Tuesday, August 7, 2012

#578: The Worst!

Here's the 1st part of that mega-list, focusing on The Worst Strange Music Albums that I've actually heard all the way thru. Getting all the way thru is the key 4 these lists. If I couldn't get all the way thru it, I can't claim it.
I trust that what I call "Strange Music" will become clear -- it might B prog, rock, jazz, off-the-wall -- just something diffrent from "the mainstream." There's a lot of Really Bad Prog out there -- you'll find some of it listed below.... Some of my heroes R also mentioned....
I also caution that these lists represent ... oh, maybe a week of thinking & researching by Your Humble Blogger. Management reserves the right 2 update these lists at any time 2 add obvious stuff we somehow forgot about.
Onward with The Bad Stuff, in more-or-less descending order of "quality"....

- Emerson, Lake and Palmer: WORKS VOLUME 1 (1977) -- 4 long sides, 3 great trax!
- Caravan: CUNNING STUNTS (1975) -- 1 pretty-good side ("The Dabsong Conshirtoe"). The rest is pretty dull.
- U.K.: DANGER MONEY (1979) -- 2 good songs, & a waste of talent. The cover's hideous too.
- Rare Bird: EPIC FOREST (1972) -- Title track & "Birdman" R prog classics. The rest is absolutely flat, no inspiration, nothing distinctive. Not truly terrible, just REALLY average & boring.
- Camel: STATIONARY TRAVELLER (1985) -- Very Alan Parsons Project-ish. 2 or 3 decent songs, best is "West Berlin." The rest is pretty dull.
- Moody Blues: OCTAVE (1978) -- 3 or 4 decent songs. The rest is sludge.
- Gentle Giant: GIANT FOR A DAY (1978) -- Kinda silly & WAY commercial. 3 songs R keepers. NOT the worst album ever....
- Beach Boys: FRIENDS (1968) -- Music 4 Brian Wilson 2 nod-off by. Their weakest. 1 good "song," "Passing By." A few pleasant fragments: "Be Still," "Little Bird," "Anna Lee the Healer," "Meant for You." The rest is pretty awful.
- Steely Dan: GAUCHO (1980) -- Mostly lethargic & boring, 2 decent songs. The title track's great!
- Moody Blues: SUR LA MER (1988) -- "I Know You're Out There Somewhere"'s pretty great, & "No More Lies" is OK. The rest is garbage -- especially "Deep," 1 of their stupidest songs ever.
- Strawbs: GRAVE NEW WORLD (1972) -- Mostly dull & sludgy. "Oh Me, Oh My" is cute but 2 short. "New World" is shockingly bitter.
- Group 87: A CAREER IN DADA PROCESSING (1983) -- Boring, lifeless instrumental jazz-rock without even a decent beat. 1 decent track. Buy their (1st) album instead, it's great!
- Jethro Tull: A PASSION PLAY (1973) -- 1 good 4-minute segment ("Edit #8") over 2 LONG sides....
- Yes: TORMATO (1978) -- SILLY! & REALLY busy-busy, as if the guys were all on uppers. "Release, Release" is almost good.
- Moody Blues: STRANGE TIMES (1999) -- "English Sunset" is almost good....
- Renaissance: AZURE D'OR (1979) -- "Jekyll and Hyde" isn't bad. The rest is completely forgettable.
- Caravan: BETTER BY FAR (1977) -- Embarrassing, especially the opener "Give Me More."
- Camel: ON THE ROAD 1972 -- Boring live-concert noodling. Nothing jumps out.
- Matching Mole: LITTLE RED RECORD (1972) -- Ugly, silly, muddy production from Bob Fripp -- but I wouldn't mind hearing it again.
- King Crimson: ISLANDS (1972) -- "A Sailor's Tale" is almost impressive. "Ladies of the Road" is almost good. The rest is boring, pretentious, muddy. Even great saxist Mel Collins is wasted. This band sounds WAY better on the LADIES OF THE ROAD retrospective.
- Barclay James Harvest: OCTOBERON (1977) -- Not 1 redeeming (or even melodic) song. Some of it's pretty offensive. BJH's XII is pretty bad, too....
- Asia: (1st) (1982) -- Good Ghod, did I listen 2 ALL of this?
- Genesis: DUKE (1980) -- Sludgy, dull, endless. "Turn it on Again" is as good as this gets....
- Traffic: MR. FANTASY (1969) -- Mostly lethargic & muddy psychedelic songs. Overrated.
- Weather Report: BEST OF (1980?) -- Stiff, lifeless versions of tunes that finally came alive in concert.
- Moody Blues: KEYS OF THE KINGDOM (1991) -- YEEZUS, not 1 decent song....
- U.K.: LIVE/NIGHT AFTER NIGHT (1979) -- Pure profit-taking. Every single live track sounded better in the studio.
- Borbetomagus: (1st) (1980) -- Takes punk-jazz noise in2 a whole new realm.... Not a single melody in 40+ minutes.
- Gong: EXPRESSO/GAZEUSE (1977) -- Even with all the extra guest talent (guitarist Allan Holdsworth, etc.), completely forgettable. Cute song titles tho.
- Pierre Moerlen's Gong: EXPRESSO II (1978) -- 2 song titles sum it up: "Sleepy" & "Boring." Background music without a foreground, even with the special guests (Steve Winwood, Mick Taylor, etc).
- David Bedford: STAR'S END (1974) -- 1 gushy, melodramatic orchestral phrase is repeated over & over & OVER 4 40 minutes. Pointless.
...More, better stuff Coming Soon. Let me know what you think....


