We're halfway through the list, which means it's time for another supplemental. The last few weeks have been heavy on albums or artists I discovered in my childhood and still listen to today. So here are a few that I don't feel the same way about. And I want to distinguish this from the Christian rock supplemental where the problem is that my beliefs have changed and that makes it difficult to listen to anymore. These are albums or artists where my tastes have changed or the times have changed and I no longer enjoy them, ranked from greatest to least.
Jimi Hendrix - The Ultimate Experience
Any guitar player (which I have been) is going to go through a phase where they worship Hendrix. I got this album in high school and listened to it on repeat in the car. I still have a lot of affection for Hendrix, but unfortunately he's an incredible artist whose retrospectives greatly lack cohesion and whose individual albums are only good, not great. To give a random example, Are You Experienced? has some phenomenal music on it, but it also has a lot of filler. Hendrix was incredibly prolific and it would be interesting to see what could have been if his life hadn't been cut short. Additionally, this particular album is hard to find, as the Experience Hendrix collection has replaced it, and is a bit bloated.
Van Halen - III / Greatest Hits, Vol. 1
See the above note about guitarists. Van Halen III is the one where Gary Cherone of the band Extreme sings lead, and he's just not up to the task. He's a mediocre lyricist and lacks either the bombastic charisma of David Lee Roth or the animal magnetism of Sammy Hagar. Plus his voice is too low and throaty to their songs. I still enjoy Josephina, but this thing is a curio at best. As for their ambitiously-titled Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, there's a lot of fun music here, but it's also missing some of their most iconic hits: Hot For Teacher, Jamie's Cryin', Finish What You Started, and so forth. It includes two new Roth songs that are solidly meh, and the transition from Roth to Hagar eras is jarring. As it was in real life. They've done other retrospectives since, notably one called The Best Of Both Worlds that interleaves the work of the two singers and is bloated and awful. Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 does have Humans Being from the Twister soundtrack, though, and that is maybe my favorite guitar solo ever.
Prince and The Revolution - Purple Rain
I wish I liked Prince more. He's got some legitimate classics, but I kind of hate his voice. I don't remember how I ended up with a copy of the Purple Rain soundtrack, but I was mesmerized when I first put it on. It was like nothing I'd ever heard before. I still love When Doves Cry and a few other songs of that era, like 7, but when I've revisited Prince as an adult, I find the vocals cloying. I'll still dance along if Kiss or Let's Go Crazy comes on, but most of his work is not to my taste.
The Ventures - Super Hits
When I got a CD player, I got four albums and then my family immediately went on vacation, so I listened to those for over and over again. This was one of them, and it may be part of the reason I enjoy surf rock as much as I do. Walk Don't Run is a classic tune, but this particular record ends up being mostly covers of James Bond themes.
Billy Joel - An Innocent Man
Billy Joel's doo-wop tribute is... odd. Songs like Uptown Girl and The Longest Time still hold up pretty well. Songs like Christie Lee and Keepin' The Faith, less so. And this album in particular starts to feel a little like cultural appropriation, more so than his others. It's not quite uncomfortable. At any rate, he has much better albums. 52nd Street, River Of Dream, or Storm Front, for instance. (Although, word to the wise: Google "Storm Front" with care, as it's also the name of a White Nationalist hate group).
I don't know what album I had, but it was a "greatest hits" that didn't include any of his actual hits. No Mississippi Squirrel Revival, no The Streak, no It's Me Again Margaret. It was terrible. As for Stevens' actual "hits"... Look, I love a good novelty record, I have "Weird Al" in my top 50, but as a rule comedy ages poorly, and Stevens is not an exception. The Streak stops being funny now that we consider that sort of behavior sexual assault. Ahab The Arab... yikes.
Bad was this one of the first four CDs I owned, as well as one of the main reasons I wanted a CD player--because the CD version of the album included a bonus track, Leave Me Alone. I was a huge Michael Jackson fan in middle school or so (which would have been the late eighties and early nineties--a reasonable time to be an MJ fan). I still know how to moonwalk, and will demonstrate this after sufficient quantities of beer.
Bad just isn't very good. This is an album that is supposed to showcase Jackson as a rebel, a "bad boy" who wears leather and has street cred. Its opening line is "Your butt is mine." What... the hell? It includes Dirty Diana, a song about a woman trying to trap him into having sex with her? There's Liberian Girl, a song so boring that the music video is filled with 80s stars talking over the music. Speed Demon and Another Part Of Me are fun in a retro sort of way, and Smooth Criminal holds up, but the rest of it is very forgettable. Instead, it's an opening salvo in a series of weird missteps for the singer. For example, on his next album Dangerous, he would include a song that was designed to demonstrate his virility and heterosexual prowess. That song would be called In The Closet. HIStory would include a song called They Don't Care About Us about prejudice that would come under fire for antisemitic lyrics, like "Jew me" and "k**e me." Seriously? Was no one else around to let him know that these were transparently terrible ideas?
Oh, also, there's the thing where he was a serial child molester. So... going back to his catalog at all is an exercise in controlled squeamishness. Which is kind of a shame. I mean, Thriller is mostly good, despite that horrible duet with Paul McCartney. I still have a lot of affection for Off The Wall. Because I am a grown man who still enjoys him some disco and Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough is a jam. But yeah, Jackson is a difficult artist to separate from his art enough to still enjoy it. But, believe it or not, there is an even more problematic album I owned and listened to religiously as a child...
The Best Of Comedy
There are probably eighty albums called this. This one had standup from Buddy Hackett, Foster Brooks, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Cosby. It was another of the initial four CDs that I owned, and it has aged soooooooo badly for a variety of interesting reasons. There's Brooks telling a joke where the punchline was that his wife was asleep while he was having sex with her. There's Hackett's profoundly racist impression of a Chinese waiter. Dangerfield... isn't that controversial, he just isn't that funny on this disc. Aaaaaand there are a couple of Fat Albert routines from serial rapist Bill Cosby.
Happy 4th of July, y'all. Try not to blow yourself up. Monday we'll be back to our regularly scheduled count-up.