They used to suck, now they're awesome!!!

After starting this recent Thread about musicians who went from rocking hard to hardly rocking, I started to wonder if I ever thought the opposite to be true of anyone.

It’s not uncommon for a band to put out great work early in their career, only to end up sucking later on.

Are there any artists whose early work you think is terrible but whose later work you love? I’m not talking about basic progressive developement as an artist, I mean:

[important element of the OP]
You HATE their early work, but you LOVE their later work!
[/important element of the OP]

Having trouble coming up with examples of my own, but thought it might be an interesting point of discussion.

I’m no fan whatsoever of Pablo Honey and The Bends by Radiohead , but since OK computer they fucking rock.

Early Chilli Peppers I never liked either, until the last couple of years and One Hot Minute.

(Looks at the thread immediately below this one.) The Flaming Lips. I used to hate them, and now I love them.

They started off as an “alternative” band in all the negative senses of the word (i.e. sophmoric pretentious wiseasses … it didn’t help that their hit was the throwaway “She Don’t Use Jelly.”) They have since turned into an alternative band in all the positive senses of the word (mature, sophisticated, innovative.)

Early Good Charlotte was Godawful. With the exception of “Little Things,” their earlier stuff was pretty bad.

I’m not a HUGE fan now, but I think they went the right route by borrowing liberally from Blink 182. Their newer stuff sounds much, much better.

Radiohead, for sure. I don’t hate Pablo Honey, but it is an undeniably mediocre record (although seeing “Creep” performed live is a powerful experience, just for the sheer intensity of the choruses and bridge). But starting from The Bends, Radiohead have been on an as-yet unbroken streak of brilliant albums.

A much more underground band with a similar track record is the Rx Bandits, whose first two albums were “terrible ska” and “mediocre ska,” respectively. Their most record records, though, are a huge step up in all respects. The ska elements are still there (though now heavily infused with reggae, punk, and jazz), but the band’s songwriting, musicality, and technique has skyrocketed. Their 2003 release, The Resignation, is tied with Hail to the Thief as my favorite album of the past year.

The early Eagles were bland John Denverish peace and nature soft rock clones. They kept getting better (especially when Joe Walsh joined the lineup) and their last two albums are classic.

Hotlegs was so bad they had to change their name (“Neanderthal Man” is up in the running as the worst single ever). Once they became 10cc, they put out several great albums.

The Beatles? The Love Me Do stuff was pretty blah, much better with Revolver and maybe Rubber Soul before that.

David Bowie’s 1967 album, “David Bowie” is mind-blowingly, side-splittingly awful. It’s hard to believe someone could put out an album like this and go on to have a career beyond entertaining at children’s birthday parties.

The 1969 album now known as “Space Oddity” is a quantum leap forward in terms of quality, but most of the tracks other than the famous single are forgettable – barely a hint of the '70s superstar-to-be.

Kylie Minogue has improved hugely (from ‘gawd awfull’ to ‘not half bad’ anyway).

Robin Williams is a lot better as a solo artist.

Depeche Mode. Play me “I Just Can’t Get Enough” and hand me a razor blade. They did a 180 to rockin’ with Violator, and I think they’ve put out consistantly good stuff since then.

:confused: :confused: :confused:

Joe Walsh ruined the group, he should’ve stayed with James Gang. Hotel California and The Long Run are godawful albums. The once outlaw/urban country band we all loved was destroyed. To say they were John Denverish? Yikes.

I second Robbie Williams (not Robin).

While some will disagree with me I cast my vote for Blink 182. Their early 2 albums were Awful. Then they went more pop, and got cooler, and finally with this last album I can actually take the band seriously.

This has happened to me a couple of times with certain bands. The only one I can really think of right now though is Stone Temple Pilots. The first several times I heard and saw the video for Sex Type Thing I kept thinking “Man, this song sucks!” But once I heard the rest of the album, I was hooked, and they’re now one of my favorite bands (I even like Sex Type Thing now),

You guys named all of mine
flaming lips - pre transmissions from the satellite heart

I wasn’t a fan of Death Cab for Cutie or The Dismemberment Plan’s debut albums. Smashing Pumpkins’ Gish is pretty mediocre.

