Miscellaneous Rumbles

Artist’s “Lesser” Works Better?

1

Last discussion question of the night, I promise.

I love Steely Dan and have since high school. However, while many insist Aja is the peak of their music, I prefer all of their previous five albums to that one, especially Pretzel Logic. Nothing against Aja, but compared to the others I find it over-produced, sterile and much of a sameness. The others are more varied, interesting and adventurous.

Similarly my favorite Bruce Springsteen album is Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Do you prefer an artist's "lesser" works to their supposed "greater" ones?

2

I've never considered any album I like their lessor work.

Revolver over Sgt. Pepper for example.

Animals over Dark Side of the Moon

Etc...

3

Wish You Were Here and Meddle are some of the best things Pink Floyd ever did. Just because one album didn't sell as well as another doesn't mean it's a "lesser work". It may not have been promoted as well as another, or didn't get the hype. It's all a matter of what you like. YMMV.

4

I've never considered any album I like their lessor work.

Revolver over Sgt. Pepper for example.

Animals over Dark Side of the Moon

Etc...

– crowbone

I wasn't using "lesser" in the sense of quality, but in terms of reputation or critical and popular acclaim.

5

I wasn't using "lesser" in the sense of quality, but in terms of reputation or critical and popular acclaim.

– drmilktruck

Right.

You like what you like, and if it goes against the tide of popularity, or critical acclaim, why would it change your opinion?

I must say, I tried to like Sgt. Pepper because everyone said that's the Beatles high water mark, and to me, it's just not their best album.

For my money, The Royal Scam was SD's best record, and Aja was their worst for much of the reasons you mentioned.

6
Revolver over Sgt. Pepper for example. Animals over Dark Side of the Moon

Two perfect examples.

And "Darkness" over "Born To Run" for Springsteen is another fine example. The Clash's lauded "London Calling" is no way a match for their "Sandinista" album. And I can name a hundred "lesser" Simple Minds' songs that are miles better than "Don't You Forget About Me." Same goes for Big Country's "In A Big Country."

Can do this with filmmakers: John Carpenter's THE THING is far better work than his highly acclaimed HALLOWEEN. "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" blows away Scorsese's high water mark "GoodFellas" film.

7

... Then again, if Louie Louie was the Kingsmen's best work......

8

R.E.M.'s first five albums are better than anything they put out after they got signed to a major label.

9

Good topic doc and I certainly have my selections that qualify. For Springsteen? "Magic", "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions", and "Wrecking Ball", as complete albums, are certainly in the top 5.

I also love Mellencamp's last 3 albums with 2 of them produced by T Bone Burnett.

10

Good topic doc and I certainly have my selections that qualify. For Springsteen? "Magic", "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions", and "Wrecking Ball", as complete albums, are certainly in the top 5.

I also love Mellencamp's last 3 albums with 2 of them produced by T Bone Burnett.

– NJDevil

Funny you should mention these two.

I saw Springsteen on that very tour, and absolutely loved the band. Saw him years earlier when he toured Born in the USA, and I couldn't stay awake.

Mellencamp's albums have been increasingly better with each release.

11

John- I loved the ragtime/brass band/folk mix of the Seeger Sessions album and saw the concert for that tour at MSG and I think I saw Magic at The Nassau Coliseum. Tons of energy each show.

12
Revolver over Sgt. Pepper for example. Animals over Dark Side of the Moon

Two perfect examples.

And "Darkness" over "Born To Run" for Springsteen is another fine example. The Clash's lauded "London Calling" is no way a match for their "Sandinista" album. And I can name a hundred "lesser" Simple Minds' songs that are miles better than "Don't You Forget About Me." Same goes for Big Country's "In A Big Country."

Can do this with filmmakers: John Carpenter's THE THING is far better work than his highly acclaimed HALLOWEEN. "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" blows away Scorsese's high water mark "GoodFellas" film.

– Spiritwalker

I'd put Wish You Were Here over both Animals and DSOTM.

I think Sandinista would have made maybe one of the greatest 2 album sets if you edited out the filler but 3 was too many. (Thank God they didn't try 4 with the next one!)

13

The 'famous' albums got so much airplay, that I end up preferring 'lesser' (known) works. Pretzel Logic is my favorite Steely Dan album, and Darkness/Nebraska are my go-to Springsteen albums.

