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Many artists have their "established" bests. For instance, The Grateful Dead has American Beauty, Pearl Jam has Ten, and Bruce Springsteen has Born To Run.
Personally, Anthem of the Sun > American Beauty, Vitalogy > Ten, and The River > Born To Run.
What are some others, where an artist has one ridiculously acclaimed album when you think it isn't even his or her's best one? I have many other examples but I'll leave it to you.
Hopefully this thread will help me and others to discover the lesser known works of great musicians.
I've always thought that In Utero was better than Nevermind and that More Songs About Buildings and Food was better than Remain in Light.
I agree with Remain in the Light. I like Fear of Music and More Songs About Buildings and Food better than that one.
her established bests are Like a Prayer asnd Ray of Light- and, it turns out, they actually ARE her best studio records. Her most influential, however, would be the debut album.
I also enjoy More Songs About Buildings And Food more than Remain In Light. And I think their best one is still 77.
I think Bruce Springsteen's best is Nebraska. And if U2 did a stripped down album like Nebraska, it'd be their best album. (Now it's War.)
For Pearl Jam Ten is the only one I can still listen to all the way through.
For David Bowie, I have a feeling next time I update my list, Low and/or Heroes will pass Ziggy Stardust.
Flaming Lips, I'd put Yoshime over Bulletin.
David Bowie is another great example. Give me Low and even Station to Station over Ziggy Stardust.
Speaking of Eno, Before And After Science is every bit the equal of Another Green World, and may even be better.
Alright just going by the AM top 100 and picking the ones I'd despute everyday.
Beatles: Rubber Soul > Revolver
Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisted, Bringing it All Back Home, Blood on the Tracks > Blonde on Blonde
Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed > Exile
Pink Floyd: Piper at the Gates of Dawn > DSOTM
Prince: 1999, Purple Rain > Sign O The Times
Led Zeppelin: II > IV
U2: War >>> The Joshua Tree
Talking Heads: Fear of Music, MSABAF > Remain in the Light
REM: Reckoning >>> Automatic For the People
Sly and the Family Stone: Stand! >>> There's a Riot
Pixies: Bossanova > Doolittle
Elvis Costello: Armed Forces, Get Happy >>> This Year's Model
White Stripes: White Blood Cells > Elephant
Albums not in Acclaimed 3000 vs albums that are
Prince: For You > Purple Rain, Sign o' The Times, 1999
Carpenters: A Song For You > Close To You
Scott Walker: Scott 2 > Scott 4
Stereolab: Cobra & Phases Group Play Voltage In The Milky Night > Emperor Tomato Ketchup
Sun Ra: Lanquidity > Atlantis (a lot of Sun Ra albums get mentioned, but never Lanquidity)
Ghostface Killah: Ironman > Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Carole King: Rhymes & Reasons > Tapestry (I wonder why I was the only one who put Carole King in my top 100 artists)
Serge Gainsbourg: Jane Birkin > Histoire de Melody Nelson
Talking Heads: '77 > Remain In Light
Joni Mitchell: The Hissing of Summer Lawns > Blue
Neil Young: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere > After The Gold Rush
Jay-Z: Reasonable Doubt > The Blueprint
Once I started to think about it I came up with a TON of examples:
Face to Face > VGPS
Up on the Sun > Meat Puppets II
Neon Bible > Funeral
Sell Out > Who's Next
Paul Simon > Graceland
Axis > Are You Experienced
Kid A > Ok Computer
Nebraska > Born to Run
Rocket to Russia > Ramones
White Light/White Heat > VU & Nico
Get Behind Me Satan > Elephant
Low, Hunky Dory > Ziggy
Between the Buttons > Exile
Piper at the Gates of Dawn > Dark Side
I should say that I own and enjoy every album on this list except Dark Side (my pick for the most overrated album ever but thats another discussion.)
I think, tell me if I'm wrong, that many of the answers here does not really fit the original question.
Telling that in someone's opinion H61R is better than blonde on blonde or Rubber Soul better than Revolver is a good debate, but none of them is THE "established best" as Sean Pak told. They both get the same acclaim with only slight differences which make one be over the other on the final ranking.
The original examples made more sens !
I think that Radiohead's best album is easily "The Bends," not "OK Computer."
And I think that U2's "War" is better than "The Joshua Tree."
