When putting together some of the best albums ever made, the producer can be just as important as any other band member. For all of the great songs that you might come in with, you need to have someone at the helm with the right mission in mind to turn them into something better than just a regular sounding demo. Sometimes you end up making some of the best albums of your career, but the wrong production can also kneecap some of your best stuff.
Because as much as these albums might be classic from back to front, the way that everything is mixed makes the entire thing sound absolutely atrocious. From some songs being way too loud to having some strange element in the mix that just wasn’t sounding right, each one of these albums tends to have one production albatross around its neck that they were never quite able to smooth out by the time they got to the end of the mix.
If you look past some of the blemishes that happened behind the mixing board though, these actually hold some of the artists’ greatest songs to date, sounding like the logical next step from their last few records with a lot less window dressing this time around. So when you’re trying to make your own masterpiece, it’s not just about being in the right place at the right time. It’s about making something that will last long after you’re gone, and you better have someone ready to finetune your songs so they don’t end up like this.
10. Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen
The music of Springsteen has always been made for the outsiders of rock and roll. Songs like Born to Run were always written about the underdogs, sitting in their dead end jobs and hoping to find something a little bit better past the horizon of their little town. There's a lot of heartache that comes with getting there though, and Nebraska is the sound of Springsteen at his wit's end.
After Darkness on the Edge of Town, the Boss had been fairly fried from the pat few years of dealing with fame and wanted to get some of his darker thoughts down on tape before going into the studio. Though this album does have Bruce's stamp of approval, this was the first record of his recorded without the E Street Band, being a glorified version of the cassette tape that he used to make these songs in his bedroom. When you listen to the tales laced throughout these songs though, they almost need this kind of spare production, like the kid who looks to get away from it all on Atlantic City or never getting closure from his old man on My Father's House.
There's definitely lot of heartache on display here, but that doesn't mean that all hope is lost on an album like this either. The production might definitely be a little bit hard to listen to, but not everything in life is sugarcoated, and sometimes you need albums like this to appreciate something like Born in the USA after the fact.