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  • Overrated classic albums

    There was a thread about 9 months ago on Soulstrut about this, mainly as a result of a piece that appeared in Jaguaro.org. Unfortunately, everyone seemed so indignant that certain albums had been mentioned that no-one debated it very seriously. So I thought it would be good to exhume the subject, particularly in the light of the discussion about Stark Reality.

    Which albums would you nominate for such a thread. I have three suggestions.

    Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
    I like Miles Davis a lot. I like Kind Of Blue, I like Sketches Of Spain, I even like Decoy from his later period. But I've always found this an unlistenable dirge. Now I know there are great musicians on it, I know that it was incredibly influential, but would I want to listen to it purely for pleasure? Not on your nelly. Have you ever gone round to someone's house and they're sat casually listening to this? I doubt it.

    De La Soul - Three Feet High And Rising
    I used to love this album. I played it to death when it came out. I still regularly play some of the singles in clubs. But I recently blagged a CD copy and though I'd give it another listen. I've so far failed to listen to it in its entirety after three attempts. It's too clattery, too noisesome, too irritating. This could be me getting older, and I do feel a traitor for mentioning, but I'm really not sure whether it's the classic we hold it up to be. De La Is Dead, for example, is a really good album, that got killed by critics when it came out. I can still listen to that.

    Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
    Another album that falls into the noisy category. And overrated. I've never loved this album. Even when everyone was declaring it a work of genius, I never really loved it in the way that I did Licensed To Ill. Their debut was fresh, exhilirating, punky. I always felt this was a clever record rather than one you could truly love. It's a record you admire. But love? Nah.

    Over to you...
    http://www.djhistory.com

  • #2
    Blimey Bill! You're putting the cat amongst the pigeons there. I have to stand up in support of 3 Feet High And Rising and Paul's Boutique (how can two albums that sample the Man In Black go wrong ). I can still listen to them both and find new elements, hear samples that I never noticed before, and (especially with Paul's Boutique) enjoy the wordplay. I guess it comes down to the definition of 'classic' and how much an LP should be judged purely on musical merit or how much it's 'landmark' status - the amount of innovation, the influence on later artists - matters. For me Paul's Boutique fulfills all those criteria and 3 Feet... is a landmark album that still sounds good, although not mindblowing.

    I guess maybe familiarity breeds contempt and we all know the singles off 3 Feet... like the back of our hand but I think these days you'd be hard pushed to think of a contemporary hip hop album that's included that number of good tracks. In comparison, to me, De La Soul Is Dead sounded a little flat (I'd rather just listen to the singles which I wouldn't say for 3 Feet...). Whereas I think Buhloone Mindstate is incredibly underrated, and one of the few cases where hip hop brought in jazz artists and still reamined truly hip hop (just my opinion).

    As for my own overrated classics, I'll have to mull it over. Maybe Welcome To The Terrordome (and I'll probably sound like a hypocrite now) since many of the tracks are great but it seems that more of the LP is taken up with skits that should have been fully fledged tracks than complete songs.
    You freeking scientologists are all the same, quible, dribble and then demand ice creams. Ohhhhhhhhhhh.

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    • #3
      anything by Radiohead.
      We know when a mate buys it for you too.

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      • #4
        Van Morrison - Astral Weeks - I've tried and tried but I still think it blows.

        Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica - Again I've tried several times and I really like most of his other stuff but this is like hard work.

        Beatles - Sgt Pepper - Geddoutofit!! Revolver / Rubber Soul are soooo much better - even the White Album at it's patchiest is better (except "Honey Pie&quot.

        I would also have to concurr with Mr Stapleton's Radiohead sentiments but also lump in Travis and Coldplay - yaaawwwn.
        "..hole...road...middle thereof"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by [b
          Quote[/b] (john stapleton @ 05 June 2003,11:16)]anything by Radiohead.
          Second that ! bunch o' moribund knobheeds imo
          SECRET RUSSIAN ROMANTIC GUITAR PSYCH BREAKS

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          • #6
            Good thread: I'm with people on many of these...

