The Most Overrated Albums of All Time

Yesterday’s Guardian had an excellent feature on “Hot Albums that Leave You Cold“, basically the opposite of my Great Lost Albums series. So I was inspired to put together my 10 Most Overrated Albums of All Time…

1. The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

To be honest, so astronomically overrated are the Drab Four that I could’ve picked an album from any of their three phases (twee, irritating pop, dated, unconvincing psychedelia, or the invention of the lighter-waving power ballad) but Sergeant Pepper gets it, as the disparity between the esteem in which is held and the horrific reality of actually listening to the fucker is Atlantic-huge. Horrible, naff children’s music (When I’m 64, With a Little Help…), ooh-look-at-how-stoned-we-are psychedelia (Lucy in the Sky…), and THAT embarrassingly awful title track. A Day in the Life isn’t bad admittedly, but The Fall do it better. Like all the band’s work, it sounds pathetically dated now. Just because you’re first doesn’t make you the best.

2. Nirvana – Nevermind

Steal ideas from a couple of vastly superior bands (The Replacements & Pixies), throw in some vaguely angsty lyrics, and polish it all with a radio-friendly production gloss, and hey presto, both critics and public are fooled. I enjoyed it at the time, as I often guiltily enjoy commercial, catchy rock (Chili Peppers & Killers for example), but I haven’t listened to it in over 10 years and its continued place in the pantheon of classic albums baffles me.

3. The Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks

When the western media cover the Middle East, they always show footage of the yelling, ranting, extremist minority who throw rocks & wave AK47s, ignoring the peaceful, educated masses who stay at home. And in a similar vein, when the media talk about punk, they always show these manufactured pub rockers instead of the genuinely creative bands like the Buzzcocks, Wire or Joy Division who forged new musical paths instead of just spitting at people and saying rude words. Bollocks is an awful album – dull, plodding, hamfisted music by competent session musicians, as artificial as the Monkees or Westlife. Take away the hair gel & the safety pins and you’ve got a very average pub rock band.

4. Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

So incredibly boring I can’t even be bothered to write about it.

5. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On

Critics routinely praise What’s Going On whilst overlooking Gaye’s lascivious, awesome masterpiece Let’s Get it On, an album that has loosened more bra straps than any other. What’s Going On is frequently so twee as to be unlistenable, and when it’s not twee it’s simply dull.

6. The White Stripes – Elephant

Jesus don’t get me started on these fuckers. I quite enjoyed the previous album, White Blood Cells – as soulless musical pastiche projects go it was more listenable than Blur, say – but Elephant is simply horrible, designed solely to push the right buttons with 40-something rock hacks. Not a single original note in its entire running time, its nadir is the horrendous mauling of Bacharach’s I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself, a novelty cover completely lacking the grace, poise and emotional punch of Dusty Springfield’s version. I think I was the only person in the world not to be surprised when these wankers did a Coke ad.

7. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

Fair enough, we all have our favourite dope albums, but at least mine still sound good when I’m not stoned.

8. Antony & the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now

Mercury Prize? For this? First time I heard it I struggled to get past the Kermit-on-helium voice, and the second time I realised that, once you accept the voice and get used to it, there’s nothing else to hear.

9. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

Not a bad album by any means, but not in the same league as Funeral. A sad case of a band reading their own press and trying to make a classic American rock album (check out the horrible Springsteen influence on several tracks), and thus forgetting what made them great to begin with. Will doubtless clean up in the end-of-year reviews, whilst superior albums by the likes of Battles, Ulrich Schnauss and The Field are ignored.

10. Blur – Parklife

How can anyone still listen to this? Back in 1994 it was a bit of fun and the soundtrack to many a good night out in Camden, but it dated virtually overnight and now sounds truly horrible. Though I guess I’m biased, having read John Harris’s excellent Britpop book The Last Party, which reveals Damon Albarn to be a truly unpleasant little cunt. As does the film Live Forever. As does anything else featuring Damon Albarn, come to think of it.

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One Comment on “The Most Overrated Albums of All Time”


  1. […] One guy’s list of overrated albums. His list sucks, but it is kind of funny. […]


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