10 Tragically Lost and Unreleased Music Albums
BY PAD CHENNINGTON
Who doesn’t love a hot slice of Lost Media?
From albums that lay dormant throughout the web only to be found years later to albums that were reworked or rebranded into something else, and to legendary pieces of music that were released at such scarce amounts that a complete version of them just hasn’t come to light yet, Today you and I will be venturing through 10 lost and unreleased music albums…
Let’s dive into the fascinating world of music once again, and meet some legendary pieces of work that never saw the light of day.
10) Skrillex - Voltage (2012)
It’s a musician's worst nightmare; your laptop or hard drive that contains all your hard work getting either stolen or crashing. Projects you’ve worked on for so long and previous work you’ve archived over the years just wiped away. Unfortunately, this situation would happen to Sonny Moore, or as you probably know him as, Skrillex.
On April 28th, 2011, Moore would have his entire music catalog stolen from his hotel room while performing a show in Italy. The thief took 2 laptops and both of his hard drives containing virtually all of the Skrillex project files, and among those files was an album’s worth of new material.
Voltage was intended to drop in 2012 but would never see a release due to the burglary. Luckily, Moore still had some tracks in his possession that were to be featured on Voltage and would eventually release them onto The Bangarang EP towards the end of 2011, as well as the Try It Out EP in 2013. Over the years, a few tracks have leaked such as “Amplifire”, “True Gangsters”, and “Voltage”, as well as a rumored tracklist. Up to 15 tracks were planned for the release of Voltage, yet we only know of 9 of them due to the stolen hard drives and laptops.
It’s interesting to wonder if the thief knew it was Skrillex’s laptop they were stealing, or if this was just a random coincidence and someone just ended up breaking into someone else’s room and stealing whatever valuables from the room they can find. If so, someone, somewhere out there, was probably sold a stolen laptop or hard drive that was wiped clean of what once had an entire Skrillex album we’ll all never get to fully, properly experience.
9) Seal - Togetherland (2001)
Intended to be the 4th album of British singer-songwriter Seal’s discography, 2001’s Togetherland was planned to showcase a more club-heavy side of Seal reminiscent of his earlier career and roots, all eventually scrapped due to the label’s dissatisfaction with the final version of the album presented to them.
The building of Togetherland would begin in 1999; Seal along with two fellow songwriters began writing and recording the material for the new album at Seal’s home studio in Los Angeles.
The product was definitely different from previous releases of Seal at the time, with discussion being held about releasing the songs under another alias to not interrupt the success Seal was seeing with his established fan base, with English composer and arranger Henry Jackman being tasked to shape the album into a more mainstream sounding release. In the end, Warner Bros. Records denied the album from ever seeing a full release and Seal would end up recording and releasing Seal IV in its place, which would drop 2 years after Togetherland’s expected release in 2001.
Despite the true build of Togetherland being locked away ever since it’s cancellation, a good chunk of music from the album is available. “This Could Be Heaven”, originally titled as “Heaven” on the track listing of the album, is the only song that has been released commercially. Furthermore, 30-second clips of songs, as well as some full versions of songs, have been streamed and received high praise from fans, even though Seal has been noted to not be happy with the final result of the album anyways.
8) Kanye West - Yahndi (2018)
What would eventually become Jesus is King in 2019, Yandhi is a former Kanye West project still highly discussed online by Yeezy fans and just Hip Hop fans in general, seeing life through its various leaked and unconfirmed uploads throughout the internet.
In August of 2018, Kanye West would begin recording a new album and announcing it to the public as Yandhi. Expected to be a follow-up to 2013’s Yeezus, Yandhi would miss numerous release dates until it was eventually put on ice with no clear idea of when we would see the album get out to the public. Once August of 2019 hit, Yandhi would be renounced as Jesus is King, with Kanye West’s “Sunday Service” performances paving the path to the new direction and style of the album.
Of course, fans were left to wonder what the original bones of the album sounded like under the Yandhi direction, with Kanye stating that the sound of Yandhi was comparable to albums like 808’s & Heartbreaks, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Watch the Throne, some big fan favorites that left many salivating. And, in usual Kanye fashion,Yandhi tracklists made their rounds throughout the internet during the album's development, with fans from all over the world agreeing and disagreeing on what would have been the final tracklist if the album did get a release. From what I’ve found on the internet, most people tend to agree the SNL whiteboard tracklist is the most accurate tracklist we’ll get to what Yandhi was heading towards in regards to its final state, and I absolutely love this aspect of the Yandhi lore, fans gathering any data they can from tweets to Yandhi-era sounding Kanye tracks that can possibly give them a clue on what was or wasn’t planned for the album at the time before a transition to Jesus is King was made.
As time would pass, a number of individual tracks to full album uploads would also make their way onto YouTube claiming to be true Yandhi substance, however, it seems that a 100% true confirmation on what Yandhi was in its final stages before the albums transition into Jesus is King will never happen, but hey, you know what they say... never say never.