Oh and I pretty much loathe any Promise Ring stuff before Very Emergency, excluding a few songs here and there.

Any of Wilco’s albums before Yankee Hotel Foxtrot just kind of bore me.
Ok, so you guys didn’t name them all.

The Blood Brothers. Their first album was bad. The second was mediocre.

Then they release Burn, Piano Island, Burn. BANG.

Oh how I hate early Flaming Lips. I can’t remember what album it’s on, but they have one song, “A Spoonful Weighs A Ton” that has some of the most annoying, painful vocals I’ve ever heard.

And, now, Wayne Coyne has one of the best voices in music, I think. It’s light, upbeat, yet mature, and fits the music they’re making now perfectly.

I thought Stone Temple Pilots was nothing more than a Pearl Jam rip-off band (albeit one of the better ones), until I heard “Big Bang Baby” off what I think was their 3rd or 4th album. They finally got their own sound (and their lead singer got a heroin addiction, but oh well).

And I have no real opinion on this, but many people think Fleetwood Mac became infinitely better on the album leading up to Rumours, which is obviously a masterpiece. But many also like their earlier stuff.

Pink Floyd.

Their early stuff like Saucer Full of Secrets, Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother is chock full of screaching, painful dissonence, bad attempts at immitating the Beatles, and really stupid lyrics. They really took off beginning with Relics, which led to their immortal classics like Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, The Wall, The Final Cut, The Division Bell and Momentary Lapse of Reason.

Back in the days when the expectation was that a band would grow and mature, and not have to sell 8 million copies of their first album, it wasn’t at all unusual for bands or individuals to need several albums to come to their mature sound.

This is true for almost all of the pioneering groups of the 60s, from the Beach Boys to the Beatles to the Stones to the Kinks to Jefferson Airplane. It was still true a few years later, in the transition of Pink Floyd from a weird psychedelic band to the glories of “Dark Side of the Moon.” The truly fabulous first album, say, Santana’s, was looked at as a rare aberration.

Fleetwood Mac went through two distinct stages appealing to different audiences before emerging as a super group. The first era was the Peter Green blues-based group. Then Bob Welch came in for a number of melodic albums, several of which are good and “Bare Trees” is excellent. When the group disintegrated and finally brought in the unknown Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, they had the best - perhaps the only - third act in rock, but I’ve always liked “Fleetwood Mac,” the first album of the new lineup, better than “Rumours.”

I used to have a theory that, as in the case of Fleetwood Mac, the great album primes the audience for the breakthrough album, which is never quite as good. That presupposed that groups put out an album or two a year, so that they built on one another instead of releasing albums every several years to different musical environments.

But with the Grammys putting people and groups with several albums in the Best New Artist category, as they have been, maybe it’s all starting again. :wink:

Ministry started off as being a rather bland and clone-ish new wave band for their first three or four albums before finally discovering their voice and become one of the most important forces in industrial music with their 1988 release, The Land of Rape and Honey.

Radiohead had a rather mediocre debut, but picked right up with The Bends. While OK Computer is one of the most inventive and important rock albums of the 90s, their sophomore effort is only a notch below in greatness. It flat-out rocks. How anyone can not like that album is beyond me.

My Bloody Valentine’s This is Your Bloody Valentine resembles nothing that what would make Isn’t Anything and Loveless (tied in my book with OK Computer as the best album of the 90s) two of the most inventive albums of the last twenty years.

I don’t think Gish was half-bad…It didn’t have the production value of later Pumpkins releases, but it’s a solid introduction to the band. Sometimes I prefer it to the more bombastic albums that followed.

Sleater-Kinney’s self-titled debut was just typical screaming angry grrrrl punk. The song writing was mediocre, at best, and not particularly inventive. But with Call The Doctor, they started writing melodies, hooks, counter-melodic guitar lines – just started showing good pop sensibility. Their sudden maturity made that album arguably the best record to come out of the Olympia music scene.

I remember when my friend asked me to go see Beck with her, and the FLaming Lips were opening. I was all “groan that stupid ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ band?” (this was last year)

That’s the first time I ever went right out and bought an opening band’s CD the next day. And I listened to it all day every day for a week straight.