We write about lists because all
of our research is in our heads
To cleanse the Rove off of your palate….
Talking, or writing as the case may be, about such a subject is difficult as noted by comments by some that, for example, The Stone Roses eponymous CD can hardly be underrated since music fans always seem to be referencing it or as Amanda at pandagon puts it:
Putting together an underrated list seems just too damn hard, since the temptation just to list your 20 favorite albums on the theory that they are clearly underrated if even one person out there doesn’t get how cool they are. That said, this list is a little ridiculous–the Stone Roses are a lot of things, but underrated is not one of them.
Part of the problem also comes from trying to deal with a wide range of ages. While someone of my advanced age may nod knowingly at the inclusion of All Things Must Pass there are others who read my blog that might scratch their head and ask who this George Harrison guy was or be surprised to find that Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings (No. Really. He was.) Of course, someone of my advanced age also might look at the inclusion of the Traveling Wilburys and might remember that, other than Little Village, they were the most misbegotten of all collaborative bands ever. I really hated them. A lot.
There is also the regional factor where you can have a band like Sublime who absolutely owned SoCal for the several years after Bradley Nowell OD’d but didn’t reach as deep in other parts of the country.
Part of the desire to list underated albums (should we still call them that?) is the possibly that we might introduce someone to someone or something they may not have ever heard of before and in doing so they will become more enlightened citizens and won’t go running off and starting wars or selling Amway. Sure it’s a big dream, but a boy’s gotta have a dream.
And a pony.
I won’t even get into overrated songs because I could be here all night, so here are five CD’s that I think that people should listen to based solely on the fact that, with about a thousand CDs (you have no idea), I always feel compelled to go back and experience them over and over. Are they underrated or overrated? Your mileage may vary:
The Plimsouls– Everywhere At Once. This is power pop at its finest. The kind of music that you would swear you knew by heart even if you had never heard them before.
Edgar Winter’s White Trash – Roadwork. While I feel that Little Feat’s Waiting for Columbus is the greatest of all live albums, there is a hot & sweaty blues bar feel to this recording that the Blues Brothers wished they could fake.
Cassandra Wilson – New Moon Daughter. I’m a sucker for cover albums (see also Other Voices, Other Rooms and Acoustic) but where else can you get stunning reworked versions of Strange Fruit, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Harvest Moon, and The Monkees Last Train To Clarksville? This is how covers should be done.
Spiritualized– Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. Trippy, indescribable and absolutely built for headphones.
Wilco– Being There. Most would choose Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as their best work, but Being There outshines it at every turn. I’ve always thought that Monday was a lost Rolling Stones track and Outta Sight (Outta Mind) has the pure sloppy joy that you got when the Replacements were only half in the bag.
Yo La Tengo- Summer Sun
Whiskeytown- Strangers Almanac
Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny- Beyond The Missouri Sky
Rancid- …And Out Came The Wolves
Emmylou Harris- Spyboy
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts- Bad Reputation
Madonna- Ray of Light. Oh bite me. I like it.
By the way…I’ve been listening to the The Transplants Haunted Cities for four days now, and it’s the best thing I’ve heard all year. Imagine Sandinista-era Clash meets hip-hop with some Blackbyrds (Walking in Rhythm) type harmonies thrown in for fun.
You may now kibitz amongst yourselves in comments and remember that somewhere out there is someone who is so much more cooler than you are.