THE TOP 30 MOST OVERRATED ROCK ALBUMS

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  • 1. Rubber Soul-The Beatles (1965)

  • 2. Revolver-The Beatles (1966)

  • 3. The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars-David Bowie (1972)

  • 4. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band-The Beatles (1967)

  • 5. Pet Sounds-The Beach Boys (1966)

  • 6. The Sun Sessions/Sunrise-Elvis Presley (rec: 1955/rel: 1987)

  • 7. The Beatles-The Beatles (1968)

  • 8. Hunky Dory-David Bowie (1972)

  • 9. Nevermind-Nirvana (1991)

  • 10. What's Going On-Marvin Gaye (1971)

  • 11. Abbey Road-The Beatles (1969)

  • 12. Rumours-Fleetwood Mac (1976)

  • 13. The Velvet Underground-The Velvet Underground (1969)

  • 14. Dark Side of the Moon-Pink Floyd (1971)

  • 15. Slanted & Enchanted-Pavement (1992)

  • 16. The Stone Roses-The Stone Roses (1989)

  • 17. Is This It-The Strokes (2001)

  • 18. Who's Next-The Who (1971)

  • 19. Led Zeppelin IV-Led Zeppelin (1971)

  • 20. Let It Bleed-The Rolling Stones (1969)

  • 21. The Queen Is Dead-The Smiths (1986)

  • 22. Automatic For The People-R.E.M (1992)

  • 23. Sign O' The Times-Prince (1986)

  • 24. The Soft Bulletin-The Flaming Lips (1999)

  • 25. The Bends-Radiohead (1995)

  • 26. Ten-Pearl Jam (1991)

  • 27. Born To Run-Bruce Springsteen (1975)

  • 28. Thriller-Michael Jackson (1986)

  • 29. A Rush of Blood to the Head-Coldplay (2002)

  • 30. The Wall-Pink Floyd (1979)
Author Comments: 

I wouldn't consider any of these albums bad. Most of them are pretty good albums. It's just that none of these are masterpieces and they're way overrated. I have personally overrated most of them in the past, blinding myself to better albums (actual masterpieces) which is probably the main reason I felt encouraged to post this list.

By the way, with "overrated" I am referring to general critical ratings and list rankings. For an album to appear on this list, it must've been highly rated per numerous reviews and/or ranked highly on critics' list(s), and found undeserving of these accolades by myself. There are no other factors being considered. Thus, the albums are ranked in order of how much distance there is between how great I consider them compared to how highly regarded they are critically. Fan voting and general consensous is also considered when it is frequent enough to garner recognition.

As an example, Rubber Soul almost always gets 5 star ratings and somehow even makes it into the top 10 of most American lists, and the top 20-50 of most UK lists. Personally, I would give it about 3-3.5 stars (out of 5) and probably wouldn't even consider it for my top 500. That's a considerable distance, and so it holds the #1 position, just ahead of the notoriously overrated Ziggy Stardust.

Acclaimedmusic.net might be the easiest compilation of critical consensus. Starting with their top 50 as "equally acclaimed", I think the most overrated are:

1. R.E.M. - Automatic for the People
2. The Beatles - Rubber Soul
3. Michael Jackson - Thriller
4. The Beatles - The White Album
5. Massive Attack - Blue Lines
6. Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
7. David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
8. Prince - Sign of the Times
9. The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed
10. Stevie Wonder - Innervisions

Well Luke, I certainly can't argue with that list,
as all those albums are pretty overrated, though I've never heard Blue Lines except for a couple songs, so I don't really have a complete opinion on that one.

I actually like Automatic for the People a bit more than Rubber Soul, though I agree it's by no means a masterpiece. It may be added to this list, but what's held me back so far is that it's really not as overrated as it used to be. Back in 1992-1995 it was consistently acclaimed as the greatest album of the 90's along with Nevermind and was hoisted onto "top 50 albums of all time lists" all over the place. Now, in the aftermath of Radiohead's squashing of R.E.Ms career as into virtual oblivion, it no longer garners such overreaction (though it still gets 4.5-5 star ratings almost uniformly, save Scaruffi's annihilation of it.).

Innervisions is a good choice-I hadn't thought of that one yet. Though at least Wonder sings with some conviction and meaning (despite how derivative the compositions). Can't say the same thing for Ziggy Stardust which is perhaps the fakest (is "fakest" a word? As I'm writing this it doesn't sound like one. Maybe tomorrow...) album ever made. With the exception of pieces of Five Years and a line or two from Rock & Roll Suicide there is almost nothing genuine about the whole album. It's a bunch of semi-catchy songs with practically no emotional impact. Bowie is more caught-up in being interesting and clownish than creating a great musical experience. The album is a joke, which perhaps it is intended to be, but it should at least have some transcendant value if it is such an all-time "masterpiece" as so often praised.

Thriller is probably one I'll have to add if I extend the list. The two reasons it hadn't made it so far have been: I haven't heard it since I was 8 or 9 years old probably, and I don't think I've ever seen it on a top 100 albums list (for all decades), not counting one of those fan-voted RS or VH1 ones.

The rest, as you can see, are already on there.

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll start fishing through the "acclaimed music top 50" for more worthy entries!

I'd have to agree with most of this list (especially Pavement, the Flaming Lips, and the David Bowie albums).
It's good to see "Velvet Underground" on here, too. I'm continually baffled as to why some people rate this as high, or higher, than the John Cale-era masterpieces.
Personally, i wouldn't put so many Beatles albums on here. They're overrated, yes, but albums such as "The Beatles" and "Revolver" do have their merits, at least in the context of "pop" music. Anyway, the only inclusion I flat-out disagree with is "Moondance."
I'd also add U2's "Joshua Tree," Prince's "Purple Rain" and Pink Floyd's "The Wall"

Moondance will probably drop down this list, especially behind Sign O' The Times when I update it soon. I was just thinking I ranked it a little too high.

But I do think it should be on here. Not only is it overrated almost everywhere, even in Scaruffiland, (I've even seen it called superior to Astral Weeks which is unfathomable to me), I think it has one near-masterpiece with Into The Mystic, and the first half is overall pretty solid, it definitely wears out down the stretch. I don't think it deserves an 8.5 from Scaruffi when considering what else he puts in that category, and right now I can't think of an 8.5 of his it's not inferior to.

This is not to say it's a bad album. It has it's merits. Morrison's singing is good (but not amazing). The arrangements are solid throughout, but kind of shy. The album just seems like all it was trying to be was a "hit" instead of the masterwork Morrison made before it (Astral Weeks). It's simply never reached beyond that for me. But I will admit that, perhaps I just haven't seen in it what Scaruffi does (he's proven me wrong in the past), so I don't discard the idea that my mind could change. It's not like I haven't heard it plenty though, and it's "genius" doesn't seem very difficult to uncover-it's a very simple album. I don't know...

As for VU, I can't believe it either. While the album is solid throughout, it is plaintive and a drag in comparison to their first 2 masterpieces.

As for the Beatles albums, it's hard not to put them on here because they are so overrated. Even though they have merits they're bound for the top 15 on a list like this.

The Wall is likely due for this list soon. I don't have Purple Rain as I gave up on Prince after purchasing Sign O' The Times. I've never been into U2 and don't own a single album, though I've heard their hits a 1000 times and don't doubt Joshua Tree should be included.

Thanks for your insight.

Agreed. Mezzanine is a far stronger album, but STILL everyone cites Blue Lines.

I know the reason though...while not an incredible album in itself, it turned trip-hop from a tiny local scene into an international phenomenon and reshaped the sound of downtempo and "slow pop" for the next ten years.

Rubber Soul is *NOT* overrated at all it's as The Rolling Stone Album Guide and most music critics say,a brilliant folk rock record especially the U.S. version. Brian Wilson said in interviews that when he first heard Rubber Soul when it came out he was blown away by it,and said all of the songs flowed together and it was pop music but folk rock at the same time and this is what he couldn't believe! And it motovated him to make Pet Sounds.

That's exactly why its overrated its not a brilliant album. and Why do you always quote Brian Wilson?

Hmm...I've heard the claims of the Scaruffi school of rock authenticity before. I like many of the points brought up here; for example I've long considered Rubber Soul to be a very substandard Beatles album, and I've never quite understood the magic of What's Going On or Pet Sounds. All three are valued in the critical world for production value, conceptual unity, a significance to society arising from the time and circumstances of their creation, or the breaking of previous musical paradigms. As I invariably consider an album as music to be enjoyed rather than technical exercise or social statement, it's not surprising that I disagree with the decades of hype surrounding these records.

I favor Low and Aladdin Sane over Bowie's other albums so I can't complain too much about his inclusion, although I think both Ziggy Stardust and Hunky Dory are excellent albums. I disagree with many more of the bottom 20 selections, but my only real gripe is that all the comments seem to indicate the same dissatisfaction with pop music in which catchy melodies (e.g. Beatles, Bowie, Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Stone Roses) and aural ambience and "style" (Gaye, Pink Floyd, Prince) are the primary aims. I feel the same with much of Scaruffi's writing, whose opinion you seem to share on many of these artists. He goes to great lengths to deride these same musicians where simply stating "I have no regard for pop music" would convey equal information. At times it seems that he unloads his encyclopedic knowledge simply to misrepresent as fact positions which can only be opinions, such as his clear but unstated thesis that boundary-pushing and experimentation are the only defining traits of great rock music. It seems obvious to me that no degree of erudition permits Scaruffi to dictate the personal meaning of rock music to others, regardless of how many albums he has reviewed on his website.

Also, his literary pretensions are hard to take seriously when an artist's lyrical debt to the French Symbolists (or a vague stylistic similarity to them, which Scaruffi uses to make a well-timed reference in his review) generates a better chance of an 8/10 or higher than if the artist exhibits skilled songcraft or brilliant technical ability. :)

Let's see here...

Just in case you feel I am representing this otherwise, I do want to state the following:

My picks and reasons why are all opinions, and not meant to be seen as any sort of overall "fact". If you find some albums on here to be great, I feel you are just as correct in your assessment as I am. Whatever is true for you is exactly that: true.

If you like "Hunky Dory" than you like it. When you hear it, it is a very good album, and so if that is true for you it is a true assessment.

When I hear it, I frequently hear superficial emotions of no real depth within some mildly interesting songs. I also favor Low but have never listened much to Aladdin Sane. To me, Ziggy Stardust is mostly a load of crap. It's so overrated I can hardly contain my dissatisfaction when I hear it these days. I can't believe I used to consider the album great. I've considered moving it to #1.