There are some others:
I think the Beatles' "Abbey Road" is their best album, but it is quite acclaimed, and "Revolver" is one of my personal favourites anyways. So I can't complain too much. (Plus, as already mentioned, the Beatles' albums don't really have a universal greatest album.)
Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" is easily one of their greatest albums, but I wouldn't call it their hands-down best album. I would say I am in love with "The Wall" moreso than DSOTM.
And I've only heard a few Rolling Stones albums (Aftermath, Exile on Main St, and Beggar's Banquet), but believe it or not, I think Aftermath is the best of the three.
Sean, you should make a similar topic of "Their ACTUAL best songs." I would have done it, but I figured I should let you if you wanted to.
LonesomePanda is correct in that it isn't quite so glaring if both albums are extremely acclaimed. In other words, if they're both in the top 100, the difference is only slight. I like Unknown Pleasures more than Closer, and Surfer Rosa more than Doolittle, but those probably don't count since Unknown Pleasures and Surfer Rosa are in the top 100. Still, I'm glad to know that many of you prefer the lesser ranked ones!
I think many great examples have been given. Here are some that ppl have listed that I especially agree with:
VU: White Light/White Heat
White Stripes: White Blood Cells
David Bowie: Heroes
The Who: Sell Out
Ramones: Rocket To Russia
Rolling Stones: Aftermath and Between The Buttons
I'm sure that I don't even have to type in what albums those are going against. That's how acclaimed the others are.
Keep in mind that if I didn't re-list your examples, it isn't that I disagree. Most often, it's just that I haven't yet heard the albums you say are better. But I'm adding a lot to my to-gets now.
Yeah, I agree with only listing it if it's a bigger gap.
I mean, I think Innervisions (#42) is better than Key Of Life (#41). But, I somehow don't think that counts.
For Brian Eno, I think Before And After Science and My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts are better than Another Green World. Even maybe Taking Tiger Mountain.
Sheryl Crow, her self titled > Tuesday Night Music Club, and so is Globe Sessions.
Fiona Apple, When The Pawn > Extraordinary Machine
Liz Phair-Whitechocolatespaceegg> Exile in Guyville
Supergrass-Life on Other Planets> I Should Coco
Gomez-Split the Difference> Bring it On
Belle and Sebastian- the Life Pursuit>If You're Feeling Sinister
Sigur Ros-Takk>Agaetis Byrjun
British Sea Power- Do You Like Rock Music?> the Decline of British Sea Power
Modest Mouse- Good News For People Who Love Bad News> the Moon and Antarctica
Wow, I just heard Tori Amos' Under The Pink for the first time and it's better than Little Earthquakes!
Just sticking to artists in the top 60…and, as some of you have suggested, I’ll leave out cases where there’s not a pretty substantial gap (at least 100 places) between album rankings.
Springsteen: The Wild The Innocent & the E Street Shuffle > Born to Run
Marvin: Let’s Get It On > What’s Going On
Joni Mitchell: The Hissing of Summer Lawns > Blue
Blur: Blur > Parklife
Coltrane: Giant Steps > Love Supreme
By the way, I also prefer War to Joshua Tree—but I think Achtung Baby crushes both of them. Some of us (including me) find U2 frequently irritating, but I have to give them credit; when your third-best album is The Joshua Tree, you’re doing something right.
Belle and Sebastian: The Life Pursuit >If You're Feeling Sinister
Bob Dylan: Desire > Blonde on Blonde
Bruce Springsteen: Tunnel of Love > Born to Run
George Harrison: Brainwashed > All Things Must Pass
Joe Jackson: Jumpin’ Jive > Look Sharp!
John Hiatt: The Tikki Bar is Open > Bring the Family
Joni Mitchell: The Hissing of Summer Lawns > Blue
Liz Phair: Whitechocolatespaceegg > Exile in Guyville
Neil Young: Neil Young (1969) > After the Goldrush
Otis Reding: The Dictionary of Soul > Otis Blue
Pink Floyd: The Final Cut > The Dark Side of the Moon
Prefab Sprout: From Langley Park to Memphis > Steve McQueen
Prince: Parade > Sign o’ the Times
R.E.M.: Green > Automatic for the People
Steely Dan: Can't Buy a Thrill > Aja
Talking Heads: Fear of Music > Remain in Light
The Beach Boys: Surf’s Up > Pet Sounds
The Beatles: The Beatles (White Album) > Revolver
The Jayhawks: Rainy Day Music > Hollywood Town Hall
The Who: The Who Sell Out > Who’s Next
Tom Waits: The Heart of the Saturday Night > Swordfishtrombones
Townes Van Zandt: Townes Van Zandt (1970) > Our Mother the Mountain
Van Morrison: Into the Music > Astral Weeks
Yes: The Yes Album > Fragile
Yo La Tengo: Fakebook > I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One
PJ Harvey - Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea and Rid of Me > To Bring You My Love
Bjork - Post and Homogenic > Debut (but not Vespertine (or as I like to call it: the "I'm getting wonderfully laid by Matthew Barney" album). Sorry people I gave it another listen this weekend based upon the best of the decade accolades that have been pouring in. It's great... but too flawed in terms of sacrificing songcraft in favor of mood.)