A lot of times, I'll like an artists first or first couple albums, before a 'professional' producer got hold of them.

14

I'm a big "Darkness" fan when it comes to Springsteen. I think "Darkness" stature has grown over time. Initially, on the heels of "Born To Run" the album did not make as big a splash because people were expecting Born To Run 2 and "Darkness" is a bit of a different animal. "Darkness" is also a favorite of mine because the "Darkness" tour IMO is Springsteen and the E Street Band at their best as a hard rocking, nose to the grindstone, take no prisoners live outfit. The "Darkness" album and to an even larger extent, the live shows showcased Springsteen's best work as a lead player with seering, visceral solos, and an incredible wailing Tele sound through two cranked Fender Tweed Bassman Combos.

15
the "Darkness" tour IMO is Springsteen and the E Street Band at their best as a hard rocking, nose to the grindstone, take no prisoners live outfit.

So true.

I did see that tour and, you got it right -- it was a hard rocking, killer live show. There was, forgive me here, a darkness to that "Darkness" tour. Springsteen's best moment in his entire career was that guitar intro to "Prove It All Night." He attacked. It was almost savage. There was real emotion coming through his guitar amp...emotion that people can not even express verbally.

16
I think Sandinista would have made maybe one of the greatest 2 album sets if you edited out the filler but 3 was too many.

That's what is always said about "Sandinista" and, yeah, it is true to some extent. However, what makes "Sandinista" so brilliant is that it is so bold and ambitious. Think APOCALYPSE NOW. Had that movie been streamlined to a two hour flick, it might have played better. But would it have been so monumentally memorable? So epic in its scope? Sometimes the failures of a piece of art actually add to its greatness.

17

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, September 19th 1978 Capital Theater Passaic, NJ. Greatest concert I ever saw. I have the live radio broadcast on an "unofficial" cd and it still sends chills down my back when I listen to it.

18

For the Police, "Synchronicity" was their biggest selling work, but to me, both "Ghost In The Machine" and "Zenyatta Mondatta" are more satisfying.

I have to agree with the masses on "Aja" though. While both "The Royal Scam" and "Pretzel Logic" are loaded with gems (as is "Gaucho"), "Aja" is strong from start to finish, and still reveals new delights even this many years later.

Among Grateful Dead albums, there are adherents for just about everything they did, but the song-oriented stuff on "Workingman's Dead" and "American Beauty" got the most airplay and sold the most. I'll take their sophomore effort "Anthem of the Sun" any day, though --- innovative, experimental and psychedelic to da max, and unlike anything else ANY band ever did.

"Abraxas" is generally lauded as most folks' favorite album by Santana, with many fans also citing "Santana III," but for me the trilogy of "Caravanserai," "Welcome," and "Borboletta" are the apex. They are likely the least commercially successful albums the band made, but to me are the most musically adventurous and inspirational.

19

So, the upshot is, we're all correct.

Each of us can say my opinion is more valid than anyone else's because that's the only one that matters to me.

Godzilla would beat King Kong, Lucy is funnier than Roseanne, and Lincoln could beat Washington at arm wrestling.

I think as long as we preface our opinion with "but for me..." we can stand under the arches of civility, but take that away, and we run the risk of slipping into douchebaggery.

20

"Caravanserai," - Parabar<

IMO, Santana's overall best. A conceptual, melodic, and percussion masterpiece...

21

Red Hot Chili Peppers' Uplift Mofo Party Plan was their most fun. I also love Hillel Slovak's guitar playing on that album. I created the foundation for all of their future guitar players.

22

So, the upshot is, we're all correct.

Each of us can say my opinion is more valid than anyone else's because that's the only one that matters to me.

Godzilla would beat King Kong, Lucy is funnier than Roseanne, and Lincoln could beat Washington at arm wrestling.

I think as long as we preface our opinion with "but for me..." we can stand under the arches of civility, but take that away, and we run the risk of slipping into douchebaggery.

– crowbone

Are you sure you didn't mean Godzilla is funnier than Lucy, King Kong would beat Washington, and Lincoln could beat Roseanne at arm wrestling?

23

Are you sure you didn't mean Godzilla is funnier than Lucy, King Kong would beat Washington, and Lincoln could beat Roseanne at arm wrestling?

– Parabar

Maybe I did, who's to say?

24

For me, Springsteen's The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle is the best one, the rest pretty much bore me to pieces.


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