underrated, even maligned

what records by ‘huge’ bands do you find overlooked or even kinda trashed by critics/your friends?

i ask this because i’m listening to the stones’ ‘black and blue;’ it’s totally fine by my ears, but hated by lots of other folks. also, their goat’s head soup is full-on awesome; and emotional rescue is also totally not crap.

what other albums come to mind? i know kyle digs that final cut album by the pink floyds. too, bender long ago turned me on to the soft parade.


27 Responses to “underrated, even maligned”

  1. andrew schmidt Says:

    ‘Hey Negrita’ is solid gold!

  2. KYle Says:

    Yeah, The Final Cut.

    As well as…
    U2 – Passengers
    Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion and Ultra
    Pulp – Different Class, and This Is Hardcore
    U2 – Zooropa (the 1st half is fantastic, the second half sinks hard, save the final song with Johnny Cash)
    David Bowie – Outside (I should be embarrassed with the number of times I’ve listened to this. Still love it though.)
    Faith No More – King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime (man, I really want to listen to this again. Thanks for the reminder)
    Remy Zero – Villa Elaine and Self Titled

    I better stop…

  3. nuge Says:

    Arrested Development (can’t remember which album, the one that you find about 900 copies of at the used record stores)

  4. Elvira Says:

    Yeah, I think one of those is my old Arrested Development CDs floating around out there. 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of…

  5. minx Says:

    I’ve been waiting for this question and grinding my axe in private. I like all the suggestions so far. The Soft Parade is amazing. Likewise for those Stones albums. Ditto for the early ’90s U2 efforts. The three I want to suggest are:

    1. Late Bob Marley (minus the posthumous Confrontation record, which has a couple of good tracks, but also some schlock thrown together). I think Marley is one of the most popular, but also most misunderstood recording artists. Audiophiles usually agree that his early music is strong, but often dis his music after the original wailers split. I liken his later exposure to that have Che, in that both have their image applied to all manner of causes, beliefs, agendas, and non-agendas. Many people associate late Marley with beach cocktail music or hokey love pleas to humanity. In reality, he was a very shrewd, militant, and avant garde musician. There were CIA files on him in the ’70s and his political ideas and involvement are very interesting. Check out the album Survival some time, released in ’79. This album was recorded specifically to address audiences in developing countries in Africa and other places in the southern hemisphere, and proved enormously popular with resistance movements in those areas. Marley never got weak as a musician, and I strongly support all the albums he made until his death. Effing awesome singer, too. Impressive performer (and only 5’4″). For those who dis reggae as a whole: I’m always surprised by sensitive and open-minded people who categorically reject reggae, but fail to see how it parallels soul music in the ’60s, and then became hugely influential on everything from minimalist composition to the punks (they loved that stuff). The textures and sound manipulation of ’70s reggae can be heard all the way into bands like Radiohead and Tortoise.

    2. I’ve spoken about post-Stooges Iggy before. Don’t miss Lust for Life and The Idiot. It’s not the Stooges; it’s electro-space in Berlin and hollow eyed parties with Bowie. Post-apocalypse muzik.

    3. Wilco’s A Ghost is Born. Outrageous guitar. Patience-trying interludes that break into head-bobbing agreement.

  6. EZ Says:


    The Grateful “goddamn” Dead

    Amazing album…. amazing band…. amazing amazement…

  7. wobs Says:

    REM’s Up, especially the first half of the album, is as interesting and radical a musical shift for them as the transition from Green to Out of Time was. Unfortunately, the second half of the album is warmed-over, second-rate Automatic era sentimentality.

    I also adore Sonic Youth’s Dirty. Cherry on top will be the soundtrack to the movie Judgement Night, which had some genius alternative-rap tag teams – Helmet and House of Pain? Hell yeah! Mudhoney and Sir Mix-a-Lot. Sonic Youth and Cypress Hill. Priceless.

  8. andrew schmidt Says:

    Dinosaur Jr.- Hand it Over.

  9. lexdexter Says:

    bender, i concur entirely about _ghost is born_. it was bound to be underrated in the light of _yankee hotel_, which was bound to be overrated after its conscription into a larger human narrative of shirking the system, perseverance, et al.

    ‘at least that’s what you said’ features one of the greatest gtr breaks in recent memory, reminiscent of nothing so much as television’s long-forgotten, ayler-soaked “little johnny jewel.” and company in my back and muzzle of bees, etc., have always kicked my ass as pieces of writing. (parenthetically: the ‘i’m a wheel’/kicking television 7″ sounds really great amidst a flurry of ubu and husker du singles, which is to say it’s ‘post-punk as fuck.’)

    i’m compelled to praise wilco cuz i feel like a jerk for having chosen son volt over ’em in your recent poll. this sounds like faint praise, but tweedy deserves credit for keeping great players around him. the abrupt, ‘left turn’ quality of _yankee_ and everything after obviously testifies to his newfound embrace of his chicago indie rock environs. and adding nels cline as yr lead gtr player never hurts. that said, i’m interested to see what the next album will sound like without the benefit of jim o’rourke. it’ll be different, for sure.

    dirty is unstoppably great, the only ‘guitar’ record of its era worthy of comparison to my bloody valentine’s -loveless-. many of the songs run together, as different pallors of feedback are subtituted for chord progressions. but then there are standout tracks like “sugar kane,” “wish fulfillment” and “teresa’s soundword,” some of the best songwriting from lee and thurston, period.

