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Re: Overrated Recordings

Overrated Recordings
February 02, 2006 05:52PM
First that come to mind:

1) The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

2) Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland

3) The Clash - London Calling

Very good listens, indeed, and worthy of their fame. But definitely not the exceptional albums scatterbrained critics and overzealous fans make them out to be.

What are your opinions on this, and what other albums/c.d.'s do you think got away with it?

Re: Overrated Recordings
February 02, 2006 08:14PM
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica

R.E.M. - Out of Time

Hole - Live Through This

Radiohead - Kid A

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

And this last suggestion is one that, while certainly not a bad album, has often left me scratching my head at the way the critics seem to regard it:

The Clash (UK version)

When it was finally released Stateside, two years later, four of the songs on *The Clash* had been replaced by five later singles. No denying that those four original songs were great, or that the original album was great as a whole, right from the get-go. But each of the five later songs, IMO, is better than any of the four original, replaced tunes. The U.S. edition certainly isn't a weak album, by any measure, IMO. Yet most critics (and posters to this board) seem to discount the U.S. version from any serious consideration, or regard the changes made by Epic as a travesty.

When all is said and done (a hell of a lot more being said than done), the only real travesty surrounding this album is that Sony won't issue a "complete" CD of the first album, with all the songs that appeared on the UK version, plus the five that were included on the U.S. version. Too much trouble for the label, I guess.
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 05, 2006 07:32PM
Hello Delvin. Concerning "Pet Sounds" you may be right. The Beach Boys were primarily a singles band, and one of the saddest tales of Popular Music is that of Brian Wilson's attempt of keeping up with The Beatles, perhaps the ultimate albums group ever.

I agree with "Trout Mask Replica". Though definitely way different and ahead of it's time, and certainly of enduring quality, the good Captain could have trimmed the recording and kept the essential parts while leaving out the filler which makes the recording a wearying listen as a whole.

"Out of Time" may not be perfect, but it certainly is one of the group's best. I like the loose, laidback feel of the recording, perhaps because of the group members switching instruments during the recording of the songs. "Endgame" and "Half a World Away" are some of the loveliest songs I've ever heard.

I've never really gotten into Hole ( no pun intended ) at the time of "Live Through This." I only appreciated them with "Celebrity Skin", a recording which, while a bit poppy, is perhaps Courtney's last gasp of relevance in her artistic lifetime.

I never paid much attention to Radiohead after "The Bends".

I think one of the reasons why the U.K. version of The Clash's debut is better regarded than the U.S. one is that the songs included in the U.S. version have a brighter, less edgy tone than the tracks of the U.K. one. "Clash City Rockers" is undoubtedly a better song than "Cheat", but a track like "White Man in Hammersmith Palais" is quite a bit off in the album, just as much as "Police and Thieves" slowed down the basic, primitive brilliance of the debut.

Re: Overrated Recordings
February 03, 2006 12:24AM
"Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" is wildly overrated for me also. That record is impenetrable, I can't warm up to it at all, its reputation it seems to me, is based on the fact that it's difficult to listen to (so it must be good), and the record company gave them a hassle .......The White Stripes "Elephant" (called a masterpiece by TP!), starts off great, ends great, whole lotta filler in the middle....."The White Album" - it's genius if you just keep the Lennon songs, but McCartney got to write a whole bunch of (mostly) crap tunes, unfortunately.

Post Edited (02-02-06 21:14)
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 03, 2006 03:10PM
I'd say Wilco has produced diminishing returns since they peaked with Summerteeth. I found YHF bland in that avant elevator music for Chicago hipsters kind of way (see Tortoise, etc.) . A Ghost is Born is impenetrable merely in its complete dullness. I saw Jeff Tweedy solo acoustic recently; quite good--but his drummer opened the night by recreating the percussive sounds of grasshoppers in the Balinese rainforests or some shite. It made me anxious and thirsty.
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 03, 2006 03:17PM
NEVER trust a solo act who brings in jungle animal accompaniment (sp)...
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 05, 2006 07:40PM
"The White Album" is great, it's my favorite Beatles recording. It's where the Fab Four got back to basics. Wonderfully consistent, though it could definitely have done away with "Revolution 9". Poor guys, what they had to endure with a bonkers Lennon of the period.

Post Edited (02-05-06 21:03)
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 14, 2006 07:48PM
Why that sounds like a swipe at Kiss, Queen, The Doors and Billy Joel. I suppose those would be "guilty pleasures" within the TP community for sure (especially Joel) but...

You can make a case that The Modern Dance could replace any of them (except for Morrison Hotel in my opinion). Some of the moments on The Modern Dance are fantastic but it's a tad bit inconsistent, I think. If any of their earlier material like 30 Seconds Over Tokyo, Heart Of Darkness or the stunning Final Solution wound up on their debut it would have been a sure shot selection.

