Taking yesterday’s discussion down another route, I’m now interested in the psychology of a completist’s nature especially if an album was marginally interesting.  The listings were fascinating.  But it didn’t stop me from thinking, “what if an album was horrible”?

I am a big, BIG, Wishbone Ash, especially of the Mark I version with Ted Turner.  I find Wishbone Four to be an extraordinary album, highly under appreciated.  It is unfairly blasted for being a mile away from its predecessor, Argus, when everyone wanted Argus II.  But Wishbone Ash did eventually sour for me.  While I did enjoy Number The Brave, it was not a favorite.  But even it was classic in comparison to Twin Engines Burning, or even Raw To The Bone, both which I could not listen to, they were so awful.  Today?  Easy. Those albums are NOT in my collection.  Nor do they ever tempt me to say, “what the hell.  Wishbone Ash”, then pick them up for the sake of completion.

On the opposite side, there isn’t a Pink Floyd album I don’t have because they are all excellent (I’m talking Waters era).  Even The Final Cut, another under appreciated album.  King Crimson.  If they created a bad album, then it needs to be pointed out to me.  Talking Heads.  Joni Mitchell.  Hundreds  more.  Many that are just simply great works of varying degrees, but completely desireable.

Sometimes I find early albums leading to a favored period unlistenable.  The Beatles (for me) fall into this category.  (Sorry Beatles fans.)  Sometimes its the insufferable latter stage of a band, or artist’s life.  Bruce Springsteen falls into this category for me.

Lots to discuss here but now, after naming loved bands, do you have orders of preference, or does every album do it fairly easily, listenable at any time, and in any order?  Or are there albums, while acquired, just really suck and never get played?

It’s ok to let it out.  Maybe even therapeutic!

By MARowe

21 thoughts on “The Art of The Selection”
  1. I own every Rod Stewart album, but I can’t bring myself to listen to this mid-80’s period, with albums like “Camouflage” or “Body Wishes”. I don’t dig his new incarnation as a crooner either, but for some unknown reason can’t stop buying his records. It’s always the spell of his Mercury and early Warner recordings that brings me back to him. Crazy but true. And, yes, Bruce should have retired long ago.

  2. Way back when, I thought I would own every Chicago album ever made. Then Terry Kath died. I gave Hot Streets a chance, but have never purchased another one since. So I have completed the Terry Kath era of Chicago in LP and CD formats, but for me Chicago ends there.

  3. Tough category here. Even the worst album by my favorite artists seem to have one track that makes it worthwhile but I’ll take a stab at this.

    Kiss’ “Unmasked” is pretty terrible – it was obvious that they were trying to get a hit single out of it and it never really happened.

    U2’s “Pop” went too far down the eurotrash route they started with “Achtung Baby” and it was a disappointment to me.

    Peter Murphy’s “Unshattered” was a complete let down. It was just too bland an effort from the godfather of goth.

    I’m sure there are others but I tend not to think about music that I don’t play regularly so they don’t come to mind easily.

  4. Yes, a large part of my collection was bought because I am a fan of the band/artist.
    I have every Sabbath album but several of them haven’t been listened to since I took them out of their packaging for the first time. There is no logical explanation. It’s part obsession, part obligation of being a fan and part hope that it will be as good as those albums that really “hooked” me. It’s no different than any other addiction. A band/artist puts out an album (or string of albums) that really turn me on. I am hooked and continue trying to chase that high for the rest of the band’s life. It’s not really that complicated. Humans defy logic all the time.

    There are only a handful of groups that I can say never put out an album I didn’t like – Zep, Floyd, Rush, The Beatles, The Doors, Hendrix – that about covers it. Notice how all those groups (except Rush) had a very defined “life span”. They didn’t linger into obscurity or irrelevance. As much as we hate to see our favorite bands break up or call it quits, there’s a lot to be said for knowing when to take your final bow or in many cases (such as John Bonham’s, Jim Morrison’s or Jimi Hendrix’s death) have it thrust upon you.

  5. For me, it’s Black Sabbath. I’ve purchased every album under the BS moniker but I can’t remember the last time I played something that Ozzy (or Bill!) wasn’t lead vocalist. They’ve really gotten under my skin now that the original lineup is back and Bill is not part of it. I’ve posted on the official website a couple of times (hoping it will make a difference) that I will NOT purchase the new album or attend any potential concert that does not include Bill Ward. Keep the lawyers away, sit in a secluded room somewhere, work out your differences, and “make the dream come true”!

    Maybe a little off-subject but I think you get what I mean……..especially the BS fans.

    1. Awww, come on man…. the Dio albums were decent. Although, when I am in the mood for Sabbath, 99% of the time it’s going to be one of the core Ozzy albums released prior to the Dio years, so I get where you are coming from.