I think that many listeners have a pre-supposed notion of what a great song is, something like: "it has a nice beat, a catchy chorus, leads to a bridge, back to the catchy chorus, and so is a very good song", and will to a large degree injest their pre-supposed notion as their evaluation of the song instead of newly evaluating the song for what it is.

On the surface Moonage Daydream is another "nice beat, catchy chorus, leads to bridge, back to the catchy chorus, and so is a very good song", yet it is utter crap. Bowie's "space age for a moonage daydream, oh yea" chorus is so devoid of emotion it sounds as if he was on painkillers or sleeping pills when he sang it. His declaring vocal in the beginning is another example of almost no real emotion. It isn't real enthusiasm or real angst or anything. It is superficial as is nearly the entire album, from his vocals to the guitar playing. When someone like Hendrix or Clapton or Page plays you feel movement, force, swagger or what-have-you. Bowie and his fellow henchmen on this album sound like they're playing without a conviction of ideas behind them. There is almost no inclination to move or affect the listener. It is mostly elevator music, a sideshow distraction. A waste of time disguised as brilliance.

Scaruffi and I tend to commonly meet in opinion because we both value similar things in what makes a great album. We take different courses in our evaluations though.

I differ from Scaruffi in that I don't think boundary pushing and experimentation are absolutely necessary (though can definitely help) to make a great album. The categories I favor most alongside the actual value of the songs are (in order)

1. Artistic conviction
2. Depth (profundity + breadth)
3. Ingenuity (for me this is slightly different than innovation or experimentation, though both of those could be considered by-products of an artist exhibiting ingenuity. In short, an artist could take a well-used idea and inject it with his own intelligence, thus making it seem his own. The easiest way to rate this category is if you simply feel you are being touched by the hands of geniuses when you hear the album. Radiohead do this (they are commonly overrated in the "innovation" category, but have a great ability to create music that, despite derivation, conveys their own characteristic genius. A piece inspired by Brian Eno still sounds like it is coming from Radiohead (Treefingers). There is an X-factor there that is almost mystical, but it does clearly exist. It is not created by the listener. It is received. It is created by artists who are supremely gifted and especially aesthetically inclined.)
4. Track Continuity (something I don't think Scaruffi considers. I prefer well-organized albums)

One more point of note: I find most of these albums to be good albums, yet severely overrated as "masterpieces". Keep that in mind. None of them are totally bad. All of them are average or above. When I say Ziggy Stardust is "crap" I am merely overreacting due to being spoiled by albums far superior and this unfortunately tends to make me ornery about albums that are merely average. I am actually more upset by its marketing as being an album of supreme genius than anything else. It is very misleading, and I think music would be in a much better state if listeners were promoted albums I favor to be masterpieces than the majority of which are sorry excuses for masterpieces, and merely average or slightly better.

One more thing: I don't think pop music is bad just because it is "pop" music. I think most pop music is average or bad because most pop music is average or bad. Artists who have miraculously managed to create genius in such a short and limited song structure and length have been The Doors, Captain Beefheart (Frownland being an incredible example of a 2 minute song containing a maximum of ideas and emotion. And it really is just an extremely intricate and instrumentally crazed song in a rather pop framework), Neutral Milk Hotel (absolutely pop/folk music yet very moving), Radiohead can do it at times, etc. There are many others. The Velvet Underground frequently did it, The Beatles sometimes did it (Strawberry Fields Forever, Across the Universe), and Bowie practically never did.

You seem to feel as I do about music; that it's a fundamentally personal experience that (despite my cerebral approach to it) frequently denies easy categorization or objective efforts to appraise value or significance.

I agree in general with your standards, although I admit I'm a little skeptical about your claim that you have no inherent prejudice against pop music. I concur with the statement that most such music is average or bad, if only because I'd contend that most of any genre or category of music is average or bad. But the fact that you consider the achievement of brilliance in pop music to be miraculous doesn't quite sit with the way I look at it, which is that pop music is perhaps the most natural outlet for the sort of affecting musical genius that you mentioned.

Of course, most great musicians existed out of the "pop" mainstream, at least in the sense that they challenged the perception or substance of contemporary music and expanded on it. I'd say that almost all truly legendary albums have avant-garde or outre elements which damaged their popularity. But there are few trends in music which I oppose more violently than self-conscious artiness and experiment for experiment's sake, without goal or direction. The smugness exhibited by artists who pursue or even openly claim such an approach strikes me as mechanical posturing, as antithetical to living, breathing music as any profit-motivated hit factory. As such, I can't say I have much interest in music which by design is so obscure or inacessible that it consistently denies the efforts of even an informed and dedicated listener; I'd describe many Scaruffi-labeled "classics" this way.

As regards to "prejudice against pop music" I simply judge by what I hear, not by the type of music. If someone played me a Britney Spears song that contained the 4 major elements I've listed above I would truly and honestly like/love it. Infact, I pray for the day I can honestly post some masterful Britney Spears album on my top albums of all time list. Man that would be sweet!

Regarding your self-conscious artiness hatred, I personally don't care what the artist is doing it for so long as he accomplishes the greatness in the 4 major categories I listed above. Of course, it would very likely require the artist to be "purposeful" with his goal or direction in order to create something on that level anyway.

As for Scaruffi, I've never heard an album he highly recommends that I significantly disagree with. For my musical tastes he is frequently correct. I find a few of his 9s somewhat overrated so far (meaning I may come to regret this statement), but these are generally his least obscure albums such as Down Colorful Hill, The River and Geek the Girl. The more obscure, or more challenging ones, like Trout Mask Replica, Lorca, Rock Bottom and Faust tend to take more time to assimilate but pay profound dividends once "conquered". By my own loose count, to really and truly get each of those albums, to deeply understand them and be seriously impacted by them on a personal level, to want them and have an intense desire to listen to them, it took me approximately 15-20 listens of Lorca, 35-40 listens of Rock Bottom, it probably takes about the same for Faust, and about the same, perhaps 50+ to wholly assimilate Trout Mask Replica and come to grips with the sheer breadth of emotion expressed. Eventually I'll have posted reviews of each (already for Lorca) which will hopefully go some way towards alleviating the difficulty of these unique, strange, obscure masterpieces.

I dislike deliberate "artiness" because I feel that it impedes the fulfillment of your criteria (essentially similar to mine). In particular, I doubt that true artistic conviction and emotional depth are ever achieved when an album is constructed around the artist's expectation of a critical response to his work, or from a series of elements so obscure as to be relegated to the status of inside jokes.

Trout Mask Replica is a good example of what I mean. I've listened to it six or seven times and have yet to be impressed by more than a couple of tracks. The point that great art is challenging is a valid one, but if I can be inspired to a love for Joyce's Finnegans Wake after reading it only three times, I think affording three or four times as many spins to a mere album is more than a little excessive.

That said,I follow the posting of your top albums with interest, and I expect that once you reach the top I'll find that many of your highest choices would be among mine as well. Among those posted so far, the ones I've listened to are uniformly excellent and most if not all would be among my top albums as well. Scaruffi has exposed me to some music of great quality, and I don't entirely disagree with his opinions or method. Cheers.

I totally understand what you mean on Trout Mask Replica because I used to feel the same way. However, I couldn't disagree with you more on its purpose. Once listened to enough, the intentions of the album more and more clearly become something on the order of "executing the greatest possible freedom of the most extreme and explosive emotions". The only way to accomplish this was to break free of the previous limitations and conventions of rock music. Beefheart and company practiced for 9 months to be able to train themselves to play the way they did. The album was as far as possible from being an accident. It meant something deeply to each member, especially Beefheart himself. This is more clearly seen in the fact that he was upset when he wasn't treated seriously by the record company after the album was finished.

I agree with you that it would be better if the album were more instantly loveable (some people do love it right away), but the main reason it isn't is simply because it is so singular and unique that we aren't used to hearing such music. Trout Mask Replica to this day has not been replicated (no pun intended), and will remain ahead of its time perhaps forever.

I will get back on my albums list shortly and I'm glad you're reading it. For some time I was experiencing a real lack of inspiration to write about music, but recently I started to want to do it again, so that should settle it. Do you plan to add any entries to listology? I'm sure myself and others would enjoy them.

Re: Ziggy Stardust

I don't understand why you think intense emotion is the only legitimate goal of rock music. Bowie is a grand, wonderfully stylish storyteller. If he doesn't intend the album to be a profound outpouring of emotion, why do you demand it to be so?

It's not the only legitimate goal. It is simply what I require for something to be a masterpiece. An above average album like Ziggy Stardust can just carry on like some acquantaince of mine, no real feelings, he or she is just there to kinda chit-chat with every now and then, sometimes there's really something to talk about, usually not. The only albums I've ever heard that I truly cared about for long periods of time have had impressive scores in 4 particular qualities (see the 4 points I listed above in my exchange with G Riv for explanations).

In order to be a masterpiece, it must be a profound experience. I have pretty high standards. If a perfect 10 is Bach or Beethoven's greatest work then what is a 9.9? A 9.5? I work my way down from there, though I still think I give most rock the benefit of the doubt in my ratings by at least a half point. I would rate Ziggy Stardust about a 6.75 or so.

To be a masterpiece, it must move mountains. It must be catastrophic. It must be incredible. It must force tears. Goosebumps. It must be jaw-dropping. Haunting. Harrowing. Intense. It must be immensely beautiful. If only for 45 minutes or so, it must change my life, it must consume me, be involving, make me forget about everything around me. This is a masterpiece to me. It must contain one or multiple qualities of the above-type experiences/emotions, and it must contain them in a very powerful manner to be rated that high. Not Ziggy Stardust, Revolver, Pet Sounds and the usual "best albums of all time". These are solid, above average works that simply pale in comparison to far superior rock, jazz and especially classical masterpieces.

Ziggy Stardust barely musters a whimper when standing next to a work like Brahms' 3rd Symphony. It's not even close. Not even in the same galaxy. So why would it be a perfect, 5-star album? Or even a 4-star album? The difference between Ziggy Stardust and the greatest albums is quite large. I think something on the order of a 6.75 is quite fair. And therefore, I think it is vastly overrated since it gets the same ratings as the true masterpieces of rock, jazz and classical.

You really don't feel any of those things during Ziggy Stardust? Excited by the powerful majesty of the glam rock scifi story? Enthralled by the way that Bowie sings, not necessarily with intense emotion, but certainly with the utmost conviction? If you try to analyze this stuff intellectually as Scaruffi would have you do, it might fall flat. But he's a music studier, not a music listener, and when I listen to the album, I do hear an incredible masterpiece. With all due respect, I'm glad I'm not such a Scaruffist that I am numb to the delights of Ziggy Stardust and the spiders from Mars.

