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What about an all-time albums poll where we list what we think are the most underrated albums? I think it would be a very unpredictable and exciting game. I don't have time to run it, but I'd gladly participate.
yeah perferably not any that are included on acclaimed music except maybe one "bubbling under" per every 10 albums. So if you list 20 albums you can have to bubblers included on you list.
01. Wilco- Summerteeth: Every song is a melodic monster, the arrangements are brilliant, the lyrics are brilliant...Yet it doesn't even make the top 500 of all time. I'd give my left foot to see this album get more acclaim. Anything less than 300 of all time is really a slap in the face.
02. Neil Young- On The Beach: This is the secret all Neil Young fans know: On The Beach is a monster, maybe his best album. I have no idea why the critics haven't picked up on this more. This album deserves all the praise the mediocre Harvest gets.
03. R.E.M.- Reckoning & Life's Rich Pageant: Both are fantastic records, and both lose out on higher AM positions for the highly mediocre Out of Time and Green. These are the albums that deserve praise.
04. Olivia Tremor Control- Dusk at Cubist Castle: Genius work of 90s psychedelic rock. Introduced the world to Jeff Mangum, and sort of jump started the late 90s interest in The Beach Boys and Zombies among indie rockers.
05. The Microphones- The Glow Part 2: It got a decent end of decade list push, but the fact that there are dozens of less creative, less artistic, more by the book albums above it on the 00s list irks me a bit.
I think Jonathan has the right idea (although I disagree with many of his assessments; Harvest, mediocre?! Anyway, I digress) in that we shouldn't limit ourselves to albums not on AM. If you feel that Revolver is underrated you could list it, but you'd probably make a slight fool out of yourself.
I'd be willing to run this poll, but I'm slightly busy so I'd prefer if we keep the lists somewhat short and my presentation won't be as utterly awesome as Honorio's.
That's great Stephan! You can decide the score function and the maximum number of albums that will get any points. And if you're busy at the moment we could do this later.
I think that if we are not allowed to vote for as many AM albums as we want, we might end up with a consensus list without consensus.
Another thing we should perhaps agree on is the definition of underrated. Is it the AM position or something else? Take for example #25 (The Eminem Show) and #27 (The Disintegration Loops) from 2002. One got mixed reviews while the other one has not been heard by many but is considered a classic in its genre. Should someone who loves these albums equally consider them equally underrated?
We really should agree on the definition of 'underrated' first, but it's a great idea for a poll.
I'd give Harvest a little more credit than 'Mediocre'. It's only mediocre compared to Neil's other acclaimed albums.
@Jonathan: I know why On The Beach hasn't gotten more acclaim. Because it didn't come out on CD until a couple years ago. Neil Young originally nixed it because he hated the mastering. He still nixes Time Fades Away for the same reason, and look where it is. People hardly know it exists. It fell off the AM chart on the last update.
My underrated albums:
-(Getting the predictable part out of the way first) All Tim Buckley albums
-White Stripes - De Stijl (Prefame albums always get the shaft)
-Pere Ubu - The Modern Dance
-Marquis de Sade - Rue de Siam
-XTC - Drums And Wires (WAY better than Skylarking, IMO)
-Tangerine Dream - Phaedra (I can't even get people to listen to it.)
-Miossec - Boire (A victim of 'Not being in English' syndrome)
-Bruce Peninsula - Mountain Is A Mouth (Never even got a physical release in the US, I think it's one of the best of 2009)
-U2 - Boy (I'll never understand why this and War get less acclaim than Joshua Tree)
-Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick
-Tool - Aenima (Those who aren't metal fans dismiss it)
-Anais Mitchell - Hadestown
How about a definition of underrated which relates the AM position to their approximate position on your personal list. For example, if there is a difference of more than 250 (or 500, or 1000) between the AM rank and your personal rank, it can be considered underrated. This will exclude everything in the top 250 (or 500, or 1000), but I think it's fair to say those albums aren't really underrated.
I agree with the numerical idea in general, but I think there are some albums critics have picked up on but don't get included with the canon by music fans.
One example for me would be, The Modern Dance. #226 on AM, #28 on my personal list. Shouldn't I include that over something that's #2000 on AM and #1000 on my personal list?
Percentual maybe? The AM rank has to be, for example, 200% of your personal ranking. However, this would allow you to include Revolver if it is your #1 album, so percentual combined with numerical is better. The AM rank has to be 200% of your personal ranking and there have to be at least 100 ranks in between.
First, why such strict definitions? Underrated is more of a feeling anyway, isn't it?
And a difference of 250/500/1000? My personal list ends at 100. I don't rank a 1000 albums.
Does evereybody here have a top 500 or 1000 readily available? I thought I was a listmaniac...
By the way... Nice idea!
Just a thought, but how about a shifting scale rather than percentage?
For example, if an album is in your personal top 10 but not AM's top 100 it's underrated. You could use a scale based on this:
Personal rank / AM rank
1-10 / Lower than 100
11-50 / Lower than 200
51-100 / Lower than 500
101-200 / Lower than 1,000
201-500 / Lower than 2,000
P.S. An overrated poll might be a fun followup.
That sounds better and a lot less convoluted Rocky, and it also solves Gillingham's problem. To answer your question Gill, I have 350ish albums ranked and 600ish songs.
My ranking program has almost 600 albums loaded into it. But, around 300 is the point where really good new albums are likely to reach, so it's only good up to there.
I just want Jackson & SRdude to vote for an Art Bears album, that's all. I'm feeling all like Yoda in Return Of The Jedi, no wonder I want an improbable but potential plothole to inherit my tastees.. the younglings did hit the shores long ago and it's gratifying to see that they've gotten bemused by all that sand. Too.
