Some of the most acclaimed albums were a little bit of a surprise when they were first released. Critics weren’t always the best judges of albums, especially back in the day when there were only a few major publications that covered music and reviews were still written by a select group of people.
There are a lot of great records that didn’t get the respect they deserve from critics when they were first released, and some have gone on to become incredibly influential. We’ve rounded up 20 of these records that weren’t received well by critics when they were first released, but are now considered some of the greatest albums ever made!
Lauryn Hill is one of the most influential artists in modern music history, and her album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” has a place in any list of the greatest albums of all time. Flipping between two tones – sharp and cold, and sensual and smoky – she raised the game for an entire genre and paved the way for many female rappers who followed.
John Darnielle is the kind of songwriter who approaches his work like a scientist, examining his subjects on a granular level and then figuring out what’s most important to convey with each song. During the writing of this summer’s stark, sinewy Bleed Out, Darnielle reflected on a wrestling match he attended as a child and ended up with a concept album about luchadores and kayfabe that’s full of wired pacing and themes of dissatisfaction and revenge.
Bruce Springsteen is one of the most influential musicians in modern music history, and his album “Darkness on the Edge of Town” is a classic that still stands up to the test of time. It’s been ranked among the top 10 albums of all time by both fans and critics and remains a favorite of many listeners.
Radiohead is one of the most influential bands in modern music history, and their debut album “OK Computer” is a classic that still stands up as a benchmark for other bands. It’s a scathing critique of the corporate world and how it replaces human emotion with robot behavior. It’s also a harrowing, heartbreaking look at how much we all lose when things fall apart.
Sakamoto’s “audio diary” after cancer treatment is the most foreboding, but also one of the most beautiful in a towering catalogue of music that’s sure to stand the test of time.
Phil Oakey reinvented synthesizer pop in 1981 with “Dare,” a landmark that ushered in a new generation of electronic music stars. It’s still considered a classic by those who grew up listening to it and is a major influence on the current crop of electronic artists.
Billie Eilish is one of the most promising and impressive artists in the past few years, and her debut album with her brother Finneas was a huge success that shook up the industry and continues to be a defining release for her career. The pair’s debut album is a mixture of art-pop and electronic styles that will be hard to beat in the future.