I was going through the Rolling Stone “50 Uncoolest Records” of all time and came across a couple I own, a few I should and a ton I love. So here they are with their comments and mine
The Carpenters Live at the Palladium 1976
In 1976, the Carpenters took the stage of London’s Palladium to prove that — gosh darnit! — they could jam (and play Bach and Gershwin covers). Richard tickles the old ivories and Karen bangs the drums.
Sounds like: If jam bands didn’t smoke pot, and had decent singers.
Best song: “Carpenter’s Medley.” Ten hits squeezed into fourteen minutes. Let’s see Phish do that.
Biz Markie The Biz Never Sleeps 1989
Rotund, tone deaf boy from Harlem sets out to prove that anybody can play this rap game . . . and succeeds!
Sounds like: Your liquored-up Uncle Lou trying his hand at hip-hop karaoke.
Best song: “Just a Friend.” Sing it with us, people: “Youuuuu, you got what I neeeeed . . .
Bread The Best of Bread 1972
As sensitive as sunburned skin, this mid-Seventies deal-closer was loved by women and revered by men. The Babe Ruth of pussy music.
Sounds like: Mellow music and sugary-sweet lyrics made by guys with mustaches. Equal parts drippy, dreamy, inspired and insipid.
Best song: “Let Your Love Go” always did the trick, although “Make It With You” was no slouch.
The Fifth Dimension Up, Up and Away 1967
Black vocal group presents soft supper-club soul for white urbane audiences.
Sounds like: The Mamas and the Papas, only whiter.
Best song: The title track. A thinly veiled drug song?
Various Artists Freedom Rock 1987
Bizarre late-Eighties tip to the Seventies with a hackneyed lineup of artists: Baez, Derek, JT, Deep Purple, Skynyrd, Melanie, Ocean . . . Great commercial, though.
Sounds like: Carelessly assembled goulash. Perhaps the only album to contain both Judy Collins’ “Both Sides Now” and Alice Cooper’s “Eighteen.”
Best song: Lobo’s “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo.”
Memories: I remember these commericals for this album used to play all the time on Night Flight, with that guy “Is that Freedom Rock? Well turn it up, man!
Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell 1977
Big, fat, funny . . . and that’s just the music. Mr. Loaf was something of a Jackie Robinson for rock stars who didn’t look so hot in leather.
Sounds like: The sweaty guy in a tux singing at your wedding.
Best song: “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” The Citizen Kane of nookie-in-the-car epics.
The Moog Cookbook Ye Olde Space Band 1997
Indie screwballs give new life to antiquated keyboards by synth-esizing classic-rock chestnuts.
Sounds like: IBM merging with BTO.
Best song: “Whole Lotta Love,” whose middle section features cameos from other dinosaur tunes.
Supertramp Breakfast in America 1979
As prefab as ‘N Sync, this high-pitched crew parked their flailing prog-rock vehicle in the used car lot and drove away in hitmaking machinery with this gem.
Sounds like: The wimp that beat up on Styx in the post-prog playground.
Best Song: “Goodbye Stranger.” The shifting tempos and dueling vocalists nudge “The Logical Song.”
Memories: Best part of seeing this on the list was actually using the title of a Supertramp sounds as the punchline in a joke recently. Take the long way home man….
Kris Kross Totally Krossed Out 1992
It’s easy to file and forget these Atlanta-based backward-pants wearing lil’ boys in the hood, but they were actually pint-sized pioneers. Prior to their pre-pubescent patter, rap had but two poles, East and West.
Sounds like: The birth of the clique.
Best song: “I Missed the Bus” is a kiddy-rap nugget; “Jump” is the smash hit; but it’s all about “Warm It Up.” I’m about to . . .
Memories: Never wore my clothes backwards like them but who didn’t jump to the sound and then run out and buy the album?
The Commodores Commodores 1977
Motown funksters flick the safety on the machine gun long enough to midwife Lionel Richie’s career as an “Easy” balladeer.
Sounds like: Funk and soul for men who pee sitting down.
Best song: “Brick House.” A mutha that can still fill the dance floor.
Memories: Best time I had listening to that song was out at the WestEnd in Santa Monica, watching Christie K. compete in the “Brick House” dance contest with the Funkie Hippies.
