All connoisseurs of the classic series Behind the Music know that the dark album would normally sound the alarm for many famous bands. Around the time you see the dark albums appear, that’s when things start to go seriously wrong, with the episode either ending with the band breaking up or about to go through some of the darkest parts of their career. Every once in a while though, there’s that dark disc that hits much closer to home than some people might realize.
Before people talk about what constitutes black here, not all of these albums are necessarily on the same level as metal bands or whatever. It’s just rock and roll bands that play songs with a more cynical bent, either in the heaviness of the riffs or in the subject matter they’re about. For all the years you’ve been playing stuff that’ll get on the radio, it’s the kind of music that’s a lot more introspective, with riffs that will make you want to put on a bad face and pick up your guitar.
That doesn’t exclude the singer-songwriter crowd either, with some of the best albums on this list being from people who are much more introspective and suddenly decide to put their issues out there for the world to see. You might not see all of these artists in their bright best personalities, but the darker undertones of their music might be much closer to what their real-life version actually is.
Towards the end of the 90s, the battle of Britpop really seemed to have a number on Blur. After Song 2 launched them into the stratosphere in America, the band was starting to really turn into a shambles in the studio, getting off drugs and morale being low. Since it was all against them, how did it turn into one of the best albums they’ve ever made?
While Blur’s self-titled record was perhaps more about mainstream songs they could sell in the US market, 13 almost goes in a more art rock direction, with each song being a different creative endeavor for them. Blur have always been known as the most eclectic Britpop act next to Oasis, and you can really hear them trying to tap into something they’ve never heard before, going so far as to have Graham Coxon sing on the hit single Coffee and TV.
Things may have gotten better on the charts, but it made sense that this version of the band wasn’t going to last very long, only sticking around for one more album before going on hiatus and Damon Albarn leaving to build something. something different. with Gorillaz. 13 may have been an absolute mess to make, but sometimes that obscurity can cause you to write your best stuff without even knowing it.