A few others that could have also easily made the list:

Elvis Costello - This Year's Model
Pavement - Slanted And Enchanted
David Bowie - Aladdin Sane and Hunky Dory
Sofy Boys - Underwater Moonlight
U2 - Boy
Captain Beefheart - Shiny Beast
Bruce Springsteen - Greetings From Asbury Park
Big Youth - Screaming Target
Dramarama - Cinema Verite
Prince - Purple Rain
Pixies - Come On Pilgrim
Social Distortion - Social Distortion
The Doors - The Doors
Meat Puppets - Meat Puppets II
Rolling Stones - Between The Buttons and Sticky Fingers
Alan Vega- Collision Drive
REM - Life's Rich Pageant
The Who - The Who Sings My Generation
Dr. Alimantado - Best Dressed Chicken In Town
Neil Young - Tonight's The Night

Still probably forgetting more.

By the way, despite at least two or three classic singles I was thinking that Black Flag's Damaged is probably overrated as a complete album as well. Thoughts?
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 15, 2006 01:32AM

> By the way, despite at least two or three classic singles I was
> thinking that Black Flag's Damaged is probably overrated as a
> complete album as well. Thoughts?

if i hadn't been determined to prove a college roommate wrong/right, i probably wouldn't have listened to that album a second time...

he accused me of trying to act cool. haha
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 15, 2006 04:24PM
Some more albums I wish I could have crammed onto my list. Interested to know what everyone else's best/favorite top ten albums of all-time are. If you can't just list ten, how about your five star albums then?

Television - Marquee Moon
King Tubby - The Evolution Of Dub At King Tubby's 1975-77 and Dub Gone 2 Crazy
ACDC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Richard Barone - Primal Dream
Roxy Music - Country LIfe
The Godfathers - Hit By Hit
Kinks - Arthur (Or The Fall And Decline Of The British Empire)
Mercury Rev - Deserter's Songs
Ramones - Rocket To Russia, Leave Home and Road To Ruin
Mink Deville - Return To Magenta
The Replacements - Pleased To Meet Me
Jonny Polonksy - There Is Something Wrong With You
Patti Smith - Easter
Talking Heads - Talking Heads: 77
Small Faces - There Are But Four Small Faces and Ogden's Nut Gone Flake
Sonic Youth - Sister
Curtis Mayfield - Superfly Soundtrack
T Rex - Tanx and The Slider
Flaming Lips - Transmissions From The Satellite Heart
Mott The Hoople - All The Young Dudes
NEU! - NEU! 75
Bob Marley - Natty Dread and Catch A Fire
Weezer - Weezer (blue LP) and Pinkerton
Gregory Isaacs - Soon Forward, Cool Ruler and Slum In Dub
Hedwig And The Angry Inch Original Soundtrack
The Who - Quadronphenia
Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited
The Dictators - Manifest Destiny
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
I Roy - Presenting
The Jam - In The City
Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness
Vibrators - Pure Mania
R.E.M. - Out Of Time and New Adventures In Hi-Fi
Buju Banton - 'til Shiloh
David Bowie - Young Americans
Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker And Various Artists - The Harder They Come Soundtrack
Neil Young - Harvest
Johnny Thunders - So Alone
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 15, 2006 11:43PM
Top Ten all time for me or the ones I keep going back to -

1. Newtown Neurotics – Beggars Can Be Choosers
2. Blaggers I.T.A – Bad Karma
3. Richmond Fontaine – Post To Wire
4. The Specials – The Specials
5. Snuff – Snuff Said (there should be an entry for these blokes)
6. Mark Eitzel – Sixty Watt Silver Lining
7. MC5 – Living in the USA
8. Tactics – My Houdini
9. Sparklehorse - Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot
10. Tom Robinson Band – Power In the Darkness

Honourable mentions
Propaghandi – Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes
The Damned – Machine Gun Ettiquette / Strawberries
Radio Birdman – Radios Appear
Billy Bragg – Brewing Up With Billy Bragg
Slobberbone – Slippage
DJ Shadow – The Private Press
Tricky – Maxinquaye
The Saints – Know Your Product
The Jam – Sound Affects
The Cruel Sea – This Is Not The Way Home

I guess I should have just done a top 20.

