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Album Review: Anastacia - Pieces of a Dream (2005) 
14th-Jan-2006 12:53 am
Oh, these songs are pieces of something, alright.

Anastacia - Pieces of a Dream (2005)

Track Listing

1. I'm Outta Love
2. Not That Kind
3. Cowboys and Kisses
4. Made For Lovin' You
5. Paid My Dues
6. One Day In Your Life
7. Why'd You Lie To Me
8. You'll Never Be Alone
9. Left Outside Alone
10. Sick and Tired
11. Welcome To My Truth
12. Heavy On My Heart
13. Everything Burns
14. I Belong To You (with Eros Ramazzotti)
15. Pieces Of A Dream
16. In Your Eyes
17. Club Megamix

There are a few different reasons for one such as myself to review something for the purpose of hobby. The first is that the subject of the review is new, and thus topical, so my review might help others that were considering going to see the movie, purchase the album, etc. This is probably the most useful of reviews, but since I don't get paid to review (yet), I can't limit myself to new things, as I don’t always get to see things when they are new. The next reason is to call attention to something older that may be a personal favourite. But sometimes, one experiences something so horrible that the experience robs one not only of their time and money, but also a part of their very soul. The only recourse in such a situation is to strike back against that which stole from you by publicly shitting on the movie/book/album in the harshest of tones possible, in the hopes that one can achieve some sort of cathartic renewal. This is just such a situation.

First, dear reader, you may be wondering how on earth I came to find myself in a position to ever hear an album by Anastacia, much less become spiritually-raped by one. As with most of the wretched music I am occasionally forced to endure, I heard this album Pieces of Me at my job at a chain music store. For some reason that I can not imagine, our head office deemed it prudent to bring in multiple copies of this album (even though her last "effort", the eponymous Anastacia wasn't even released in North America), and shipped us an in-store play copy to listen to. Until yesterday, we never bothered to play it, but at this point in the season, following the busy Christmas rush and at the beginning of the wasteland of new releases (when the labels dump out titles they have no faith in), I was so bored by our musical choices I decided to give this a play. Did I expect it to be good? Hell no, but I hoped it would be average enough to ignore and go about my day. I figured that it was time to figure out what exactly this Anastacia chick sounded like, as she had previously released 3 albums, and has gotten some attention in the entertainment media due to her recent battle with breast cancer. I'd never heard a single song of hers, but I figured she must've achieved some level of fame in the States that didn’t travel northward.

Well, it turns out that she never really made an impact in the States either (hence the non-release of her last album). She got her break on some MTV pre-cursor to American Idol hosted by Left Eye of TLC fame, where she finished third (yep, she didn't even win). She had a few songs make the Billboard Dance Charts, and her second LP Freak of Nature rose as high as 27th on the Billboard Chart. Not exactly pop superstardom, which goes to show that entertainment media will give attention to anyone who will grant them an interview (which is the only conceivable reason why anyone knows who Kathy Griffin is). Instead, Anastacia has made her name and money in Europe and Australia, where her albums all wound up at or near the top of the charts. So don't feel bad if you've never heard of her or any of her music.

In fact, you should feel great if you've never heard any of her music. Because, sadly for me, Pieces of a Dream was not an album I could ignore and go about my day. It was impossible to ignore because it was, quite simply, the worst album I have ever heard in my life. WORST. EVER. The sheer depths of abomination contained throughout these 17 tracks ensure that no other album in the history or future of music will ever be able to beat Pieces of a Dream for the title of worst ever, they can only hope to match. To be fair, I suppose this can't officially be the worst ALBUM ever, because it is technically a compilation. A BEST OF compilation. That's right, the worst collection of "music" I have ever heard is the best this "artist" could accomplish in her mighty five year career.

As the CD played, I had a hard time conceptualising how something this bad could be deemed fit for human ears. The third track "Cowboys and Kisses" was so bad that I literally felt as though I was going to wretch listening to it (yes, I mean literally. I know a lot of people screw that term up when they are trying to add emphasis, but I genuinely felt a little bile building in my stomach as the song played). Normally, if a CD is anywhere near this bad, I'd have skipped the disc and never spoke of it again. But the stunning levels of crap spewing from the store's speakers brought out a morbid curiosity in me. I needed to hear the whole thing to be sure that I was indeed experiencing the worst music in the history of the world.

So I gutted it out through this perverse collection of Eurotrash dance songs that sounded like a collection of CeCe Peniston B-sides, trying to envision a twisted world where music like this thrives (my imagination could only come up with lands of perpetual fog and former penal colonies). "Gutted" is an accurate description of the experience, as the music was so wretchedly awful that I felt like I was being physically assaulted in my abdomen. I don't really know if I can adequately describe to you how bad this collection is, as I'm not sure the English language is vivid enough. All I can say, is that I would rather listen to pretty much anything else than listen to Pieces of a Dream again. Clay Aiken, William Hung, Kidz Bop, whatever. ANYTHING but this.

To be as fair and balanced as possible, as the album continues, the level of quality improves as the collection moves through her career. Which is to say that the music went from being vomit-inducingly bad to just really bad. The only positive use for Pieces of a Dream I can think of would be to blast outside the stronghold of some South American warlord at all hours until he surrendered (which, I estimate would be somewhere between "Sick and Tired" and "Welcome to My Truth"). Of course, if we were ever to employ such a tactic, the soldiers operating the music would have to wear headphones protecting them from hearing the music themselves. Because exposure to this crap would be far worse than depleted radium shells or agent orange.

Of course, the only score I can give this work of the beast is zero stars, but in doing so, I feel like I'm doing a great disservice to the last album I gave the same score to, Nickelback’s All the Right Reasons. Yes, that album is terrible, but truth be told, I'd rather listen to it all day on repeat than ever listen to Anastacia again. The sucking of this album is so strong, that no light can escape from its force of gravity. It is truly the black hole of music.


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14th-Jan-2006 01:24 pm (UTC)
Hey, what's wrong with former penal colonies?
15th-Jan-2006 01:14 am (UTC)
Until recently, I would have said nothing. That was until I learned that Anastacia once topped your pop charts. I lost all respect for Australia in that moment.
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