            Bitches Brew is not a patch on 'ESP', 'Kind Of Blue', 'Miles Smiles', 'Birth Of The Cool', 'Sketches Of Spain' or many others in the man's catalogue, so I agree that the special status accorded this LP is a bit baffling: even slightly later stuff like 'Live/Evil' at least hits some decent grooves to keep the indulgent jamming at a more listenable level...

            Same with Sgt Pepper (and Abbey Road, and most Beatles albums for that matter: 3 or 4 great tracks, but let's be honest, more than their share of filler...even Revolver has the awful Yellow Submarine to skip over: has anyone used the break off Tomorrow Never Knows, by the way, or is it just waay too expensive?). Trout Mask Replica is actually unlistenable, and even when I loved discordant stuff, I could never play that through, preferring 'Safe as Milk' every time...Still do, in fact.

            As for De La Soul, I think it's a great LP, but I do find the skits and fills get really annoying after the first couple of hearings...maybe I need a CD copy so I can programme them out in order to restore the actual music to its full glory!

            Coldplay/Travis I don't see as classic in any way: just massively overrated, rather dirgey 'product' - 'Girls Aloud' for the older brother set if you ask me (you didn't, but hey&#33. Radiohead I quite like sometimes (come on, Pyramid Song is lovely - you'd like it if it wasn't by them), but I prefer Olivia Tremor Control, Pere Ubu or The Residents (for great tracks embedded in unlistenable experiments, you can't beat 'em), so why one is 'essential classic' and the others barely heard is anyone's guess...

            A lot of stuff I think is hugely overrated (like Pet Sounds, Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On, Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, the Stones' Exile On Main St, etc) isn't because the LPs are bad, but just because they're put on some untouchable pedestal they don't deserve: other LPs are at least as good, but aren't on that 'critically approved list' that means you don't have to listen to them and make up your own mind, rather than trot them out in your 'all time best' every time by rote.

            I always use the Shakespeare analogy: sure, he's a great writer/poet/dramatist, but so are Webster, Marlowe, John Donne, etc: all of them produced works that are better at what they do than Skakespeare's, but they do something DIFFERENT, and besides, somehow Shakespare has become a kind of totem/fetish, and the others haven't. Same, I think, with the whole 'MOJO' canon thing, which I guess is just the inverse of the 'mediocre rarity trumps the record everyone knows' mentality.

            Anyway, I'd add the complete works of John Lennon post-Beatles to the list, too: not an LP, I know, but 'Imagine' is surely the most sickeningly inane bit of hypocrisy ever committed to wax ( ). Also:

            Bob Marley's 'Greatest Hits' (or anything after 'Catch A Fire' - reggae for people who don't like black music? Is there anything on it as good as 'The Harder They Come' or 'Police & Thieves'? Discuss...)
            a giant steam-powered turntable in warwickshire plays six foot cement recordings of Prince Albert's speeches to the rejoicing populace

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            • #7
              I'm not going to defend anything in this thread (even those I rate), but use it once again pick a fight with anybody who rates *any* Pink Floyd LP other than 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn'.

              You're all idiots. C'mon let's fucking have it then !

              And while we're there, all Frank Zappa LPs are shite. There are no good Oasis songs, only a handful of songs of any standard by The Velvet Underground, same goes for The bloody Beatles.

              Right, I'm off to the post office (parcel on it's way Wayne).
              Matt Hero

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              • #8
                Originally posted by [b
                Quote[/b] (wayne @ 05 June 2003,13:27)]Has anyone used the break off Tomorrow Never Knows, by the way, or is it just waay too expensive?.
                'Tomorrow Never Knows' = The Chemical Brothers 'Setting Sun'

                With Noel Gallagher on vocals - how appropriate. At least it led to Chris Evans enthusiastically playing said track on his breakfast show because it was a new, Oasis related track and then having to pull it off after 30 seconds because he hated it.

                You freeking scientologists are all the same, quible, dribble and then demand ice creams. Ohhhhhhhhhhh.

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                • #9
                  Matt, I was going to add 'Dark side Of The Moon' to the 'overrated' list but didn't think it was, actually, considered a classic: more a kind of Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds deal that people buy just 'cos it sold so many copies...just a rip of Mystic Moods/United States Of America, really...