Hey Shizzle - I think King Tubby would not be out of place on the Not Influential Enough list that's lurking around here somewhere. Nice to know folks recognise his contribution.
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 03, 2006 07:35AM
I think some people like abbey road.
Led Zepplin 2 (I think i'm leaving the parameters of this board)

16 horsepower?
Steve Albini as a non-producer (everything)
fishbone- (the one with everyday sunshine)
Public enemy -fear of a black planet (as compared to nation of millions)
Polyphonic Spree (the worst piece of fake ripoff annoyance I know of. I want to punch that guy in the mouth ((I've got a girl who complains about her period)).
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 03, 2006 04:26PM
yeah wtf with Polyphonic Spree?
I never got them, but I love Deerhoof
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 03, 2006 07:12PM
I'd disagree with London Calling, although it depends on taste. To me, it was The Clash showing how they could use punk's energy to revitalize just about every type of rock and roll on the planet, and they just about did it. If you're not into some of the genres, I can understand why it wouldn't work as well.
I always thought Nevermind was overrated. Great, but not worthy of the attention. Liked In Utero much better. Sgt. Pepper seems the most obvious one, though. And anything by The Doors, but we've had this conversation before on this board...
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 04, 2006 03:50AM
An irresistable topic if ever there was. Pet Sounds is NOT, repeat after me...NOT overrated.
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 04, 2006 05:32AM
regardless of the barrage of other current spooge oriented topics, NEVERMIND is NOT overrated either.

Yss, edit my fucking post please. And thanks editor.

Post Edited (02-04-06 01:34)
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 05, 2006 08:02PM
I agree. "Nevermind" is best appreciated in occasional doses, but once done, no other recording exists.

Post Edited (02-05-06 21:08)
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 12, 2006 02:58PM
Overrated recordings? Here goes:

Liz Phair - Exile In Guyville : This is certainly worth owning but with its share of mediocre songs is it so good as to inhabit so many best of album lists? I don't think so.

REM - Automatic For The People : I bought this one more than once thinking that maybe I missed something after reading everywhere that this is REM's best and it is like their Revolver or Sister Lovers. Sans Drive and The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight I see it as neither a compelling listen nor some great departure making this possibly the most overrated album ever.

Blur - Parklife : This one is heralded as one of the great 90's albums amidst the UK Britpop era. Instead, it seems as like a batch of unoriginal and unremarkable songs. Also, I'll deal with The Clash taking a swipe at the USA but I'm not taking that from these guys.

Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica : Most overrated album ever? Suddenly, a new contender has emerged. I'm also probably guilty of owning this based on its reputation as a masterpiece but I rarely listen to it. I suppose it's original but how good is it? I'm not a huge Captain fan but I'd rather listen to Shiny Beast, Doc At The Radar Station and Clear Spot.

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On : I truly respect this artist, especially his early work but this album always finds its way onto the Best LP lists. I guess the whole is greater than the sum of its parts in this case but a lot of those parts aren't that great.

Wire - Pink Flag : Again, worth owning but I don't see this as some album loaded with one great song after another like I've seen written though I suppose it found its niche with some audience.

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks : Another album that always makes the critics top LP lists. After working hard with repeated listens I was finally able to justify keeping this one but is still fails to reveal its so-called genius to me like say Radiohead's OK Computer did. Still, I find it solid but not great.

Ray Charles - Modern Sounds In Western & Country Music : I really just don't get the hoopla over this one. Just give me Ray's standard R&B/Soul nuggets - thanks.

U2 - Joshua Tree : Although it contains one of the band's most underrated songs (Red Hill Mining Town) it also contains one of the most deadly dull hits ever (I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For). With too many mediocre songs on this album I found myself looking for more as well. I'll take Boy, War and Achtung Baby over this one easily.

Beach Boys - Pet Sounds : Pretty darn good album but it makes this list only because it always lands among the top five or ten albums of all-time on so many critics lists and that is just way too high.

Can - Future Days and Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express : Two pioneering artists who earn the respect they've earned but with these two LPs it seems like a case of searching for a great complete work from a great artist that just isn't there.

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band : A case of an album's reputation superseding its content. Pretty good album but not great and the band topped this one several times.
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 12, 2006 06:04PM
Good post Shizzle. "Automatic for the People" is a good c.d. and was part of the group's early-mid 90's run before Bill Berry left and it was never the same. It's one of their best recordings, but certainly not their best.

Blur's one of my fave British groups of the 90's and their individual c.d.'s are always a listening experience. "The Great Escape" and "Blur" are admirably consistent listens. Although I haven't heard "Parklife" yet the singles off that c.d. are among their very best. It makes me interested in hearing it to find out whether they were as consistent that far back.

I agree with Marvin Gaye. A fine singer and his best are listenable but I never really got the hoopla associated with him musically.

And Wire. Jeesh. Talk about reputation inflation. They sound like the Sex Pistols' anorexic house-ridden younger sibling.

