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Top 10 Albums I Hated Passionately at First, but Have Grown to Love

By Matt Stephens | 22 November 2005

10. Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (Columbia/Legacy; 1959)

I mean, it’s a jazz album. Did you like jazz when you were nine?

9. The Microphones: The Glow Pt. 2 (K; 2001)

My first introduction to the lo-fi genius of Phil Elvrum, this record sounded as dull as all get out at first, probably because all the guitars were off tempo and he sounded half-asleep while singing. Now I love it for the same reasons.

8. Interpol: Antics (Matador; 2004)

I was expecting them to go all Kid A on us, and up the atmospherics and lyrical wankery, and instead they just decided to make a tight gloom-punk album that sounded at first like it was written by an indie-song-generating computer Matador had bought using proceeds from sales of Turn on the Bright Lights. Secretly, I now like this better than Turn on the Bright Lights.

7. Fiery Furnaces: Blueberry Boat (Rough Trade; 2004)

What, you didn’t hate it the first time, either?

6. Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On? (Motown; 1971)

That “Save the Children” song just really got to me, and I still have to skip it every time I listen to this record, which is still great. I just keep thinking of Helen Lovejoy screaming “Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?” and for a minute, Marvin Gaye becomes uncool.

5. Van Morrison: Astral Weeks (Warner Brothers; 1968)

I was one of those kids raised on Van Morrison, but almost exclusively of the “Moondance” and (shudder) “Brown-Eyed Girl” variety, so needless to say hearing this album was a huge shock – it seemed almost formless, these two chord dirges with lots of gorgeous instrumentation that never really go anywhere. 500 listens or so later, I can say with great authority that they do go somewhere after all, and Astral Weeks is one of my favourite records. Which is a good thing, because if I’d still been badmouthing it, Scott would have fired me a year ago. (Ed.: This is true.)

4. The Olivia Tremor Control: Dusk at Cubist Castle: Music From the Unrealized Film Script (Flydaddy; 1996)

I mean, come on: it’s 27 tracks and 76 minutes, about 20 of which are filled with intriguing-but-tedious instrumental experiments. Plus, I listened to this for the first time on a car ride to my grandmother’s on one of those wet, nasty Canadian November afternoons. Trust me, Dusk at Cubist Castle is not a Peterborough album…

3. The Velvet Underground: Self-titled (Verve; 1969)

But only because I’d been listening to nothing but White Light/White Heat for three months beforehand, and I just spent my whole first time listening to it waiting for Lou’s guitar to have an orgasm. This is almost as good.

2. Sigur Ros: ( ) (MCA; 2002)

Back in the day, in what was unquestionably my most embarrassing turn as a rock scribe, I got a leaked version of this from a friend that consisted of 40-second loops of each song repeated ad nauseum for its entire 70 minute run time. I thought it was legit, and proceeded to write a scathing 1,000 word review for the local Town Crier. I soon realized my mistake, much to my humiliation, but fortunately no one reads the Town Crier except old ladies and the unemployed, so I’m sure it went unnoticed. Anyway, I found the review, somehow. Please remember, I was like 16, I knew not what I was doing.

1. Television: Marquee Moon (Elektra; 1977)

This is one of my very favourite albums, and has been for a few years, but I talked nothing but smack about it for months after hearing it. I don’t know what it was, but there was something about it that just rubbed me the wrong way – the layered guitars, the shouty call-and-response vocals, Tom Verlaine’s off-kilter surrealism – basically it didn’t sound as much like the Strokes as people had led me to believe, and I was pissed about it. Anyway, I know now that this is way better than The Strokes, and you should too.