30 Critically Reviled Albums That Are Stone Cold Classics Today

By Sarah Norman | October 13, 2023

Abbey Road - The Beatles, 1969

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Apple Records

Jefferson Airplane's debut album is now recognized as pioneering in the genre of psychedelic rock, but it was not a critical darling when it was released. The band was already pretty well known from their time on the Bay Area circuit where they were very popular. Critics who knew their music felt that Jefferson Airplane Takes Off just didn't live up to the band's usual level of innovation and performance. Today, the album's essential place in the history of psychedelic rock and the development of the San Francisco Sound is universally recognized, especially when taken alongside their hit second album, Surrealistic Pillow. 

Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys, 1966

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Elaborately produced and deeply innovative, Pet Sounds marked a key turning point in the art of music production, introducing the use of synthesizers and pioneering new methods of orchestration and harmonization. Globally acknowledged as one of the most influential records of the era, Pet Sounds is beloved today by fans and critics alike. But despite its current stature, the album was a critical and commercial disappointment when it was first released. Pete Townshend of The Who famously dismissed the album as being "too remote and way out", adding "It's written for a feminine audience."