Re: Overrated Recordings
February 12, 2006 06:11PM
"Automatic For The People" is like elevator music for me. I don't get it at all. It's a really depressing record. And it's looooong. What is that album like 205 minutes? TP called it a masterpiece, so what do I know? As far as I'm concerned they made the masterpiece with "Murmur", made a near-great follow-up with "Reckoning", did some good work after that for a few albums and then succumbed to SEROIUS ARTIST SYNDROME.

Re: Overrated Recordings
February 12, 2006 06:26PM
"What is that album like 205 minutes?".

( lol )

Re: Overrated Recordings
February 12, 2006 08:55PM
Thanks Manila. When you put out such a list there will inevitably be some disagreements.

With respect to Automatic For The People I really wanted to like that one so much so that I purchased it a second time but I agree with mats84 in that Murmur is REM's masterpiece. It's not that it's depressing that makes it undesirable for me, if it's depressing so be it --- I just think it lacks great songs and the "masterpiece" talk makes it even more off-putting for me. I actually find Life's Rich Pageant as REM's second best LP but for some reason I rarely see that sentiment anywhere. I also think New Adventures In Hi-Fi is grossly underrated.

Regarding Blur's Parklife it is certainly listenable (far from bad) with some decent tunes but maybe I was just expecting more based on what I read and heard about it. I think the album cover is cool though.

Key point of clarification regarding Marvin Gaye. I think his early stuff is just unbelievable (i.e. Stubborn Kind Of Fellow, Hitch Hike, Can I Get A Witness, etc.) it's just that I believe that particular album (What's Going On) gets its reputation based more on for what it's about instead of its actual musical content. I might suggest checking out one of his earlier LP efforts (That Stubborn Kind Of Fellow) or a trusty Best Of sampler such as Super Hits containing much of his early great stuff ( if you can find it anymore).

Afterall, even Lou Reed appropriated the riff from Gaye's Hich Hike on There She Goes Again off the first Velvet's album.
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 13, 2006 01:34PM
The Smiths used a modified version of the Hitchhike riff in There's A Light That Never Goes out. Also, the Stones did a cover of Hitchhike in their album Out of Our Heads.
Re: Overrated Recordings (Best Albums)
February 14, 2006 03:14AM
Which albums do I think are masterpieces or great? I comprised a list in the best order I could put it in (I started to get a headache trying to figure out exactly which album should be ahead of another so it's not totally exact). Also, I probably left out a few. This is based on the "Best Album" parameters I mentioned in my earlier post. Inevitably, one will look at it and say how is that better than this or how do you think that's overrated but yet you included...

Also, I'm sure I'll get pounded for number 92 but here goes:

