7 Albums That Are Difficult to Listen to All the Way Through

7 Albums That Are Difficult to Listen to All the Way Through | Society Of Rock Videos

via L French / YouTube

Sometimes our favorite musicians decide to take a left turn when we’re all expecting them to take a right. They might toss the playbook out the window and leave us with albums that are a tad tricky to listen to from start to finish. Let’s dive into a few records that might just have you hitting the ‘skip’ button more than you’d like.

Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music

Imagine the sound your phone would make in a blender – that’s Lou Reed’s ‘Metal Machine Music.’ It’s a full hour of screeching, droning, and buzzing that could send your household pets into hiding. Some say it’s art, while others reckon Lou was just seeing how far he could push his fans before they pushed back. Either way, playing this record is a surefire way to clear out a room in record time.

No tunes, no lyrics, just relentless noise – ‘Metal Machine Music’ feels like a practical joke played with a poker face. Critics have wrestled with it for years, wondering if it’s a masterpiece or just a curious mishap. Whatever it is, it sure isn’t easy listening, and if you ever get through the whole thing without flinching, you might just deserve a medal.

Bob Dylan – Self Portrait

Bob Dylan’s ‘Self Portrait’ is the musical version of a confusing drawing – you know there’s something in there, but you’re not quite sure what. The man who penned anthems for a generation threw everyone for a loop with this collection of covers, live tracks, and instrumentals. Fans were left wondering where the poetic prophet’s voice had gone, and why he was hiding behind someone else’s songs.

This double album left listeners wondering if Bob was trying out new hats or if he’d just given up caring what they thought. It meanders from country twang to folk to rock without much warning, making ‘Self Portrait’ feel more like a scrapbook than a studio album. It’s the kind of listen that makes you ponder whether there’s genius beneath the surface or just a songwriter mid-shrug.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – American Dream

‘American Dream’ by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is like thinking you’re about to bite into a fresh, home-baked pie and ending up with a day-old donut. With their past successes, you’d expect something rich and satisfying, but what you get instead is sort of bland. Recorded after they got back together following a long time apart, it makes you wonder if they maybe should’ve stayed on break a bit longer.

The album tries to capture the magic of their glory days but ends up feeling forced and tired. Lyrics that aim to be deep come off a bit too preachy, and tunes that should soar just kind of sputter. Listening to ‘American Dream,’ is a test of loyalty for any fan, with many skipping tracks in search of something that recaptures the old spark.

Graham Parker And The Rumour – The Parkerilla

Now, Graham Parker and The Rumour had some foot-tapping hits back in the day, but ‘The Parkerilla’ is more foot-dragging than anything else. It’s a live album where the energy feels drained, leaving you waiting for a beat that just never drops. It’s as if they put their usual rock ‘n’ roll through a dulling machine and called it a day.

The album has a cover of their own song, “Hey Lord, Don’t Ask Me Questions,” that sounds like a photocopy of a photocopy – it has the lines and shape, but all the color’s gone. ‘The Parkerilla’ might give you déjà vu and not in a good way. It’s the audio equivalent of buying a ticket to a blockbuster movie only to find out you’ve walked into a low-budget remake.

The Velvet Underground – Squeeze

Take The Velvet Underground, remove the ingredients that make them themselves, and you get ‘Squeeze,’ an album that has fans asking, “Who’s this now?” Without the familiar voice of Lou Reed, the band continued on a journey that many listeners didn’t want to follow. It’s like being promised a gourmet dessert and getting a rice cake instead.

‘Squeeze’ sounds like someone trying to fit into shoes that are way too big, stumbling around hoping no one notices. The tunes lack the edge and bite that made the original lineup so iconic. It’s not terrible, but when you put it next to the rest of their catalog, it’s like toast without butter – very, very plain.

The Beach Boys – 15 Big Ones

When The Beach Boys rolled out ’15 Big Ones,’ they went for a stroll down memory lane, but it’s a lane full of potholes. The album is a mix of covers that could have used a touch more of their signature sunshine. Some songs start with promise but then fall flat, like a deflated beach ball.

It’s a laid-back affair, sure, but maybe a bit too laid-back. It’s like they decided to kick back in their lounge chairs instead of hitting the waves. ’15 Big Ones’ will have you missing the pep and harmony that made The Beach Boys the kings of surf rock. Instead, what you get is the soundtrack to a lazy Sunday afternoon, and maybe that’s okay if you’re in the mood for a nap.

David Bowie – Pin Ups

David Bowie’s ‘Pin Ups’ is what happens when a rock star decides to play dress-up with other people’s classics. It’s Bowie doing covers – and while it’s not a total trainwreck, it’s not the starman at his shiniest either. Think of it as a superhero taking a day off to jam in his garage.

The album is full of hits from the ’60s, but when sung by Bowie, they land a little awkwardly. It’s like watching a gymnast do somersaults in a suit – impressive, but you can’t shake the feeling something’s off. ‘Pin Ups’ may not be the Bowie album you tell all your friends about, but it’s got a charm that might just grow on you if you give it enough spins.

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