Paul Simon - The Rhthym of the Saints > Graceland
The Who - Tommy > Who's Next
Stereolab - Dots and Loops > Emperor Tomato Ketchup (can't say that I got very into Cobra & Phases..., Georgie)
Daft Punk - Discovery > Homework
Spoon - Gimme Fiction > Kill the moonlight (and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, if it enters higher than Gimme Fiction in the next update)
I'd love to hear an explanation from the two who rate Whitechocolatespaceegg higher than Exile in Guyville. I've always felt it was very ordinary and not even close to the songwriting on Phair's first two albums.
Finally, as I have asserted too many times on these boards (and will continue to do so)...
Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain > every other album in the universe, including Slanted and Enchanted. I'd put Brighten the Corners above Slanted... also.
Rolling Stones- STICKY FINGERS>EXILE
Van Morrison- MOONDANCE>ASTRAL WEEKS
Bruce Springsteen- NEBRASKA>BORN TO RUN
Prince- 1999>SIGN O' THE TIMES
Paul Simon- RHYTHM OF THE SAINTS>GRACELAND
John Lennon- PLASTIC ONO BAND>IMAGINE
Elton John- COUNTRY COMFORT>GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD
Schwah: I absolutely agree with Tim when he recently wrote a short but excellent comment about Whitechocolatespaceegg: "she actually sings on this one and the songs are more confidant and well produced. Don't understand why critics hate her melodic material and perfer her songs where she can't hold a tune or carry a melody."
Not to be a nitpicker, but regarding the post two above me, "Country Comfort" is actually a song, not an album. But if he's trying to say that "Tumbleweed Connection" (the album on which "Country Comfort" is found) is better than "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," I agree with you 100%. GYBR is a great album, but it's too scattered for my tastes. Tumbleweed is much more focused.
And to add my own personal flavor...
Peter Gabriel: PG3 > So
Yes, So has five monster hits (Red Rain, Sledgehammer, Big Time, Don't Give Up, and Mercy Street). But the other four are either passable or unlistenable. PG3 is much stronger as a whole.
Fiona Apple: When the Pawn (#2501) > Tidal (Bubbling Under) > Extraordinary Machine (#1543)
But maybe I just haven't listened to EM as much as I've listened to WTP...
Doves: Lost Souls (#1852) > The Last Broadcast (#1393)
This one's close for me, but LS is solid all the way through track #10 (The Cedar Room).
Fatboy Slim: Better Living Through Chemistry (#2957) > You've Come a Long Way, Baby (#356)
This one isn't even close. BLTC is just brilliant. I think that YCALWB is rated so high because of the two hit singles...
Hmm ... I like Exile in Guyville, and I've never heard Whitechocolatespacegg. Time to catch up, I guess ...
Miguel and Tim -
I'll tell you what, it's been years since I listened to Whitechocolatespaceegg. I've got a cassette of it somewhere so I'll give it another listen.
My recollection is that she uses her upper register a whole lot more than she did on Exile.... That doesn't mean that she wasn't "singing" when she used her lower register, she was just doing so to a different (and I think better) effect. And I agree that overall she was more confident in her singing on the later album (although she does sound really strong on the repeating chorus of "Stratford-on-Guy").
However, she just isn't all that great a singer. If I want to listen to great singing, Liz Phair is one of the last artists I turn to. She worked with her limitations on Exile, and my recollection is she exposed them on Whitechocolate.... Take "Polyester Bride," a really nice sing-songy composition. Everytime she swoops up to "away from here" at the end of the chorus, I cringe a little.
As for production... I love the production on Exile on Guyville. It is decidedly not clean. It's as scuzzy as many of her songs. But it wasn't hiding her voice... it was a complement to her really interesting delivery on that album.
