By Gerrick D. Kennedy Los Angeles Times
There’s been plenty of smash albums this year. Pharrell cashed in on last summer’s “Happy” with his breakout sophomore effort this year. Coldplay not only notched another behemoth debut but provided a soundtrack to “conscious uncoupling” in the process. Eric Church and Brantley Gilbert both made it rain on the charts, and Michael Jackson even found a hit album from beyond the grave. But 2014 has also seen a number of epic failures. Here are 10 of our favorite flops from the year.
Robin Thicke: “Paula”
First-week sales: 24,000
Why it bombed: An album dedicated to your estranged wife sounds like a promising idea. Except when the record turns out to be a creepy, hastily crafted mea culpa like this one. From begging for his actress wife to take him back during every performance to teaming with 1-800-Flowers for branded bouquets, Thicke’s follow-up to the massive “Blurred Lines” went down in flames.
Mariah Carey: “Me. I Am Mariah … The Elusive Chanteuse”
First-week sales: 58,000
Why it bombed: Mariah has delivered indelible pop hits for more than 20 years, but the rollout for her latest album was nothing short of disastrous. She spent two years teasing the project with mediocre singles and countless delays. That mouthful of an album title didn’t help either.
Candice Glover: “Music Speaks”
First-week sales: 19,000
Why it bombed: One of “American Idol’s” finest winners in recent years never had a chance. Her 2013 run on the series was overshadowed by sagging ratings, bitter judge rivalries and a pending reboot. And her album — a sturdy R&B offering — was issued when the series was deep into its new season. She suffered the lowest first-week sales of any previous winner, including the ones we can’t remember.
Jennifer Lopez: “A.K.A.”
First-week sales: 33,000
Why it bombed: Lopez, like Carey, found out just how tough it is for veteran pop divas these days. Her latest album — packed with the pop, hip-hop and dance tunes you’d expect of her — showcased a more vocally confident singer. It still wasn’t enough to win over the critics — or listeners, who had long written off “Jenny From the Block.”
Lea Michele: “Louder”
First-week sales: 62,171
Why it bombed: By the time this Broadway-favorite-turned-TV-star issued her long-anticipated debut, “Glee” had already lost most of its sheen. And while she handled the tragic death of her boyfriend and costar Cory Monteith with grace on “If You Say So” (written by Sia Furler), the rest of the album — although beautifully sung — lacked personality.
50 Cent: “Animal Ambition”
First-week sales: 47,000
Why it bombed: Fifty’s business ventures have proved more compelling than anything he’s recorded as of late. Aside from his core fan base, who even knew he had an album out?
Tessanne Chin: “Count on My Love”
First-week sales: 7,000
Why it bombed: Winning “The Voice” means what exactly? The show has yet to yield an actual a star. But for some reason a new season of “The Voice” continues to air twice a year, and viewers can’t invest in the previous winner before they are asked to vote for a new one.
First-week sales: 28,000
Why it bombed: The album’s first single came out in 2011. Was the wait worth it? Absolutely not. “Braveheart” is an expired set of forgettable club stompers and tired ballads that lacked the sass and inspiration of her earlier work.
Mary J. Blige: “Think Like A Man Too”
First-week sales: 8,688
Why it bombed: An original album that served as a soundtrack? Great. Except Blige’s music barely had a presence in the actual film, so it served no purpose. Besides, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul should never play second fiddle to a predictable rom-com.
Austin Mahone: “The Secret EP”
First-week sales: 46,000
Why it bombed: Despite the teen “phenom” being promoted as the second coming of Justin Bieber, none of his music won us over. The kid has a rabid fan base and yet he’s still not a star? Weird. But we love that song from that ever-present sparkling water commercial anyway.