Wednesday, June 28, 2006


You Cannot Petition the Lord With Crap!

The Price of Progression - The Toll

I've read a number of people writing their opinions about the worst album of all time. Usually, these types of things fall into camps. There is the people-with-no-business-in-a-recording-studio record (the Shaggs, for instance). The bloated rock star career killer ego piece is popular (Tales From Topographical Oceans). The past their prime embarrassment gets some mention (the Jefferson Airplane reunion album).

For me, the worst album has to be one that was launched by a major label act with every intention of being a big hit. It should have all the features above - ego, poor technique, embarrassment. To strike out perfectly, you had to have been swinging for the fences (sorry about the baseball metaphor for any non-US readers).

To call something the worst album of all time is a big stretch. And my ego ain't quite big enough to do it. But I will weigh in with my vote for the worst I've heard.

I humbly submit The Price of Progression by The Toll. This one came out in 1988 on Geffen with all the requisite promos, videos, airplay singles, et al. And it sank like a gold turd.

Whether you love or hate the Doors, you have to admit that those long spoken rambles like The End made an impression. Imagine a whole album filled with them. Made up on the spot. By a sixth grader. Backed by an '80's bar band.

My friends and I spent an entire summer listening to this album, gobsmacked by how weird it was. Our game was to quote snips of the poetry back and forth, trying to top the others for pseudo-profundity. "Who can hear one hand clapping in the murderous dawn?" Oh yeah, well "nineteenth Sunday, this is a rose, let it go." Fuck off, try "Catholicism preaches guilt and brings insanity and rain."

In my mind's eye, I can go back to alt night (Monday, natch) at the local bar in 1988. Fifteen people tops, and the Toll is acting like it's Cobo Hall. The singer looks like a 1969 Jim Morrison in 1967's leather pants. He's swinging from the lights, crawling under the stage, sweating like Richard Simmons. Even though it is probably not true, I picture the guitar player having one of those godawful Randall half-stacks with the tiger stripes. What a fun night.

If you listen closely to the last track, you'll hear guest axe-man Mick Ronson die of embarrassment. He must have owed someone at Geffen a hell of a favor for that. At least there is one track with a melody line more interesting than the root and fifth of the two chord vamp underneath it.

There is a second Toll album. If I remember correctly, it is all songs, no narrations, and to be avoided at all costs.

Bottom line, any hipster jackass can put out a mediocre indie record. To put out a piece of work this pretentous and silly takes some really twisted individuals. My hat's off to them, long may they rock.

I'm just about to listen to the album now. thought I would do a bit of research on the frontman (assuming he must be dead) how disappointed I was to find this.....

thanks for the blog squire
Great review mate..... now should I download this or what ???
thanks for the link, Steve. I hope you like the album.

Anon - I wouldn't put it up here if I didn't want to share it with the world. This album isn't very good, but in an entertaining manner.
Hoboy. No way I'm wasting my Rapidshare quota on this, but thanks for the heads up!

My own vote for worst album: "Psychedelia - A Musical Light Show" by The Mesmerising Eye. Generally, I lke psychploitation, but this one psimply ... pstinks.
I just got around to hearing part of this. I can't get through it all without more alcohol than I feel like drinking right now. It wasn't titled, so I listened to it to try and figure out what it was. I thought, "Hey, this sounds like the worst album of all time! It must be the one I got from PLO a couple weeks ago..."

Have you ever heard this?
Any chance on a re-up? Something this bad must be checked out.
I found a live link:
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