Celebrities are just like us.
They vote, they put on their pants one leg at a time, they pay their taxes (or at least most of them) and they have creative aspirations outside of their profession. Some were successful before they tested their fanbase's loyalty by venturing into music, while some played music before they found success in showbiz. Chicken-and-egg scenario aside, high-profile names such as Keanu Reeves, Jack Black, Jared Leto, Zooey Deschanel, Jamie Foxx, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez and William Shatner have all achieved success and praise for taking on musical endeavors.
Here are five celebrities who have done the exact opposite.
Independent Counsel of Funk (ft. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough), Mystified EP
It’s tacitly understood that everyone, regardless of vocation, is entitled to a judgement-free space to satisfy a hobby, no matter how rudimentary. But being a conservative pundit at a left-leaning cable news network like MSNBC gives you a special vulnerability to criticism that renders these boundaries void, and it’s for this reason that we feel more than justified to include Mystified, an extended play record from Joe Scarborough’s band Independent Counsel of Funk, on this list.
If we’re going to overlook the campy poetics of songs like “Let’s Fall in Love” (which would be an incredibly generous omission on our part since he croons these lines like a beatnik Bruce Springsteen), these songs have a hideous variation of style. On the track “Superbad” alone, the band starts with an opening horn riff that goes through a key change 20 seconds in. It’d be a respectable homage to R&B and soul music if it didn’t promptly clash with Scarborough trying to channel his inner Ric Ocasek.
The EP is a little over 20 minutes, and each listen gets worse as it conjures the mental image of Scarborough’s dorky, David Lynch-looking face getting more assured of the music’s depth and greatness.
Bruce Willis, The Return of Bruno
Now, if you’re a fan of acclaimed A-list actor Bruce Willis, you probably don’t have his 1987 album The Return of Bruno. If you’re a fan of R&B and soul, we know you definitely don’t have it.
The worst part about this album (aside from the perplexing fact that a revered label like Motown signed off on releasing it) is that its lead single, a cover of the Staples Singers’ “Respect Yourself,” charted higher than the original recording. We won’t accuse Willis of appropriating Black culture since he collaborated on this album with The Temptations, Booker T. Jones and the Pointer Sisters, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue that he was doing the bulk of the creative heavy-lifting here.
Steven Seagal, Songs From the Crystal Cave
It pains us to say it, but actor Steven Seagal is actually a decent guitar player. Still, the last person who should be making reggae-influenced soft rock is a Russian-American actor who starred in Under Siege.
Kevin Federline, Playing With Fire
Earlier this year, we made the case that the 2000s sucked, and why we should do everything in our power to prevent a new wave of nostalgia for the long-gone era.
There were many musicians who we somehow allowed to ascend to the top with nary a critical objection, but even as this ilk thrived, Kevin Federline was rightfully and unanimously panned by critics for his 2006 album Playing With Fire.
Federline enlisted his ex-wife Britney Spears as the executive producer of this record, which is undoubtedly the worst thing a common-law family member has ever done to her.
Corey Feldman, Angelic 2 The Core
Every other album on this list is bad in an unremarkable way, but Goonies star Corey Feldman’s 2016 album Angelic 2 the Core is the A Love Supreme of terrible albums.
To unabashedly belt out a record this bad requires a marvelous lack of self-awareness and the most delusional hubris imaginable. Even more remarkable is that, with a crowdfunded budget of approximately $15,000, Feldman somehow managed to get Snoop Dogg (yes, the same Snoop Dogg behind Doggystyle and Dr. Dre’s The Chronic) on a feature for the track “Go 4 It!”, which Feldman infamously performed in a disastrous appearance on The Today Show.
Angelic 2 the Core is as much a record as it is a 90-minute cautionary tale on the dangers of unregulated ambition. It's a bombastic train wreck with cargo boxes of oil drums holding napalm and bleach and ammonia
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.