Well, I'm glad you like it. And if you hear a masterpiece, then that's what you hear. You are no less correct than I am. We simply have different opinions on the merits of the album.

I don't dislike it, I just think it's far from a masterpiece. A solid, above average album. There's no numbness here, it's simply my subjective reality. Yours is different, simple as that. I conveyed mine above, and to me it doesn't meet those standards.

By the way, out of the albums Scaruffi ranks as masterpieces, which have you heard at least 10 times all the way through?

Well, I don't count how many times I listen to each album, but looking at his top 25, I've probably heard Trout Mask Replica, Velvet Underground and Nico, The Doors, and Blonde on Blonde about ten times each. I love all of those albums except the Doors (which I think is pretty good), but of course these are the Scaruffi faves most acclaimed by other critics.

I believe I've talked to lukeprog about this, but I think Scaruffi and I differ in that I tend to care more about listenability and he tends to care more about innovation. I personally have less respect for the people inventing new techniques and more respect for the people who can take those techniques and use them to create something I actually want to listen to. There are plenty of innovative albums out there that only Scaruffists rave about because no one else wants to listen to them. I applaud the efforts of the inaccessible innovators, but I don't want to listen to them.

I'm sorry, I've been a Scaruffobic mood ever since I saw The Great Race in his top 10 movies of the 60s. I'll stop the playa-hating now.

Well you've heard some amazing albums by him. I guess I just don't see what your beef is with him if you love 3 of the 4 you've given the time of day, and like the other one.

The thing is, as I said, those amazing albums are not "by him." They're not albums I think of as Scaruffi-recommended. They're some very rare cases where Scaruffi agrees with the critical consensus that says these albums are great. Furthermore, these three aren't my top 3 all-time favorite albums. They're up there, but they're on the same page as plenty of others, including many Scaruffi doesn't like nearly as much. For example, I kinda go back and forth on this one, but I think I might like Blood on the Tracks more than Blonde on Blonde, and Scaruffi only gave BOTT a 6/10.

Understood.

I was just wondering what basis you have for believing his other picks to be any less great than the others you've found you happen to agree with.

As for Blonde On Blonde to Blood On The Tracks, without hesitation I would definitely say Blonde On Blonde is superior, though I do think he underrates BOTT. Using his rating system (not my own) and in comparison to the albums he rates highly, I think he should've given it about a 7 or 7.5/10. Personally I would probably give it around an 8 or 8.5/10. It's a great album.

Oh yes, and one more thing: trust me, every single album out of the one's that are rated 9's (except for 3 or 4 that I disagree with) is way more listenable than virtually all other rock, once listened to enough and understood. Some of them may take longer to get used to than a Beatles album or Ziggy Stardust, but the rewards are far more moving and far more profound.

You don't have to believe me, but I'm saying this as someone who has relentlessly tackled those albums until I really got them, plus I also have the other end of the spectrum in that I own and have listened to extensively probably every single traditionally highly ranked "best album of all time" (Pet Sounds, Ziggy, Abbey Rd, Revolver, What's Going On, etc, etc, etc..). It's from this understanding and this vantage point that I've formulated my opinions on other rock music. It's a comparison. I used to think Ziggy was one of the best rock albums ever made (it used to be in my top 40 albums of all time list), but it was only because I hadn't heard many other rock albums that were better. Now, I've heard a considerable amount of albums that surpass it so convincingly that it pales in comparison.

When I say it is overrated that is the way I am looking at it. From the experience of having listened to works I find vastly superior. To most people, it probably does sound like one of the greatest rock albums. Hell, it's pretty much in the same league as The Beatles best albums and Pet Sounds, the best Led Zeppelin and so forth...

Anyway, I think you get my point.

You think Ziggy Stardust is amazing. I don't. It's okay that we disagree.

So you propose that anyone who finds a Scaruffi-endorsed album unlistenable just hasn't listened to it enough? This sounds fun. I have a proposal for you. Pick a Scaruffi album that initially presents itself as totally unlistenable and inaccessible but which you loved after 10 listens. I'll buy it and listen to it 10 times, and at some point, you can tell me why you love it to help me understand it better. If after all this, I still don't like listening to it, I guess I'll remain a Scaruffobe forever.

In return, you watch the movie The Great Race.

In case you were wondering, some Scaruffaves I haven't spent enough time with (but have easy access to) include Rock Bottom, Safe As Milk, Zen Arcade, Double Nickels on the Dime, Neu!, Modern Dance, Hosianna Mantra, Spiderland, Suicide, and Third Ear Band. I've heard all of these albums at least once, some a few times, but all of them less than 10 times. Some of those are critical faves that Scaruffi just happens to like, though. I want to see you dig deep into the inaccessible obscurity barrel. However, if you think one of those albums would work, it would allow me to start listening to the album right away.

Lukeprog, if you want to get involved in this offer too somehow, just give a holler.

Spiderland can definitely be tackled within 10 listens, though until you've "got it" you must must must listen to it on headphones and alone. This is because it was meant to be played on vinyl so the sound only comes through really well with no distractions and close up. I already have a review posted on this one on my greatest albums list. Zen Arcade could be done in 10 as well, though I didn't truly love it until about 15 listens. Rock Bottom is among the most challenging albums on the list but unthinkably profound once fully 'conquered'...you should wait on that one, I'll have a review up at some point that I think would help anyone attempting that one. It took about 30-40 listens. No matter who you are Double Nickles On A Dime takes some work due to the massive amount of material, though within 10 full listens I think you'd probably like it a lot.

Don't even touch Neu, Hosianna Mantra or Third Ear Band. Yet. These are some of the tougher, more obscure ones and should be saved for later.

Other "masterpieces" or highly rated albums (8/10+) that you could "get" quickly (probably 5 listens or less) are: Repeater-Fugazi (9/10), and Songs of Leonard Cohen (8.5/10). Both of these are easy to assimilate, and profound in completely opposite ways. Also, check out Desertshore by Nico (9/10). Within 5-8 listens I think you would think it was amazing. It is one of the most profoundly beautiful albums ever made. Also go for Astral Weeks (9/10). If you listen to it all the way through 10 times it should open up to you as one of the best albums of all time.

On all of these, listen to the album a lot in a short period of time (about 1 listen per day, at least 5 per week). The longer period of intervals in between listens, the longer it is likely to take you to "get" the album.

Let me know how those go...Good luck!

Okay, I could try a few of these, but I feel like the albums you've suggested I try are, again, the ones that are generally acclaimed, not just acclaimed by Scaruffi... with the exception of Desertshore. I mean, I agree with you that Double Nickels on the Dime is a lot of material to digest, but I already do like it a lot and I've listened to it about four or five times.

I could try some of these some more, but I was kinda hoping for something Scaruffi claims to see the brilliance in where no one else does. And this might narrow the field considerably, but I was really hoping for something that initially sounds like just a bunch of unlistenable noise, but after 10 good listens I will not just understand it intellectually but actually enjoy listening to it. A complete turnaround not just in my appreciation but in my enjoyment. Do you have anything that will fit the bill? I don't mind buying an album I don't already own.

The best example of this is Parable of Arable Land by Red Crayola or Irrlicht by Klaus Schulze-neither of which I've ever seen on a rock critic's greatest albums list save for his. Both are "just a bunch of unlistenable noise" (: , and are guarenteed to throttle your very idea of what music can accomplish so long as you follow this: both can realistically be tackled within ten listens or less, but in short succession (1 per day), and you must give them your full attention.

And, by the way, none of the albums on Scaruffi's list that I've 'conquered' have been just "intellectual" masterpieces. Even the one's that take awhile (Rock Bottom, Faust) are extremely enjoyable, more enjoyable than most any album. I listen to them very very often.

As for presenting an album that initially presents itself as unlistenable, all of these that I can think of, took more than 10 listens to really love.

Some examples:

Trout Mask Replica-Capt Beafheart: I could listen to it pretty easily within about 15 listens or so, but it took about 50 to really love the whole thing.

Rock Bottom-Robert Wyatt: 30-40 to truly love.

Faust-Faust: same

Y-Pop Group: 15-20

Lorca-Tim Buckley: 20

Not Available-Residents: 20-25

Neu!-Neu!: 10-15

Hosianna Mantra-Popol Vuh: 20

Yerself Is Steam-Mercury Rev: 10-15

Lullaby Land-Vampire Rodents: 10-15

White Light/White Heat-VU: 10-15

Most of the other albums on his list (not counting Twin Infinitives or the John Fahey one, are pretty doable within 10 or slightly more listens.

By the way, the list I think you're looking at is the shortened version. If you click just above the list (I can't remember what it says), you can expand the list to show the tracks of each album and the musicians and personnel. Keep scrolling down and you'll see the other 9's ranked in order.

Really, so you believe I will be able to love any of these albums after 10 listens? Which do you think will surprise me the most after I listen to it enough? I'm hoping to be shocked at how much difference an extra nine listens can make.

Butthole Surfers: Psychic Powerless (1985)
Captain Beefheart: Safe As Milk (1967)
Nick Cave: Good Son (1990)
Foetus: Nail (1985)
Fugazi: Repeater (1990)
Lisa Germano: Geek The Girl (1994)
Gun Club: Fire Of Love (1981)
Hash Jar Tempo: Well Oiled (1997)
Jon Hassell: Dream Theory In Malaya (1981)
Husker Du: Zen Arcade (1984)
Minutemen: Double Nickels On The Dime (1984)
Morphine: Good (1992)
Van Morrison: Astral Weeks (1968)
Nico: Desert Shore (1971)
Pere Ubu: Modern Dance (1978)
Red Crayola: Parable Of Arable Land (1967)
Red House Painters: Down Colorful Hill (1992)
Klaus Schulze: Irrlicht (1972)
Slint: Spiderland (1991)
Soft Machine: 3 (1970)
Suicide: Suicide (1977)
Third Ear Band: Third Ear Band (1970)
Type O Negative: Slow Deep And Hard (1991)
Frank Zappa: Uncle Meat (1969)

Not necessarily, but many of them you will. I wasn't looking at the list when I wrote that so I was forgetting some:

Butthole Surfers: Psychic Powerless (1985): don't know, never heard it.

Captain Beefheart: Safe As Milk (1967): If you can handle Trout Mask Replica, this one's easier, though I don't know about the 10 listens.