Haircut One Hundred Pelican West 1983
Being the wimpiest New Wave band was not easy, but the well-sweatered Haircut One Hundred were up to the task. Even the Thompson Twins must’ve thought these guys were pussies.
Sounds like: Smart, hooky, jazzy, bouncy songs that later Britpopsters would kill for.
Best song: “Snow Girl.” A charming love ditty to the women of winter (ideal for crooning in a sweater).
Memories: It’s such a toss up between these guys and Flock of Seagulls!!
Bay City Rollers Greatest Hits 1977
The tartan-clad pinups mark the end of their chart reign with a cardboard tombstone.
Sounds like: A milk-and-cookies pop-music primer.
Best song: “Saturday Night.” Their chart-topping, G-rated rock & roll anthem.
Memories:S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y jeez, does it get any better? And for those trivia fans, they got there name after deciding they needed “an american sounding” name for the band. threw a dart at a map and came up with this michigan state name.
The Monkees Greatest Hits 1976
Pre-fab TV band alchemizes the best of their contemporaries into radio gold.
Sounds like: A note-perfect approximation of the mid-Sixties rock landscape.
Best song: “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” With its killer guitar hook, cacophonous coda and quaint “relevant” lyrics.
Tesla Five Man Acoustical Jam 1990
They lacked the X-factor — or was that the Max Factor? — to make significant headway during the glam-metal heyday. But their fondness for obscure inventors and even more obscure covers made their no-frills blues-rock a guilty pleasure for many a headbanger.
Sounds like: The Lovin’ Spoonful gone gonzo.
Best song: A cover of Five Man Electrical Band’s “Signs,” perhaps the best bubblegum protest song ever.
Memories: Living on Maple St. in Springfield listening to this over and over again. Deb was working at Diggers in Enfield, I had a broken ankle and saw on TV that friend Kevin and Billy had died in a car accident.
The Electric Light Orchestra A New World Record 1976
Hirsute Sixties pop holdover turns his Beatles fixation into an arena-rock industry.
Sounds like: The perfect amalgam of Sixtiess pop sensibilites and Seventies commercial savvy.
Best song: “Telephone Line.” A sublime ode to the woes of pre-Internet transatlantic communications.
Memories: Ms. Krom’s 4th grade math class, she let us move our desks around the room. Ours was in a 6-desk square, we called ourselves ELO and loved this album. Wow, and I was only turning 8 that year.
Bob Seger Night Moves 1976
So blue collar as to make Bruce Springsteen seem like a pampered prince, Seger was Billy Joel for the Midwest.
Sounds like: Motor City feathered-mullet bar rock.
Best song: “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.” One of the better songs about rock & roll. And should it forget, there’s always that cover art . . .
America History: America’s Greatest Hits 1975
Derivative trio of army brats got knocked for sounding like others, but many a Gen-X’er was conceived in a sleeping bag with these guys in the background.
Sounds like: America? Try California.
Best song: “Sister Golden Hair.” After taking lumps for sounding like Neil Young, they enlist George Martin to copy George Harrison with sweet, hooky results.
Cinderella Long Cold Winter 1988
Ever the unwanted Aquanet-metal step-sister, with this bad boy Cinderella slid comfortably into the glass slipper.
Sounds like: An acoustic jam with arena-rock drums and high-end screech.
Best song: “Coming Home”, “The Last Mile” “Bad Seamstress Blues Fallin’ Apart at the Seams.” What, pick just one?
Memories: Seeing them open for Kiss at the Sprinfield Civic Center, with Lil’ Ceasar as the opening band. Ceasar was the one-hit wonder with a heavy metal remake of Aretha’s Chain of Fools. Sneaking schnapps into the concert either in construction boots (worn with bandanas and big-hair) or in an empty hair spray bottle.
Blue Oyster Cult Secret Treaties 1974
They looked like a bunch of Long Island stereo salesmen . . . but they wanted you to know they were really, really evil. Worthy of both the Cool and the Uncool list.
Sounds like: Deviant stun-guitar metal anthems with ridiculous demonic lyrics.
Best song: “Dominance and Submission,” which has zip to do with sex — it’s about listening to the radio.
Memories: The Black and Blue Summer Tour of 79′ Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath with Foghat opening. Judas Priest came 3 weeks later. I needed to sneak out!!