Five great albums music critics bashed first time around

And then they had to change their mind…
Slowdive Reading 1990
Slowdive Reading 1990 / Martyn Goodacre/GettyImages

Since the the dominance of album format took over sometime in the second half of the sixties, it has been a manner for rock critics to go beyond just criticizing an album upon its initial release, but bashing it through and through, as if they wanted to step on their physical copy of it and smash it in pieces.

It was a habit by critics big and small, in large circulation publications and fanzines, and is something that lingers on to this day. Often, the bigger an audience the artist gets, the more zeal to criticize is turned on. Recent examples, of latest albums by Beyonce and Billie Eilish for example, are just the freshest proof.

And while, for the latter two the dust is yet to settle and show their true quality, for some great albums that were ‘smashed’ into pieces the first time around by the critics, the time has forced quite a few of them to change their mind, with the audiences never in doubt themselves.

Here are five such albums that have proven the original music critics’ reviews wrong.

Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced (1967)

Big-name rock magazines like Rolling Stone are supposed to be a reliable source of album reviews, but often, their critics get things completely wrong. After time, they might realize it, or they might not, or they simply they won’t say it out of vanity or something.

Luckily, Rolling Stone realized quite a few of their review mistakes, and at one point, the magazine compiled a list of their flukes. Along with Dylan, Neil Young, and The Rolling Stones, among others, their list included the initial takedown of Hendrix’s classic first album, written at the time by John Landau, no less.

Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica (1969)

Even Captain Beefheart’s initial albums were something of an acquired taste, but his initial outings did have songs that would catch the ears of a broader audience with his psych take on blues and unique vocals.

His third album though was a completely different affair, with some unique, complex time signatures, that sounded quite jarring to quite a few listeners, and it seems quite a few rock critics at the time, as some even conceded that they used both vinyl discs of this double album as frisbee substitutes.

As time passed by, the album became cited as a true masterpiece and is currently included in practically every ‘best of’ rock albums lists.

Blind Faith - Blind Faith (1969)

Maybe it was the case of too big expectations, or more of completely different expectations, but the sole album by this collective of brilliant musicians was truly bashed the first time it was released.

Eric Clapton, Stevie Winwood, Ginger Baker, and Rick Gretch, brought the term supergroup to rock terminology, and some brilliant songwriting and musicianship here, but it seems that the rock critics were expecting more of Cream-style hard psych and long Clapton guitar solos. Or maybe it was at the time controversial album cover (in Britain and Europe) that unnerved them, but the album that included songs like “Well All Right” or “Can’t Find My Way Home,” one of the ultimate classics, deserved more from the critics. The audience loved it anyway.

Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram (1971)

Throughout his solo career, Paul McCartney had an on and off relationship with the rock critics. His first solo outing had a lukewarm reception with them, but Ram, his second album, billed with his then-wife Linda, was truly bashed, by almost every critic that reviewed it from Landau and Robert Cristgau to New Musical Express, that was considered one of key musical references at the time.

The audiences didn’t seem to care though, with “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” becoming McCartney’s first No. 1 single. Later reevaluations showed that it was actually one of the strongest albums in McCartney’s solo output.

Slowdive - Souvlaki (1993)

Shoegaze came into rock music vocabulary as a derogatory term invented by some British music critics, but as decades passed on, it turned out into one of the more vital rock sub-genres.

The fate of this, second album by Slowdive in many ways followed the fate and outlook of shoegaze as a genre. The band took a meticulous process when recording the album, coming up with one of the classics of the genre.

Yet, many critics, particularly those in England, blasted the album, with Melody Maker’s reviewer stating "'Sing' aside, I would rather drown choking in a bath full of porridge than ever listen to it again."

As it turned out, the passage of time and repeated listenings presented this album as the true classic it really was.