Nick Cave: Good Son (1990): you'll like this one within 5-10 listens, though I can't say you'll love it. I think it's overrated here.

Foetus: Nail (1985): 5-10 listens

Fugazi: Repeater (1990): 2-5 listens

Lisa Germano: Geek The Girl (1994): same as The
Good Son. Both are very good albums, just not masterpieces. You'll probabaly like it a bit, but you probably won't love it.

Gun Club: Fire Of Love (1981): you'll like it a lot within 10 listens.

Hash Jar Tempo: Well Oiled (1997): I forgot about this one. A big NO. Very challenging.

Jon Hassell: Dream Theory In Malaya (1981): Never heard it.

Husker Du: Zen Arcade (1984): I'm listening to it right now. Yes, I think 10 listens should be enough to like it a lot, maybe love it.

Minutemen: Double Nickels On The Dime (1984): See what I said in the above post.

Morphine: Good (1992): 10 listens and you'll like it. I think this ones somewhat overrated. I've never really loved it, but I think it's very good.

Van Morrison: Astral Weeks (1968): 10 (maybe a couple more) listens and you'll think it's one of the top 5 albums ever made.

Nico: Desert Shore (1971): 5-8 like I said above. Same as Astral Weeks. You'll probably think it's one of the greatest albums ever made.

Pere Ubu: Modern Dance (1978): I think this album is somewhat overrated. Not quite a masterpiece to me, at least right now I don't think so.

Red Crayola: Parable Of Arable Land (1967): Took me about 8 listens but I usually say 15 listens to someone I'm recommending to, forgot to mention it above. Amazing though.

Red House Painters: Down Colorful Hill (1992): Possibly the most overrated album on the list. But I think you could like it. It's not challenging, it's just kinda boring.

Klaus Schulze: Irrlicht (1972): If you listen to it closely and have patience, this will take you 10 listens or less (it took me 2 or 3 so I don't know how much it will take you) and I think this is the initially "unlistenable" one that will surprise you the most. An absolute masterwork.

Slint: Spiderland (1991): The same as I said above in the previous post.

Soft Machine: 3 (1970): If you like jazz (Bitches Brew by Miles Davis, Charles Mingus Black Saint & the Sinner Lady), then yes. If not, no.

Suicide: Suicide (1977): Good for what it is but it's very degraded and depressing. If that's your thing, then by all means...

Third Ear Band: Third Ear Band (1970): what I said above.

Type O Negative: Slow Deep And Hard (1991): If you like heavy, extreme metal than yes.

Frank Zappa: Uncle Meat (1969): Never heard all of it so I don't know.

What the hell, let's go all out. I'm ordering Irrlicht.

Great, if you have trouble with it after 5 listens let me know.

I would also highly recommend picking up Desertshore and Parable of Arable Land along with it. All three kind of feed off eachother. Parable is more or less the other side of the coin of "unlistenable noise" to Irrlicht. They're nearly exact opposites yet equally genius.

Desertshore is profound in a similar way to Irrlicht and I think listening to one after the other is extremely satisfying.

A point of note: the latest upgraded version of Irrlicht has 4 tracks. The 4th is a bonus track, not part of the album. If you thought it was part of the album it would make it worse, as then it becomes overly long. As it is, it is just right. Good luck!

Okay, thanks for the info.

By the way, you asked earlier what my "beef" with Scaruffi is, and I think if I do have a beef with him, it lies not in the music he likes but in the music he doesn't like. Exhibit A:

"The Beatles sold a lot of records not because they were the greatest musicians but simply because their music was easy to sell to the masses: it had no difficult content, it had no technical innovations, it had no creative depth. They wrote a bunch of catchy 3-minute ditties and they were photogenic."

He dismisses the Beatles with this statement without even bothering to think about how absurd that is. There are hundreds if not thousands of pretty bands writing catchy songs, but only one Beatles.

Scaruffi also talks about how social timing, marketing, and their popularity hitting a critical mass also made the Beatles more popular than their talent deserved. I think Scaruffi feels the need to write a lot of words about The Beatles to answer the truckfull of arguments he surely receives from readers outraged at his Beatles opinion. He doesn't write nearly as much about how Britney Spears never wrote great music, because few artistic-minded people will argue with that. And Scaruffi's opinion of The Beatles is made confusing by Sgt. Pepper's and Abbey Road, which even he acknowledges as pretty good (elsewhere, he names 7/10 albums as "[some musician's] masterpiece"). I do like how he compares The Beatles to Lady Di as "darlings of magazines and tabloids."

His dismissal of Presley is a little easier to take, no?

But for the most part these arguments make no sense. Yeah, the Beatles were the only group in the 60s who thought of being mildly rebellious, but in a safer way than other musicians. And their legendary status was made by the marketing strategy of Beatlemania, because well-marketed mediocre musicians always end up among the most acclaimed, best-selling artists of all time.

Besides, if so much of the Beatles' acclaim is based on how much they sell, and rock critics primarily respond to commercial success and good marketing, why aren't there more critics saying Britney Spears wrote a lot of great music? Or for that matter, what about the Backstreet Boys, Shania Twain, Whitney Houston, the Dixie Chicks, Hootie and the Blowfish, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Kenny G, or especially Garth Brooks?

I think Scaruffi really has no idea why the Beatles are so popular or acclaimed.

I don't have a problem believing that Beatlemania was a very special combination of all the elements you and I mentioned previously, but of course we won't ever "know" why The Beatles became the most acclaimed, best-selling artists of all time. Do you really think any of The Beatles music released before the onset of Beatlemania is any good?

I think it is good for what it is trying to do. But no, I don't really care to listen to much of the Beatles' earliest work nowadays. Regardless of how good their early stuff is, though, I maintain that you can throw as many marketing strategies as you want at a band, and some of them might stick even if the band is mediocre, but that's not enough to create the most acclaimed and best-selling band ever. The elements Scaruffi talks about add up to something, but it ain't the Beatles by a long shot.

lukeprog,

it's obvious you and some others like Scaruffi will never know and get why The Beatles are the most acclaimed and popular thats for sure. IT'S BECAUSE JOHN LENNON AND PAUL McCARTNEY WERE *BRILLIANT* SINGER SONG WRITERS AS SO MANY PEOPLE AND ROCK CRITICS AND OTHER WELL KNOWN MUSICIANS UNDERSTAND! Go get Mark Lewisohn's The Beatles Recording Sessions from a library and if you can read it with an open mind then you will get your answer!

By the way,

I have been a huge highly impressed Beatles fan especially a big John and Paul fan since I was 9 years old,I got my first Beatles book for my 11th birthday and I had every album by the age of 13. I was born during the middle of their recording career too. I heard a lot of music growing up also,my father had a lot of Bob Dylan albums,Herb Albert and The Tijuana Brass and I liked Herb Albert's music even as a very little child, a few Peter Paul and Mary albums and my sister had a large music collection including Led Zeppelin who I hate but she always loved The Beatles music too. Infact she still says that Paul McCartney's Wings album Venus and Mars is still one of the best albums she has ever heard and she knows no album like it. I also listened to the radio a lot as a child.

AJDAgreat,

I emailed Scaruffi in 2002 and he emailed me back 3 times,and tells me I am the most intelligent Beatles fan he ever communicated with because he says I didn't mention how many albums The Beatles sold, and he claims thats all most fans do which I really don't believe. So I gave him great sources which is what he claimed he wanted, not just big record sales facts, I told him to go read the excellent thorough book by Mark Lewisohn called,The Beatles Recording Sessions. Which is a detailed diary of their remarkable 8 year recording career. In it their recording engineers Geoff Emerick,Norman Smith Who went on to work with Pink Floyd,Ken Scott who went on to work with David Bowie,and Alan Parsons a highly impressed Beatles fan who was one of their engineers on their last two albums,Abbey Road and Let it Be all describe how truly innovative,creative,and inventive John and Paul were in the recording studio. But I couldn't get through to his ignorant closed biased mind!

I emailed a rock radio DJ who is a 46 year old huge Beatles expert and fan on my local classic rock station about 5 years ago and let him know what this ignoramus Scaruffi writes about The Beatles and he looked up his site and wrote me back and he said this bozo gives higher ratings to The Fugs than The Beatles! Yeah he writes a lot, alot of bulls**t!

I meant to add that Andre Gardner hosts a two hour radio show,Breakfast With The Beatles every Sunday morning on my local classic rock station.

It's also very obvious to me that Piero is just one of these people who is mad that his favorite group or groups are not the most popular and critically acclaimed, so he has an inaccurate, irrational thing against The Beatles! It's really funny that he like The Doors,I think they were good,but on other message boards there were people saying that they think The Doors suck and that they were pretentious crap and were not good musicians! They didn't have a bass player let alone a great singer song writer one like Paul McCartney!

lukeprog, you think Scaruffi's dismissal of Elvis who never wrote a note of music is just a *little* easier to take than the ignorant cr*p he says about The Beatles?!

Yes. But notice the high ratings for several Beatles albums. Scaruffi does not dismiss The Beatles. He dismisses the idea that they are the BEST EVAR! But in the end, remember that I like Scaruffi not because his opinions are correct (though I suspect they often are the most informed opinions available), but because I tend to really enjoy listening to music that he enjoys. It's that simple, and you can't deny me that.

lukeprog,

you really read all of the information I wrote that strongly debunks the inaccurate ignorant garbage Scaruffi writes about The Beatles and you *STILL* believe his so-called "opinions" which in this are actually totally inaccurate ignorant biased garbage! are correct most of the time? Unbelievable as I said elsewhere this Scaruffi guy's influence is really profound it's like you and some others are brainwashed by his cult! I mean you and a few other anti-Beatles people almost quote him verbatim! I gave strong factual information that *PROVES* him *WRONG* about The Beatles but just like him you are too close minded and biased to want to recognize the correction! Some things are just opinions but there are certain things that are facts and other things that are total inaccurate ignornant faslehoods! I provided a great resource to disprove what he claims about The Beatles never being innovative are that creative and also I listed *MANY* well known musicians that are fans and have praised them!

I wanted to add that in early 1967 when The Beatles were recording Sgt.Pepper Pink Floyd who was recording near by asked George Martin if they could meet The Beatles and George Martin said he would have to ask John. And John said it was OK but The Beatles were not too friendly to them or impressed with them. Also David Crosby was a big fan and good friend and he would visit them in the recording studio. He said in a radio interview that when he visited when The Beatles were working on A Day in The Life his jaw just dropped and he said it was so brilliant he was almost ready to give it up!

