1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear – Hulk Hogan


1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear

#72: Hulk Hogan – Hulk Rules (1995)

Witchdoctor’s doyen of bad taste MATT KELLY wrestles with one of the very best of the worst and actually likes this really terrible album.

I’ve included albums by Sonic The Hedgehog and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on this list so far and yet Hulk Hogan, who I’m led to believe is a real person, is somehow the most cartoonish yet. For those of you who like unintentional comedy, Hulk Rules is an unmissable slice of ’80s kitsch.


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Okay, so this was actually made in 1995. Well, wherever Hulk Rules was recorded it was still very much 1989. Its brash, incredibly dated ’80s stadium rock production brands it as the work of an out of touch person who isn’t cool or hip or happening with the kids. But that’s fine, musical artists don’t have to be these things. It would only be an issue if the lyrics and persona of the album were about being cool and hip and happening with the kids.

Oh wait.

Yeah, I hope you like bragging because about 80% of the album is witless, first-draft quality lyrics about how Hulk is big and strong and gets all the ladies. Hulk himself is disappointingly absent for half the album with a number of songs such as the so-generic-it-feels-like-a-parody patriotic hard rock of ‘American Made’ credited to and performed by The Wrestling Boot Band, which is essentially the WWF’s legendary songwriting/performing team of Jimmy Hart and Jon Maguire.

But there’s a quartet of songs where Hogan takes center stage and these are worth the price of admission alone. First up is ‘Hulkster’s Back’, where Hogan goes hip-hop, stumbling through offbeat verses that are all of four lines long over some truly awful minimum effort synthesizer riffs and god is it hilarious. ‘I Want To Be A Hulkamaniac’ is even funnier as the beat goes Hi NRG (with an incredibly funny post-chorus bass synth thrill) while Hulk continues to rap about not doing drugs, eating your vitamins, saying your prayers and always going swimming with a buddy. The song is taken over the top with a bizarre lifeless chorus which sounds like it’s being droned by a bunch of drowsy librarians held at gunpoint. And just when you think things can’t get worse, boy would you be wrong. ‘Beach Patrol’ is the crown jewel in this pile of garbage – what an AWFUL, AWFUL song. *Everything* about Beach Patrol is ghastly, from its faux-macho lyrics to its dreadful dig-your-eardrums-out-with-a-knitting-needle drum/guitar/synth sound, but most of all that APPALLING chorus with that horrendous nasal voice wheedling “WE ARE THE BEACH PATROL”. And there’s record scratches on it too. On a Hulk Hogan song.

If you can survive that, your reward is ‘Hulk’s The One’, three syrupy minutes of Hulk’s wife Linda fawning over what a wonderful man he is even as she explicitly references being abused by him. Mmhmm. But then finally. Finally. We arrive at ‘Hulkster In Heaven’. Wow. This song. What a song. ‘Hulkster In Heaven’ is a song. It’s a song alright. I mean he gets something of a pass because the song was written in tribute to an actual child fan of his who died in 1992. But gosh is it terrible. For the only time on the album, Hulk sings rather than talk-rapping and he’s so soppy and sappy and the song is drenched with echoey dreamy production and plastic gospel backing vocals and when he whimpers his way through lines like “I used to tear my shirt, but now you’ve torn my heart” it’s more than any listener can take.

Even at just 29 minutes, Hulk Rules is an incredible gauntlet of terrible ideas given even worse execution. Yet if you’re someone who finds bad music entertaining, this is pretty hard to pass by. An amazing trainwreck.

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Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

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