UG News editor since early 2013. King Crimson fan. I handle the news around here.
Posted on Apr 25, 2014 01:54 pm
Many rock greats faced the problem of taming their ambitions and not delving into overly complex musicianship for the sake of complexity alone. This also includes the giants, so let's check out five rock classics that could really use a bit of a trim.
After proceeding, a brief disclaimer - I'm well aware that these albums contain some of the ultimate rock classics and am in no way devaluing those tunes, but instead focusing on the overall album experience. On to the list then.
Led Zeppelin - "Physical Graffiti"
Often dubbed the pinnacle of Led Zeppelin, "Physical Graffiti" is a diverse album clocking in at nearly 90 minutes. The all-time classic status was of course acquired first and foremost by "Kashmir" and a few other gems like "Trampled Under Foot" or "In My Time of Dying." Of course, the band's previously-acquired godlike status also played a major role.
The rest of the album though, reeks of filler. Basically, the record's entire second part, or tracks 7 to 15 are something this effort could've gone without. Not that the opening tunes "Custard Pie" and "The Rover" are something too grand either, but that's another story. On the other hand, the overblown approach might have caused even a greater amount of praise from the critics, so who knows, maybe trimming this one would've earned it a less iconic status. But never mind that - the filler is here, so much is fact.
Jethro Tull - "A Passion Play"
Following the major success of the one and only "Thick as a Brick," Ian Anderson switched to an even grander concept and once again released an album featuring a single 45-minute song. The underlying story of a young man dying and going to hell does seem promising, with all sorts of hints about dealing with some of the life's greatest questions.
But that's just about when the magic stops, as the record can simply be described as filler galore. Mr. Anderson successfully walked the fine line on "Thick as a Brick," but this one simply failed.
Pink Floyd - "The Wall"
Yes, it's probably the most well-known Floyd album next to "Dark Side of the Moon" and yes, it contains some of the best songs the band ever wrote. But it also contains plenty of filler, especially in the second part.
Clocking in at over 80 minutes, the album should've beed trimmed down. Fact is, the more the story progresses, the worse the tunes get, ending with completely unnecessary "Waiting for the Worms" and "The Trial," the later one being plain bad.
Rush - "2112"
Hailed as the greatest early Rush album, or even the band's greatest effort in general, "2112" indeed has its moments. But also, it has filler, quite a lot of it to be honest. So although hearing Alex Lifeson's guitar mastery is thrilling, going through the album in full can be a bit of a, well, bore.
The record's first side focuses on the story of a man living in 2112 under the Solar Federation rule and discovering the magic of guitar. A cute concept, but forced at times, resulting in a mediocre tune. The fact that the band plays only pieces of it live in a way only goes to confirm it.
Yes - "Tales From Topographic Oceans"
Marking the peak of art-rock craziness, "Tales From Topographic Oceans" is truly a leviathan project, clocking in at over 80 minutes with four 20-minute tracks. Hardcore fans praise it, but fact it, it was kinda doomed from the start.
The guys displayed sheer musical prowess with "Close to the Edge," but this is too much. Filler galore and senseless complexity kill a fair share of the charm the album possesses, resulting in quite a difficult listen.
You agree with all this? Got any other notable mentions to bring up? Do it in the comments.