100. The Cars - Candy-O
99. U2 - Achtung Baby
98. Flaming Lips - Clouds Taste Metallic
97. Alice Cooper - Love It To Death
96. Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
95. Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
94. Billy Joel - Glass Houses
93. Scott Walker - Scott 4
92. The Outfield - Play Deep
91. Toots And The Maytals - Funky Kingston
90. The Byrds - The Notorious Byrd Brothers
89. Van Halen - Van Halen
88. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
87. Kiss - Destroyer
86. Husker Du - New Day Rising
85. Queen - The Game
84. Misfits - Legacy Of Brutality
83. Beck - Midnite Vultures
82. Jesus And Mary Chain - Psychocandy
81. Nirvana - Nevermind
80. Goo Goo Dolls - Superstar Carwash
79. The Police - Outlandos D’amour
78. Dramarama - Stuck In Wonderamaland
77. Billy Idol - Rebel Yell
76. Frank Sinatra - September Of My Years
75. The Velvet Underground - Loaded
74. Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
73. Big Star - Radio City
72. Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols
71. Rod Stewart - Never A Dull Moment
70. The Doors - Morrison Hotel
69. Pixies - Trompe Le Monde
68. Wilco -Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
67. The Replacements - Let It Be
66. Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
65. The Zombies - Odyssey & Oracle
64. The Clash - London Calling
63. Rolling Stones - Beggar’s Banquet
62. The Selecter - Too Much Pressure
61. Devo - Q: Are We Not Men A: We Are Devo
60. Mott The Hoople - Mott
59. Iggy Pop - The Idiot
58. Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
57. Beulah - When Your Heartstrings Break
56. Suicide - Suicide (first LP)
55. The Strokes - Is This It
54. The Who - The Who Sell Out
53. The Stooges - The Stooges
52. Run DMC -Run DMC
51. Roxy Music - Roxy Music
50. Elvis Presley - The Sun Sessions
49. Pink Floyd - Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
48. Marvin Gaye - That Stubborn Kind Of Fellow
47. Blondie - Parallel Lines
46. The Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers
45. The Dreads At King Tubby’s 1974-1977 - If Deejay Was Your Trade
44. MC5 - Back In The USA
43. The Undertones - The Undertones
42. Lou Reed - Berlin
41. T Rex - Electric Warrior
40. The Kinks - The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
39. Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
38. Iggy Pop - Lust For Life
37. New York Dolls - In Too Much Too Soon
36. Bob Dylan - Blonde On Blonde
35. Iggy And The Stooges - Raw Power
34. U Roy - Your Ace From Space
33. Lou Reed - Transformer
32. Aretha Franklin - Lady Soul
31. The Dictators - Go Girl Crazy
30. Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention - Freak Out!
29. Cheap Trick - Cheap Trick
28. Bob Marley - African Herbsman
27. The Beatles - Abbey Road
26. David Bowie - Station To Station
25. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II
24. The Clash - The Clash
23. Leonard Cohen - Songs Of Leonard Cohen
22. Ramones - Ramones
21. Dead Boys - Young Loud And Snotty
20. Sly And The Family Stone - Stand!
19. Beastie Boys - Paul’s Boutique
18. Rolling Stones - Exile On Main St.
17. Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run
16. R.E.M. - Murmur
15. Generation X - Generation X
14. Radiohead - OK Computer
13. Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers - L.A.M.F.
12. Gregory Isaacs - Best Of Volume 1 (non-compilation)
11. The Beatles - Revolver
10. Chuck Berry - Berry Is On Top
9. The Replacements - Tim
8. Love - Forever Changes
7. The Who - Who’s Next
6. Patti Smith - Horses
5. Big Star - Third/Sister Lovers
4. The Stooges - Fun House
3. David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And Spiders From Mars
2. The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico
1. New York Dolls - New York Dolls
Re: Overrated Recordings (Best Albums)
February 15, 2006 02:41PM
Know I know it's a classic:
Hear classic rock albums performed LIVE note for note, from beginning to end by studio musicians that will blow you away! Classic Albums Live Concert Series is Presented By Budweiser, WHTQ 96.5 & Orlando Weekly. Show dates listed below...
March 31st @ 9:00PM
does anybody know (or care) anything at all about this?
I was wonderin if plunkin down 26 bones for this would get me voted off the island ( metaphorically speakin).

Chuck Prophet tommorrow night
BRMC on Saturday
Re: Overrated Recordings (Best Albums)
February 15, 2006 03:09PM
Metaphorically speaking it's a peninsula.

I like BRMC but they're one of the worst live bands I've seen. Should I blame the soundman? Only the drums and bass were coming through their PA. No vocals and lead guitar only bleeding through. What did the sound guy do? Stood there with his arms crossed. WTF? Every song consisted of waiting for the mix to improve but people began piling out (the band might not have even known why). Why he didn't just stop the show and fix the problem was a mystery (always is with some bands).
Helped them load-in though and they were great guys.

Post Edited (02-15-06 11:21)
Re: Overrated Recordings (Best Albums)
February 15, 2006 05:50PM
there's a thread here from last year started by IR re top tens, twenties, and 50s by him, and we all sheepishly followed in fashion if not in step
Re: Overrated Recordings (Best Albums)
February 15, 2006 06:20PM
weird thing is I heard from a bunch of people that BRMC sounds like shite live.
I love Green on Red, but was wonderin how many have followed Chuck Prophet after GoR?
I had a couple of things by him in the late 90's ("feast of hearts" and "homemade blood"), but haven't kept up. The only things I heard was when he played on a host of other bands albums.
The other delta is that he's opening for Aimee Mann.

Dang should I just save the monies and go to the classic album show of a note for note recreation of Ziggy? lol!
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 15, 2006 11:56PM
I think there was a "genius" list lurking around here somewhere as well that King Tubby wouldn't be out of place on either.

It is nice to see that you recognize his work as well.
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 05, 2006 07:55PM
Hello blasmo. One has to admire The Clash for creating a double album that's consistently listenable from start to finish, and experimenting with different styles at that; a first in the Punk genre. What keeps me from regarding it as highly as many people do is the sort of "tribute" feel associated with the recording. The Reggae and Ska numbers are well-done, but one gets the feeling it's just not them. Songs like "Four Horsemen", "I'm Not Down", and "Revolution Rock" would have been better off as outtakes. The first album is the group; the songs there were their blood, the tunes streaming from their veins. I also dont like the production of "London Calling". It has this pop sheen surrounding it which makes the group sound distant, even artificial and hollow at times.

Post Edited (02-05-06 21:07)
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 05, 2006 10:22PM
Funny, I liked Bleach (still think it's a great example of the grunge genre; in which beating your instrument in lieu of creativity and songwriting sold LPs for one short moment) but when Nevermind came out I felt it was a great single surrounded by filler. I get it out every few years and check but I still rank it with Good Charlotte. Yeah, I've probably said it before on this very board...