  6. To me there are two types of albums (again talking specifically studio albums). The classic album which can (and should) be listened to from start to finish, and then the album that is part of the overall collection, but with the exception of a hit track and as few good album tracks, the rest is time wasted listening to it.
    So to me, some of the complete collections can be broken down to this:
    Beatles – all classics
    The Moody Blues – Days thru Seventh Sojourn – classics; Octave on is a few tracks per disc
    Neil Diamond – Bang and UNI era – classic; Columbia so-so (actually can’t stand Lovescape )
    ABBA – all classic
    Pink Floyd – all classic (including post Waters era)
    Zeppelin – Presence and Coda are hard to listen to at times
    Doors – LA Woman – least favorite
    ELP – Love Beach (why?)

    I also agree with Bill B, that some artists continue to put out new material, when they are past their prime. To me Neil Diamond is a perfect example. True, he has had a fairly nice reinsurance lately with 13 Songs and Home After Dark, but there was a lot of filler stuff on the way)

  7. This probably spills over onto the previous question.
    I consider myself a very limited completist. Where the crossover comes is that I have pretty much fell out of love with the latest records from these artists, and while I have everything, keep promising to be much more selective, listening to the next record before buying. Inevitably, the moment grabs me, and I have another dud from:
    Beatles (not a huge fan of early Beatles)
    Jackson Browne
    Bruce Springsteen
    Paul Simon
    Paul Williams (the hobbit),
    Pink Floyd,
    Porcupine tree, although the Incident felt more like a SW solo,
    Blackfield,
    Steven Wilson himself (not got the DVD yet)

    The 4 essential Stones records,
    Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed, Get yer Ya-Ya’s out and Sticky Fingers. I know this is close to sacrilege, but Exile has never worked for me.

      1. I’d give the Stones a “pass” for every album released between “Aftermath” and “Tattoo You”. I wouldn’t say they were all “classics” but they were all decent and worth repeated listens in their entirety.

          1. At a recent LP convention, I was noting the difference between the UK tracking of Sladest (Slade) vs the WB US non-gatefold listing. I should have bought it. I will in January.

          2. The UK versions always seem to be better overall. Obviously it wasn’t only the highly publicized Beatle catalogue that was tampered with. Thank goodness for Amazon.uk to be able to get some of these gems. These weren’t so easy to get in the pre-internet days

  8. I love everything the Talking Heads did except Naked, which is totally unlistenable for me. For me, the totally unlistenable album is rare.

    I have complete discographies of many bands (with the exception of greatest-hits packages which I almost never buy), and without exception there are favorites. For Floyd it’s Meddle through The Wall. For Zep it’s anything up through Physical Graffiti. I could give tons of other examples. The other albums by these bands get listened to, but not as often.

    I sometimes choose a band and listen to through their entire output, from first to last, over the course of a few weeks (I usually do this with several bands at once). That’s a fun excercise – I recently completed this with R.E.M. and am currently in the middle of Yes, Wilco, and the live Crimson releases.

  9. It is difficult to find a band or artist that did not give us a stinker at some point. I agree with ELP’s Love Beach, playing it non stop to drive kidnappers out of a standoff, should be its only use.

    Steely Dan is one of those rare artist who’s work has been consistently excellent throughout, IMHO.

  10. Albums from bands I like that I detest:

    AC/DC – Ballbreaker
    Aerosmith – all albums after Pump
    Bad Company – Company of Strangers
    The Beatles – Please Please Me and Let it Be (everything in between was excellent)
    Black Sabbath – Seventh Star, TYR and Forbidden all stunk
    Boston – Corporate America
    Chicago – from Hot Streets forward (though Chicago 16 wasn’t bad)
    Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare II
    Deep Purple – Come Taste the Band (AWFUL, Glenn Hughes dominated this drek)
    Dio – Dream Evil
    Dire Straits – On Every Street and On the Night (I’ll cut off at Brothers in Arms and the Wembley/San Antonio Live 1985 shows as they went all country and western after 1986)
    The Doors – both albums sans Jim Morrison stunk
    The Eagles – Long Road Out of Eden
    ELP – In the Hot Seat (I do like Love Beach on the other hand)
    Foreigner – albums without Lou Gramm sucked
    Peter Frampton – 1994 self titled and Frampton Comes Alive II was awful
    Genesis – Calling All Stations and its leftovers (Tony Banks in retrospect wanted to stop when Phil Collins quit but Mike Rutherford wanted one more go and without Phil to keep Tony and Mike in check, it sounded like a Mike and the Mechanics album with Tony Banks on keyboards)
    Jimi Hendrix – anything post Electric Ladyland (the heroin, LSD, cocaine and so on killed his creativity and playing)
    Iron Maiden – the two Blaze Bayley efforts
    Jethro Tull – their output from 1991 onwards
    Journey – Raised on Radio and everything from 1998 to now
    Judas Priest – the two Ripper Owens albums
    Kansas – Drastic Measures through Freaks of Nature I didn’t like
    Kinks – albums after Word of Mouth
    KISS – Unmasked, Hot in the Shade and Psycho Circus
    Megadeth – Risk
    Metallica – St Anger
    Steve Miller Band – Rock Love
    Motorhead – all albums post Iron Fist (Eddie Clarke’s guitar was as important to Motorhead as was Lemmy and Philthy Phil)
    Ted Nugent – Penetrator and If You Can’t Lick Em
    Ozzy Osbourne – Down to Earth and Scream
    Alan Parsons Project – albums after Eye In the Sky
    Queen – The Cosmos Rocks with Paul Rodgers (should have ended with retirement of John Deacon)
    Queensryche – anything after Chris DeGarmo was forced out but hope Todd LaTorre brings the band back to old sound now that Geoff Tate (the Adolf Hitler of rock and roll) was FIRED)
    Rainbow – Stranger In Us All
    The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work and Bridges to Babylon (neither album was great)
    Bruce Springsteen – any album post 1987 (sans The Rising and Magic which were both last glimpses of greatness)
    Styx – Cyclorama and The Big BONG Theory
    Supertramp – Free As a Bird and Some Things Never Change
    Pete Townshend – Psychoderelict (the music only was better without the dialogue)
    Triumph – Surveilance
    U2 – all album post-Pop sucked.
    Van Halen – Van halen III and A Different Kind of Truth (call me mad, bonkers, off kilt, off the rails, loco in the kabasa but it was BORING)
    Yes – Fly From Here
    ZZ Top – their RCA albums stunk

