The Most Overrated Albums Of All Time?
The pop culture site Faster Louder has listed what they believe to be some of the most overrated albums of all time, which if you read the comments following the article, is akin to kicking your kid’s brand new puppy down 2 flights of stairs. They’re getting raked over it. This ain’t your normal list of overrated target albums either; while there are a few ‘usual suspects’, the majority of the victims are a little…unexpected, and contain**SHOCK SHOCK HORROR HORROR!**a good deal of some of my favorite albums of all time. A good deal of my sacred cows are being slaughtered at a rapid fire rate here. How dare they!?!? Actually, let me tell you that most of the writing is done tongue in cheek, but also a vast majority of the criticism hits home, too close in some cases. It’s a very interesting read, so let me offer up a teaser or FOUR, then you can go directly to the article via a link and read the rest on their own site. Don’t want to rob Faster Louder of any page views or unique visitors.
“The future of music!” they said. “The ’60s ideal of the guitar combo plus the dancable rhythms of tomorrow, all wrapped up in effortless cool!” The thing that everyone seemed to overlook when assessing the importance of the Stone Roses’ debut was that they only remembered to write half a dozen songs for it. And look, the actual songs are really good – ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, ‘She Bangs the Drums’, ‘Made of Stone’, ‘I Am the Resurrection’ etc – but they’re surrounded by drivel like ‘Don’t Stop’, which is previous track ‘Waterfall’ played backwards, which totally doesn’t suggest that they had no tunes lying around. That’s still better than ‘Elizabeth My Dear’, a badly-scanning re-write of ‘Scarborough Fair’, and noodly go-nowhere grooves like ‘Shoot You Down’.
And before you chime in about ‘Fool’s Gold’, it wasn’t on the original album but was tacked onto the CD (and the band didn’t even realise what they had: it was originally a throwaway b-side for the vasty inferior ‘What the World is Waiting For’ before someone sensibly suggested flipping the sides). And it’s admittedly great, especially considering that it’s two basslines and a sweet drum loop. – Andrew P Street
There was the battle to even hear it and then the spectre of 9/11, merging to build an anti-establishment vibe that fit with the radio-repelling squall of ‘I Am Trying to Break Your Heart’. This was the album where Wilco transformed from alt-country sweethearts to art-rock agitators (before softening again later), though ‘Jesus, Etc.’ and ‘Heavy Metal Drummer’ are sorely accessible. For all the turbulence of its context and the album itself, though, it doesn’t sum up absolutely everything the band can do the way Being There did. As with Exile on Main St, its uncommercial grit and sheer mystique make it ripe for name-checking, but give me Summerteeth, Being There or the more developed A Ghost is Born any day. – Doug Wallen
I’ve been told that this album defined a time and a generation, specifically my time and my generation. What’s more, this claim was put to me in the past tense. Firstly, I don’t like the idea that I’m defined by facile, nature-boy lyrics, squelchy samples and triplet arpeggios over four-to-the-floor beats (the most over-used trick in recent memory). Secondly, no album could possibly define the fragmented musical epoch that we are currently living through, certainly not with the benefit of three years’ hindsight. That didn’t stop the whole of the blogosphere from trying, though. As with many albums on this list, the villain isn’t the artist. The Pitchfork age needed a mascot, and when MGMT cracked the mainstream, ensuring their abandonment by hipsters en masse, the role fell to, well, you know who. – Edward Sharp-Paul
Anyone that identifies as a “John Lennon guy” ought to remember that they are pledging allegiance to someone that used the most anticipated album of all time as an opportunity to impress his cool new girlfriend with some pseudo-avant garde shit. ‘Revolution #9’ is the sound of an illusion shattering: Yes, The Beatles are human, and sometimes they drop almighty turds.
The White Album was an abdication, an admission that the splintering, dysfunctional foursome had peaked, and was starting to wilt under the enormous cultural pressure. More than that, it was a cruel trick to play on a fanbase that had come to accept The Fab Four as, in Timothy Leary’s words, “evolutionary agents sent by God”, and now had to search the likes of ‘Savoy Truffle’ for higher meaning. It has its moments, but for every ‘Helter Skelter’, there’s a ‘Bungalow Bill’. For every ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, a ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?’.
We should be thankful that Revolver and Sergeant Peppers gave birth to the idea that commercial music could be artistically challenging. Likewise, I suppose we should be thankful that The White Album revealed as fallacy the idea that “artistically challenging” and “artistically valid” are the same thing. – Edward Sharp-Paul