Has there ever been an album that you’ve thought was over-rated? I have plenty, but I’ve somehow managed to narrow it down to 10. Some of these are actually from artists that I like, so this piece isn’t entirely just a smack-down of certain artists.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band – The Beatles
I love the Beatles. I do. And while Sgt. Pepper has many incredible moments (most notably “A Day in the Life” which might be the best Beatles song), it is over-run by Paul McCartney’s flights of fancy into classical pop and music hall stylings. Sure at the times of its release it had a huge impact all across the board, but even Magical Mystery Tour is more exciting than this.
Kid A – Radiohead
Electronic beeps and noises do not necessarily make for compelling music. Unless of course, Kid A’s cold sound must clearly represent one’s isolation from society! Genius! At any rate, Kraftwerk tried similar things some 25 years before Kid A‘s release yet Radiohead seems to get all the credit.
Harvest – Neil Young
Neil Young has a lot of great albums (Tonight’s the Night, After the Goldrush, Harvest Moon, etc) but Harvest seems to get the lion’s share of attention. Young seems to be at his best when he’s on the outside looking in, or blazing the trail for everyone else. And Harvest seems to be neither despite its popularity.
IV – Led Zeppelin
Hair metal and power ballads all seem to start with this album. The Rolling Stones were always better at writing sleazy songs, so “Black Dog” just seems lame in comparison. The only song that really stands out is the blues song “When the Levee Breaks”.
Tommy – The Who
As far as The Who go, Quadrophenia is a far better rock-opera yet Tommy has permeated its way into popular culture. Much of Tommy is softer than The Who’s usual violent musical attack, and there are far too many 30-second songs put in just to advance a story that never really quite measures up to its own ambitions.
Nevermind – Nirvana
“Teen Spirit” is great and so are some of the other songs. I have two main problems with Nevermind’s status: it’s not as “raw” as some suggest (have you ever listened to Raw Power?”) and it certainly does not belong in the same league as say, Pet Sounds.
(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? – Oasis
The British music press seems to think Oasis’ second album is something that God created on the 8th day. While “Champagne Supernova” and “Wonderwall” are worth listening to, the old criticism that Oasis are The Beatles with really loud guitars doesn’t really hold up: The Beatles songs were memorable.
The Wall – Pink Floyd
Self indulgence doesn’t get any more credit for being brilliant than it does on The Wall. First off, the whole premise of the album is built (ha!) around a silly metaphor for life. David Gilmour has some pretty awesome moments (particularly the solos on “Comfortably Numb”), but all I’ve ever gotten out of The Wall is this: I’m depressed.
Slanted and Enchanted – Pavement
I’ve tried. Really, I’ve tried to like Pavement. And theoretically, their lo-fi should appeal to me. It seems to me that rock critics of the 1990s wished that they had a Velvet Underground of their own. Me? I’d just rather listen to the real thing.
Back in Black – AC/DC
Thank God I never have to go to school dances and hear the strangely required spin on “You Shook Me All Night Long”. I never understood the fascination with this band – every song sounds the same and the lady singer sounds like a squirrel.