Dunno if we’ve done this topic before, but I’m going to mention a few artist whose best songs are not on their best album, or vice versa:
– The Beatles. No, not Sgt. Pepper: that’s not their best album by dint of “A Little Help from my Friends” alone, although it’s a better album than the album with their best songs: Magical Mystery Tour. But MMT (or at least the version I have,) is unbalanced and has most of the best songs at the end. I prefer to listen to Rubber Soul or Revolver (although I have to admit, my favorite Beatles song is Eleanor Rigby.)
– Sisters of Mercy. My favorite song by them is This Corrosion, and my third and fourth are Lucretia My Reflection and Mother Russia. But in terms of overall feel, balance, and raw energy, I prefer First and Last and Always, although in terms of my favorite songs it only has Marian, my second favorite Sisters song.
This choice is somewhat ironic because Floodland almost certainly was meant to be taken by some as a themed album.
– The Promise Ring
Nothing Feels Good only has my 3rd and 4th favorite TPR songs on it, but in terms of composition, overall feel, and balance, it’s the best TPR album, even if I listen to 30° Everywhere more than NFG. (Of course, the very best TPR song, and indeed, the best modern rock song ever, Best Looking Boys is only found on EP.)
– Led Zeppelin. While I can’t single out a favorite LZ song, nearly every song in LZIV equals the best they have to offer in their other albums. But I prefer the energy, vitality, and blues-metal of LZI, to the point where I consider them equal albums.
– Heart. This is actually sort of the opposite of the case I was talking about, since nearly every one of their best songs are found on their best album, Dreamboat Annie. But their very best song, Sylvan Song/Dream of the Archer is found on one of their weaker 70’s offerings, Little Queen.