Save (maybe) for professional athletes, is there anyone on planet Earth worse at making music than actors? We doubt it! From Joey Lawrence to Jamie Foxx, thespians have been responsible for some of the most ear-splitting, nauseating, craptastic sounds ever committed to partially recyclable plastic discs. Still, given the sheer volume of movie stars that’ve attempted to make non-embarrassing records, at least a couple must have succeeded … right? As a public service, Vulture listened to every album ever made by any actor (including several by Bruce Willis and the Accelerators) and made a comprehensive list of the very best ones. See it, after the jump!
10. Steve Burns, Songs for Dustmites (2003)
Who’d have ever guessed that under the striped shirt and the propensity for teaching 3-year-olds to count (he hosted Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues for seven years) was a talented songwriter and huge Flaming Lips fan? After quitting Clues in 2002, Steve Burns holed up with Lips producer David Fridmann and recorded a dozen orchestral pop songs that could easily be mistaken for leftovers from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, even if you aren’t high on LSD. Despite some strong reviews, Dustmites came and went without getting much attention. Luckily, though, Burns was not discouraged — he’s currently working on another record that also sounds like it might turn out pretty great.
9. Milla, The Divine Comedy (1994)
Before winning acclaim for her performance as a topless space alien in 1997’s astonishingly PG-13-rated The Fifth Element, Milla Jovovich was collecting Golden Raspberry nominations for her equally naked role in 1991’s Return to the Blue Lagoon. And with all the time she saved by never getting dressed, Jovovich was able to pen an album’s worth of airy, melodic, non-embarrassing pop tunes inspired by Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks. One of them — “Gentlemen Who Fell” (see above) — actually became a hit! Tragically, she never recorded a follow-up.
8. She + Him, Volume One (2008)
Anyone who saw Elf was already aware that Zooey Deschanel can carry a tune. But can she write a decent song? Amazingly, yes! Even though Merge Records folkie M. Ward shares equal billing on Volume One, his job is mostly just producing and arranging Deschanel’s winsome compositions, which run the spectrum from awesome Brill Building girl pop to Loretta Lynn–ish country ballads. If a music career paid a little better these days, we might even let her give up her day job.
7. Hmm … No. 7 … Uh … Well …
This is a little embarrassing; we started writing our list before we’d actually agreed on all the entries, and, as it turns out, in all of musical history, only three actors have made good albums. We thought we could get up to at least five, but we were wrong. We’re pretty sure we didn’t miss any, but if you think we did, make your case in the comments.
Earlier: Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward on Antiques, the Beatles, and Singing ActressesThe Ten Greatest Albums Made by Actors