You all ever come across that one piece of media that just leaves you completely in awe of how awful it is? I’m sure we’ve all seen at least one movie or heard one song that we thought: “Nothing can top this – this is as bad as it gets.” Well, fear not, ladies and gentlemen, I’ve got something special for you today.
Austin Wiggin, when he was young, was told by his mother that he would marry a strawberry blonde woman, that she would soon die, that he would later have two sons, and that his daughters would form a popular band. After the first few predictions came true, he became hell-bent on making sure that last prediction came true as well. Austin took his daughters out of school and forced them to write and record music. As this scenario may indicate, the girls’ musicianship may not have been honed enough to perform on an album.
And you’d be right.
So, in 1969, The Shaggs, an outsider music group composed entirely of the Wiggin sisters, released Philosophy of the World, an album composed of 12 terrifyingly off-beat songs spanning about 32 minutes. And it’s a total trainwreck.
There’s no real point describing the music or lyrics in depth, but suffice it to say that, as fellow MAC contributor Chase put it, “Nothing matches, nothing compliments anything, and it sounds like it’s all repelling itself.” That’s a pretty great way of saying it. The drums are consistently offbeat, the guitar sounds like it was tuned in hell, and the singer has the same monotonous tone and hits the same series of notes in every song. It’s hard to describe, but you’d notice if you gave a couple songs a listen.
I can’t even describe this album in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way, like The Room and other bad movies. Philosophy of the World is unspeakably awful, the worst music I’ve ever heard. And it has to be heard to be believed. The closest thing to decent music on this album is the instrumental intro to “Why Do I Feel?”, but even that song devolves into the typical jumbled mess. Just for a taste, here are a couple songs, if you feel your heart can take them:
And, of course, this album has gotten acclaim from critics and fans. Even people like Frank Zappa and Kurt Cobain sang this album’s praises. If you all actually listened to those, I’m sorry, but thank you for reading my latest article. Make sure you check out all our other articles, as well as our weekly playlist. See you all next week!