Author Topic: Ridiculous re-evaluations of old albums/ artists you've heard recently  (Read 455 times)

23 Daves

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Given the public appetite for old re-issues on CD and the increasingly limited material available, it's no surprise that once every so often an album previously thought of as a bit naff gets re-issued and people jump up and scream "How could we not have realised this was great?".  In a lot of cases this is totally excusable.  Some albums (such as a lot of the later period psychedelic material of the sixties, or some of the Manchester baggy albums that unfortunately appeared post-baggy) were just victims of bad timing.  They sounded too dated at the time to sell, but with the benefit of hindsight we're able to hear that they're solid gold.

However, I've noticed that on various websites and magazines like Mojo recently, there have been some truly terrible re-assessments going on of material that genuinely can only be thought of (to my ears) as being solid dog dirt.  Two examples.

A couple of months ago Uncut gave Gilbert O'Sullivan a re-assessment, arguing that he was a 'melancholy' songwriter whose best work was right up there with Harry Nillson and Chris Bell.  Given that my mother is (unfortunately) a fan of his, I can wholly confirm to you all that, to my ears, this is absolute balls.  His whiney, nasal voice, jaunty little melodies and jokey punning lyrics just grate like all fuck.  These are not accusations you can throw at Harry or Chris with any great ease.  

Then there was the website that decided to re-appraise Paul McCartney's "Tug of War" (declaring it to be like a good Beatles album).  Balls again.  Gross over-inflated claims were made for this album even at the time of its release - it was put out not long after Lennon had died and featured one sweet-sounding (but hardly classic) song on the topic "Here Today", and it was also produced by George Martin.  These facts sent some people into over-drive.  The reality, however, is different.  It's a very patchy album at best with some very interesting moments (the decidedly odd "The Pound Is Sinking", the only track that really reaches the peak of the Beatles, "Be What You See") and some downright irritating cack ("Ebony and Ivory", "Get It") and some very plodding ballads (largely the title track).  There's a nice piece of work on it in "Wanderlust", a church organ driven ballad which probably would have been brushed into something great in the day of the fab four, but sounds rather incomplete on the album.  "Take It Away" is an uptempo little single which is pretty good as McCartney singles go, but in all honesty there's nothing here that suggests the power of the Beatles, and to see an entire forum of people fawning about it just did my head in.  It's a good McCartney solo album, meaning it's slightly above average by anyone else's standards.

My theory is that as retro mags and websites increasingly run out of re-issues to look back on, they desperately have to scrabble around in the sand of the lucky dip finding what half-chewed novelty toys are left.  Has anyone spotted any more?

Oh, and can anyone please advise me, is Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" really a lost classic?

Bring back "Paintbox", TJ.


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Ridiculous re-evaluations of old albums/ artists you've heard recently
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2004, 08:43:45 AM »
It *is* sort of coming back, soonish, in a slighty revamped form. And with a different name...