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top 5 most overlooked albums of all time

A lot of people will ask you what your favourite albums of all time are. For most of us, this is a nebulous list that changes depending on our mood, or what we’ve been listening to lately, or what associations we have with certain pieces of music. You also see the variation of this question that runs something like: What albums would you keep with you if you were stranded on a desert island? I’m particularly fond of this one because of the implicit assumption that the desert island would have electricity and a functioning sound system. (At any rate, my answer has always been a fairly simple one: I would want any album that gave me clear and detailed instructions on how to get off a desert island.)

My point is that picking favourites, especially when you’re as much of a music buff as I am, is difficult. I am much more comfortable making lists with fixed parameters, so that I can focus my attention a little more clearly.

One of the frustrations of being a music buff, especially when your favourite styles of music tend to be well below the radar of all but a handful of music listeners worldwide, is seeing an album that is of excellent quality overlooked in favour of something that curries to a fad. An album can be missed by a wider audience or by critics, but what’s worst of all is when its natural audience either completely ignores the album or seems somehow to miss the point.

To that end, this week on the More Like Space blog, I’ll be presenting my own subjective list of the top five most overlooked albums of all time. I’m not apologizing for the subjectivity of this list, because it’s one that requires an intimate knowledge of the subject. I couldn’t do a top five underrated hip-hop albums list because I don’t have more than a passing acquaintance with the genre. So the list is going to reflect my taste in music. If you’re not sure what my taste is, you might want to have a browse through the archives at hellifax, where I’ve posted the odd music review.

My criteria for this list is pretty loose: I’m looking at albums that are not only good (although that is a natural prerequisite), but that were influential, unique and/ or ahead of their time. Because of the restrictions of talking about music in a certain genre, the albums will be fairly restricted in terms of time period. Again: this is a list relating to a genre where I have some expertise. Comments, as always, are welcome.

One little side note, something for which I will offer an apology: No one wants to sound like the grumpy old fart who keeps talking about how kids today don’t know what their progenitors did. Unfortunately, the nature of putting together a list like this means that for the next several days, that’s exactly what I’m going to sound like. There’s no way to say that the significance of an album was missed without saying that is was missed by someone in particular. So, keep in mind, I like most of the bands I’m criticizing and own their albums. That’s how I know what they’ve missed. No harm intended.

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