Also I have found over 40 former Beatles haters on message boards and web sites who are now big Beatles fans. I never communicated with them but they say that they had many misconceptions about them and hadn't even heard most of their songs and albums. Now, most people don't hate The Beatles to begin with,most people of all ages love or at least like their music worldwide,but most people don't go from hating a group to becoming big fans! This just goes to show how great The Beatles are!

All we need's a teapot and we're golden.

How do you "prove" an aesthetic opinion is correct?

The Beatles are not particularly interesting to me because they sing basic pop music: 50s girl group choruses but over melodic guitar riffs. The chaotic, brainy suites of Albert Ayler or Red Krayola (from the same period) are more interesting to me than The Beatles' boring pop. I almost never listen to the Beatles anymore.

What you and Scaruffi don't understand is the Beatles chords and harmonies are very folk influenced and the reason is because their roots are skiffle which is heavily folk influenced, which in turn many folk musicians noticed including Dylan which is another inaccurate statement scaruffi made when he said they lucked into folk music. I guess Sgt Pepper which popularized the merging of different tracks into each other or the avant mini suite Of A Day In The Life is not good music. What's so sad is that many of the albums you consider overrated are the albums that pushed many of the subgenres of rock music Rubber Soul, raga rock and early strains of psychedelic music not to mention influencing Pet Sounds, Revolver basically popularized psychedelic music, classical Indian with rock, avant and music concrete not mention this album and Sgt Peppers influenced so many progressive rockers. I really don't want to write a whole essay on this topic it's pathetic. One more point which I read on this forum Helter Skelter which is on the White Album is considered by considered by many people proto heave metal and if you heard the Beatles live version of Money in Stockholm of 1963 the Beatles were already experimenting with heavy distortion not to mention some songs like Taxman, and Paperback Writer which precede the Velvet Underground.

"songs like Taxman, and Paperback Writer which precede the Velvet Underground."

you might want to check your dates

"What's so sad is that many of the albums you consider overrated are the albums that pushed many of the subgenres of rock music"
The same could be said of you and your stance on the unlistenable velvet underground.

Personally, when i say that an album like Rubber Soul is overrated (it would be my #1 pick too), it's because i find it awfully dull, not because of any historical considerations.

I have heard Velvet Underground first album many times and it would have been better if the vocals were better. Taxman and Paperback Writer were recorded in April of 66 but those tracks feature heavy distorted guitar tones for it's time.The Velvets were more intrested in feedback and drones.In my opinion Tomorrow Never Knows is at least the equal of Venus in Furs but not equal in terms of influence. I acknowledge the influence of the Velevet Underground but you guys are almost religious about bashing the Beatles which is sad. I mean I could understand bashing Elvis becuase he did not write his music and artists like Berry were already on the charts before Elvis but the Beatles made the rock band bigger than the solo act like Elvis or the band with an obvious leader like Buddy Holly.

I do admit that i'm sick of hearing about them.

But i haven't been bashing them at all. Saying that other bands released better albums is not bashing them. Some of my favourite groups never released any good (ie consistent) albums.

I don't get why you are excited about the Beatles getting distorted and heavy, but you think its unlistenable when other bands do it.

I agree. I'm not afraid to say I think the Beatles are incredibly overrated (which is true of nearly every artist that is named the "Best Ever" of something), and I'm not afraid to say that I get bored very quickly listening to their music. But I'm not bashing the Beatles; indeed, I think they are among the Top 50 rock artists of the 60s! And I, too, love many artists that I do not think released any great albums. Queen, for example. And Radiohead. And Abba.

My opinion is the Beatles are the most influential rock artists ever and their idols like Elvis and Chuck Berry had no answer for them when they came out. I like Venus in Furs and Sunday Morning I just don't understand the fuss over European Son and Herione. While Dylan had great lyrics I prefer Rubber Soul and Revolver over Blonde on Blonde becuase to my ears it sounds better and it has more innovation to me. Lyrics are not that important to me it's the quality of music and to me The Beatles blow away Dylan, The Stones and most pop rock artists of the 60's in terms of listenabilty and how to fuse different genres.

"you might want to check your dates"

What are the dates? Did the Velvets have an album before the banana one?

I'm probably confused but I remember looking at a "Greatest Album Cover" feature somewhere. It was chronological and I could swear that the banana came right before Sgt Pepper (and several covers after the Beatles' butcher baby cover.) But I don't know the exact dates and I'm wondering if my visual memory is starting to fade.

I do know that Taxman and Paperback Writer came before Sgt. Pepper... but I don't have any dates (but enough about my personal life ba-dum bum.) I also recall the Stones' Sticky Fingers zipper album as coming much later... and it was designed by the Velvet's first producer. So my mind may be jumbled up.

...also, Paperback Writer inspired the Monkees' Last Train to Clarksville. I think that speaks quite well for the Beatles.

Velvet Underground banana cover is their first album released March of 1967 before Sgt Pepper. Taxman and Paperback Writer were recorded April of 66 and not to annoy the Beatle haters but Taxman features the heavily distorted Hendrix chord at least half a year before Hendrix recorded his first single and Jimi Hendrix used to open his concerts with Sgt Peppers so that speaks well for the Beatles that they could influence artists ranging from the Monkees to Hendrix. You guys are funny the Beatles have influenced so many major artists yet it's bad the Beatles influenced the Monkees yet you can't acknowledge the fact the Beatles influenced artists ranging from the Beach Boys to Led Zeppelin to Emerson Lake and Palmer to Abba stop to think how silly your comments are. The Beatles butcher cover was before Revolver.

"haters" is such an adamant word. I aspire to meet and defeat hate with love... but I'm nobody's fool on the hill.

I'm not sure whether it is a lack of commas, the mono-paragraph style or a typo but I do think that it's good that the Beatles "influenced" the Monkees. I hope that I wasn't misunderstood. Without the Beatles I think that the Monkees would have no substance at all. To put it another way: The Beatles are to the Monkees as Led Zeppelin is to Coverdale/Page.

Re: Hendrix covering Sgt Pepper's Lonely hearts Club Band... I agree with your conclusion. But Richard Thompson has covered Britney Spears songs so there may not be much proof in that pudding... which you can't have if you don't eat your meat.

Putting all the Monkees business aside, I often think that "influence" can be overrated. The Beatles "influenced" the Electric Light Orchestra, the Rutles, Charles Manson, Wings, the Beach Boys and the Bee Gees w/Peter Frampton. That's quite a mixed bag.

I actually thought that my "Greatest Album Cover" gambit was quite artful (oh good! we're resorting to bad puns.) I meant it to be a shout-out to album art. I also intended it as an invitation to check the dates without claiming that I knew better or more than others do. In this way I could kill two blackbirds with one rolling stone (oh joy! more puns.) I have little interest in proving that I'm right but I do have some difficulty in allowing other people to be wrong. I have to work on that.

It may come as no surprise that I truly like to stop and think how silly my comments are. I hope you will do the same. One of the reasons why I cited the butcher cover could have been because it was used for the single release of Paperback Writer... but that's just me being "silly."

Sour Afternoon

+

Excellent 0dysseus Comment
___________________________

Delicious Reversal!

God bless, and godspeed.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I'm so grateful, thank you. I have now bookmarked this to ward off my future sour afternoons.

Upon re-reading I think your influence is quite clear: a plea for comity, explanation of personal views and so on all topped off with a self-deprecating close. I'm ever so pleased!

Shalom, you!

0. Dysseus

banana album was recorded april '66 too and they'd been performing some of those songs a year before that

it's a big stretch to compare taxman to hendrix

I suspect that appreciation or love for many great but less "accessible" albums will come from listening to a greater breadth of music, not the same music over and over.

I'm convinced that two years years ago, 20 listens of Trout Mask Replica wouldn't have made me like it. But in the past two years I listened to more than 2000 albums in nearly every style imagineable. The effect of that conquest has been that I'm now bored to death by a lot of cliched, uncreative music I used to love by artists like Carman, DC Talk, and The Beatles. But I still like a lot of exciting work by Metallica and Dream Theater. And I really love such explosively creative albums as Trout Mask Replica and Parable of Arable Land.

The same thing happened to me with film. Maybe the basic idea is that, if you've only seen 500 films, and most of them mainstream movies of the past 20 years, then Men in Black can seem pretty creative and interesting. After 2500 films from all styles and periods, Men in Black might still entertain, but Mulholland Drive or 21 Grams is the sweet stuff.

Would I have been better off sticking to "normal" music and movies, and just enjoying whatever comes my way? I'd have saved a lot of time, but I never would have drawn as much joy, enthusiasm, and passion from them as I do now. My love for Rock Bottom is so much deeper and more rewarding than my love for Jesus Freak ever was.

So, the moral of my personal media odyssey is that I'm not sure that you'll like any of these albums after 10 listens. And maybe you shouldn't even try. Give some of them a listen or two. If you like them, great! If you don't, set them on a shelf and try them a few months or years later.

Twin Infinitives is still on my shelf.

Disagreement among the Scaruffists. Interesting. To be perfectly honest, I remain skeptical that understanding something better will automatically make it more listenable to my ears. Perhaps I have a greater disconnect between what I appreciate intellectually and what I enjoy than you guys, but I don't see how "getting" an album makes it listenable.

Sure, I can see how listening to an album multiple times could make me like it better. I wasn't crazy about Daydream Nation the first time I heard it, but quite a few listens later I really started to love it. But did those listens really help me understand Daydream Nation, or did they just get me adjusted to a sound that I was unfamiliar with at the time I first heard it? AfterHours, if someone had gone through with you and explained every single cool thing Trout Mask Replica does on the first time you heard the album, citing references to its influences and followers as well, do you think you would have loved it after one listen, or would it still have taken you fifty?

I mean, there are plenty of films that I understand are doing great things, but that doesn't mean I like them. I think I have a good sense of the impact Birth of a Nation had on film history, and I appreciate it, but that doesn't mean I want to watch it again. Likewise - and I'm sure I've used this comparison before - Low might be the most influential album Bowie ever made, but give me Ziggy Stardust any day. I dunno, maybe if I heard all the things that influenced Low, all the things that Low influenced, and showed why all those things influenced each other, I might start to love listening to Low. But somehow, I doubt it.

Who knows though? I'm hoping to use Irrlicht to decide. Please, both of you give me as much information as possible that you think will help me understand this album once I start listening to it. Send me other songs in the Irrlicht chain of influence. I expect to like the album better after 10 listens just like Daydream Nation, but if I also really and truly love listening to it more than most other albums, I'll know that understanding something truly can make it enjoyable and listenable. I don't have time to listen to 2000 albums in nearly every style imaginable, but I'm hoping you two, with Scaruffic inspiration, can help me understand this one.