7) Madeon - Celine (2017)
Celine may be the most interesting direction ever taken from French musician and DJ Madeon, and the story on how the project was eventually discovered makes it a worthy exception for this list. I’m going to let my good friend and fellow YouTuber Aidan Chick take the wheel for this one, an expert on the timeline of Celine and how fans figured out how to access it’s music.
Madeon is one of my favorite music producers ever… if you aren’t familiar with his music, it’s essentially electronic pop but with catchy complexity and a signature of a talented creator bringing his universe to life.
Madeon’s music is bright, upbeat, and hopeful, and everything he has officially put out has been just that… Well, not Celine.
Celine was an EP that was only discovered through an alternate reality game, or a set of puzzles and cyphers that were solved by the audience that started with Madeon’s single last year “The Prince”. Clues were hidden in the music video for “The Prince”, and eventually, led to a site that offered a limited vinyl run of the Celine EP. These copies are now being sold for upwards of $800.
This EP is dark, brooding, and industrial, and if you want to learn more, I made a mini-documentary breaking down the ARG and the EP. I hope to see you there.
6) The Beach Boys - Merry Christmas from the Beach Boys (1970 - 1977)
With just under 30 studio albums in 50 years, it was inevitable that the Beach Boys were to have a Christmas album. After the success of The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album in 1964, another holiday-themed album was in the works for a release in 1977, only to be rejected by Warner Bros. Records, as well as demanding the band to focus their attention on submitting a regular studio album instead. The news would be another unfortunate blow during a pretty difficult year for the band in 1977 as their latest project, Adult/Child, was also rejected by Reprise Records.
After being denied the release of Merry Christmas from the Beach Boys, new lyrics were created to go over some of the original Christmas songs created by the band for the album, which all eventually ended going on this pretty wild journey until some of the repurposed tracks were finally given a home on the M.I.U album, or the Maharishi International University album, in 1978.
A couple of the tracks that were to be featured on Merry Christmas from the Beach Boys were released in 1998 under the Beach Boys compilation Ultimate Christmas, but still, all of the originally planned tracks for the album are still not 100% known to be discovered. Perhaps the tracks are floating around on bootlegs, or maybe all sitting on a record under a pile of dust… or maybe, just lost to time entirely.
5) Pink Floyd - Household Objects (1973 - 197?)
Planned to be a follow up to the super successful The Dark Side of the Moon in 1973, Household Objects was to feature a complete left turn from what we would expect to see in a traditional follow up release.
Household Objects wasn’t to be recorded with guitars, drums, pianos, or horns… but instead… you guessed it… household objects.
Using everyday items and appliances like beer bottles, spray cans, rubber bands and hand mixers, Pink Floyd planned on replicating sounds in songs you were accustomed to, like a snare drum or a bass, with items you can find throughout your living space. The idea for such a zany musical concept started in 1969 when Pink Floyd was performing compositions on stage that involved unorthodox music making procedures like sawing wood and boiling kettles on stage.
The actual development of something concrete for Household Objects fell flat after the band was finding themselves just spending time on exploring the most non-musical sounds they’ve ever made using the objects, nothing really with rhythm that could be transcribed into song-writing material. After realizing the concept wasn’t meant to be and was, pretty much, delaying the band from creating any new substantial material, Pink Floyd would return to using more traditional instruments and continue building the discography we know of today.
Some tracks that were meant to reside on Household Objects does exist however, “Wine Glasses” and “The Hard Way” were tracks both released on future Pink Floyd box sets, ultimately giving fans a glimpse at what was in the works for such an peculiar follow up to what was an already declared classic at the time in The Dark Side of the Moon.
4) The Unreleased J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar Album (2010 - Present)
After meeting at an album listening party in 2010, renowned rappers J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar have been on a path towards a collab album fans have been waiting for for a very, very long time.
With hints from Kendrick Lamar in 2010 claiming he and Cole already had a good amount of music together, a suspected J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar album was quickly coming to life, with confirmation of its existence becoming present in an album listening session in early 2011 where Kendrick premiered what would eventually find its way onto the internet as the track “temptation”. With no official studio release of the track made public, this is the only glimpse we have of the track, with many fans hoping to see the day where it gets a release in proper quality.
A month after the listening session, Kendrick would tell XXL magazine:
“We don’t have a title or release date yet but J. Cole got like 90 percent of the production so far. One of my favorite songs of the project is a song called ‘Shock the World,’ Cole laid the first verse and set the tone for the whole record. It’s going to shake up a lot of people.”
Later that year, “Shock The World” would also end up leaking onto the internet, but just like “temptation”, the leak would be an unofficial, non-studio recording.
