Random post: Overrated Albums


In all my years of listening to music, I’ve come up with an opinion or two (maybe three, tops). Anyway, I’ve found some records to be underwhelming, and others surprisingly great. With that in mind, this is an alphabetical list of albums that are frequently called classic which I thought were decidedly not – some are awful, some merely good. To be helpful instead of just critical, I’ve included an album in a similar vein, ideally from the same artist, that I think is better. If you’re curious about getting into a band, I’d suggest going with my picks, as they’re usually more melodic and exciting, and less pretentious. To make things more confusing, I’ve included rough grades for each LP in brackets for comparison. So just transpose all the good things you’ve ever heard about the first album to the follow-up, and we’ll be on our merry way! 


Achtung Baby – U2 [B]

            Instead: The Joshua Tree – U2 [A+]


Aja – Steely Dan [B]

            Instead: Pretzel Logic – Steely Dan [A]


Alien Lanes – Guided By Voices [B+]

            Instead: Bee Thousand – Guided By Voices [A]


All Mod Cons – the Jam [B-]

            Instead: Singles Going Steady – the Buzzcocks [B+]


Astral Weeks – Van Morrison [B]

            Instead: Moondance – Van Morrison [A]


At Budokan – Cheap Trick [B]

            Instead: Radio City – Big Star [A+]


Being There – Wilco [B-]

            Instead: Sky Blue Sky – Wilco [A+]


Blue – Joni Mitchell [C]

            Instead: Court And Spark – Joni Mitchell [B]


Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen [C+]

            Instead: Darkness On the Edge Of Town – Bruce Springsteen [B]


The Boy With the Arab Strap – Belle And Sebastian [C]

            Instead: If You’re Feeling Sinister – Belle And Sebastian [A-]


Brothers – the Black Keys [B-]

            Instead: El Camino – the Black Keys [A-]


Check Your Head – Beastie Boys [B]

            Instead: Ill Communication – Beastie Boys [B+]


College Dropout – Kanye West [D+]

            Instead: Late Registration – Kanye West [A]


Damaged – Black Flag [B-]

            Instead: Songs About F**king – Big Black [B]


Daydream Nation – Sonic Youth [B-]

            Instead: Washing Machine – Sonic Youth [B+]


Dig Me Out – Sleater-Kinney [B]

            Instead: The Woods – Sleater-Kinney [A-]


Disintegration – the Cure [C+]

            Instead: The Head On the Door – the Cure [A]


For Your Pleasure – Roxy Music [B-]

            Instead: Here Come the Warm Jets – Brian Eno [A+]


Gimme Fiction – Spoon [F]

            Instead: Girls Can Tell – Spoon [B]


“Heroes” – David Bowie [B-]

            Instead: Low – David Bowie [B+]


Honky Chateau – Elton John [C+]

            Instead: Tumbleweed Connection – Elton John [B+]


Horses – Patti Smith [C+]

            Instead: Post – Bjork [A]


In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel [B]

            Instead: Funeral – Arcade Fire [A+]


Kick Out the Jams – the MC5 [D+]

            Instead: Raw Power – the Stooges [A-]


Kill the Moonlight – Spoon [F+]

            Instead: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga – Spoon [B+]


L.A. Woman – the Doors [B]

            Instead: Morrison Hotel – the Doors [B+]


Lifes Rich Pageant – R.E.M. [B-]

            Instead: Murmur – R.E.M. [A+]


The Lonesome Crowded West – Modest Mouse [B-]

            Instead: The Moon And Antarctica – Modest Mouse [A+]


Love It To Death – Alice Cooper [B]

            Instead: Killer – Alice Cooper [A]


Loveless – My Bloody Valentine [B-]

            Instead: m b v – My Bloody Valentine [B+]


Master Of Reality – Black Sabbath [B-]

            Instead: Paranoid – Black Sabbath [A-]


Mellow Gold – Beck [C+]

            Instead: Odelay – Beck [A-]


Merriweather Post Pavilion – Animal Collective [C-]

            Instead: Veckatimest – Grizzly Bear [B+]


Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols – the Sex Pistols [B-]

            Instead: Ramones – Ramones [A+]


A Night At the Opera – Queen [C]

            Instead: Sparks – Sparks [A]


Oracular Spectacular – MGMT [C]

            Instead: Congratulations – MGMT [A+]


The Queen Is Dead – the Smiths [C-]

            Instead: Louder Than Bombs – the Smiths [A+]


Return To Cookie Mountain – TV On the Radio [B-]

            Instead: Nine Types Of Light – TV On the Radio [A]


Sea Change – Beck [C-]

            Instead: Modern Guilt – Beck [B+]


Sound Of Silver – LCD Soundsystem [B]

            Instead: This Is Happening – LCD Soundsystem [A+]


The Suburbs – Arcade Fire [B+]

            Instead: Neon Bible – Arcade Fire [A]


Tapestry – Carole King [B-]

            Instead: Paul Simon – Paul Simon [B]


There’s A Riot Goin’ On – Sly And the Family Stone [B-]

            Instead: Maggot Brain – Funkadelic [A]


Trans-Europe Express – Kraftwerk [C+]

            Instead: Autobahn – Kraftwerk [A-]


Unknown Pleasures – Joy Division [C]

            Instead: Closer – Joy Division [B+]


Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – the Arctic Monkeys [C]

            Instead: Is This It – the Strokes [A+]


What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye [B-]

            Instead: Innervisions – Stevie Wonder [A+]


White Blood Cells – the White Stripes [C+]

            Instead: Icky Thump – the White Stripes [A]


Zen Arcade – Husker Du [B-]

            Instead: Double Nickels On the Dime – the Minutemen [B+]


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