It’s nearly impossible to judge when you have a classic album on your hands. Even if one of the biggest records of the year has some great songs on it, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether they will actually stand the test of time or just linger around for one summer. And once the classics do show themselves, it usually takes a slow burn before most of us realize what we were listening to.
Although all of these records are looked back on fondly these days, people were more or less just confused by what they heard when they played these for the first time back in the day. From radical sonic shifts to albums that came out of nowhere, the songs on here had more than a few people scratching their heads. The more you sit with these albums though, the more you start to appreciate what they have to offer.
What may have been considered something a bit eccentric back in the day is now becoming the new norm for the music scene, as newer bands use these records as their blueprint for what they would do going forward. You can call them ahead of their time if you wanted to, but for most of these records, most of us just had to spend some time catching up.
10. The Mollusk - Ween
There’s a case to be made that Ween is a band that you need to program your brain in order to understand them. Even though there are some songs that just click with you on first listen, it’s nearly impossible to do that with any of their songs, especially on records like Chocolate and Cheese where Dean and Jean practically sound like a different band on every single track. If you take a trip down into the ocean on the Mollusk, you may find one of the best albums of the late ‘90s.
Going through every single song on this record, you can start to feel the nautical vibe that they’re going for on every track, from the jaunty vibe on Dancing in the Show Tonight to the punky sounds of I’ll Be Your Jonny on the Spot. Granted, there are a few songs that need a little more time to sink in, like when they suddenly decide to adopt a pirate’s accent and deliver a sea shanty on The Blarney Stone.
Even songs that sound like they should be a disaster end up working surprisingly well, like the weird moaning sounds in Pink Eye on My Leg translating to this smooth synthesizer which jumps octaves across most of the track. And while Ocean Man is known more these days for being a meme, the sound of it hit just as hard back then as well, inspiring Steve Hillenburg to come up with the idea for Spongebob Squarepants. If Ween aren’t getting royalties for that, they certainly deserve a second look based on this album alone.