Hope for an official release date would become a bit gloomy once June hit in that year as Kendrick would reveal that the album would be on hold so that the rappers could focus on their solo careers respectively. In hindsight, this move could be seen as being definitely a good one as both rappers eventually blew up into the rap scene heavily and pretty much declared themselves as some of the most successful rappers of the 2010’s. Over the years since the leaks in 2011, the two have worked together pretty frequently, with J. Cole producing numerous tracks for Lamar as well as Lamar hopping on as a feature on J. Cole’s Born Sinner track “Forbidden Fruit”. We even saw some friendly competition between the two with Kendrick calling Cole out on his verse in Big Sean’s track control, and J. Cole firing back on his feature in Justin Timberlake’s "TKO (Black Friday Remix)
Despite their friendship and recognition that the fans want them to drop this dream collaboration, the album still remains unreleased and dormant. Maybe one day we’ll wake up to news of the two just deciding it’s time to drop what they have, or maybe there isn’t actually enough material to even call it an album. Who knows.
3) Jean-Michel Jarre - Music for Supermarkets (1983)
In early 1983, French composer, producer and performer Jean-Michel Jarre had the task of creating background music for a supermarket-themed art exhibit, and in July of that year, Music for Supermarkets was born. In the exhibit, pieces of art were to be auctioned off after the gallery had ended, which inspired Jarre to treat his music in the same way, a one-time only piece of work that would essentially leave the gallery as well upon the exhibit’s conclusion.
Only one, single copy of Music for Supermarkets was pressed and made for distribution with its master tapes wiped from existence shortly after the album's creation. The single copy was auctioned off for charity at a Paris hotel, with 11 photos on the inside showing the creation process of the album. One of these photo slots were left empty so that the final owner of the album could add their own photo, hence truly showcasing the production timeline of this one-of-a-kind album.
Shortly after the auction, the album was played for only one, single time to the public on a French radio network called Radio Luxembourg, with Jarre telling listeners to “Pirate me!)... which is, of course, what happened.
As of today, multiple bootlegs of the radio broadcast exist as well as a couple of tracks from Music for Supermarkets having been reworked into future Jarre releases. Due to the pretty poor quality of the original bootleg recordings of the Radio Luxembourg broadcast, several people throughout the internet have attempted to recreate the album in higher quality, but of course, we’ll never know how it really sounded without that original, true-to-quality recording.
2) The Revolution - Dream Factory (1982)
Prince is an artist who is known to have a whole bunch of unreleased music; an interesting example of this is his project with his band The Revolution and a piece that never saw the light of day: Dream Factory.
Recorded between 1985 and 1986, Dream Factory would end up having 3 known configurations of the album (an April 1986 version, one in June of ‘86, and finally, one in July of ‘86). Along the way, the tracklist grew from an 11-track project to as high as a 20-track double LP by the June version. Despite being recorded under The Revolution name, many of the tracks were solo work from Prince, and all of the tracks considered for Dream Factory ended up going into future Prince releases in some way or another after the band dissolved in October of 1986.
Dream Factory was never officially released, however, a bootleg CD of the July 1986 build does exist. Many people believed design work was never created for the packaging of Dream Factory, but in 2017, color pencil sketched artwork that was originally made as an idea for the album cover by singer/songwriter Susannah Melvoin came into existence. Interestingly enough, the name “The Flesh” is in the artwork instead of “The Revolution”, a project by Prince that was never fully developed.
1) MF DOOM & Ghostface Killah - Swift & Changeable (2006)
MF DOOM and his ever-so-intriguing presence. To me, he almost never seemed like a real person, just a comic-book villain with lyrical superpowers who was misunderstood by the masses. He also had some very cool album covers.
With a hypothesized jumble of musical releases already shrouded in doubt due to the rappers inherently mysterious ways, rumored MF DOOM projects over the years are a plenty, but one project that has credibility in its existence is his unreleased collaboration with Ghostface Killah: Swift & Changeable
On the topic of unreleased or lost albums in regards to MF DOOM, most people will immediately think of the forever anticipated Madvillany 2, the follow up to DOOM’s masterpiece collaboration with producer/rapper Madlib from 2004. Because of this, the unreleased Ghostface Killah collab usually gets swept under the rug for casual DOOM fans, so I felt Swift & Changeable deserves a chance to shine on this list.
The existence of Swift & Changeable dates back to as early as 2006, with Ghostface Killah continually assuring fans for years that the project was still very much alive and that the delay was actually because of MF DOOM withholding the album on his end. And hey, we may never know the real reason for all this delay, and you certainly can’t just throw the laziness tag on DOOM, I mean, the dude has put out an exhausting amount of music throughout his time, but the shelving of Swift & Changeable all just adds onto the legacy of the musician’s enigmatic decision making.
Despite two tracks being released in 2011 and 2016 under the name of DOOMSTARK, the highly-awaited full-length album is still locked away somewhere, with fans never knowing if it will ever leak or see a proper release to the public. Only time will tell.
"Also known as "Youtube's Vaporwave Valedictorian", Pad Chennington is a content creator who has created a substantial following on YouTube for his videos discussing all things Vaporwave. Starting in the Fall of 2017, Pad's videos range from reviews to breakdowns, interviews to unboxings, and much more, always revolving around odd and interesting music genres found throughout the internet. Pad has also recently released an album in February titled "CONTRAST" that is available as a free download via the My Pet Flamingo label."