drewzepmeister said...

I have a few of these albums in my collection...

ELP Works-I'll agree with you on this one. C'mon now, an album side dedicated to a piano solo-BORING!

Steely Dan Gaucho- I tend to listen to Can't But a Thrill over this one.

Jethro Tull A Passion Play-It's not their worst moment, but I'd I'd much rather hear Mistrial in the Gallery, Agualung, Rock Island and a bunch of others over this.

Yes-Tormato I liked this one much better this most of their recent stuff, especially "On the Silent Wings of Freedom"

Asia-(s/t) Admittedly, I hated this album at first-no long progressive jams in it. After reading an article about the album, I saw it in a different light. It quickly became one of my favs.

Genesis-Duke I saw this album as a transitional piece between the early, long winded Genesis to the shorter and peppier newer stuff. It's more assessable to me. I really loved "Behind the Lines" and "Misunderstanding".

Traffic Mr. Fantasy-I have a copy of "Dear Mr. Fantasy" from the 1994 reunion tour that will blow anybody's mind...

R S Crabb said...

Well Tad been hanging around the old Crabb eh?

ELP is a acquired taste even on a good day and although I never heard much off Works Volume 1, Volume 2 is lots more easier to take.

Gaucho I tend to like more now than I did back then although it was more of a extension of Aja. Reading the new liner notes that Becker and Fagan didn't think much of either album.

Asia gets bad reviews but I always liked their albums although I play side 2 of the first more than the first and soul survivor is a cool song. I think we're all burned out on Heat Of The Moment or Don't Cry. Their new album XXX is their best in years.

Genesis has always been a problem band for me, I like some of their singles, their albums with Gabriel or Phil Collins I can leave. I like the more Pop Collins stuff over the stuffy Gabriel albums of Lamb Lies Down On Broadway or Selling England By The Pound.

As for UK Danger Money, it sucked the first time I heard it. It hasn't improved over time... ;)

rastronomicals said...

Hey Tad

If you're gonna talk about Tormato you gotta talk about the incredible wah-wah squawk guitar on "Arriving UFO." . Not so sure about the paranormal subject matter, but some of Howe's most whacked-out playing, and the toy keyboard sound that is throughout the album probably sounds best here.

"Future Times/Rejoice" is pretty great, too. I think the reason Tormato gets slagged so much is solely because of "Circus of Heaven," which is probably the worst fucking Yes song ever. The rest of it, I like quite a bit.

A song I really like from Works, even though it's not really rock 'n' roll, is "Pirates." Overall, though, Works Vol I is no doubt weak.

You said it on Islands; it sucks out loud.

TAD said...

Thanks guys, best turnout I've had in months!
Drew: I actually LIKE Emerson's Piano Concerto -- especially the last section. Pretty dramatic. But of course it ain't rock&roll....
Thanx Crabby. & welcome back Rastro!
There's lots more coming....

R S Crabb said...

I have had Islands in my collection twice and outside of Ladies Of The Road which is as close to that classic rock sound that Bad Company did better years on and Senifonia Lady was odd and cute but the rest of that King Crimson album put me to sleep. Espcially the title track. the lineup of Boz, Mel Collins and Ian Wallace didn't seem to be cut out for Robert Fripp's vision although Collins was the best member of that lineup. He just didn't have good material to work with ;)

timothy harrington said...

I like how you have many of the same artists on the best and worst lists.... Personally I like "Danger Money". I discovered them in 1983. Roxy Music was my favorite group and I thought that I had found found every Roxy spinoff till I discovered this album in a cut out bin. Plus Missing Persons and Asia were contemporary pop groups I enjoyed. So this album was a great find. Sure the songs pompous but it goes with the genre