And you guys should really check out The Great Race. Muahahahahahaha......

I don't think I have the time or skill to meet your high demand, and I loved Irrlicht before I understood much about it, anyway. But I'll give it a shot. I've even uploaded a compilation of musical excerpts to illustrate my points here. I've designed it so that when you come to a superscripted number, you can stop, listen to that track number in the compilation, and then continue reading.

Irrlicht belongs, first and foremost, to the development of avantgarde electronic music (I put it in my "Greatest Rock Albums" list because Schulze is a rock musician, not a notational composer). Though primitive electronic music appeared in the 1890s, significant works in the genre didn't arrive until much later. Consider John Cage's Imaginary Landscape #11 (1939), or especially several works of the 50s and 60s: Varèse's Poeme Electronique2 (1958), Stockhausen's Gesang der Junglinge3 (1956) and Gruppen4 (1957), and Subotnick's Silver Apples of the Moon5 (1967). You'll probably agree that however important these pieces are to the development of composition, recording, and sound techniques, they aren't very soul-stirring. They're like proofs of the Poincaré conjecture, not, say, a flying car.

Then came Terry Riley's momentous A Rainbow in Curved Air6 (1968) that, finally, sounded like "music." It applied melody to the pulse-based nature of his extremely static (and non-electronic) In C (1965), but still didn't evoke much for the listener. In the Classical Era and previous periods, Western music was written as a mathematical exercise in rhythms, tones, and counterpoint (for example, the carefully overlapping passages of a fugue). Beethoven and others unlocked the awesome potential of such an abstract art as music to evoke non-musical ideas (for example the "Storm" movement of Beethoven's 6th symphony). A Rainbow in Curved Air was tonal and "floaty", but it doesn't evoke anything beautiful, powerful, or surprising, in my opinion. It's pretty, but it's solely about musical ideas, not emotional ideas.

Note that many artists of all styles had used electronic instruments in acoustic music, but these were not works of "electronic music." Walter Carlos popularized electronic music by playing Bach's music with the moog on Switched On Bach (1968). Also in the late 60s, bands like Silver Apples, Beaver & Krause, and White Noise7 wrote entertaining pop & rock ditties using mostly electronic instruments. Then in 1972 we got Tangerine Dream's Zeit8 and Klaus Schulze's Irrlicht, two very different electronic masterpieces, and Irrlicht is superior. This genre of music with such rich potential, and such rapid development, and such grand explorations, had suddenly birthed a work not only of insight, musical genius, and timbre genius, but of evocative power and beauty and scale far beyond everything that came before it!

Imagine yourself as a film critic in the 1910s (okay, you're the first film critic ever). You see the early experiments of Edison and Melies and Feuillade and Griffith and think "Hmmm, they may be on to something here." You see Birth of a Nation and Intolerance and are jumping for joy at the potential of film. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari opens up a world of frightening possibilities. And then you see The Last Laugh, and you're curled up on your couch, sobbing at the beauty, the power, the humanity in those moving images. You knew this day was coming, but it still hits you like a ton of bricks. (Okay, AJ, you're sitting erect like a man and I'm weeping in the fetal position: whatever. Also, replace The Last Laugh with the name of the earliest film that emotionally overpowered you.)

But in fact, Irrlicht is greater than The Last Laugh for me because cinema, and Murnau himself, later topped The Last Laugh with Sunrise, Citizen Kane, and a hundred others. Irrlicht is, for me, still the most powerful electronic work I have ever heard. For me, it evokes "the universe, riven. It is infinite, overwhelming, and awesome in the purest sense of the word. It is a magniloquent galactic creature, the climax of the fourth dimension, or the breath of God."

The piece begins with a clear kinship to minimalism. As one reviewer writes: "The first 10 minutes of the opening track represent a strict meditation on D. Not the chord of D, mind you. The note." Melodic inertness is a property of many early minimalist works, for example In C9 or La Monte Young's epic yawners like Drift Study10 (1967). But Irrlicht makes much better use of timbre - of the sound of the music - and thusly evokes everything I wrote above with, basically, a single note. Timbre had been a major focus of many composers since Varese's works of the 1920s, which "led to an almost manic exploration of texture, mostly through timbre and juxtaposing of timbres and overlapping of timbres. Notes were, in a sense, less important than the timbre of the instrument that produced them. The "sequence" of notes itself was, in a sense, no more a temporal sequence than a spatial "choreography" of sounds. The composer was no longer creating a narrative but exploring a space, a soundscape." No piece of electronic music before Irrlicht had made such incredible use of timbre. And electronic music is an orchestra of all possible sounds, those made by acoustic instruments, acoustic noises, and sounds impossible to make acoustically.

Consider the rising electronic washes at about the 9:40 mark of "Satz Ebene" and the following few minutes. It is here that you begin to hear what Scaruffi so eloquently writes about the piece: "Schulze penned the first aesthetic of popular electronic music, an aesthetic that inherited from Indian raga the sense of tempo, from jazz the sense of spontaneity, and from late romantic symphonists the sense of magniloquence. In many ways, Irrlicht (1972) created both the archetype and the reference standard for "kosmische musik". Schulze's recipe included Bach-ian organ ouvertures, Tibetan-style droning, "Wagner-ian" polyphonic architectures, Pink Floyd-ian cosmic psychedelia, Gregorian liturgy, John Coltrane's metaphysical explorations... and many other ingredients. The synthesis achieved by that electronic symphony was momentous and ground-breaking. Schulze sculpted/painted an ambience that sounded like a live recording of galactic life, but, rather than indulging in rendering cosmic events, he focused on the pathos that the unknown and the infinite elicit into the human soul. The symphony alternates moments of catalectic suspense, of apocalyptic chaos and of moving melody. Schulze sequenced them so as to maximize awe and angst."

After the incredible "Satz Ebene", the other two tracks may seem like a let-down at first, like listening to the rest of Arvo Part's Tabula Rasa11 (1977) after the glorious and heart-shattering crescendo from about 6:40 to the end of the first movement, or like the "returning home" chapters after the defeat of Sauron in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. In "Satz Gewitter", the intergalactic turmoil calms, a few weakened wormholes and dimensions still snapping and crumbling under the implosive pressure, but the epic narrative comes to an oasis of calm, which is where "Satz Exil Sils Maria" begins.

Throughout the last track, one becomes more aware of the inexhaustible space of... outer space, and shadows of renewing tension creep in as the flotsam of multiversal conflict drifts by. But at the 14 minute mark, the awesome and fearful breath of God exercises a forceful control and the album closes with the universe complete and willfully stable. The journey is contentedly whole and now part of you, like the entirety of Tabula Rasa and Lord of the Rings.

It's an exciting, intense, epic, and deeply satisfying work of great musical and emotional innovation. I'm sure you will not have the same experience of Irrlicht as I have, or as AfterHours has, or as Scaruffi has, but I do hope that sharing my love for Irrlicht may inspire you to love it in your own way.

"I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked jazz music. Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself."

Wow, thanks so much! I really appreciate what you've done here. I'll be sure to read it and listen to the tracks when Irrlicht comes in. I can't promise I'll enjoy it, but hopefully this will help me understand it as best as I can.

Did you download the file already? Freakin' Rapidshare deleted the ZIP already.

Yeah, I've got it. Unfortunately, though, progress on this plan has hit a snag. I ordered Irrlicht shipped to my home address thinking it would be in before I went back to college, but alas, I'm back at UPenn now, Irrlicht-less. I'll get the album somehow within the month.

What are you taking this semester? I've got 3 PSY classes, an ENG lit class and an ENG writing class.

I'm shocked at how many times you listen to albums.

Some of these I loved after after one listen (Not Available), and others I loved after the first song on the first listen (Rock Bottom)

Some of my all time favourites I doubt i've heard even 10 times.

Rock Bottom was an album I enjoyed immensely from the get-go. I thought it was a masterpiece and inserted it onto my list immediately at #19. When I mention how many times I listened to it, I am talking about how long it took me to truly love it on the level Scaruffi does. For that it took me many listens to consider it that incredible. All of the above are based on the same thing.

Since then I have become more and more in groove with avant-garde rock and jazz and now few albums take me more than a couple listens.

What are some of your favorites?

Well Lukeprog definitely put the nail in the coffin in regards to explaining Irrlich. By understanding an album I am not really speaking of understanding influences and so forth. I am speaking of interpreting the massage/emotion of the artist. You don't have to listen to any Aphex Twin or Brian Eno or Pink Floyd to get Kid A, you simply have to listen to it enough to enjoy it. It can take a person a certain number of listens to become used to a style or combination of styles of music.

I think experience in many different forms can and does help one assimilate more and more forms of music, as Lukeprog pointed out.

A recent experience of this by myself was with Y by Pop Group, now suddenly parked for good on my all time best albums list. About 6 months ago I bought it. I listened to it about 10-15 times and didn't really get it as a whole, though there were different tracks I liked, none of them masterpieces--or so I thought.

I shelved it and figured I'd get around to it later. I also thought it was somewhat overrated by Scaruffi and doubted it would ever reach my own list, but hadn't lost total hope...fortunately.

In the meantime I 'conquered' Trout Mask Replica, Faust, Tago Mago, all 3 essential as Pop Group incorporates elements of all their sounds.

On a whim, I decided to listen to Y and during that first return listen a was effing floored. I couldn't believe how amazing it is. And now there it is in my top 30. I've noticed this phenomenon more and more as I listen to more and more of these "Scarffian" masterpieces: my ability to assimilate the brilliance from more experimental, avante-garde works has grown immensely. There are very few albums that take me more than a few listens to totally 'get' now. It's a very useful "ability" to have, as it allows one to quickly indulge in an excessive amount of music.

As for the "beef" with Scaruffi regarding the Beatles, I agree with you that he takes it a little too far. By this I mean that he seems to be ignorant that the Beatles have a certain charisma in their sound, not just their looks, marketing and so forth, but their actual sound of which is far above other acts like the Backstreet Boys, Spears, and so forth.

