Chances are you re-bought these on CD at some point and now are being asked to put them away and join the download age where everything once again sounds worse! Yahoo! Progress!
Since everything modern pretty much rots, we'll take another stroll down memory lane to a time when bands had to practice and get signed to a record label and it didn't much matter if you had a trust fund to afford all the best publicists to promote your terrible, terrible music. Believe it or not, Screaming Lord Sutch was the exception!
24) Iggy Pop -- The Idiot, Lust For Life: How many of us bought these albums because we couldn't find the original Stooges albums and then wondered what all the fuss was about? These are decent records, but in no way as life-changing as Pop's earlier work. And there is a certain amount of residual goodwill when evaluating these albums. You can hear the traces of Pop's wild side. Nowadays, with everything in print, it's near impossible to screw up your advanced studies.
22) Kansas -- Point of Know Return: For us or for them?
20) Foreigner -- Foreigner: Multi-track recording ensured that everyone would want to work on "their" part to the exclusion of all else. While the stereo separation could thrill an audiophile, it didn't guarantee results for anyone who wanted to rock. "Long Long Way From Home" sounds like it means it, but elsewhere it sounds like musicians guarding their territory. Who can leave things to chance when you have a million bucks riding on the outcome?
18) John Martyn -- One World: While the Nick Drake cult exhausts itself, it would only be right if they picked up on the less-than-raw genius of his contemporary, John Martyn, the one who didn't die tragically young, but who hung around to leave a worse-looking corpse. Don't let that dissuade you from digging deep into his catalog. Those fingers could play and that voice carried a thousand ghosts.
16) Ted Nugent -- Cat Scratch Fever: If you remove "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang," and maybe "Death By Misadventure," you're left with an album that could be any number of subsequent Nugent records. Who would think ol' Ted would make a better singles artist?
14) Grateful Dead -- Terrapin Station: I don't know that there's ever a reason for the Dead to perform old soul numbers. "Dancing In the Street"? Really? Not when they could be applying themselves to the space jams that their audience loves them for. Fans swear by side two and its side-long exploration. That was then, this is now, though, and the massive reissue program delivers enough live shows to help even the most out-of-the-tape-trader-loop fan get with the program. Maybe some fans like the soul covers?
12) The Saints -- (I'm) Stranded: Further proof that we're a global village, in 1977 The Saints, an Australian band from Australia, released this debut album and it was a response to the emerging punk movement! That's not a lot of lag time to get with the program, considering the amount of time it takes to get down under. Chris Bailey and Ed Kuepper turned out to be real songwriters who didn't even need gratuitous haircuts or anything to keep on chooglin'.
10) Dennis Wilson -- Pacific Ocean Blue: One benefit of an entire generation being grown to accept free music without packaging is that record labels that specialize in packaging must raid their vaults for anything the older generation will buy. So, why not release a 30th Anniversary Edition of an album best known to readers of articles and books about great "lost" albums and other esoterica? I anxiously await an entire album of Brian Wilson snoring! Though, truth told, this is worth reissuing and Wilson's snoring…someone awaits it!
8) Rod Stewart -- Foot Loose & Fancy Free: While a sizable amount of music people denigrate later Rod Stewart as creampuff, I'm just fine about stuff like "Hot Legs," especially if it means we get an "I Was Only Joking" out of the bargain. I suppose he could've had an artistically meaningful career had he discovered mining and whaling songs and continued to pay respects to Sam Cooke for all eternity. But then his singles would've been less interesting and he'd never be able to buy his own island. You think he wants to live next door to you? Or me?
6) The Clash -- The Clash: This is the British version of the album, since the American release was still two years away, since, of course, the best way to promote music is to not release it. It became a best-selling import and set the stage for CBS Records to change their tune and promote them as "The Only Band That Matters." Don't let the hype scare you. This is a very good album in any form. Americans may feel more comfortable with the U.S. release much in the same way we feel better if Rubber Soul begins with "I've Just Seen A Face."
4) Steely Dan -- Aja: You can not buy a superior soundsystem without also purchasing this album as a test disc. Considered in serious audio circles to be the greatest album ever made, Aja is the sound of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker listening to the voices in their head and then forcing everyone else involved to figure out what those voices were saying. A tad bloodless compared to their previous albums, Aja still kicks a major amount of cynical butt. Look on the bright side, at least we didn't suddenly get 10,000 terrible bands on account of it. Except maybe over at Berklee.
2) Steve Miller Band -- Book of Dreams: I'll take Really Good Classic FM Radio Rock of the 1970s for $1000, Alex. "This former psychedelic blues band found favor with a tight rhythmic sound that highlighted the smooth vocal stylings of its leader." The Steve Miller Band???!!!! I'm sorry, you must phrase your answer in the form of a question. The correct response is "Who are the Steve Miller Band?" Freddy, pick again.