It had its effect on corporate board rooms and the casual product-buying public but none on music itself. That's why it's talked about. The marketing campaign that went with Nevermind was huge and long-lasting. The powers-that-be could have chosen any LP; they chose this one and the timing was there. It's historically important to recall that before this kicked in, the band had indie-cred (now there's a tired term) that had been spun by the Sonic Youth/Butch Vig axis which gave it quite the push before the millions spent on promotion and radio station buy-ins. In the end, it was Sonic Youth that lost out. They were at the height of their powers and it was also the peak of shoegaze and ethereal. In addition, there were dozens of punk bands that made better LPs in that 3-year period who remain in the underground where Nirvana would have been in a perfect world. To wit:
The "other" Nirvana album (Live Through This)
The career of Novoselic
The career of Grohl

The mainstream moved on and some of the appeal may have to do with the fact that the mainstream went to boy bands and hip-hop and never returned to rock. As examined in depth in several books: If Cobain hadn't have been killed/killed himself it would have had less lasting impact OR it's initial success killed him. The stuff of manufactured legends and fun, no doubt. But not a very entertaining or important LP on its own merits. Not even one of the best pop LPs of 1991; just a weird event in music history and the weight that comes with it.

Pet Sounds is an unestimable tide to this day. I don't like to listen to it (don't like the Beach Boys), but it blows me away. It's like VU as wave-effect. Queue up any other LP that came before it. In an era where things happened fast (witness the Beatles landmark stream), it mattered.

I can appreciate, actually, somebody not being interested in London Calling. But it too had a sweeping effect. Not necessarily on punk but certainly on music. After this LP
*punk bands had greater freedom
*the Clash no longer had to worry about pleasing a London cadre of fickles
*indie bands with creativity could fill a 2x
*punk bands had sudden respect (with less pigeonholing)
The amount of ground it covers is respectable and creative. It's full of surprises and I hate to think of what dreck the band may have produced if they'd remade GEER.

I can not imagine, however, an indie collector enjoying Pablo Honey more than OK Computer. That boggles the senses.

Post Edited (02-05-06 19:04)
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 06, 2006 12:32AM
"Nevermind" is one of those strange records for me - I find it sort of great, but in an abstract way and not in a way that I really care about or that fits in with my personal tastes. My favorite Rock music always shared 3 qualities : fun, danger (or at least the semblance of danger) and sexuality (needs to make you wanna HAVE sex). In Nirvana's case they really just have the danger part down. I found much of it a drag and ridiculously internalized, to the extent that it seemed to be a loud pity party (more so on "In Utero" though)...Where their music affected some people very deeply, I found myself pushed away from it in the same way I feel about overly earnest singer/songwriter types. .......... I do admire the record for it's snap crackle and pop, it's a bracing listen, and packs an undeniable power - I don't exactly think it's "overrated" , but it just doesn't give me the pleasure that my favorite records do.

Re: Overrated Recordings
February 06, 2006 12:59AM
There was never any overinflated media hype surrounding Nirvana; certainly not any more than other bands of the time. In the early 90's the group was seen as one among many talented artists. They were credited with opening the doors for the Grunge and Alternative genre to the mainstream and the groups that comprised it but that was about it. Pearl Jam had as much media coverage, perhaps even more ( Vedder made it on the cover of TIME ), but posterity has not accorded them the same importance as Nirvana. Most of the press associated with the band then had more to do with Cobain and his missus' antics than the music.

Cobain's death hastened the legend and myth-making, but it just made it quicker. Very few legacies are created in a day, and the passage of time is the determinant on who passes the physical or not. Hype unfounded dies a quick and deserved death. If the media is the one responsible for the survival and relevance of art then we would be praising the likes of M.C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice to this day, considering the amount of fame and notice they had then. I recall reading a press clip written in the 60's which contained a blurb on how ordinary The Beatles are and no different from other bands at the time, stating that there were more better groups. The writer even doubted whether the band would be remembered. I could imagine that writer coming across the article or being reminded of it now and cringing.

Re: Underrated Recordings
February 06, 2006 12:36PM
As for albums that are underrated:

Just listened to Debbie Harry - KOOKOO the other day and was surprised by what a nice little pop album it was, considering the critical lambasting it took when it was released. It's not a great work of art or anything, but it's a far cry from the piece of garbage that the press coverage of it at the time would lead one to believe.

Already talked about Adam & the Ants DIRK WEARS WHITE SOCKS in another thread. Again, not a classic album but better than it's given credit for.

