I’m fascinated by weirdo albums by major artists, records that may not necessarily be great but are in their own weird way more interesting that a lot of the artists’ “better” work because they strive for something unique, show an extreme version of the artist and/or show them in a good-spirited I-don’t-give-a-crap mode. These records were generally hated by both critics and the public but look a whole lot better in retrospect than they did upon release.
- Leonard Cohen‘s Death of a Ladies Man (a collaboration between two geniuses, Cohen and Phil Spector, in which the sparsest of the sparse meets wall of sound and tries to rock out while fantasizing about naked bodies. He never sounded happier. I think it’s a masterpiece, but I can also sympathize with people who think it sucks).
- Randy Newman‘s Born Again (in which the artist tries to offend absolutely everyone, including those who previously liked him for the right reasons, both lyrically and with bizzare snyth-heavy arrangements that do not sound like an ’80s sell-out, but rather like nothing else from the ’70s or ’80s).
- John Entwistles‘ Whistle Rymes (a deeply personal, uniquely quirky album that I find a zillion times more evocative than Tommy or Quadrophenia).
- Prince‘s Black Album (though that one tended to get favorable critical commentary).
- All those crazy Neil Young albums from the ’80s.
Anyone wish to nominate a few more and comment on them?