Many years ago, Donnie and I had a discussion centered around whether or not you can think something is your favorite but not the best. This was before either of us had children and we were definitely drunk at the time and those things combined mean that neither of us will remember the details of the discussion (NOTE: This principle does NOT include the Andrew Hat Debate. Not only was it never in my pants, I am certain I never claimed it was. But that's not why you called, is it?)
The basic argument I was making was that it is possible to look at art and separate your objective and subjective views. I believe my example referred to literature (but it relates to all art, music, women, etc.) My favorite book of all-time is Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. I think it's the perfect combination of cerebral and visceral storytelling with wonderfully developed characters, heart to spare and a perfect ending. However, the best book I've ever read is unquestionably The Great Gatsby. Every single word in that book is exactly as it should be and I don't believe there is any way it could be improved upon. While I know that there are some people who would take issue with Robbins' language and tendencies to go so far off on tangents one forgets what book they are reading sometimes, it works for me. And while Gatsby didn't make me finish it while driving so as to not put it down for a single second (Jitterbug did,) I can appreciate it for the literary perfection that it is.
So why am I going on and on about this on a music blog? Because I've been struggling with this concept in some of the records (or Spotify tracks if we're being honest,) that I've been listening to recently. Specifically, I finally 'discovered' the Mumford and Sons record a month ago. I'd seen the performance on the Grammy's and because I work down the hall from the Rolling Stone folks, I'd been aware of their existence, but never dove in. However, on a recent flight to LA (thank you Delta for having free music as well as a decent free trivia game...SUCK IT guy in 24C, I OWNED YOU!) I was able to listen to the album straight through for the first time. And the second. And the sixth. After I got back home and had played it so many times in my office I considered buying a banjo, I realized I had a problem. But I couldn't shake the thought that I might not actually like it. I mean, it's definitely possible that it's really cheesy, right? I could see myself never listening to it again. But one thing that I knew for sure was that it was awesome. They are clearly good at what they do and I couldn't imagine the record possibly being better than it was. Objectively, I appreciate it. I'm still waiting to decide whether or not I subjectively like it.
Conversely, I am 100% convinced that I absolutely LOVE all of the John Linnell songs from They Might Be Giants. Yes, the early stuff is so horrific on a production level (bad drum machines, bad synths, etc.,) and his partner (the other John,) is so incredibly annoying and shitty that it takes away from my overall enjoyment. But when you get to the later albums where they're actually playing with a band (John Henry and Factory Showroom being my 2 favorites from the period,) the songs that Linnell writes and sings on are, in my view, incredible works of pop/rock songwriting. I love that shit. But it's also entirely possible that it sucks beyond belief. I've almost lost the ability to be objective about it I love it so much.
So I ask you, gentlemen (are there ladies on here?) What are your favorite band/albums that may not actually be good and what are the albums that you KNOW are fantastic but you may not like?