by the time No Substance came around the band had truly run out of ideas and relevancy. Lead single ‘Raise Your Voice’is remembered mostly as the band’s clear attempt at a singalong pop-punk crossover hit which ultimately gained no traction, with the remaining songs being completely unmemorable. Note: I genuinely think this album is far worse than the band’s traditionally most maligned and disowned 1983 synth-laden prog-rock Into The Unknown, which I think is a unique and solid oddity.

NOFX - Liberal Animation

By the band’s own admission, they sucked for about ten years before they got good. Their 1988 debut full-length Liberal Animation sits firmly within this era, with what appears to be NOFX doing a half-arsed RKL impression with tuneless vocals and vapid lyrics. The band wisely ditched this second-rate California hardcore sound and quickly moved on to well-written skate and pop punk in the ‘90s, but only after enduring almost a decade of punk rock that contributed nothing of value.

The Clash - Cut The Crap

On the verge of breaking up, punk rock gods The Clash somehow churned out one last piece of music before ending it for good. While the band had previously experimented with different sounds with mostly successful results, this poorly produced drum machine and synth-heavy record is wisely forgotten when looking back at the legendary band. With key songwriter Mick Jones kicked out of the band, the remaining songwriting of frontman Joe Strummer was half finished and pieced together in the studio from various edits and the addition of synths and samples. Avoid at all costs.

Descendents - Enjoy!

Following up the classic Milo Goes to College and the solid I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, the California pop-punk innovators returned without original guitarist Frank Navetta or bassist Tony Lombardo. While the album had two or three solid pop-punk songs that remain fan favourites, the bulk of the record is repetitious fart jokes on top of awkward heavy metal riffs. The band improved on their 1987 follow-up ALL, yet the band’s best performances and songwriting were still in their early days.