There are times in life where you just have to be cruel to be kind. Even musical geniuses are capable of taking their eye off the ball, and how often have you given a supposed classic record a spin and wondered exactly what other people can hear that you can’t? .  Now, I’m a true believer in the “no bad music” motto.  Whatever moves you is great.  Except for most hip hop of course….

Remember.  I’m not saying these are BAD albums.  Just overrated.  There is a big difference. 



Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band – Trout Mask Replica

First of all, let me just clarify two things: 1) I don’t dislike Captain Beefheart – Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) is kind of an enjoyable album. And 2) I appreciate experimental music.  But, for me, Trout Mask Replica is simply beyond comprehension. My disdain for this record grows every time it graces a list in the music press.  I was looking through Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.   There it is, that silly trout-faced cover staring at me at number 56! Is it really better than Meet The Beatles (number 59) or Purple Rain (number 72) No chance. Trout Mask Replica is 28 tracks of rambling vocals,  bagpipes, horns and guitars that sound like they should’ve been bagpipes. It’s unlistenable – everyone owns it (including me) but no one ever listens to it. Fact.


Patti Smith: “Horses”

Influential? Of course. The work of a genuine artist? Absolutely. Worthy of the slobbering attention it has got in best-of lists ever since? No.

Sure, it may have lit the fires of inspiration in the head of Michael Stipe, but so did the Banana Splits.  Can you name any track on it apart from Gloria (a cover by the way)?



Doors: “LA Woman”

Morrison was in very bad shape when this album was being made, showing up for sessions totally wasted and not even speaking to the other band members most of the time, it was a miracle that this album got finished.  But beside the title track, was it worth it? Chances are had Morrison lived, with the tension between the band members and his legal problems looming, this would have been the Doors’ last effort anyway.  Not really a bad record at all.  But they deserved a better swan song.



Vastly different from most of Yes’ previous output; Rick Wakeman didn’t hate it for nothing. Close To The Edge’s songs were based on actual melodies – solid guitar riffs, cool repeating keyboard phrases, harmonious sequences that actually had a beginning and an end. Tales, in comparison, often end up sounding like random sonic collages, with the band carefully avoiding hooks and trying to reach the maximum level of deconstruction. Not that the actual tunes are atonal or highly dissonant; they do have some kind of flow to them, but it’s a forced, mechanical, artificial flow that hasn’t got any real life to it. No matter how much I listen to this stuff, NOTHING agrees to stick in my head


Sex pistols “Never Mind The Bullocks”

Okay, okay I guess it was needed at the time…but was it really? The Ramones were already doing this stuff better and if it’s lyrics you want with your punk, then The Clash did THAT better.  What they did was cop an attitude, dress the part, and throw together some “songs” that were marketed toward pimply teenagers.  Isn’t that what Britney Spears did?  Just on another astral plane…


That’s it for now.  Anything ever jump out at you as something you were “supposed” to like but just couldn’t?


9 responses

  1. Shawn Ryan

    The guy in the dorm room next to me at college LOVED Trout Mask Replica and played it incessantly. I still have nightmares about the Neon Meate Dream of a Octafish and Hair Pie, Bake 2. Years later, I went back and listened to it, just to see if I could enjoy it any better. Nope. I just will never get free jazz.
    Nor did I like Never Mind the Bollocks, I like my musicians to at least have some ability to play their instruments. And I find it hard to appreciate Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, it just seems to meander, even though I’m one of those guys who can appreciate Yes’ Tales from Topographic Oceans, although that may be because my first live concert was Yes’ tour for it and they played the WHOLE thing live. I thought all concerts lasted 4 hours.
    The Velvet Underground and Nico — yeah it was shocking for its drugs, sex and dystopia, but so what? And, as an aside, has anyone ever noticed how New York-based bands often wind up on Most Influential lists, eg, Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, Television, Talking Heads, etc. etc. etc
    Other influential albums/bands that I never cared for:
    Television’s Marquee Moon
    Joni Mitchell’s Blue
    Anything by Wire
    The Strokes
    Pink Floyd (except of course for Dark Side of the Moon)

    July 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm

  2. I know this will drive you crazy, but I think the White Album (The Beatles) is overrated. It’s one really good album. Unfortunately, it’s two very mediocre albums. Cut out the crap (Wild Honey Pie, Everybody’s Got Something to Hide…, anything by Harrison that’s not “While My Guitar”, Don’t Pass Me By, Revolution Number 9, Good Night, I’m TIred, etc) and you’ve got not just a good album, but maybe their best album ever. The leftovers….well, you can put those out later as “Magical Mystery Tour II”. A perfect example of the total being LESS than the sum of its parts.

