10 Classic Albums The Critics Originally Panned
Rolling Stone has gone through its archives to come up with a list of "10 Classic Albums Rolling Stone Originally Panned."
Though the piece questions what the critic was thinking, it does point out that "sometimes you have a matter of hours to listen to a new record, digest it and produce a review that will live forever. But some albums take many, many listens to truly reveal themselves."
With that, here are the ones they felt the critics missed the mark on:
1) Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced (1967), reviewed by future Bruce Springsteen manager Jon Landau: "Everything else is insane and simply a matter of either you dig it or you don't. Basically I don't for several reasons. Despite Jimi's musical brilliance and the group's total precision, the poor quality of the songs and the inanity of the lyrics too often get in the way. Jimi is very much into state-of-mind type lyrics, but even so, lines like 'Manic depression is a frustrating mess,' just don't make it... Dig it if you can, but as for me, I'd rather hear Jimi play the blues."
2) Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (1969): "Jimmy Page, around whom the Zeppelin revolves, is, admittedly, an extraordinarily proficient blues guitarist and explorer of his instrument's electronic capabilities. Unfortunately, he is also a very limited producer and a writer of weak, unimaginative songs, and the Zeppelin album suffers from his having both produced it and written most of it (alone or in combination with his accomplices in the group)."
3) Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath (1970): "The whole album is a shuck -- despite the murky song titles and some inane lyrics that sound like Vanilla Fudge paying doggerel tribute to Alister Crowley, the album has nothing to do with spiritualism, the occult, or anything much except stiff recitations of Cream clichés that sound like the musicians learned them out of a book, grinding on and on with dogged persistence. Vocals are sparse, most of the album being filled with plodding bass lines over which the lead guitar dribbles wooden Claptonisms from the master's tiredest Cream days...just like Cream! But worse."
4) Neil Young - Harvest (1972): "I listened to the entirety of Harvest no less than a dozen times before touching typewriter to paper, ultimately managing to come up with only one happy thing to say about it: Neil Young still sings awful pretty, and often even touchingly. For the most part, though, he's seemingly lost sight of what once made his music uniquely compelling and evocative and become just another pretty-singing solo superstar. Which can't help but bring me down."
5) The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street (1972) - by future Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye: "Exile on Main Street appears to take up where Sticky Fingers left off, with the Stones attempting to deal with their problems and once again slightly missing the mark. They've progressed to the other side of the extreme, wiping out one set of solutions only to be confronted with another... I still think that the great Stones album of their mature period is yet to come. Hopefully, Exile on Main Street will give them the solid footing they need to open up, and with a little horizon-expanding (perhaps honed by two months on the road), they might even deliver it to us the next time around."
6) Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks (1975) - Jon Landau: "If in Dylan's world of extremes there's room for a middle ground, that's where I place Blood on the Tracks. It's his best album since Blonde on Blonde, but not nearly as good. If it contains nothing so bad as the second version of 'Forever Young,' only 'Tangled Up in Blue' comes even close to 'One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)' To compare the new album to Blonde on Blonde at all is to imply that people will treasure it as deeply and for as long. They won't."
7) AC/DC - High Voltage (1976): "Those concerned with the future of hard rock may take solace in knowing that with the release of the first U.S. album by these Australian gross-out champions, the genre has unquestionably hit its all-time low. Things can only get better (at least I hope so)... AC/DC has nothing to say musically (two guitars, bass and drums all goose-stepping together in mindless three-chord formations). Lyrically, their universe begins and ends with the words 'I,' 'me' and 'mine.' Lead singer Bon Scott spits out his vocals with a truly annoying aggression which, I suppose, is the only way to do it when all you seem to care about is being a star so that you can get laid every night. And that, friends, comprises the sum total of themes discussed on this record. Stupidity bothers me. Calculated stupidity offends me."
8) Queen - Jazz (1979) - Dave Marsh: "There's no jazz on Queen's new record, in case fans of either were worried about the defilement of an icon. Queen hasn't the imagination to play jazz -- Queen hasn't the imagination, for that matter, to play rock and roll. Jazz is just more of the same dull pastiche that's dominated all of this British supergroup's work: tight guitar/bass/drums heavy-metal clichés, light-classical pianistics, four-part harmonies that make the Four Freshmen sound funky and Freddie Mercury's throat-scratching lead vocals... Queen may be the first truly fascist rock band. The whole thing makes me wonder why anyone would indulge these creeps and their polluting ideas."
9) Nirvana - Nevermind (1991) - Trouser Press publisher Ira Robbins: "Too often, underground bands squander their spunk on records they're not ready to make, then burn out their energy and inspiration with uphill touring. Nevermind finds Nirvana at the crossroads -- scrappy garageland warriors setting their sights on a land of giants."
10) Weezer - Pinkerton (1996) - "Weezer over-rely on catchy tunes to heal all of Cuomo's wounds... Cuomo's voice cracks as he unintentionally bludgeons the fragile creature in the lyric, suggesting that underneath the geeky teenager pose is an artist well on his way to maturity."