But this doesn't mean I wholly disagree with him either. His points on their innovation, musicianship, etc., are very valid. I think their albums are way overrated and I agree with him that they are the most overrated band in music history. There is no doubt. All of their albums typically garner 5 star ratings whihc means that their works are on par with the greatest masterworks in music history. To me, this is ridiculous. They're a wildly popular, charismatic, fun band who were quite gifted at crafting melody, who were "cutely" experimental at times, and who on my count created exactly 2 (maybe 3) masterpieces out of all the songs they wrote: A Day In the Life, Strawberry Fields Forever and (maybe) Tomorrow Never Knows. Perhaps I am the Walrus as well. I can't think of any others. The majority of the rest of their songs are enthusiastic (or charasmatic) good songs, and they are consistently good which is a plus, but even their best love songs (say In My Life, Yesterday for which they were so well known for) pale in comparison to actual masterpieces of the theme, such as: Two Headed Boy, Pt's 1 & 2 by Neutral Milk Hotel, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands by Bob Dylan, or Alifib by Robert Wyatt. I could go on and on. The point is, from my view, The Beatles are a good band, but way behind the greatest artists to ever grace rock.

Afterhours, again I say please check out The Beatles Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn from a library since it's unfortunately now out of print.

I already posted this elsewhere in another tpic on this site but I have to say it again here. It is *not* true that The Beatles were mediocre musicians at all. I really don't understand where this inaccurate bulls**t comes from. Eric Clapton called George Harrison a fantastic slide guitar player,when he and George toured Japan in 1992 and they were asked what they admired about each other. George also played guitar on Cream's song Badge. Eric Clapton said John Lennon was a very good rhythm guitar player and would know because he played live in concert in John's Plastic Ono Band in 1969. And on an excellent web site called,The Evolution Of Rock Bass Playing McCartney Style by Denis Alstrand,Stanley Clarke, Will Lee,Billy Sheehan and Sting all say what a great,melodic and influential bass player Paul has always been. The 1992 Rolling Stone All Music Guide also calls Paul a remarkable bass player as well as rightfully calling John and Paul the two greatest song writers in the history of rock. The All Music Guide says the same things as well as calling John and Paul among the best and most expressive singers in rock.

Even Ozzy Osbourne said in a 2002 online Bender Magazine interview,that The Beatles Are The Greatest Band To Ever Walk The Earth! He has been a big Beatles fan since he was a teenager and he also says that not loving The Beatles is like not loving oxogen. Jimi Hendrix played Day Tripper Live and he also played Sgt.Pepper live only two days after it was released. Frank Zappa was good friends with John and he even recorded a song Scumbag and an album with him in 1972.Also Pete Townsend,and John Paul Jones,and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin played on two songs with Paul on his last Wings album,Back To The Egg in 1979 and they also played in the last Wings concert in December 1979.Pete Townsend also played on two songs on Paul's 1986 Press To Play Album along with Phil Collins who has been big Beatles fan since he was a kid and was in A Hard Day's Night as a 13 year old in the concert audience. None of The Beatles albums are overrated unless Yellow Submarine was rated so highly,but it isn't! The only really great song on Yellow Submarine is John's great rocker,Hey Bulldog but George's It's All Too Much is pretty good though. All of the others are great and deserve their high ratings!

Before I give my response remember that this is all my opinion and it is perfectly alright to disagree with me.

I understand your position as I used to be a huge Beatles fan. Infact, a little over a year ago I thought they were the best rock band ever. It wasn't until I finally discovered many FAR greater albums that their myth disappeared for me. From there the Beatles began to increasingly appear mediocre in comparison. It is true that compared to many popular artists, such as those you've listed, The Beatles hold up fine. Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper are very good albums, but I find them severely lacking for evidence as masterpieces (by my standards). As far as great musicians, I think it's very clear that Harrison was no Hendrix or Clapton or Page, that McCartney was no Flea or the bassist from Primus, that Ringo was no Neil Peart or Bonham, or Moon, and that Lennon was no Keith Richards. They are mediocre, average. They were not experts, or greats in their respective talents. As far as songwriters go, Lennon had some great moments, Paul and George had very few, and none of them were even close to a Nick Cave, Robert Wyatt, Dylan, Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, etc. As far as vocalists, I find Lennon to be very good. When he gets emotional it is very effective, but unfortunately the bands modus operandi rarely exhibited this strength very well. Harrison was pretty good, and McCartney was okay. Ringo was clearly an amateur. None of them come close to greatness though, i.e. Tim Buckley, Capt Beefheart, Mark Stewart (Lennon probably dreamt of being the leader of Pop Group), Van Morrison, etc.

You're comparing apples and oranges here. Can I say that "Captain Beefheart was good, but he's no Kurt Cobian". Your reaction (and rightfully so) would be "huh?" The Beatles wrote songs that were short and catchy. If all they did was show off their instrumental skill then they wouldn't be as good. They knew what made a good song and stuck to it.

I don't think you are going to really like the Beatles because the kind of music you seek is completely different. Its like me making a top 30 most overrated albums and throwing Scaruffi's top 30 on there. I think those albums are overrated quite a bit by some. Especially when it seems to me that many of these artists have created better works. Irrlicht bores me to death, but X is exciting to me, and invokes a lot of the same feelings that Irrlicht does. Neu! is a good and groundbreaking album, but I think Neu! '75 is such a great expansion on that sound. Come on, their debut was written and recorded in only four days! I think that the odd numbered tracks all hold up well but I am skeptical of anyone who claims that the other tracks were meant to say much. '75 is solid all the way through.

Also I'm not sure why Thriller or the Sun Sessions are on the list. To me, Thriller is like Sports (Huey Lewis and the News) or Cracked Rear View (Hootie and the Blowfish). A lot of people like the album, many people like it for nostalgic reasons, but I have yet to see anyone porclaim Thriller as genius. It's a fine album though. As for Elvis...to be honest I never got what Scaruffi was on there. It's true he didn't write his own music. Nobody ever said that he did. I think to claim that he was simply "a white man playing black music" ignores an awful lot of facts and only serves the purpose of trying to cut down a legend. Elvis had a great voice. The way he presented himself onstage was revolutionary. Nobody really says much else about him. Nobody was expecting him to write Trout Mask Replica.

You're comparing apples and oranges here.

I'm comparing music to music.

I don't think you are going to really like the Beatles because the kind of music you seek is completely different.

I do like the Beatles. I just find them massively overrated, considering so many music listeners seem to think they're the greatest artists in the history of mankind.

I think those albums are overrated quite a bit by some.

Well then, it's easy to understand you're disagreement.

Especially when it seems to me that many of these artists have created better works. Irrlicht bores me to death, but X is exciting to me, and invokes a lot of the same feelings that Irrlicht does.

We clearly differ in opinion.

Neu! is a good and groundbreaking album, but I think Neu! '75 is such a great expansion on that sound. Come on, their debut was written and recorded in only four days! I think that the odd numbered tracks all hold up well but I am skeptical of anyone who claims that the other tracks were meant to say much. '75 is solid all the way through.

4 days or 2 years, it doesn't make a difference. The resulting sound is revolutionary and one of the most surprisingly emotional albums ever created. Neu! is a masterpiece for the very reason that it doesn't expand on the sound. Its minimal structures create a nearly inexplicable level of emotional outpouring, but usually this is something that needs to get acclimated to by repeated listens. Sounds like Irrlicht poses the same problem for you.

Also I'm not sure why Thriller or the Sun Sessions are on the list. To me, Thriller is like Sports (Huey Lewis and the News) or Cracked Rear View (Hootie and the Blowfish). A lot of people like the album, many people like it for nostalgic reasons, but I have yet to see anyone porclaim Thriller as genius. It's a fine album though. As for Elvis...to be honest I never got what Scaruffi was on there. It's true he didn't write his own music. Nobody ever said that he did. I think to claim that he was simply "a white man playing black music" ignores an awful lot of facts and only serves the purpose of trying to cut down a legend. Elvis had a great voice. The way he presented himself onstage was revolutionary. Nobody really says much else about him. Nobody was expecting him to write Trout Mask Replica.

Thriller almost always rates 5 stars and commonly ranks fairly high on the all time greatest debate (see acclaimedmusic.net). Elvis had a great voice, but he's far from the greatest. Perhaps if he would've hooked up with Van Morrison or Tim Buckley he could've used it for more interesting and emotional exercises. His songs are nice, but lack much depth.

Right. And that's comparing fruit to fruit. When you say "Harrison was no Hendrix or Clapton or Page, that McCartney was no Flea or the bassist from Primus, that Ringo was no Neil Peart or Bonham, or Moon, and that Lennon was no Keith Richards", what do you mean? Their songs clearly didn't call for that kind of drumming. Can I say, well, Faust is a good band, but the guitar player's no John McLaughlin, the drummer no Bill Bruford, and so on? Are you trying to say that the Beatles played their songs poorly? You're looking for virtuoso performances in a band that plays pop songs.

I can't agree with the thing about Neu! either. What I'm claiming is that these songs obviously weren't worked on for very long. '75 is way more emotional if you ask me. I don't feel much anything from the first album. The third track (Weinessee??) is resonant, and Negativland is exciting, but I wouldn't call it very emotional. I don't compare it to Irrlicht at all. I like the first Neu album quite a bit. I just think that '75 was the only time they were ever really consistant. The thing is I don't think that the debut is suppossed to be an emotional outpouring besides "Lieber Honig", a track that almost everyone agrees is awful. I think "Leb Wohl" does the job much better. All the interviews and such I've read imply that Neu! was created as an expression of sound and not emotion.

Well, there you go then. If Neu! is not emotional to you then it's not emotional to you. If you don't think guitarists and vocalists can be compared to other guitarists and vocalists, and if you don't feel pop songs can be compared to other musical works then I don't know what to say. There's nothing to argue about. We're each involved in our own opinions and nothing you will say will deter me from what I've experienced for myself, and vice versa from me to you.

I never said that? All I'm saying is that you can't compare Harrison to Hendrix, or McCartney to Claypool, or Ringo to Keith Moon, or whatever. Of course you can compare music and of course you can compare guitarists and drummers or whatever if you like. I'm just wondering what point you were trying to make by stating that the fab four were not virtuosos. I don't think Beefheart and his Magic Band or Robert Wyatt or Faust or Schulze were either.

The reason why it's hard to compare "Taxman" to "Satz Ebene" or whatever is because they're so different that there's nothing to compare. Hmmm, which is catchier? Has better lyrics? Is more profound? Invokes the greatest imagery? I think it's clear cut.

I'm comparing all of these things emotionally, not technically or anything else. Taxman or Satz Ebene? Which is more emotional, more powerful? The choice is obvious for me.

Ringo or Moon? Who is more emotional? Harrison or Hendrix? Etc, etc...

AfterHours, have you heard the other Neu! album Jamool is talking about? If so, I am very curious to know what you think of its emotional content, and why you think Jamool is wrong about the debut.