I realize this is not an opinion that everyone shares. I have a friend who is a producer who likes things much cleaner. In the mid-90's he was preparing to produce the debut album for Patti Rothberg, a female singer-songwriter (_Between the 1 and the 9_, 4 stars on Allmusic, check it out!). He was given Exile... and Whipsmart to listen to for some ideas, and really didn't like what Brad Wood did with her. He wanted something much cleaner and crisper (and IMHO, it worked for Rothberg).
Anyway, I don't want to come back too hard at you both (opinions are no fun if they're shared by everybody), not to mention hijack this thread. I will give Whitechocolate... another try.
I second Better Living Through Chemistry. By far his best!
And I, also, have not listened to Whitechocolatespaceegg. But I keep hearing some good things about it, and I recently discovered that my favorite critic enjoys it. So I really have a mind to check it out.
I think Blur's 13 is brilliant, it's one of my favorite albums. As much as I love Parklife I'd 13 over it any day.
Also, Sister over Daydream Nation.
she doesn't sound too bad in Polyester Bride. I think it's one of the last two songs on Guyville: "Baby I'm Tired!!!!!!!!! of fighting." It sounds like she gave up half way through the chorus. I know the production maybe made her voice sound a little more accessible but nowadays rappers and pop stars are doing far worse. I guess spaceegg is starting to get a big following. The people who dispise her debut and he people that dispised her s/t record might find common ground in whitechocolatespaceegg. It seems to fall right in the middle of the two.
Oh yeah "Treat Me Like Dirt" by Patti Rothberg was one of my favorite songs of the 90s.
New york > Transformer
Yerself Is Steam > Deserters Songs
Let It Bleed > Exile On Main Street
Clear Spot > Trout Mask Replica
Transmissions... > Soft Bulletin
Exile in Guyville is the better Liz Phair album, but for me the latter album was the first example of what I appropriately call whitechocolatespaceegg syndrome, wherein a previously cherished album is played by a loved one to the point that you never ever want to hear it again.
The other obvious examples of this are In The Aeroplane Over The Sea and The Velvet Underground's third album (which I used to think was better than VU & Nico).
Glad to see someone remembers Patti Rothberg. "Treat Me Like Dirt" is a great song... it should have been her first single.
Good call on the Mercury Rev, Ed.
Personally, I think Deserter's Songs is one of the band's worst. Boces and Yerself Is Steam are both way better, and See You On The Other Side is its equal.
Dirty > Daydream Nation
Mezzanine > Blue Lines
( ) > Agaetis Byrjun
Songs From Northern Britain > Bandwagonesque
I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass > I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
Permanent Waves > Moving Pictures
VU > VU & Nico
Talkie Walkie > Moon Safari
Ocean Beach > Red House Painters (Rollercoaster)
So, I (downloaded and) listened to Phair's whitechocolatespaceegg and... it's pretty damn good. I have you folks to thank for getting me to hear it.
I wouldn't say it's better than Exile In Guyville, but it certainly isn't much weaker. After how pop she went with her second album, Whip-Smart, I gave up on her. So I was surprised to find how un-pop whitechocolatespaceegg was.
No Doubt: Return Of Saturn > Tragic Kingdom >>>> Rock Steady
I also perfer Free All Angels by Ash to their highest ranked 1977.
Yes, I meant TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION. My bad..typing from work and my memory failed me.
"The Crane Wife" is the worst by the Decemberists. "Castaways & Cutouts" and "Picaresque" are much better!
The Stones seem like good fodder for a lot of people here. I'll stay to >100 place differences after the first two:
Sticky Fingers > Exile on Main Street
Rubber Soul > Revolver
Loaded > VU & Nico
Fear of Music > Remain in Light
Sea Change > Odelay
Stand > There's A Riot Goin' On
Ray of Light > Like a Prayer
Low-Life > Technique
This Is Hardcore > Different Class
Tumbleweed Connection > Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Vitalogy > Ten
Exit Planet Dust > Dig Your Own Hole
That seems like a good stopping point.
I've actually heard nothing by the Decemberists and New Order besides The Crane Wife and Technique. I'll be sure to check out Castaways, Picaresque, and Low-Life. Oh, and I listened to Sigur Ros' () a few days ago and, if not better than Agaetis Byrjun, it's definitely just as good. Thanks musictoad.
This thread has helped me listen to some older stuff I totally missed. Mission accomplished!