It's a constant battle between artists and their fans. A war rages between progressive initiative and listener expectations. For some of us who've discovered albums later in a band's career, or even worse, after their demise, we can take a more complete look at a band's catalog and realize the impact an album had before its critical downfall.
Today I present five albums that are favorites to a future generation, and a few who "got it" the first time. For some of these artists, it is just a lot of praise a bit too late.
1) Refused - The Shape of Punk to Come --- Talk about an album that no one understood. Could there be violin in a punk rock song? Where are all these house beats coming from? This better not be the shape of punk to come, or I'm going to be pissed! Needless to say, the band's final album didn't catch on well at first. Some of us got it, and others shunned the album's foreshadowing message.
2) Jawbreaker - Dear You --- Geffen Records was pissed. Off the heat of 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, no one saw the slow-tempo, major label follow-up as stunning. Sales showed it. Now many see it as the band's best work, and a staple amongst albums such as How It Feels to Be Something On and the following record on the list...
3) Promise Ring - Wood/Water --- "Is This Thing On?" seems a more appropriate title to an album that had many scratching their heads, and critics calling it a bomb. For all the Dashboard Confessional and Death Cab For Cutie records, this one is definitely a audible canvas of the brightest day in Spring. Try listening to this record without a smile.
4) Weezer - Pinkerton --- For many, including myself, this stands as the best Weezer album to date. Following the adolescent flow of their (first) self-titled album, growing up is what many audiences didn't want for the band. If the "Blue Album" is one of high school fun, then this is the trip through college. For all the backlash this album received, a good friend once said, in the face of critical vice, he'd probably continue to write catchy pop songs for Pinkerton's follow-up albums.
5) Acceptance - Phantoms --- Initially, Phantoms was considered bland, generic, and has continued to spark some controversy on the site. However, having leaked 6 months before its release, and its first single being a ballad ("Different"), Acceptance have created a true phantom (pun) of a record. Still to this day, new fans are being won over with its catchy, emotionally driven and talented lyrics. To quote Scott Weber, "this truly is an outstanding album, full of accessible emotion and passion," and continues to accompany many "Best Album" lists. (Mike Kraft)