My review on Neu! can be read on "Greatest Albums of All Time (Reviewed)". I've heard tracks and portions of Neu 75 so I can't comment on the whole thing. The best I can say is I didn't find it as powerful or unique as their debut. The very reason their debut is as great as it is is because it minimalizes the songs, concentrating on the structures themselves, the bare organisms. There is a unique and overwhelming profundity to it that seems to be a part of the mapping or architectural nature of our universe. For this reason, it takes on a breadth and expansiveness that seems to embrace all things instead of limiting itself to specific phenomena. Since the phenomena cannot be distinctly placed the album becomes a deft, mysterious, paranormal, spiritual experience. The album is rather singular in how it does this, as far as I know.

Oh wait, no. I just read about it and I haven't heard it actually. I think I am getting it mixed up with a Kraftwerk album.

However, if Scaruffi is correct, in that it emphasises melody over the huge rhythms and atmosphere, as well as lacks the ingenuity of the debut, then it is probable I wouldn't like it nearly as much. But again, I can't be sure until I've heard it first.

It's Just Ozzy's opinion

By the way, forget every "overrated" quote I've ever given Geek the Girl by Lisa Germano. I just listened to it and it is an absolute masterpiece. My "overrated" list of Scaruffi picks continues to dwindle. It becomes more and more apparent that the man just knows WTF he's talking about.

I would love to hear how this statement holds up after you watch The Great Race.

Or Riget. I do look forward to him rewriting his history of cinema someday, so I can get some glimpse of what the hell goes on in his head when he watches films.

Never seen the film, but I did ask Scaruffi what his deal was with his film rankings and he said that he definitely plans on someday reworking his rankings.

I asked him because I simply couldn't believe that Rules of the Game was somewhere around 150th.

I only meant music my friend. Film is another story entirely. At this point in time I don't totally trust Scaruffi's film picks, as I do with his music ones, though his top 9 is very strong (with exception to North by Northwest at #2, I think that's a little high).

You have the wrong year listed for The Wall-Pink Floyd (1976)

Oh yea, you're right. Thanks for noticing that. It's fixed now.

I would strongly disagree with the Stone Roses, and the Smiths. Both are brilliant.

I would agree that each are very good albums, but far from the greatest, which is why they're "overrated" in my opinion.

That's entirely personal taste. Both of those would be on my "Greatest of all time" list.

Of course it is, as is this entire list. Entirely subjective.

I am glad you love them so much. They are great albums.

I have to say your list is again is anti Beatle and you have no arguement to say these albums are overrated. For an album to be overrated to me is to have no impact on musicians and on the public. Clearly all of the Beatles albums you listed as overrated had a clear impact on the industry of rock music, the public and most of all the musicians. As for you knocking the Beatles as musicians you are lost, Paul McCartney is one of the most versatile rock musicians of all times, Lennon played at least three instruments and Harrison played the sitar, mellotron, slide guitar and 12 string guitar all effectively and made huge impact on popularizng those intruments in rock music. As songwriters they were no greater hitsmakers in rock music than the Beatles and the vocal harmonies on Abbey Road are amongst the most coppied in rock music. The Beatles wanted to be big and what they became is the most influential act ever in rock music.

Well, I am glad you like them so much. All that matters is how much you enjoy them, so you should continue listening to them and admiring them. We obviously have different opinions on this matter, which is totally okay with me.

Hey, we actually agree on this:

Thriller sucks.

Indeed...

Though keep in mind that an album on this list doesn't necessarily suck. It just has to be vastly overrated in my eyes. Most of the albums here are actually pretty good.

I am going to defend the Beatles you must be having a laugh. Rubber Soul had Norwegian Wood, In My Life, Revolver has Tomorrow Never Knows and Eleanor Rigby, Sgt Pepper I might agree with you but that even has A Day in the Life, The White Album has Helter Skelter, Blackbird, Dear Prudence enough said and Abbey Road has Something, the avant hard rock of I Want You and the side two medleys. Most rock artists would stand on there knees with songs like that.

Yea, but can they hold up to Beethoven? Mozart? Brahms? Bach? Captain Beefheart, Robert Wyatt or Faust's masterpieces?

Beatles albums are rated at or higher than those artists which is why I asked. And it is also why I think they are vastly overrated. If their albums were consistently given on average 3/5's or 3.5/5 they wouldn't be on this list.

Where talking about rock music not classical music and songs like A Day in the Life, Tomorrow Never Knows, Strawberrry Fields Forver are the cornerstones of my favorite type of music progressive rock. Every great future progessive rocker listened to those songs. Yes without a question they hold up and I will include I Want You She So Heavy, Eleanor Rigby, Norwegian Wood as songs I love also. The Beatles hold up but the real question does anyone else in pop music or rock music hold up. Rock music is over fifty years old and I can't think of anyone else who is still really influential. The Velvets are influential problem they just did not have the impact right away. I don't know who Faust is and I have heard of Captain Beefheart not a big fan. I am a big fan of Zappa but you can't really compare these artists to the Beatles they were supreme pop musicians.

Well we simply have different opinions on the matter and its not worth arguing about. For me, it's a matter of emotional impact, which is what I look for in music, film--all art. How much does it affect me? How powerful is it? How profound is this? For me, The Beatles are a fun band who crafted some solid, though uneventful, melodies and during their later years even managed some mild, interesting tweaks and ingenuity into their mostly well worn formula, but standing next to artists such as Wyatt and Faust and Capt Beefheart, etc. who were so creative they invented whole new avenues of emotional outpouring--who are practically their own genres--The Beatles don't enter into consideration whatsoever, just like some above average Baroque period classical music artist (or even Vivaldi really) wouldn't register next to Beethoven or Brahms, etc.

If I may join in... What seems so critically important, but omitted here, is that such developments are interdependent. Without the influence of the Beatles, we would not have had so much of what came after.

Without Vivaldi, Beethoven's work would have been different. Without Beethoven, Brahms' work would he been different, etc.

Art (music) is to be enjoyed for what it means to and how it affects the listener. It is different for each of us.

I've heard people debate who the better piano man is: Billy Joel or Elton John. With the exception of the fact that they both played a piano, the comparison pretty much stops there. Billy Joel's style was influenced by Doo-wop & R&B, where as Elton John's style is influenced by Gospel & Honky-Tonk.

It's no different than looking at two paintings from different periods and trying to argue over which one's best. It simply cannot be done.

The only one I disagree with is the stone roses debut,
what would you rate it as?

Whoa. Weird to see this list back. I don't get it. It seems like you're knocking Bowie and the Beach Boys for not sounding like Captain Beefheart. Isn't it sufficient to say you disagree with 99% of all greatest albums lists (as everyone else does?)

Wow... Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' is overrated?

This album was delivered from center of the Universe to the minds of David Gilmour and Roger Waters. There is no more perfectly created musical composition in modern music than 'Dark Side of the Moon' Maybe we're thinking of different albums, because the one of which I speak was released in March 1973.

The Dark Side of the Moon was an immediate success, topping the Billboard 200 for one week. It subsequently remained on the charts for 741 weeks (fourteen years), the longest duration of any album in history, with an estimated 45 million units sold.

These statistics alone suggest a resonance with the human psyche that is unparalleled! It definitely DOES NOT belong on your list.

This list is archived. Thanks for your comments though. I don't care about what's overrated and underrated really, at least as an argument. I think opinions on music merit are all subjective and not worth argument, which is one reason why I archived the list in the first place. All of your views are each correct in their own right. Someone saying the Beatles are the greatest artists on Earth is no less right or wrong than me saying Capt Beefheart is. They're both great in their own ways. I have a way I want music to be and other people have theirs--that's the only determining factor--it's subjective...that's all.

This list is archived. Thanks for your comments though. I don't care about what's overrated and underrated really, at least as an argument. Though it is often fun to discuss reasons why one sees things a different way, I think opinions on music merit are all subjective and generally not worth argument, especially ones as divided as this list ignites (arguments which rarely go anyplace except wasted time) which is one reason why I archived the list in the first place. All of your views are each correct in their own right. Someone saying the Beatles are the greatest artists on Earth is no less right or wrong than me saying Capt Beefheart is. They're both great in their own ways. I have a way I want music to be and other people have theirs--that's the only determining factor--it's subjective...that's all.

that's the worst list i've seen for some time.

these arnt overrated its just that u dont like these albums nuthin else to it

These are all pretty overrated.
Ziggy Stardust surely takes the cake though, i can´t understand the appeal with that album. Even Scaruffi overrates it.

How sad it must be being a Bowie-fanboy, worshiping a guy who is a mediocre writer/singer, displays hardly any emotion and didn´t really have any style, just copied what was popular/hip at the time.

I do not agree with Dark Side of the Moon or any other Pink Floyd album for that matter. You said earlier could the album stand up to Classical greats or anything else that's stood the test of time. My answer to that is YES. DSOTM can easily be considered as great as classic masterpieces. Look into the subtle meanings in every song and the genius behind the lyrics, they are greats.

Agree with you on some of the choices, and can forgive some of the others, but certainly NOT The White Album. A truly brilliant masterpiece by the Beatles that was unique, daring, quirky and unforgettable. Their magnum opus.

Kudos to you for including Abbey Road there, though. Though it should be higher than, say, albums like Revolver, What's Going On, Pet Sounds, The Sun Sessions, and The Beatles. I was pretty surprised that Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road were the highest rated Beatles albums by Scaruffi, instead of their true masterpieces like Magical Mystery Tour (glad you didn't include THAT on this list, at least), Revolver, and The Beatles.

This list is missing one album, though, that I think should be in the top 10 of THIS list at the very least: The Joshua Tree by U2.

Pretty good list. I've got a question though: Can you tell me why "velvet underground" is overrated??

Maybe I'll win the antipathy of many, but the truth is: many of Beatles's albums are overrated.

Looking through Scaruffi’s ratings, it seems to me that he must view Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols and even the Stooges’ Fun House (both of which he gave a 7/10) as just as or more overrated than most of the albums on the list here.

The question should certainly be asked with Fun House. In many lists I have read over the past dozen (indeed more) years gets the same consistent praise from many critics whom I respect like David Keenan, Joe Harrington and Mark Prindle as The Velvet Underground and Nico and Trout Mask Replica, yet it appears you (and Scaruffi) do not see Fun House as being nearly as good or important.

I must say Scaruffi does nothing to explain why conventional views that Fun House is equal to The Velvet Underground and Nico and Trout Mask Replica are wrong. The same is true for Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols, though I can imagine that Bollocks is an extremely easy album to understand and for some that might lessen its merit.