Through a variety of methods and processes, certain albums throughout the course of pop and rock history have come to be regarded as "classics," critically untouchable works that not only enriched the coffers of their creators but overall made the world a nicer, more beautiful place to be.
Of course that's a load of horse pucky. Recently Rocks Off asked several of our writers to give us an album or two that everybody seems to love but them, and they wouldn't mind sharpening their knives on a bit.
Aerosmith, Toys in the Attic Classic rock has been the basis of my musical appreciation ever since my mom introduced me to the Beatles and my dad taught me Clapton way back when. Digging through my parents' records back when I was in my early teens, passing Lou Reed and Elvis, I came across Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic. Since I'd been watching MTV for several years at that point, and was also a boy coming of age, I had known all about the band's Alicia Silverstone/Liv Tyler Get a Grip days. I never really loved the songs "Cryin'" or "Crazy," but the videos were always a treat to watch.
So I gave this record a spin, and already knowing a few songs like "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion," made it through the whole 37 minutes. I never listened to it again. I hated it for some reason, and still to this day can't put my finger on why. I'm not sure if it's just my pure annoyance by Steven Tyler, or that I just don't like Aerosmith's music, but Toys in the Attic stayed in the attic with the rest of my toys until a garage sale a few years later. JIM BRICKER
Kiss, Alive! This is partially an age thing, because Kiss had all but run their course -- or so everyone thought -- by the time my musical tastes began developing in the mid-'80s. I knew them as toys or the subject of lunch boxes a few of the older kids brought to school, not the greasepainted band who wanted to rock and roll all night and party every day. I was a big WWF fan back then, though, and in fact one of the wrestlers used "Rock and Roll All Night" as his entrance music. Even then I didn't connect the two.
Not that it would have made that much difference. I find Kiss' makeup and "personalities" little more than schtick, and their brand of arena-rock rote and generic. I cannot think of a single Kiss song I actually like. I only picked Alive! because it represents their body of work as a whole; I freely confess I don't think I've ever even listened to it all the way through. Retroactively, I understand that Kiss influenced all sorts of bands I do dig, from the Replacements to Queens of the Stone Age, but to this day I don't see what the big deal is. I prefer AC/DC by a factor of about a thousand. CHRIS GRAY
Metallica (any) "Hate" is a strong word, but I've never been that big on Metallica's music. Is it bad? No, far from it. But I've never quite understood the band's massive, cult-like appeal. Whenever I listen to them, I feel like I'm watching Donnie Darko, and all my friends are telling me how it changed their lives while I sit back, thinking, "Sure, OK. Yeah, that was kind of fun." But that music video they did for the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack, where the whole band was rocking out on top of a big rock in Monument Valley, that shit was killer. MATTHEW KEEVER
Queen, A Night at the Opera If we're discussing "classic" albums that don't quite measure up, it'd be a crime not to mention possibly the most overrated "classic rock" band in history: Queen. Now, Queen was a consummate singles band, and the only album by them that anyone gives a shit about is Greatest Hits. The closest thing they've got to a "classic" LP, though, is A Night at the Opera: a strange mishmash of tastefully constructed filler surrounding "Bohemian Rhapsody."
One of the few Queen hits that lives on outside of sporting events (thanks, Wayne's World!), "Bohemian Rhapsody" is an exceedingly silly bit of fluff that rocks out for approximately 30 seconds in between broad stretches of completely nonsensical lyricism deployed in a grating, faux-operatic vocal style. If you're the sort of jerk who enjoys playing this song on the jukebox and loudly singing along, please resume taking your prescribed medication. NATHAN SMITH
The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead The Queen Is Dead arrived in June 1986, a month before my 21st birthday. I should have loved this album. I was squarely in the target demographic: relatively well-read, prone to existential gloominess, a little pissed-off and very confused about what was coming next. And, I'm Mexican-American. To many of us, Morrissey is just Vicente Fernandez with a different accent and no charro suit. Good music. Thoughtful lyrics. So, what's the problem?