Gary Numan - WARRIORS - Numan's whole career is unjustly trashed, but this album especially so. Numan collaborates with Bill Nelson here and there are plenty of interesting cuts on the album, most notably "The Iceman Comes" and "The Prison Moon."

Boomtown Rats - MONDO BONGO - A truly great album that just seems to have been forgotten by history.

Courtney Love - AMERICA'S SWEETHEART. Her offstage antics doomed this album, but it's a good album and deserved more attention than it got.
Re: Underrated Recordings
February 06, 2006 01:17PM
Well, I'd argue (and I have before !) the Heartbreakers "L.A.M.F" is underrated at least on this board smiling smiley - It's a top 10 record of all time for me sitting comfortably alongside "Exile on Main Street" , "Highway 61 Revisited", "Radio City", etc.

I think "Candy Apple Grey" is underrated too. I find it to be at least the equal of "Warehouse" which has, over time, won over those who didn't quite dig it at first. "Candy Apple Grey" seems to have lost most of it's defenders over the years.

BRMC's "Howl" is a more recent example - that record is a real grower, and I'm not sure everybody spent the time with it to appreciate it. I didn't quite like it at first myself, but it won me over.

Post Edited (02-06-06 09:25)
Re: Underrated Recordings
February 13, 2006 02:42PM
I still like "Automatic" and I think I would put "Everybody Hurts" in the top songs of all time.................yeah but not their greatest and certainly not a genre's greatest.
Blur ,U2, Can ,the Beatles yada same thing.

Are you sure you listened to "Astral Weeks"? Van spun everything into that and in 1968 no less. Take a trip down the streets of Belfast boyo, and I don't think there is a more heartbreaking song than "Madame George" anywhere. If I want to get lost I can't think of a better place than "Cypress Ave.", hypnotic, reflective and played by a bunch of jazbos. This is something to be listened to in it's entirety and I would have to take you to task on this. After you listen to this then try "Pet Sounds" again......

I think that your list doesn't take into effect that these were called great when they came out and if you would put yourself in that time frame they are all great. I remember getting "Pink Flag" when it first came out and the reason it was great is that it sounded like nothing else out at the time. I think the same for Ray Charles ( neeeeegro C&W c'mon!) the Captain, Marvin, and das Kraftwork too.
When you step back and look at it now, nothing is great.
The thing is I can pull at least one song off each of these that is way better than the whole of OK Computer.
but that's just my opinion
Re: Underrated Recordings
February 13, 2006 04:17PM
First, let me say that I own the majority of the albums I listed as overrated with the exception of The Joshua Tree, Modern Sounds, Parklife and Automatic so this is by no means a list of albums that aren't any good. Also, my list is based on how these albums are perceived by critics and fans alike at present. I'll read any "Best Of" albums list simply because I think it's such an intriguing topic for any music fan and I always stop to read such lists whenever I come across them. My overrated list isn't based on what the popular opinion of an album was when it was released --- if it's a great album then it's a great album and it should be timeless and hold up forever.

The key to any great album in my opinion is the quality of its content and how consistent that quality is throughout. Basically, are the songs on the album great/very good and are there a lot of them? Influence, historical importance and originality are all taken into account but to a lesser extent. So if half an album is stunning and the other half stinks, well, then it's not a great album in my eyes. Likewise, if all the songs are good/decent but there is nothing particularly special about them, the same holds true. Anyway, those are some basic parameters for what I think goes into a great album.

I like REM enough but we'll disagree on Automatic. Everybody Hurts in particular is the one song on that album that really makes me cringe --- I don't know, it just seems so overly sappy and trite to me. I understand what Stipe was trying to convey, I just wish he presented it in a less overt manner.

I admire your ardent defense of Astral Weeks and of all the albums I listed it is the one most difficult to get a handle on in terms of just how good it is. When listening to it I begin to get a grip on why it's lionized by so many and then other times I think it just meanders too much and the songs don't seem to stick with me after listening to it. Hence, it made my list not because it isn't any good but because it generally charts very high on so many Best Album lists.

With respect to Pet Sounds, like I stated, it's a good album. But I'ver seen it land in the top five or three best albums of all-time on the most prestigious of lists. Top five or three? No way.

Regarding Ray Charles and Modern Sounds, I wouldn't qualify an album as great simply because someone of a particular ethnic background recorded a type of music that is not customarily played by said ethnic group. The content must be there.

In Kraftwerk's case I think there are both excellent and groundbreaking stuff on Trans Europe Express --- I just don't think there is a lot of it there thus making the recording a bit overrated for me.

Finally, this isn't about one song, so that fact that one song off of a particular album might be better than the whole of OK Computer doesn't diminish OK Computer nor does it enhance the album such song was pulled from.
Re: Underrated Recordings
February 13, 2006 04:45PM
Shizzle: I share the same line of reasoning when judging recordings.

