20 Awesome Albums That Critics Initially Hated

(via Yardbarker) By Matt Sulem

Jan. 12 marks the anniversary of the historic release of Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut album, also known as “Led Zeppelin I.” Now ranked among the greatest rock records ever made, “Led Zeppelin” actually wasn’t initially received well by critics. However, as you’ll soon see, many now-iconic records also didn’t get the warm welcome you might have expected from critics. And back before anyone with an internet connection could be a published music writer, major publications held a lot of power, and a couple of bad reviews could really damage a band or artist (one reason why the list tends to skew older). With that, here are 20 awesome albums that critics initially hated…

Read more: https://www.yardbarker.com/entertainment/articles/20_awesome_albums_that_critics_initially_hated/s1__28172303#slide_1


As much as I might agree that critics were about as off the mark as could be on albums like Abbey Road and Blood on the Tracks, I have a few further thoughts on the topic.

While you may (with sight not afforded the critic appraising new music) recognize AC/DC as a great “classic rock” band, actually it’s hard to argue with Billy Altman’s description of them as  “two guitars, bass and drums all goose-stepping together in mindless three-chord formations”.

I mean, that’s the point of AC/DC, right?

And while McCartney’s Ram sounds in retrospect like a classic and a predecessor to indie pop, perhaps we needed indie pop to come along to form that consensus.

But fresh on the heels of the full band polish and meticulous George Martin production of late-period Beatles’ releases, how could it not sound spare and undeveloped?

The bottom line is that the appreciation of music (or lack thereof) is subjective and never takes place in a vacuum. It’s all about context.

If you as a listener hadn’t (presumably) grown up in a world that generally reveres “classic” rock–and rightly so in most cases–you could likely be convinced AC/DC is annoying if your ears prefer the relative subtlety and sheen of Fleetwood Mac.

Just as you could be persuaded that Fleetwood Mac have no balls because they lack the testosterized swagger of AC/DC.

The critic has to walk out on the limb, so to speak. Has to make his judgment without benefit of hindsight, with the past as his only context. It’s an impossible job, really.

I think Blood on the Tracks would have become near and dear to me regardless of anyone else’ opinion of it. But then again, if I hadn’t come across the album at a time when I was experiencing the same kind of pain Dylan was writing about–who knows? Maybe he would have sounded annoying.

I just think it’s possible to both see how obviously these critics missed the mark (and later recanted/reappraised) and see some truth in their original words. To some degree, both things can be true at once.

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