Whether he’s grooving with White Zombie or flying solo, Rob Zombie knows how to get asses shaking. While he’s had some excellent hits with his former band, he also has classic and great albums on his own. Though his music career seems to have taken a back seat thanks to being in a director’s seat, Zombie manages to release music that’s interesting and catchy, even if it’s not always memorable. Either way, you can’t deny he’s had a lucrative solo career. Here’s a look back on all his albums both the good and the bad.
The Absolute Best:
Hellbilly Deluxe (1998)
Rob Zombie’s debut as a solo artist is often hailed as his greatest yet and it’s not hard to see why. Every song here is a creep-tastic hit. It still has the groove and odd flavor of White Zombie, but mixed more with hard rock, rather than slow burning heaviness Also, some of Zombie’s most memorable singles, like “Dragula” and “Living Dead Girl” are found here. It’s no secret that he loves horror movies and this album is the perfect homage to the genre. He cleverly mixes references and samples from old b-horror movies that fit perfectly with the dirty guitar riffs and funky bass grooves. This is the record where he established his unmistakable sound and he’s been trying to recapture the feel of this record ever since.
The Sinister Urge (2001)
After the success of his previous album, Zombie decided to stick with the formula that worked for him. Here, there are more horror movie references and samples, but he uses them in a way that doesn’t get tiring. Even though the hard rock element is still in his music, this is where he plays around with his sound. Elements of hip-hop, funk, and even classical music find their way into his creepy songs making one strange, but intriguing journey through the artist’s mind. Some of the stand out songs that’ll get your ass shaking are “Dead Girl Superstar,” “Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy,” and “Go to California.”
Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (2010)
It’s hard to live up to expectations, especially when you name a new album after your most successful one. Yet, Rob Zombie was up for the challenge with this release. With the title and the cover image of a batter and torn Zombie, fans expected a return to form after a couple of mishaps in his career. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to expectations. To be fair, it’s not a horrible record. If you give the songs a chance then you’ll run into some that are really good, such as “Burn” and “Jesus Frankenstein.” Otherwise, this is one album you’ll try your damnedest to love, but just can’t.
Venomous Rat Regeneration (2013)
This is another album that isn’t bad, but is just forgettable, especially when it’s up against all the amazing albums that came out in 2013. I was really rooting for this album, but most of the songs are just okay with most fading into the background. There are some decent enough songs that’ll eventually grow on you, like “Dead City Radio,” but the psychedelic fueled record is nothing like his classic material. Also, there’s an awful cover of “We’re An American Band” on here. The song itself is already bland and Zombie didn’t do anything to make it at least tolerable. It’s this record that makes you realize he needs to put movies aside for a while and focus solely on his music.
Educated Horses (2006)
I’m not shy with how much I hate this album. Everything that makes a Rob Zombie record is taken out. There are very few spooky references, almost no samples, and very little heavy guitars. Sure, there are some pretty good songs here like “Foxy, Foxy” and “American Witch,” but the rest of the songs are boring, difficult to focus on, and don’t sound that good. There’s nothing wrong with him changing up his sound to do something new, but he did it in a way where he didn’t even sound like himself. Even if he just wanted to make a standard rock record that would’ve been fine, as long as it was actually any good. The four years between this album and his previous one seems to have taken their toll on the songs. They don’t live up to his reputation.
Mondo Sex Head (2012)
Rob Zombie remix albums are weird, some are the songs are good, some are pretty bad. But with this 2012 record there isn’t a single redeeming quality to it. The remixes either take apart the song so much you don’t even which one it is or there’s hardly any changes to the song at all. A lot of the mixes are repetitive, boring, or just annoying. Also, it seems like he’s trying too hard to fit in with the current electronic/techno trend in music. Sure, he’s used electronic elements before, but they completely take over on this album and it grows tiring real fast.
For Hardcore Fans:
Past, Present, & Future (2003)
This is a great compilation that showcases the strongest point in Rob Zombie career. Not only does it have his best songs from his solo career, but it also highlights his time with White Zombie. Plus, there are two previously unreleased tracks. They aren’t amazing, but they’re decent enough. There’s even an edition that includes a DVD with music videos of the singles included. There’s nothing bad about this release, but it depends on whether or not you care about having all of his LPs. If you already have his albums then it’s not worth getting, but if you want it for your collection or even just want to get into Rob Zombie, this is the best place to start.
The Best of Rob Zombie (2006)
Even if you have all of Rob Zombie’s albums, it’s understandable that you may want at least one greatest hits collection of his, especially if it has unreleased material. But unless you’re a collector, there is no reason for owning three different ones with virtually the same tracklist. Even if they do have some songs that differ, they’re mainly album tracks that you most likely have anyway. I don’t understand how he ended up with so many greatest hits compilations, especially since they don’t have any of his newer material. They’re not bad; afterall they do have some of his best songs, but unless you need to have every Rob Zombie release, then these aren’t for you.