  10. lexdexter Says:

    also, i’ve always thought that roxy music’s comeback album, ‘manifesto,’ is really amazing.

  11. frank Says:

    I don’t know what the critics’ opinions were, but I always dug ‘Ride the Lightning’ by Metallica – couldn’t get many friends to follow, though. Good calls on ‘Up’ and ‘Goat’s Head Soup’ – two albums I’ve only enjoyed by myself so far. I’ve also gotten into Her Satanic Majesty’s Request lately as well as PF’s Ummagumma – that live album – been diggin’ through dad’s old records here

  12. m. potato Says:

    “chrome” by the cathrine wheel was a pretty fucking great post-shoe-gazer-brit album hitting the streets round about ’93. not so sure about their hard rock leanings after the early ’90’s though…anyone ever listen to “adam and eve” album that came out in or around ’97?
    continuing w/ the manchester brit-pop-shoe-gaze theme, i hear lots of folks bashing the stone roses, but their 1989 self titled, debut album really kicked and still continues to kick my ass. plus john leckie produced it, which is alright in my book.

  13. nuge Says:

    nice one frank, UG and RTL are classics indeed. I’d like to nominate G’n’R Use Your Illusion 1 & 2. In addition most Steely Dan records (sure to get some comments there)

  14. Elvira Says:

    I think this brings us back to Go to Heaven.

  15. lexdexter Says:

    Right Again, ‘Vira.
    Funny, Wobs and I were talking about ‘Lost Sailor’ just today.

  16. minx Says:

    I’ve got a late entry: Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s second album. I think it was called Nigga Pleaze (or something like that). Weird, weird album.

  17. lexdexter Says:

    bender, what was the wu album with ‘MC Conditioner’m on it? you could never say that boy was an amateur.

    also, dire straits’ -brothers in arms- is the shit, leaving aside the two clunker singles.

  18. wobs Says:

    I’m gonna ‘fess up and admit to loving Zep’s In Through the Out Door. “In the Evening,” “Carouselambra,” “All of My Love,” and “I’m Gonna Crawl,” are monster tracks.

  19. Barry Says:

    I know strong opposition will come from this, but I kind of like Paul Simon’s Graceland. I absolutely hated it the first many times I heard it (I recall reproaches from Rory and Lainie about my scathing comments), but it grew on me. Especially the song that has the line “Don’t I know you from the cinematographyer’s party?” Okay, maybe I don’t love this album, but I certainly don’t despise it. I haven’t seen the live footage from this time period–with Paul sining with the African Choir.

    Dylan’s Self Portrait. Collection of trash or not, I love it. “who’s gonna throw that minstrel boy a dime?”

    Also, I’ve been listening to Sonic Youth’s Murray Street lately. I have no idea what others think of this album, but I really dig it.

  20. minx Says:

    Lex, that Wu album was the “W”. It’s a hit or miss effort. I think they’ve put out one or two since then, but I know very little about them. In fact, some of the recent solo albums (Ghostface, Masta killa) are supposed to be good, but now they’re out of the times, so to speak. No one cares, including me.

    I’m glad someone threw some Zep in there. Graceland is a good choice, too, although I’ve never listened to it much. Hey, what about some Elvis Costello?

  21. lexdexter Says:

    ah, i’ll see minx’s elvis costello and raise him a joe jackson. ‘look sharp’ and ‘i’m the man’ both pretty much rule.

    and ‘stepping out’ is an all-time favorite single for me, period.

    if anything, i’d have to say that elvis c.’s overrated, no?

    ah, i mentioned this elsewhere, but bowie’s _scary monsters_ deserves praise.

  22. lexdexter Says:

    billy joel’s _glass houses_ is a rad example of a classic-rocker “responding” to punk/new wave with a rough-around-the-edges kinda lp. it’s great all the way through.

  23. minx Says:

    Yeah, but Elvis C. takes a beating amongst friends and allies of ours. Never actually heard Joe Jackson. He’s good, huh?

  24. TronnDoe Says:

    There are some really good “pre-Americans” Fleetwood Mac records that get over-shadowed by the success of the Buckingham/Nicks era…”Mystery to me” and “bare trees” come to mind.

  25. KYle Says:

    Wobs – Total high five on “In Through the Out Door.” I’ve been listening to that during house clean-ups lately. Which one is that 10-minute song that pretty much personifies a coke party?

    Everyone – I’m feeling like we just need to go ahead and open up a message forum.

  26. Barry Says:

    Ry Cooder “Paradise Lunch”

  27. david Says:

    I recently picked up Elvis C.’s first three lps and have to say I love them, but they’re not exactly overlooked by critics. Surprise to hear lex give the dis. The improvement in musicianship and songwriting from his first to his second is pretty astonishing (tho I love both).

    Graceland is good, but I prefer Still Crazy After All These Years.

    One record that Rob turned me on to recently, and which I saw just got the deluxe reissue treatment, is David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name, his first solo joint. It’s the most overlooked Grateful Dead record ever made, all these years as a Deadhead and I’d never heard of it. Jerry and Phil are all over it, as is Joni M., all of CSNY, and a ton of other SoCal rockers.

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