    But let me just give you solid props for pointing out that the emporer has no clothes with “Never Mind the Bullocks”. I have hated that album since the first time I heard it, and appreciate anyone who’s willing to publicly state that it just isn’t that good…or ANY good.

    Speaking of which, my personal choice? “Paul’s Boutique” by the Beastie Boys. The media lapped it up. It’s crap pressed into vinyl.

    July 14, 2011 at 10:16 pm

  3. Shawn Ryan

    Well, George Martin agreed with you about the White Album. He wanted to cull it down to one album. I’ve always wondered which songs would be kept. Back in the USSR, Dear Prudence and While My Guitar Gently Weeps are virtual certainties. I’d also say Happiness is a Warm Gun, Rocky Raccoon, Blackbird, Mother Nature’s Son, Helter Skelter, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da (pretty sure Paul would have insisted considering the amount of time he made the others spend on it), The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, Sexy Sadie and I personally like Cry Baby Cry.
    As for other “influential” acts that I don’t care for, I’d have to go with the whole Husker Du/ Pavement/ Superchunk indie movement of the 90s. Everyone talks about the melodic sensibilities of those bands and I just hear ragged guitars and ragged vocals.
    And for me Sonic Youth tends to fit in with Capt. Beefheart, a lot of free association cosmic noise that I just don’t want to be associated with.

    July 15, 2011 at 12:13 am

  4. Normally don’t reply and let the chips fall where they may, but it’s such a cliche to think The White album should have been cut down to one, or as Ringo mocked “Yeah, it should have been cut to two separate albums: The White album and The Whiter Album”.
    Some of the throwaways are what make it so cool. “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” was a throwaway, but with one of the greatest vocals in history and a dirty little tongue and cheek the moptops needed. What else? “Wild Honey Pe”? Hilarious. You mentioned “Me and My Monkey”. One of the greatest uses of cowbell in music history. And it’s because they didn’t “strike” it with a stick. They actually rang the damn thing. It’s one of their greatest rock songs. The only one that deserves to be cut (or at least shortened A LOT) is revolution # 9. As one of my favorite music reviewers (George Starostin) says about the album: “More Beatles is better Beatles” and “It’s like an encyclopaedia of popular music seen through the prism of the world’s greatest pop band ever. This album should be studied in musical colleges.” I agree with him wholeheartedly. It’s like a history of western music. I think it’s second only to Revolver and neck and neck with Abbey Road…. Completely agree about Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks”. Always on top of every groovy critics list, but it just noodles. “Moondance” kicks it in the teeth.

    July 15, 2011 at 1:17 am

  5. Shawn Ryan

    Oh, I didn’t mean to imply that I didn’t like the White Album. It’s one of my favorite all-time albums. I was just going with what George Martin said and playing a little intellectual game about which songs would’ve been kept.
    And I agree about Moondance. If you’re with a woman and put on Moondance and can’t get laid, you might as well join a monastery.

    July 15, 2011 at 1:36 am

  6. Not you Mr. Ryan. I was responding to my old arch nemesis……Dixon. Of course we at the Black Jacket Symphony Love Richard Dixon, and he knows it. As a matter of fact everybody should listen to him on WAPI from 2 to 6 pm.

    July 15, 2011 at 1:53 am


    Let’s see, Birdland, Kimberly, Free Money. I do agree that the original ‘Horses’ was poorly produced and performed, but the 30th anniversary edition done live was pretty dam good. So I guess I agree with the original album being overrated.

    As for LA Woman, the title track and Riders on the Storm are the only things I listen to from the album.

    And since most music critics seem to think Bob Dylan wouldn’t sink in the lake, I think some of his albums are ‘overrated’ if critical acclaim is the yardstick. A lot of great stuff but not everything is holy grail.

    July 15, 2011 at 2:52 am

  8. Tres

    Pink Flyd’s The Wall is tremendously overrated. I loved it in High School and College but its kinda embarrasing to listen today. Give me Bike over any song on that album.

    July 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm

  9. GR3

    Any album by REM!

    July 15, 2011 at 11:02 pm

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