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Music Corner: 5 random albums that aren’t as bad as people have told you

Posted on by sam

5 random albums that aren’t as bad as people have told you. 

Signing Off-UB40 (1980)

What people would have you believe:

Throwaway white pop Reggae for people who don’t know any better.

What it actually is:

Its near impossible to imagine when you think of them nowadays but UB40 were once seen as the heir to The Clash’s thrown. The lads from Birmingham were an angry political gang who seemed to stand for the neglected Working Classes as Thatcher began her rule over Britain. If you can manage to listen this album whilst blanking out who it is you are listening to then you may find it in your heart to forgive them for the ghastly re-hashed shite they came out with afterwards.

This is their best work by some way and gives enough evidence to show why they were expected by some to be the most important band of their time. Remember them this way.

It-Pulp (1983)

What people would have you believe:
Naive  first album that offers nothing to suggest what Pulp would produce in the future. Useless to everyone but hardcore Pulp fans

What it actually is:

On first listen it sounds like Pulp were once just another 80′s band simply trying emulate The Smiths. That is until you discover that this album came out almost a year before The Smiths released their self titled debut. Cocker’s voice here is very Morrissey-esque with his band sounding like a mellower, not yet fully realised, version of Johnny Marr and the boys.

Whilst this album will probably never feature as anybody’s choice on Desert Island Discs, its confused, clumsy and amateurish style gives the album a charm all of its own. Despite the laid back and subtle arrangements to the songs there is a definite enthusiasm present on the album that helps atone for the sometimes careless and unfinished feel that some tracks give out.

It’s true that you hear very little here of what Pulp would become but its an inclusion in their back catalogue that shouldn’t be dismissed.

 The Smiths-The Smiths (1984)

What people would have you believe:
Dodgy first start from a band who would go to produce much better

What it actually is:

Don’t get me wrong people do like this album but it’s the ugly sister of their 4 studio albums.The one you are supposed to try last. In reality the ‘The Smiths’ is quite easily the most consistent album in their entire catalogue. There’s no ‘Death At One’s Elbow’ here. There’s no throwaway Smiths by numbers track. There’s no duffer. It’s all class

People believe they get The Smiths more than other people. People believe that they understand what Morrissey is saying more than other people. People think The Smiths are THEIR band. Their music belongs to them, is made for them and in some cases is them. Their music speaks to them more than any human ever has. Their music pulls them through many an awful day and pulls many through an awful life. Their music is the reason they are still alive at all.

‘The Smiths’ fully reveals why people feel such a way. It sees Morrissey’s lyrics at their most mournful and the feelings he expresses here nurtured so many through a time when no other words, thoughts or actions could. It was the parent that really understood. Their other work may be more adventurous, witty and polished but ‘The Smiths’ will continue to be the Bible that every lonely, confused soul that crawls this world turns to in their hour of need.

Made In Heaven-Queen (1995)

What people would have you believe:
The first of Queen’s many barrel scarping attempts in their bid to continue earning money after the death of Freddie mercury

What it actually is:

If everyone is honest, Queen never were an albums band. Their albums usually consisted of 5 genuinely brilliant pop songs and a load of flimsy filler. Given the nature of ‘Made In Heaven’, an album that consists of band updates of old Freddie Mercury solo material mixed in with new songs featuring the last vocals the singer ever committed to tape,  its easy to dismiss it as barrel scraping nothingness. A closer look however shows that there isn’t much difference between this and most other Queen albums in terms of quality. The sporadic genius is still here.

Serious fans of Freddie Mercury will have heard most of these track in some form before but it’s the presence of Queen that give the songs a whole new lease of life. There’s bad stuff (My Life Has Been Saved, Let Me Live) and great stuff (A Winters Tale,You Dont Fool Me). Add it all together and you have a Queen album that you can put up against most of their other work. Given the circumstances, ‘Made In Heaven’ is a genuine triumph.

Be Here Now-Oasis (1997)

What people would have you believe:

Coming on the back of the ridiculously successful ‘Morning Glory’ and their huge Knebworth gigs, a total let down.  The most anticipated music release since the 1960′s ended up killing the myth of ‘Cool Britannia’

What it actually is:

‘Be Here Now’ sold over 400,000 copies on its first day and over one million just a fortnight later. The reviews from the music press at the time were gushing in its praise. Most of the same publications had rubbished ‘Morning Glory’ on its release and didn’t want to look daft again. The first single from the album went straight in at the top spot and the album reached number 2 on the American billboard charts.

Its hard to know just exactly when public opinion started going against Oasis and ‘Be Here Now’. It certainly didn’t take long after its August release. By Christmas when the end of year charts were being compiled by music journalists, ‘Be Here Now’ was nowhere to be seen. Radiohead’s ‘Ok Computer and The Verve’s ‘Urban Hymns’ scooped most of the ‘album of the year’ awards in most magazines and whilst ‘Be Here Now’ was still selling reasonably well, it was clear that the tide had turned against Oasis. By 1998 even chief songwriter Noel Gallagher began rubbishing the album. He keeps this stance today. The idea of him ever playing stuff off the album again seems remote.

There is no surprise to why this album was slated so much after just a few months of its release. The songs are far too long, the lyrics are comically bad and the production is simply terrible. Despite this, it does contain at least 6 songs that with better care could have met the huge unrealistic expectations. ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’ is a thrilling opening track, ‘Don’t Go Away’ is one of the sweetest melodies Gallagher ever wrote and ‘Fade In-Out’ still remains Oasis’ most experimental work. The sheer audaciousness of ‘All Around The World’ should be applauded even if it sounds like it doesn’t know how to stop. ‘Its Getting Better (Man!!) is Oasis by numbers but would have been a top pop tune if it was cut down from its 7 minutes whilst the title track is as daft but just as catchy as the throwaway moment on their last album, ‘She’s Electric’.

Be Here Now is renowned as a bad album when it really isn’t. Disappointing of course but it’s comfortably the 3rd best album Oasis ever released. Go back to it. You’ll see I’m right

Written By Andrew Hague

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