"Crappy Records"

Zagat's new "music guide" is absurd, but its "format" offers a "nice way" to review "lame albums."

We've all encountered the trusty Zagat guide review by now, right? Comprised of clipped quotes from consumer surveys (a "noisy joint" packed with "lewd patrons" who "throw food"), the format has been featured in Zagat-published guides to restaurants, hotels, golf courses, and more. But not every subject merits a Zagat guide: Witness the results of Zagat's latest survey of the "1,000 Top Albums of All Time."

Madonna's Ray of Light was voted the 12th most popular album ever, right ahead of No. 13, Madonna's Immaculate Collection. The cast recording of The Phantom of the Opera is at No. 29, and pretty much everything Bruce Springsteen's ever recorded is in the top 50, leading me to conclude that this survey must have been conducted in a shopping mall in Hoboken.

Then there are reviews for albums like Radiohead's Kid A and the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat -- oh wait, those two aren't even in the book. That's kind of lame, no? It's one thing to rate a thousand restaurants in one city; that sort of comprehensive assessment is pretty doable. But the 1,000 top albums of all time in genres ranging from hip hop to show tunes? Perhaps the 1,000 shittiest albums of all time would have been a better idea. And if the wise men of Zagat ever decide to publish such a book, here's my own survey of some recently released stinkers, to get them started:

Kenny Loggins It's About Time (All the Best!)

Isn't this the "same guy" who "wrote 'Danger Zone' for the Top Gun soundtrack"? Perhaps he's got "crazy alimony payments" to make. This album sounds like "*NSYNC dropped three hits of E" and "got freaky with the house band at Hooters." Kenny Loggins, "call sign: Whoops."

Ying Yang Twins Me & My Brother(TVT)

If your group has "a shitty Top 40 single called 'Say I Yi Yi'" it "should never be allowed to release another album again ever." "Who let these dogs out?" File this next to "Right Said Fred, Baha Men, and Crash Test Dummies."

Paul Van Dyk Reflections(Mute)

"The only dude who still likes this guy's music is T.J. Maxx." "Invite your parents over for a listening party," because this CD "makes Enya's jams sound like the Sex Pistols." "Dinosaurs evolved faster than the music of Van Dyk," whose eighth full-length "makes me wish synthesizers were never invented."

Deep Purple Bananas(Sanctuary)

The Guinness Book of World Records once named Deep Purple the "loudest band on Earth." Perhaps it's trying for the title of "oldest band on Earth" with this "crappy," "crap-infested" "piece of crap." "Guitars scream like they're being tortured." "Gimme some of that sweet, sweet cowbell" and "three Advil while you're at it."

The Fire Theft The Fire Theft(Rykodisc)

Out of the ashes of Sunny Day Real Estate -- "one of the best indie rock bands of the '90s" -- comes "one of the worst albums of the year." "What the fuck happened" to that "once-infallible band"? This music is "like Jane's Addiction not on drugs," like "Dark Side of the Moon interpreted by Disney."

The Bangles Doll Revolution(Koch)

The Bangles' fourth studio album and "big comeback" record is "the musical equivalent of a Corey Feldman movie": "It's catchy all right -- like syphilis." The band's original lineup seems "fit to play Midwestern high school reunions." "Walks like an Egyptian with gout."

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