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22 Musical Sacred Cows that Need to be Put Down

My sadness over the bovine slaughter induced by mad-cow hysteria moved me to compile this list of some of rock's sacred-cow albums whose importance may have been overstated over the years.

(Contributors included Rob Horning, Jennifer Kelly, Shaun McCormack, Zach Kuhn, Dave Madden, Phillip Buchan, Jason Jackowiak and a band member who asked that his identity be concealed for his own protection. And needless to say, not all of us agree about all of these. At least one of us sees three of her favorite albums on this list, and she's trying to be mature about it.)

Jane's Addiction's Nothing's Shocking
King poseur Perry Farrell has much to answer for for spawning arty punk-metal -- namely the whole nu-metal genre and legions of bad tattoos and piercings. He is to music what Pete Rose is to baseball: a nemesis who disgraced his chosen field and who should therefore be banished from it for life. (RH)

Bob Marley's Legend
How many white guys with dredlocks do you need to see before you're convinced that this album should be forever banned? Don't try playing this in your dorm room, because it won't make anyone believe you're enlightened or broad minded. Also, there's a reason why those who love reggae are always stoned. (RH)

The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
While every album by The Beatles should be considered essential for anyone interested in rock, Sgt. Pepper too often stands in as the only one to have. But it's full of dated whimsy, and it's really an inferior version of Magical Mystery Tour, which is ten times more psychedelic and has better songs. (RH)

Marvin Gaye's What's Goin' On
More dorm-room music for those who want to impress others with how hip and open-minded they are, while actually playing it extremely safe. None of these songs would be out of place in a smooth jazz set, and its expressions of political outrage seem woefully understated. (RH)

Radiohead's OK Computer
Emo for adults. (RH)

Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica
Does anyone actually like spazzy pseudo-jazz wanking? I tried for a long time, figuring that everyone else couldn't possibly be pretending, but now I'm not so sure. I think people stopped questioning it was a "masterpiece" when they realized they'd never understand it, and didn't want to waste any more precious time trying. (RH)

Beck's Odelay
How come so many of us were taken in by this guy? Why are his serial plagiarisms passed off as creative syntheses? How embarrassing is it when he says "I got two turntables and a microphone"? (RH)

The Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin
Alternative rock's answer to Supertramp. (RH)

Moby's Play
Yes, yes, yes, it sounds great, but credit some of America's greatest gospel and blues artists for singing this stuff or Alan Lomax for finding it. All Moby did was add some electronic squiggles -- and it took a couple of years (and the release of the pretty much identical 18) for most people to catch on. (JPK)

The Rapture's Echoes
Sure, it's fun to make Robert Smith dance, but was it really the best record of last year? Not unless you have a cowbell fetish. (JPK)

Nirvana's Nevermind
I love Nevermind, it changed everything music meant to me. Still, in the spirit of pure nihilism and kicking dead horses, there was nothing even remotely revolutionary about it. There was nothing poetic or insightful about Cobain's lyrics. What was he responsible for? Turning self-loathing into a marketable commodity? Fuck him! Everything Nirvana did had been done by the Pixies or proper punk bands that toiled in obscurity before Kurt ever even picked up a guitar. And the cherry to top this runny shit sundae: wait until thousands of fucked-in-the-head kids hang on your every word, then kill yourself. Asshole. (SM)

The Band's The Last Waltz
Forget the blow in Neil Young's nose hairs and Martin Scorcese following Robbie Robertson with the camera like a punch drunk Teen Beat editor -- musically, this is one of the Greatest Band Ever to Come Down From Canada's least inspiring live documents, excepting the soul-shattering version of "The Weight" featuring the Staples Singers. Robbie Robertson had his microphone turned off, but that didn't stop him from singing into it anyway, and Levon Helm looks and plays like he's about to eliminate his own map. As a film, it's a masterful look into the unnecessary dissolution of a whole for the sake of one, and it's nice to see Van Morrison at the end of his prime, but the soundtrack fails to capture the spark of this essential band's legacy. Better than almost anything else released in the mid '70s, but an inadequate representation of one of rock's most dynamic and influential bands. (ZK)

The Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
I like this album, and I really like "Submission" and Pretty Vacant", but why do people say that punk started here? What about the Damned's Damned Damned Damned? What about the New York Dolls' self-titled (released in 1973, thank you very much)? (DM)

Mother Love Bone's Mother Love Bone
Has anyone ever made it past "Stardog Champion"? Another example of death-equals-hype. (DM)

Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
In addition to establishing Wilco as the perfect token indie rock band for your iPod, this album bubbles over with that whole "producer as a fifth member" mentality. If you want to listen to Jim O'Rourke make quirky noises, buy one of his solo albums or check out his collaborations with Sonic Youth -- both of those are a hell of a lot more interesting than hearing him tinker with a bunch of slightly better-than-average pop songs. (PB)

Blur's Parklife
It's almost obscene that a fey, instrumentally-thin pop album like this could be considered one of '90s Brit rock's crowning achievements. Ride, The Verve, and Supergrass all one-upped this one. (PB)

Tom Waits's Rain Dogs
Waits has put out his share of incredible albums, but this sounds like the score to a cartoon about pirates. (PB)

Minor Threat's Out of Step
Play as fast as you can for 45 seconds, scream too fast to be understood, and whatever you do, don't change the tempo! Don't worry about the songs coming off as sloppy and boring -- as long as you sound "raw" and let people know that you don't like conservative politicians, your weakness will be construed as "passion"! (PB)

The MC5's Kick Out the Jams
As the template for the entire proto-garage movement, this album has spawned countless bands unfit to carry Fred "Sonic" Smith's jock. That said, it's a fine album, and certainly the best of their career, but when you see people like Andrew Firestone (the Bachelor) and Jennifer Aniston sporting 5-attire, it's time to slip the needle into the arm and pronounce the trend officially dead. (JJ)

The Clash's The Clash
Everyone tells me to listen to the first album. I think it stinks. I've heard halftime high school marching bands rock harder and play better songs. (anon)

X's Los Angeles
Uggh! Art rock comes in many guises and this bit of overblown poetry wank is one of the most insidious. I don't like Patti Smith either. (anon)

Anything by The Doors
The Doors are one of the worst things to ever happen to rock and roll and might be as overrated as The Beatles. They are definitely worse than The Beatles. At least The Beatles started out cool. (anon)

-- (send your hate mail to) the Splendid staff

Think you're some sort of clever boots? Why not send us your damn list? Come up with a creative topic and make certain to include artist, title, and label information. If we use your list, we'll send you some sort of prize...most likely a Splendid t-shirt. Or not, if you'd rather we don't.

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