Whatever criteria we end up deciding, my list will most likely be just a permutation of my list of favorites anyway.
as long as we're keeping the good ole Magazine/Associates/Echo/Siouxsie/Comateens (damn, noticed your last post much too late!) axis alive, helloJello:yeahhh...
extra bonus vow: nj to put in Eurythmics' In The Garden as soon as this project gets green and lights and harps
One thing to consider is that what is underrated on AM is not necessarily underrated in general. King Crimson's Red, for instance (which is one of my favorite albums), is outside of the top 500 on AM but is in the top 50 on RYM and is a classic in prog circles. Also at issue is what Henrik alluded to--some albums aren't ranked highly because people haven't heard them, not because those who have heard them don't rank them highly. Disco Inferno, for example, are becoming one of my favorite bands of the 90s. They hardly make a blip on AM, but I've never read a negative review of them.
@nj I believe I listened to one Art Bears song before and didn't like it, though I obviously need to hear a full album before judging them.
I think, if we do that, we could take album that do not appear in the AM 3000 or bubbling under !
Why choose always in the same list of albums while they are many other ?
I agree expect at least maybe be able to put no more than 5 "bubbling under" albums per every 20 albums. I don't consider bubblers to be acclaimed. Most are just an after thought and forgotten about by the end of the year. If they don't have a ranking they should be included. Also I'd like to ban Radiohead, the Beatles, Elvis Costello anyone that never scores any lower than top 10 for every EOY. Maybe Pablo Honey. Give the others a chance. Let's not be like the American basketball team at the Olympics.
All right...I'll throw together a list of underrated albums as in not on the top 3000 period.
I agree the AM list shouldn't be the only basis for underrated because it's only a list of critical ratings, but I think excluding the entire list is going a little far.
I also think that if an album isn't placed highly because nobody has heard it, it qualifies as 'Underrated'.
It might be a good idea to have a poll of 'best albums excluded completely from the AM list', but that's a different poll from 'underrated'. That poll will include a lot of albums that sold ten million copies and exclude a lot of brilliant unknown albums that made it onto the list just based on a handful of high placements.
Maybe instead of worrying about particular lists or particular numbers, we should be discussing 'Underrated by whom?' Underrated by critics? By mainstream audiences? By enthusiasts of it's particular genre? By audiophiles?
Some good suggestions, and I'm sure Stephan will take them under advisement. It's his poll, though, he's doing the work. So anyway he wants to run it is cool with me. If I don't like it, I just won't participate. Unlike a recent trend on these new poll discussions, I'm more for simple and less convoluted.
Time to get back to this great idea for a poll. Like Rocky I'm not the biggest fan of the more convoluted point systems we've been devising so I'm not going to have people assign points. The lists are supposed to be of which albums you find the most overrated. Simply using the formula we always do will mean that #1 gets more points than #100; this means you might not want to just filter your personal top albums for the criteria because some albums lower down your list might be more underrated than the ones near the top. I do agree with Andre that it could be a little more 'aggressive'. I'm thinking this:
1-10 / Lower than 250
11-50 / Lower than 500
51-100 / Lower than 1,000
101-200 / Lower than 2,000
201-500 / Outside the AM top 3,000
Now, the second-most important issue, when to start? I'm going to start traveling during June, so if we want to do this soon it'll have to be voting during April and revealing during May. This doesn't leave a whole lot of time, so perhaps we can take two months for voting (May and June) and I will reveal the results in July. We could also just vote in June, but I'd like to listen to some recommendations myself, which is why I'm suggesting including May.
Any thoughts or comments on either the points or the dates?
I like this point system. If anything, I would exclude the top 500 entirely. Forum favorites like Odessey and Oracle and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea would be eligible with those values. I do prefer the straight list option to points in this poll.
But shouldn't those albums top a poll like this? They're forum favorites for a reason. If we exclude the 250-500 we'll exclude a lot of albums I do think are underrated. Of course 250 is just as arbitrary a cut-off point, so if more people feel 500 is better we'll go with that.
I don't know. Odyssey and Oracle and Aeroplane may not be up at the top of the AM list, but they're very popular among indie communities. They're not just forum favorites here, they're forum favorites at most similar forums, so I have a hard time calling them 'Underrated'. We can't really define an album's rating strictly by the AM position. An album that's ranked in the 600s and sold 5000 copies, in my opinion, should be considered far more underrated than an album that's off the list and sold 15 million copies.
The #3000 album on AM is only on five lists, two of which are catch-all lists like AMG. Wide appreciation to me says a lot more about an album's 'rating' than love from the handful of critics it takes to get on the list.
I think polls should be straightforward from the outside but convoluted from the inside. That way it's easy to participate, but you can tweak the method to target the statistical trends the poll is most interested in.
Fables Of The Reconstruction: #991
Life's Rich Pageant: #703
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: #917
(fig. 8, right next to Smith, Elliott)
boyyy... this poll looks doomed from the get:go
For sure,this is one of the great lost albums of all time. Look how many 5 star ratings it has:
Okay, I know this isn't following the format, but Viguen, the Blur apologist, must strike again...
Modern Life is Rubbish, Blur, and 13 should all be in the top 500 as far as I'm concerned.
There has to be a way though to consider popularity among music fans instead of just among critics. RYM?
On RYM, Aeroplane is #64, Odyssey and Oracle is #56.
New name: Most underrated by critics poll.
One slight little quibble- RYM updates its charts every month or so, so the boundaries may change depending on when we make our ballot.
Good point. I'm not that familiar with RYM; is there some way to get a simple list of as many albums as possible?
The most underrated album of all time is...
The Left Banke - Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
It's jammed full of should-be-classic tunes and not even in the AM top 3000.
Has this become an actual poll yet, or it is still being crafted?
Still crafting. In any case, it won't start until May. That doesn't mean you can't start making your lists in April, of course.