My choice for this topic is a band that I wasn’t so much recommended by a friend, as recommended by a number of friends and also music critics, on the assumption that because I have a broad, open-minded approach to my music listening I would like this band, and more particularly, a very certain album by this band.
The band is Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, and the album is called Trout Mask Replica. And it’s absolutely awful.
A lot of people claim that Beefheart was a great music visionary, and that he inspired and influenced musicians for decades to come (which the latter part is certainly true to an extent). Many make these deep intellectual insights into his music, and his approach to music, and the myth and mystery that surrounds him as a person.
The truth is this: the album sounds crap. His vocals are creepy and make him sound like a person who should be in prison for doing unspeakable things. The music is completely out of time – again, people say this was “on purpose”, that he planned to do this and it was a great piece of experimentalism. I say that he did this because he was probably high as a kite and thought it’d be a good idea, either that or he was just insane – he apparently recorded the vocals not by listening to the other instruments, but by timing it with the vibrations coming from the instruments being played in another room, which is why the whole album sounds slightly off. To top this off, the music isn’t even really clever, even on a basic level – it’s kind of dull and boring, and people who think it’s amazing are clearly scrounging around, looking for intelligence in it so they can join the hipster bandwagon who love this music because it’s cool to do so.
I know that all music taste is subjective, I really do. But even if Beefheart is some kind of music visionary, even if his approach really was genius, even despite the fact that he has influenced many other musicians, the fact remains that this album, at least, just sounds bad! Even if I was on an acid trip, this album would sound bad. How could anybody want to listen to this? It just baffles me. There’s good abstract music, and then there’s…this.
I can’t listen to more than a few songs off this album without getting a headache (no, seriously, I have tried multiple times, I can’t do it without actually getting a headache, it’s that bad), so I shall only subject you to one, and in my sad opinion, one of the better songs, too:
Are you a fan of this particular album, or of Captain Beefheart in general?
What bands have you not liked that friends recommended to you?