By AKANTRO Collaborator
Staying safe at home? Let's talk music. What are your Top 5 underappreciated albums? We'll kick it off... 🤘
Top 5 Underappreciated Albums:
1. Faith No More - King For a Day, Fool For a Lifetime - I think its pretty easy to say that Faith No More may be one of the most underappreciated bands ever. Period. Mike Patton should need no introduction, but if he does, youtube his vocal range. Its almost a joke how much shit he has done from scream-o albums to operas in other languages, and he's AWESOME at both. This is an album towards the end of a very torrid beginning of a band too crazy to contain itself. Their guitarist Jim Martin had left and all kinds of drama, shit-throwing, and other madness had already gone down. I remember meeting Mike Bordin just after he recorded it on tour with Ozzy. He encouraged everyone to go "and pick it up," despite seeming none to pleased to have fifteen year olds pestering him. But when it came out it seemed as if many people didn't dig the expressionistic, more chaotic, bombastic direction FNM had taken. Their single "Diggin' the Grave" was, at the time, polarizing. It was the reason I got into FNM and anyone looking back should be able to listen to this with fresh ears and know it was pure genius. Lightning in a bottle for a band playing with a lot of fucking lighting.
2. Muse - Absolution - One of my friends put this on when it came out and I remember saying "this just sounds like a bad Radiohead ripoff." I was a fucking idiot. Probably on drugs. Because I'm not an avid fan of Radiohead but I LOVE Muse. Thom Yorke and Matt Belamy have a lot in common as singers, but as songwriters, I think Bellamy is next-level. His guitar playing reminds me of a simplified Brian May and the songs are almost always beautiful classical progressions produced in whatever style du jour the band decided upon. This is an album you can listen to from start to finish and everything about it from the production to the reckless abandon to the performance is on point. The lyrics speak deeply and yet are vague enough for you to fill in the blanks with whatever demons are going on in your head. It goes from absolute melancholy to manic metal grooves. And for those nerdy music enthusiasts, both Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci have stated the influence of this album on them. Its actually pretty clear on their album "Octavarium," which happens to be one of my favorites from Dream Theater.
3. Paganini - 24 Caprices - if you grew up on Richie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen, you probably already know about Paganini. For the other 98% of people, Paganini may have slipped through the cracks. You have probably heard the urban myth they based the movie "Crossroads" on, you know, the one where Ralph Macchio goes up against Steve Vai in a guitar dual...and WINS?!?!?! Anywho, the real story was there was this dude Nicolo Paganini and he played violin so fast that many thought he had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his talents. This record is basically an attack of the notes. From the guy who brought you "Flight of the Bumblebee" comes "5th Caprice," the violin equivalent to Van Halen's "Erruption," except even CRAZIER. Yup, if you love shred metal, you'll LOVE shred classical. This is THE MOST METAL classical gets and I love it.
4. Queen - Rock Montreal - its no secret that Freddie Mercury was kindddddaaa the best. Its also no secret they were an incredible live band. This is the last night of their last tour as a true four piece...ever. They are at their tightest, its clear. Freddie absolutely owns the show with endless bravado and stage banter. Songs like "Somebody to Love" will literally give you goosebumps, there's one note he holds out that...well, you'll know it when you listen! Not only are these some of the most inspired versions of the setlist, but its really one of the best bands and the very height of their live performance. Not to mention that the sound quality on this is vastly superior to some of the other live releases.
5. Pink Floyd - Pulse - when this came out it got totally shit on. Stuff like "where's Roger Waters" and (I'm paraphrasing) "they're stiff playing to lights." I bought this record with no knowledge of who Pink Floyd were or anything other than the CD blinked a red light and the album cover looked like a super trippy eye--one of the first digital-image album covers. I got it for my 13th birthday, you know, when a Jew turns into a MAN. I listened to it...a little. It starts off with "Shine on Your Crazy Diamond," a 17 minute tune that takes 7 minutes and change to have the vocals kick in. Needless to say, at 13, I had NO ATTENTION span for it. But that light kept blinking. Just blinking at me. And when my parents dragged me on roadtrips across the states I had no refuge other than my portable CD player. One trip, I think I was 14 or 15, I remembered listening to "High Hopes." All 7.5 minutes of it in a row, noticing the crescendo of the orchestra and the perfection of David Gilmore's guitar. I had no idea it was a new song that people hated because it wasn't old. I thought it was beautiful. As I listened on I realized that I loved Pink Floyd and that furthermore, having not known Roger Waters, was unaffected by his absence. To this day, I'd still take Gilmour over Waters despite knowing that Waters wrote so many of the tunes. Still, he had nothing to do with "The Division Bell," which was what this was a snippet from that tour. Those songs fit in right next to "Run Like Hell" and "Astronmy Domine" for me. The performances are still amazing and Gilmour's tone is the epitome of the word.