Re: Underrated Recordings
February 14, 2006 12:04AM
Random thoughts : Regarding ASTRAL WEEKS, is there any other album that sounds like that one? Seriously, what album would you recommend if someone said "I want something like ASTRAL WEEKS"? It sounds like nothing before it or since. I think that's the reason some people (me included) cherish it so much. It's unique, Van sounds almost possessed on that album.........I'd say OK COMPUTER has a standout track in "No Surprises". That song just really gets to me lyrically and it's beautifully sung....The album really seems to reach its apex on that track. Not sure I'd call the era of OK COMPUTER a good era for music in general though, 1995-2000 was pretty bleak to me....PINK FLAG is a strange case because it's so conceptual it's bound to strike some as cold. I'd say it's an example of the type of record that you either seize on it's artifice AS art or find it baffling (other cases include PSYCHOCANDY, RAMONES, Art Brut's BANG BANG ROCK & ROLL, etc.)

Re: Underrated Recordings
February 14, 2006 01:24PM
last word on "Everybody Hurts"
There are elements of the song that are "pap" pop syrup over the top histronics I hear in Merilee Rush, Johnny Maestro, tons of Doo Wop and (yes) Patti Smith, all of which I like.
It was also REM's first straightforward lyric and a song I think is more uplifting than depressing.
Now excuse me while I listen to David Thomas smash 2 hammers together and flip into his own histronics on "Non-Alignment Pact" on the great masterpiece album "The Modern Dance"(influenced by Cappy Beefheart:arrrrrgh kiddies) not on anyone's list ( not to mention "Dub Housing"), but sure as hell Radiohead would not have existed without it,which somehow didn't fit the parameters of those other classic stax o' wax like KIss, the Doors, Queen , Billy Joel, and the rest.
To quote Bob Hughes (Matt Dillon) in Drugstore Cowboy:
"Look at me babe, Im hysterical."

Post Edited (02-14-06 12:51)
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 13, 2006 04:01PM
IMO, *Automatic for the People* may not qualify as a masterpiece, but it's definitely the most listenable and enjoyable album, beginning to end, that R.E.M. put out during the '90s.

*Murmur* is their masterpiece, no argument from me ... but IMO, all of their '80s albums hold up beautifully.

And I agree with at least one of Shizzle's selections: *Exile in Guyville* is way overrated.
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 13, 2006 08:19PM
Whatever road you take to get to the album may determine how you view an album or song.
If you come through Doo Wop, 60's soul and 70's AM radio and hit on "Everybody Hurts" it's a goodun, not one to make you "cringe". LOL
Same thing if you hit on Ray's "You Don't Know Me" or the rest of the album. He took somy hokey dokey and injected some soul, and basically invented his own musical style. So the content is there for someone of a particular ethnic background recorded a type of music that is not customarily played by said ethnic group. If you're ever in FLA swing by mi casa and we'll BBQ and drink some Wild Turkey and spin some sides. I'd love to see which road you traveled to get where you are!

Just wondering which albums do you think are "masterpieces", or great albums?
and to quote the duke:
“I’m sure critics have their purpose, and they’re supposed to do what they do, but sometimes they get a little carried away with what they think someone should have done, rather than concerning themselves with what he did.”
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 13, 2006 11:03PM
Everybody Hurts is as cringe-worthy as every other easy-listening pap whine-fest. It's equivalents are Poco, America, Bread, etc. (in that regard, still poor). REM jumped the shark at Fables. Listened to Fables and Life's Rich Pageant (dreck) last week. Automatic for the People would have been bad B-sides in the Murmur/Reckoning era. But, if they'd stayed in that era (which they pretend never happened) they wouldn't be famous, would they? It's a cult of personality. As a record store owner/friend said "REM can do no wrong".

OK Computer has no one stand-out song. But as a whole it's a masterpiece. More so in retropect of its era (which was a good era for music). After Radiohead left behind their alternative-mainstream leanings on the Bends, their LPs became constructions en masse.

With a pop-singles band, I'm likely to disregard two poor tracks on a long-playing release.

I know what you are, but....

Post Edited (02-13-06 19:07)
Re: Overrated Recordings
February 14, 2006 09:22PM

1995-2000 was pretty bleak to me.
Music just went underground due to the Nirvana/REM/U2 strangehold on the mainstream (i.e. 'alternative').
The whole point of TP is that you have to dig for the best stuff (as you already know). It's there, though.
In that era, you weren't going to find it via normal outlets. It may not have matched 1985-1990 or 1990-1995 but it beat the shit out of 1970-1975!

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