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Experimental albums released by mainstream artists : Which ones have been successful ventures (in your eyes)? And which ones have not?....

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Initial post: Mar 18, 2012 6:12:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 18, 2012 6:13:22 PM PDT
BigBadAzz says:
Sometimes commercially-oriented musicians and bands take a big risk, and go out on a limb by releasing a radically different or experimental album or two in the midst of more their more radio-friendly material.

Ones I find which have made the grade include:
Radiohead - Kid A
David Bowie - Low & Heroes
Smashing Pumpkins - Adore
Kiss - Music From The Elder

Ones that I consider haven't made the grade include:
Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music
John Lennon/Yoko Ono - Two Virgins & Life With The Lions
Alice Cooper - Dada
The Rolling Stones - Their Satanic Majesties Request

What are your picks for both categories? Do you agree with my selections?

Posted on Mar 18, 2012 6:29:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 18, 2012 6:30:43 PM PDT
@BigBad: I agree pretty much with your picks except for "Satanic" which definitely makes the grade for me. "Station To Station" was another pretty experimental one for Bowie but my opinion falls somewhere in the middle on that one. The only ones I haven't heard are "Music For The Elder" and "Dada".

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2012 6:46:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 18, 2012 6:54:23 PM PDT
BigBadAzz says:
Hey Michael,

Yeah, "Satanic" is pretty much a 'love-it-or-hate-it' album. I don't quite hate it, but much of the record I find to be awkward and cloying, sort-of a weak attempt at a "Sgt Pepper" or "Pet Sounds" in my eyes. Some songs I do quite enjoy, like 'Citadel', '2000 Man', 'She's A Rainbow' etc. But on the whole, it's kind-of average IMO.

re: Bowie.
I personally love "Station To Station", but don't quite see it as experimental per se, moreso a logical progression of the Philadelphia soul/funk style he moved on to for "Young Americans". The Eno albums, on the other hand, were out-and-out half-experimental ambient works, mixed in with a New-Wave style pop/rock.

As I recall, you're not much of a KISS fan, however "Elder" was a drastic (yet strangely enjoyable) change of style for them. It's a bombastic concept album, utilising orchestration, a choir and grand sweeping ballads, along with a more pared-down rock sound for the band. I very much dig it, and recommend you give it a listen if you get the chance.

And with regard to "Dada", I know you're no Alice Cooper devotee, so that's even more of a reason not to hear this album. Unless you enjoy an early 80's sparse electronic version of Cooper's shtick, don't bother! A low point in his career, IMO.

Posted on Mar 18, 2012 7:31:05 PM PDT
interesting subject...

metallica-st. anger. LOVE IT!!!!!
ozzy-black rain. LOVE IT!!!!!
dio-strange highways. LOVE IT!!!!!
wednesday 13, released 2 country albums under the name "bourbon crow" and i love those as well.
rainbow-down to earth, hate it
marilyn manson-the high end of low, it's interesting. i like it, but it is my least favorite manson album

Posted on Mar 18, 2012 9:20:45 PM PDT
@BigBad: I was thinking of the title track to "Station To Station" which is very much in Krautrock/noise/proto-industrial mode--*that* was certainly a drastic change from "Young Americans". The rest of the album isn't as far out, though.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2012 3:50:17 AM PDT
BigBadAzz says:
Agreed there, "Station to Station" is the most 'out-there' track on the album of the same name (and is my favourite cut on it too).

Posted on Mar 19, 2012 3:58:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 19, 2012 4:06:27 AM PDT
7 & 7 IS says:
Neil Young going 50s rock'n'roll then going futuristic robotorock then going all country & western was pretty cute
Waits marrying a writing partner and completely reinventing himself proved most beneficial
Alice Cooper's blacked out final 4 years at Warner Bros. finally yielded a near-classic with DaDa IMO
Elton John's very underrated double album Blue Moves left everyone feeling blue, except me, but he'd eventually do that with Victim Of Love
Bob Dylan's evangelical period was mostly met with scorn but revealed something very beautiful, heartfelt and soulful found only in it's purest form there

Posted on Mar 19, 2012 4:44:02 AM PDT
Don't know if you'd count it as experimental or not, but Leon Russell's "Hank Wilson's Back" is a decent country album. Somewhat of a departure from the fairly straight-on, gospel tinged rock and roll Leon had been doing up to that point. It helped this "rock only" listener hear country in a more positive light.

Posted on Mar 19, 2012 7:26:36 AM PDT
B-Jak says:
If you're gonna pan a Stones album, I'd start with their foray into disco with "Emotional Rescue".
But I'd argue that except for the blandest of all recording artists,every album involves some sort of experimentation. Perhaps it doesn't manifest in a sweeping new sound or style, but experimentation is what keeps the music fresh for the artist as well as the listener.

Posted on Mar 19, 2012 7:31:14 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 19, 2012 7:32:44 AM PDT
vivazappa says:
Queen-Hot Space
Who-Sell Out
Lou-Metal Machine Music
NEIL-Trans (minus "Like and Inca")

Doors-Soft Parade
Page-Death Wish II
Keith Emerson-Thief Soundtrack
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Discussion in:  Classic Rock forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  10
Initial post:  Mar 18, 2012
Latest post:  Mar 19, 2012

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