                  And I think you might actually be Nick C in disguise, and I claim my five pounds...
                  a giant steam-powered turntable in warwickshire plays six foot cement recordings of Prince Albert's speeches to the rejoicing populace

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                  • #10
                    LOL!



                    Really, they are two different people (and we take care not to let them sit next to each other at Fresh Brillo - lord knows what will happen if Col ever comes down for one).
                    You freeking scientologists are all the same, quible, dribble and then demand ice creams. Ohhhhhhhhhhh.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Personally, I disagree with the Radiohead slating, although maybe they're responsible for those twats Travis and Coldplay - I'm looking at you Ilmod1!



                      I never used to try and even hear the Beatles because it irritated the f*ck out of me that so many people rate them to the exclusion of all else (the same with Elvis). Then that reaction seemed just as dumb as blindly worshipping them and I listened. And they did record a huge number of extraordinary tracks but for me I'm not sure that any LP is truly great.

                      And I'll get killed for this but 'King Of Rock'. One of only a handful of records I can think that I've ever taken back to the shop (maybe I should give it another go - I've never heard it since).

                      Also 'The Stone Roses' and all the Happy Mondays' LPs, not to get into that whole discussion again. I was an indie kid in my time but I don't think much of the music has aged well.
                      You freeking scientologists are all the same, quible, dribble and then demand ice creams. Ohhhhhhhhhhh.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by [b
                        Quote[/b] (wayne @ 05 June 2003,13:27)]Anyway, I'd add the complete works of John Lennon post-Beatles to the list, too: not an LP, I know, but 'Imagine' is surely the most sickeningly inane bit of hypocrisy ever committed to wax ( ).
                        Good call - I maintain if Paul McCartney had been shot in 1980, the output of Wings would be regarded as works of genius!

                        People say 'Yeah, but Paul did the Frog Chorus (sneer, sneer)', but that's a masterpiece compared to the pretentious drivel John turned out with Yoko. (Full marks to Johnny Harris for actually producing a listenable version of 'Give Peace a Chance&#39

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by [b
                          Quote[/b] (Lord Thames @ 05 June 2003,14:29)]People say 'Yeah, but Paul did the Frog Chorus (sneer, sneer)', but that's a masterpiece compared to the pretentious drivel John turned out with Yoko. (Full marks to Johnny Harris for actually producing a listenable version of 'Give Peace a Chance&#39
                          You can't argue with The Frog Chorus, can you? (altogether now, Bomp, bomp, bomp - aai-i-yah - bomp, bomp, bomp...)

                          And does that mean you're not so sure Johnny Harris's 'Imagine' quite manages the same feat?
                          a giant steam-powered turntable in warwickshire plays six foot cement recordings of Prince Albert's speeches to the rejoicing populace

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by [b
                            Quote[/b] (wayne @ 05 June 2003,14:38)]And does that mean you're not so sure Johnny Harris's 'Imagine' quite manages the same feat?
                            Au contraire, Monsieur Wayne, I never thought a recorder could sound so lovely!

                            On the other hand, Joan Collins' version of 'Imagine' sounds like Mrs Thatcher speaking at a Tory party conference.

                            And as for Roger Whittaker - singing about 'Imagine there's no heaven.....no religion too.'. And to think he used to be a regular on 'Stars On Sunday'!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by [b
                              Quote[/b] (Rich Hero @ 05 June 2003,14:11)]And I'll get killed for this but 'King Of Rock'. One of only a handful of records I can think that I've ever taken back to the shop (maybe I should give it another go - I've never heard it since).
                              'Kings of Rock' is IMHO is a decent LP, not a classic, but still I like it. Anyway, that's not the point I'm trying to make here, rather that there are very few Hip Hop Lps which are free of filler, ie and work well as a 'suite' of music.... and that's what makes a classic LP as far as I'm concerned.

                              That's why I like '3 Feet...' actually, but other than 'Nation of Millions' or 'Low End Thoery' I'm struggling to think of many.

                              Oh, and I'd like to run another one of those 'Best Song Ever' compeitions, record the details of anybody who votes for 'Imagine' so that I can personally visit them and dash their brains out on their doorsteps (viz the scene from 'Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back' where they visit all the people who dissed them on their website in person).

                              My my, I'm *so* full of rage today....
                              Matt Hero

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