Here’s what I’m getting at. All of the bands (or solo artists) I would call my favorites are well-established, meaning they’ve put out many studio albums and have been around for a long time. But most of them, from time to time, have put out some real clunkers (I’m talking individual songs, here).
By way of example, one of my all-time favorite bands is Genesis. I like them in all of their incarnations. Obviously, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is vastly superior to Invisible Touch, but I still think IT is a good album, taken for what it is ('80s pop). Genesis doesn’t have any albums that I don’t like, but there are a few individual songs that I can’t stand, and always skip: “Who Dunnit?,” “Follow You Follow Me,” and “In Too Deep” come to mind.
Another example is Yes. 90125 and Big Generator are no Close to the Edge, but they have some good stuff on them. They also both contain songs I can’t stand. In Yes’s case, they have done an entire album that I like to pretend doesn’t exist: Open Your Eyes. The jury is still out on their latest album… I want to like it, but I’m not so sure.
So I’ve found myself thinking… are there any established bands that I like, who have NEVER done a bad song? Where I can honestly say I like 100% of their output, or can at least tolerate it? How about for you?
I don’t want to bog this down with specific criteria on what makes a band “established,” this is purely subjective. But I think contenders should be bands that’ve been around, and have released more than a few studio albums. I mean, I could say yes to the '70s supergroup UK, because they only put out two albums, both of which are great from start to finish. But that’s too easy.
I’ve come up with two possibilities, which are debatable (in my mind): Dream Theater and Spock’s Beard.
Before Mike Portnoy left the band, I would have said yes to Dream Theater without hesitation. The two albums they’ve put out since are ok, I don’t hate them, but I don’t listen to them regularly, either. When I do, I don’t skip any songs, but I may get to that point in the future.
As for Spock’s Beard: their first album after Neal Morse left, Feel Euphoria, is the weakest of their eleven albums. Again, I don’t outright hate any of the songs on this album, but some of them kinda plod along. I don’t skip any of the songs, but I find myself looking forward to their later, better output.
What are yours?