Blender‘s Web site recently asked a few of its “favorite musicians” to write a bit about an album that they love that is either terribly uncool or lacking in critical respect. This is all fine, but it operates on the assumption that musicians actually have “impeccable collections”–which may be true sometimes, but anyone who has ever met a musician knows that many of them have really bizarre collections, and tend to get into weird, obsessive jags where they will only listen to, say, dub reggae or The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway for months on end. Anyway, behind the cut we go through a few of the selections, and decide whether or not these artists should feel ashamed of their “guilty pleasures.”
Artist: Franz Nicolay of the Hold Steady
Favorite Bad Album: The Carpenters, Singles 1969-1981
Why?: “No one wears their naked neediness and colossal codependency on their sleeves like the Carpenters.”
Should He Be Ashamed?: No, not really. Nicolay’s case for the duo’s music makes their over-arranged, sad-sack ballads sound like something that would likely get a fawning review on Pitchfork these days.
Artist: Marcus Congleton of Ambulance LTD
Favorite Bad Album: Michael Jackson, Invincible
Why?: “Those of us who weren’t so easily distracted were rewarded with some of the most expensively produced and carefully mixed songs of his career. And there was even a video that featured comedian Chris Tucker, who was popular at the time.”
Should He Be Ashamed?: Oh God, yes. Congleton’s dispassionate comments sound more like an airtight case against the drab, lifeless album. And we really, really don’t need to be reminded about that Chris Tucker thing, alright?
Favorite Bad Album: Stone Temple Pilots, Purple
Why?: “It’s been hard to understand why Stone Temple Pilots get a bad rap when so many of their contemporaries were much worse–here’s looking at you, Pearl Jam.”
Should They Be Ashamed?: Definitely not. STP may have been careerists, but they were ace songwriters, and Purple is their finest hour. That said, Battles–and I assume it’s the entire band, since there’s no particular member credited–ought to take it easy with the Pearl Jam hate. They may not have been nearly as glam, but they were pretty great too.
Artist: Felix White of the Maccabees
Favorite Bad Album: Mike & the Mechanics, Hits
Why?: “I remember my dad having friends ’round when I was about 10, all sitting at the table listening to “The Living Years,” with the lyrics “Say it loud, say it clear/You can listen as well as you hear”; and they were all going, “I love this.” I thought to myself, Shit, I really shouldn’t be enjoying this, too.”
Should He Be Ashamed?: Yes. I can relate to the childhood sentimentality, but even when I was an eight-year-old fan of Invisible Touch, I knew that Mike Rutherford was the wackest member of Genesis.
Our Favorite Musicians’ Favorite Bad Albums [Blender.com]