Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Twelve Most Unjustly Maligned Albums List Part 2

Part 1

And we're back. Through the magic of long weekends I have actually written the second post of this series in a timely manner.

8. Deftones - Deftones

Self titled albums confuse me a bit. I can understand why a bands debut album may not have a proper title, but I'm not sure quite what inspires a band well into their career to decide to name an album after themselves. It seems to imply that it will be a completely forgettable placeholder in their discography.

That's how most people view the Deftones' self titled, but I've always felt that it deserves better. As I see it the main problem with Deftones is that they were too stoned while writing it and forgot to put in any hooks, write any lyrics that made sense or think of a proper title. If you can look past that the songwriting is actually pretty good.

Part of the reason that this album gets dissed is because the first single was the relatively mellow 'Minerva', which turned off the meathead demographic (who apparently didn't remember 'Be Quiet and Drive'), but it's hard to see how even the most noise headed munter would fail to enjoy the likes of 'Hexagram', 'When Girls Telephone Boys' and 'Bloody Cape', which all rock out something wicked.

It's a dense album that you have to give attention to in order to appreciate (i.e. a stoner album), but it's worth the effort.

Bold Statement: Deftones is better than Adrenaline.

7. Pulp - We Love Life

Pulp's last album followed the massive success of Different Class and This is Hardcore and the band were therefore ripe for a critical backlash. This is a bit of a weird album for me. If I listen to it from beginning to end I'm inclined to agree with the critics; these guys have lost the spark and are just foundering, trying to rediscover the magic they once had. On the other hand if I have my ipod on random and a track from We Love Life comes up I usually love it.

I'm at a loss to describe why this is, but maybe it's because these tracks are all breezy pop songs in format (although not in subject matter) and listening to an hour of them is a bit much. It's nowhere near as good as This Is Hardcore, but it doesn't deserve the critical bashing that it's received.

Bold Statement: Jarvis Cocker looks like a dork.

6. Marilyn Manson - Mechanical Animals

Poor old Marilyn Manson will always be remembered for a couple of catchy industrial rock songs off Antichrist Superstar followed by a subsequent slide into obscurity, but it's sad that his best album, Mechanical Animals, gets lumped in with Holy Wood and The Golden Age of Grotesque (which were at least somewhat deserving of their dismissal).

Manson lost a few fans with a conscious switch of genre from hard rock to glam, but despite the David Bowie inspired veneer of the music it still at it's heart was good catchy industrial rock, merging angst and (only slightly ironic) grooviness quite nicely, and all without the helping hand of Trent Reznor to rely on.

Bold Statement: I harbour hopes that Manson's new album (due out later this year) might be worth listening to.

5. Pink Floyd - A Momentary Lapse of Reason

I'm not quite sure why this album is so hated. It is the first release since Roger Waters left the band so that probably has something to do with it. It followed the also maligned The Final Cut which is probably relevant too. It contains the unbelievably cheesy songs 'On the Turning Away' and 'Learning to Fly' which are not points in its favour. But even despite all that, if you simply listen to the music unencumbered by the accompanying baggage, you'll find that it's a perfectly serviceable Pink Floyd album (which translates to quite a good album in absolute terms), with no true stylistic differences from their earlier albums. Well OK, it is a bit slicker and a bit more Eighties.

Although you're not likely to enjoy it if you have an aversion to long guitar solos. At least half the tracks on this album finish with a fade out to one of Gilmour's accomplished but wearisome solos. I always imagine the studio technicians slowly turning the volume knob down and slowly backing out of the room because Gilmour's been going for the past two hours and they want to get back to the wife and kids.

Bold Statement: I kind of like The Division Bell too.


Joel said...

I never knew you were a Pulp fan. I bought This Is Hardcore for $5 years ago, worth every penny.

Jon said...

Yeah I've been a big fan of theirs for years, although it's quite a way out of my usual listening tastes...