I find it boring. It evokes no feeling in me, not even hate. It's so lukewarm I can barely work up any ire over it now. I know The Smiths poured everything into their work, but all I got was a droplet. The rest of my cup is empty. Even the guy on the album cover looks like he's about to fall asleep during "Frankly,Mr. Shankly."
"There Is a Light That Never Goes Out," considered the best of the bunch, makes me want to bang my head with bricks just to put something noisy and interesting, like a concussion, in my head. I'm aware there's something to this music that learned critics see as brilliant and millions of listeners understand. But, for me, life is very long when you're lonely... or listening to The Smiths. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.. Bruce Springsteen is "The Boss" to a lot of people. So many, in fact, that I often feel like the only one who doesn't like him. Look, I tried. Then I tried some more. I just don't get Springsteen. Of course, he is playing what's labeled as "heartland rock," and my patriotism lasts as long as "The Star Spangled Banner" at a sporting event.
I'm also not a fan of Springsteen's voice, so it's a package deal that I just can't get into. For good measure, I tried listening to artists who take after him, such as Frank Turner and Gaslight Anthem, to see if they could bridge the gap that stands between me and the rest of America. But the verdict has been made -- that sound is not for me. ALYSSA DUPREE
Sublime, Sublime Among my friends and colleagues, I'm known for being open-minded when it comes to music, but Sublime does something to me that I just can't explain. I love '90s punk, and if it's the right sound, I don't mind listening to ska or reggae. But the combination of the three? Not something I can do.
Although Sublime doesn't feature as many straight covers as there were on 40 oz. to Freedom, it's crazy to me that an album with that many covers (or "partial" covers) can become so popular. But the joke's on me, because "Santeria" seems to be on every playlist at every party I attend. ALYSSA DUPREE
U2, The Joshua Tree Before the cries of how The Joshua Tree is the best album ever, just let me finish. Yes, I know that the album has three very famous songs on it - three critically-revered fan favorites -- but that's all it's got. Those three songs happen to be the first, second, and third tracks on the album, and yes, people adore those songs. In reality, though, those songs ("Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "With or Without You") are all interchangeable, with choruses that echo the sound and sentiments from the one before, full of bloated music and cheesy religious metaphors.
And those songs, as redundant as they are, are the best you'll get from the album. It completely falls to shit from there. It's kinda whiny, a paint-by-numbers, radio-ready pop album that has no business being considered anything close to the decent rock albums U2 put out before it. Not only that, but The Edge and his guitar skillz are seriously overblown, by both critics and fans alike. Yeah, I said it. It's three semi-decent songs and then all suck. ANGELICA LEICHT
The Who, Quadrophenia I just plain hate the Who. I wanted to put a specific album here, but then I realized that these masters of pompous, overblown schlock have like five albums that are typically considered among the "best ever." Sorry, but never has a band been so completely, frustratingly lost up its own ass wading through pretentious garbage.
If I had to pick one though, Quadrophenia has to be the nadir. Not only is it yet another "rock opera," but it drones on for four fucking sides before it reaches its solitary enjoyable moment with "Love Reign O'er Me," a song I do love that absolutely does not make up for the pseudointellectual hell that precedes it. Face it: these guys had about two good songs per album.
The rest was Townshend wanking off and waxing philosophical. Gag. This is what punk came to kill, and we're all better off for it. COREY DEITERMAN
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The Who, Tommy Let me start by saying I like The Who. A lot. "Behind Blue Eyes" and "Baba O'Riley" are two of the greatest rock songs of all time. But you know what's not great? Tommy. For all I know, I've never given this album a fair shake because I've been completely distracted by one of the dumbest movies of all time. I can't separate the music from the absurdly non-entertaining cinematic train wreck, and for that, Tommy is just ridiculous. SELENA DIERINGER