The archives of a classic publication like Rolling Stone must be full of glowing reviews for classic records. Right?
Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin (1969)“[Jimmy Page is] a very limited producer and a writer of weak, unimaginative songs… …if [Led Zep are] to help fill the void created by the demise of Cream, they will have to find a producer (and editor) and some material worthy of their collective attention.”John Mendelsohn, Rolling Stone.
Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II (1969)
N.B. The below is an extract from an EXTREMELY sarcastic review.
“Shit, man, on this album [Jimmy Page] further demonstrates that he could absolutely fucking shut down any whitebluesman alive, and with one fucking hand tied behind his back too.”
John Mendelsohn, Rolling Stone.
Michael Jackson, Bad (1987)
Jacko's follow-up to Thriller was, "a letdown," according to The Los Angeles Times, though critic Richard Cromelin did concede that it had, "a fair-to-strong array of soul and rock blends".
"Fair-to-strong" enough to shift 30 million copies, so it turned out...
The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses (1989)
"This is quite good. Just."
NME's Jack Barron sounded less than enamoured with this classic album, scoring it a mere 6/10 on release.
The Beatles, Abbey Road (1969)“An unmitigated disaster.”Nik Cohn, The New York Times.
Oasis, (What's The Story) Morning Glory? (1995)
"So, what's the story? Lots of moments, but too many quarters of an hour in between. Oasis are fallen. Fallen short of the stars. They sound knackered."
David Stubbs, Melody Maker.
Radiohead, Kid A (2000)“It is the sound of Thom Yorke ramming his head firmly up his own arse, hearing the rumblings of his intestinal wind and deciding to share it with the world.”Mark Beaumont, giving Radiohead’s Kid A 1.5/5 in Melody Maker. Read the whole marvellous thing here.
The Beatles, Revolver (1967)“It’s a load of rubbish, really.”The thoughts of The Kinks’ Ray Davies, writing in Disc and Music Echo Magazine.
Daft Punk, Discovery (2001)“These guys are so French I want to force-feed them and cut out their livers… One More Time is merely an annoying novelty…”The self-ordained “Dean of American Rock Critics”, Robert Christgau, showing why nobody else calls him that. The Village Voice, 2001.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Déjà vu (1970)“The heralded leather cover turns out to be nothing more than crimpled cardboard. What a milestone - fake leatherette!”Langdon Winner, Rolling Stone.
Leonard Cohen, Songs Of Leonard Cohen (1967)“The record as a whole is another matter - I don’t think I could ever tolerate all of it. There are three brilliant songs, one good one, three qualified bummers, and three are the flaming shits.”Arthur Schmidt, Rolling Stone.
The Jam, All Mod Cons (1978)“[Paul Weller is] an illiterate Bryan Ferry… [All Mod Cons is] a record that’s nearly catastrophic, weak at the surface and almost rotten underneath.”Dave Marsh, Rolling Stone.
Simon And Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)“…nearly all of [the] songs [are] hopelessly mediocre.”Gregg Mitchell, Rolling Stone.
Radiohead, OK Computer (1997)
Robert Christgau (remember him from earlier?) rated this album as his "Dud of the month" in the Village Voice. He ends his review by proclaiming:
"I guarantee that it will not occupy the charts for 10 years."
The hugely influential OK Computer last appeared in the Album Chart in 2009. Just saying.
Neil Young, After The Gold Rush (1970)“None of the songs here rise above the uniformly dull surface… …I can’t listen to it at all.”Langdon Winner, Rolling Stone.
Miles Davis, Bitches Brew (1970)
Though loved by the contemporary rock publications of the era, jazz purists detested Miles Davis's new, funk-flecked direction on Bitches Brew.
The irascible jazz critic Stanley Crouch (who was once fired by the Village Voice for throwing someone through a window) has never warmed to the seminal double LP, describing it as "Formless" and "The most brilliant sellout in the history of jazz" in a 1991 column for The New Republic.
Talk Talk, Spirit Of Eden (1988)
"Instead of getting better or worse, this band simply grew more pretentious with each passing year," said Rolling Stone's J.D. Considine in 1992, further criticising their, "pointless noodling".
Spirit Of Eden remains a huge influence on modern progressive rock music.
The Rolling Stones, Exile On Main Street (1972)“I still think that the great Stones album of their mature period is yet to come.”So says Rolling Stone’s Lenny Kaye, apparently oblivious to the fact that he’s just heard one of the greatest albums ever made.
Sex Pistols, Pretty Vacant (1977)NB. This is a single review, but it misses the point of punk so wildly that we included it anyway.“…the music is overly simplistic and rudimentary. It's also not very good...”Charley Walters, Rolling Stone.
Spiritualized, Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (1997)
"Yet more tedious, monotonous drones from Jason Pierce's space-rockers."
So read Q's review of the album that beat OK Computer to most Album Of The Year accolades in 1997.