    Solo efforts I can’t stand:

    Mike and the Mechanics’ albums were terrible (Mike Rutherford should have stuck doing solo albums under his own name)
    Much of Steve Hackett’s solo efforts post-1983 is drek
    Roger Waters’ Pros and Cons and Radio KAOS were both bad and The Wall in Berlin was PATHETIC (luckily Amused to Death sounded like classic Floyd and is his undoubtedly his best solo album and In the Flesh Live was a great counterpoint to PULSE from Roger’s ex-bandmates (I liked both In the Flesh and PULSE))
    TWO (Rob Halford’s album with Trent Reznor) – Voyeurs
    3 – To the Power of Three
    Gene Simmons – ***HOLE
    Peter Criss – All For One
    Tommy Shaw – What If and Ambition
    James Young – Raised by Wolves
    Freddie Mercury – Mr Bad Guy
    Roger Taylor – his Cross albums (his own albums were excellent)
    Roger Hodgson – albums post In the Eye of the Storm
    Jimmy Page – Outrider (though it had some good songs)

  11. Consistent excellence is a tough thing to achieve and subjective. Floyd is my favorite band, but I’d have to disagree with the Author on The Final Cut. I don’t find it underrated, I find it unnecessary. The Wall itself is uneven album. It has great tracks and not so great tracks. The musicianship is excellent, but a fair number of tracks feel recycled or uninspiring. The Final Cut feels like B side tracks to an album that already had tracks that felt unneeded. Most of my friends that are die hard Floyd fans will admit to similar feelings. I’ve never been to a friends house and found The Final Cut just playing. I understand the message and point to it, it’s just not compelling to me.

    Don’t get me wrong on the The Wall. It is still a great work and I enjoy it. Though I do find myself listening to the live version more often than the studio one because of the energy the live version contains. Unlike other Floyd albums I do find myself skipping a few tracks.

    As far as the last 2 albums go, neither is as consistently good as the WYWH – Animals era. Momentary tried to sound to much like an album of the times. Division Bell has some tracks that don’t work as well as they could. Still I listen to both more than the end of the Waters era where the same themes bombard the listener repeatedly. I know that is where Roger was at during that time. I can appreciate his message, but I longed for him to go other places. With his genius it would have been amazing.

  12. I am mostly a Rush completist but, they are a band that doesn’t have a wealth of unreleased material available like a lot of other bands. It’s mostly unnecessary to buy their “Best of” type compilations like Chronicles (Especially now that the excised tracks from All the World’s a Stage and Exit…Stage Left have been restored with the 1997 remasters.)

    With that said, I continue to buy their new studio efforts as they release them. Some of them are quite good and even stand strong against some of their classic albums from the late 70’s and early 80’s. Even so, I hardly find myself wanting to listen to an album like Vapor Trails or Clockwork Angels (which I could go on an entire rant about because I feel the album is monotonous in sections and lacking in any kind of musical flow, yet somehow it is being reviewed as one of the great albums in their catalog…but I digress)

    For Rush, I have all of their studio efforts and most live albums except the Time Machine Tour set (because Geddy’s voice was off the night they recorded, which was not the case the night I saw them on that same tour), but here are the Rush albums I have in my collection that I rarely listen to:

    1. Rush (They were just not as good without Neil Peart)

    2. Hold Your Fire (The worst of their 80’s efforts, the rest of which I actually liked a lot).

    3. Vapor Trails (This one seems like they forced the lyrics to fit the music as opposed to most of the previous work where it seems like, even though they are written separately, the lyrics really fit the music quite well. It also doesn’t help that this is one of the worst victims in the loudness war that I have ever heard.)

    4. Feedback (Rush is just not a great cover band and hearing their versions of some of these songs just makes me want to hear the original versions that much more.)

    5. Clockwork Angels (Reasons mentioned above)

    Now if they could somehow bring themselves to release some of their past live shows (Like a full Hemispheres era show or fill in the rest of the Moving Pictures show songs for Exit…Stage Left), I would be all over something like that.

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