Have you ever heard a good song on the radio by an artist, only to check out a compilation by that artist and have the enthusiasm knocked right out of you because most of the compilation, regardless of which one, sounded like complete shit? Usually, this is because the artist totally sold out or because the artist got lucky with one album but most of the time was already making sludge without selling out. We will explore the artists, reasons why and good studio albums that you can turn to instead as a much better alternative with this article in alphabetical order.
1. Bon Jovi: Bon Jovi was at his best during the 1980s when he made really rocking glam metal albums. Later on Bon Jovi became a great example of a sell out by trying to appeal to many people despite his increasing age. Pretty much everything after 1990’s New Jersey in my opinion is bad news because it just doesn’t have that much personality to it.
However, his first three albums, an argument could be made for his first four albums, were pretty solid. Bon Jovi’s first album had the popular yet good single Runaway. 7800 Fahrenheit had no hits, good luck hearing one of the singles from that album at a concert of his, but was probably his most interesting album because it showed the dark, brooding side of Bon Jovi, if such a thing actually exists. Slippery When Wet had his three biggest, best singles and after that it quickly went downhill. New Jersey was fine, but it was his last tolerable album in my opinion.
2. Boston: Boston fell into a rare category trying to make music more intelligent than they originally had and failing at their objective. As we will find out later, they were not alone, though. Boston’s first album was fantastic, probably the best album from the 1970s, I include Zoso in that comparison, and the only album I would ever think it was worth listening to on vinyl. However, after that they took forever and did not deliver adequately for all the time they took. Albums after their first one are just way too over thought and forced. As far as Boston was concerned in my opinion they were a one album band, even if that one album was just pure rock and roll gold.
3. Don Henley: Are we seeing a trend yet? Many artists start out great and then decline. Don Henley is certainly no exception to this trend. After his split with the Eagles, he made a decent album with his single Dirty Laundry. His second album would be by far his best one of course, the brooding, synthy Building the Perfect Best. Ironically, probably one of the few weak songs on this album was the album title song. However, it did boast such amazing songs as the great summer ballad, Boys of Summer, and the incredibly interesting Sunset Grill.
It is after this that we take a large nose dive into music that was both way too excessive in duration and way too poppish for any self respecting rock and roll star to make. The End of the Innocence was probably the worst example of this and Inside Job in my opinion did not do much better. As far as Don Henley is concerned check out his first two albums and skip the rest.
4. Guns and Roses: Oh, boy, did I open a can of something with this one. We all remember the classic Appetite For Destruction but we’ve also been hearing for years now about feuds between band members, break ups and newer music performers who couldn’t lick the shoes of Slash. Fortunately, we now have Slash’s wonderful solo career with Myles Kennedy on vocals who both sings almost as well as Axl but also is apparently much easier to get along with.
Guns and Roses had one classic album, and three interesting albums, the often over looked GNR Lies, and the two highly experimental Use Your Illusion albums. After that we could see Axl’s mental condition deteriorating, band members getting fed up with Axl’s shit and Chinese Democracy on its way, which was truly an abomination for many reasons. Check out Guns and Roses’ first four albums and then switch camps to Slash’s solo career. Rooting for Guns and Roses these days is about as satisfying as being a Cubs fan, free sodas be damned.
5. Jefferson Starship: Speaking of turbulence within the band… Jefferson Starship was originally Jefferson Airplane but later went on to become Jefferson Starship and then just Starship. There are two camps for Jefferson Starship’s music. Their 1970s work was highly experimental but also lengthy and lacked an immediate appeal. Some think their 1970s albums are fantastic and Red Octopus is held in high esteem.
I think their best albums came about when Grace Slick was actually back in the band and they made their late 1970s early 1980s albums such as Modern Times, Winds of Change, highly over looked and critically lambasted although I have no idea why, and Nuclear Furniture, their last good album before they went downhill with Knee Deep In the Hoopla.
For good music from Jefferson Starship you could really go one of two different directions and this depends entirely on your preference. If you like deep, meaningful music with a lasting appeal then I suggest their 1970s music, but if you’re like me and just want to rock check out their Modern Times and Freedom At Point Zero albums. Those are the albums with the singles still played on the radio today anyway. We can all agree that Knee Deep In the Hoopla and onwards was bad, though.