Classic Rock Bottom

Every band goes through phases, some hit it big and have staying power, some never quite get there or falter along the way. But every band whose career has spanned a fair amount of time has stumbled at one time or another. Take Rush, they had one more chance after misfiring on Caress of Steel and knocked it out of the park with 2112. REO on the other hand nailed it with Hi-Infidelity and then blew chunks on Good Trouble (a bit dramatic, but it was a misstep) and so with that example in mind, let’s look at a couple of missteps from bands who blazed their own trail no matter what the fans and record company exec said!



Turn Back

1 - Live For Today
2 - I Think I Could Stand You Forever

After two stellar albums this came out and I couldn't wait! Hydra was so good that this just had to be as awesome at the very least, right? RIGHT?!

Toto went from disappointment to disaster with its third album, the generic Turn Back. The group's ability to turn out highly competent studio rock was not translating into an individual sound, and since Turn Back had no memorable songs on it, one was left with nothing more than those famous chops that Toto possessed in abundance. The group would rally from this retreat, but for the moment a better title would have been Fall Back, as in, the band members always had their studio jobs to fall back on.

The Cars

3 - Gimmie Some Slack
4 - Misfit Kid

Apparently people thought Candy-O was a sellout, not me however, I dig Candy-O more than the debut album and that's saying something. But the band didn't care either way, they did their own thing, and so we got this...

For their third album, 1980's Panorama, the Cars decided to challenge their fans with an album unlike its predecessors. Whereas The Cars and Candy-O were both comprised of instantly catchy and distinctly tuneful songs, Panorama was much darker and not as obvious -- an attempt at breaking away from the expected winning formula. Still, the album was embraced by their fans and hit number five on the charts, although it was the only Cars release not to spawn a true hit single (the closest thing to a hit was "Touch and Go," which peaked at number 37). Standouts included the swirling title track that opens the album, as well as the aforementioned "Touch and Go," which merges off-time keyboard flourishes with some great textural guitar work by Elliot Easton. "Gimme Some Slack" proved to be a fierce rocker, as did the underrated album closer, "Up and Down," while their softer side was represented by "You Wear Those Eyes." Many would consider such tracks as "Down Boys," "Misfit Kid," and "Getting Through" throwaways, but others are strong, just not as well known as some of the other material ("Don't Tell Me No," "Running to You"). It may not be as instantly rewarding as other Cars albums, but Panorama improves with each listen.

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Gotsta disagree on the REO example.  Good Trouble is an excellent album, start to finish (well, maybe one song isn't particularly great).  Could write an 5-6 page essay probably on the missteps by Kiss.  First, saturating the market in the first four years of of their existence with no less than 13 albums (this includes two live albums, one compilation and four solo albums).  Then turning "pop" with the Dynasty and Unmasked albums, then the colossal misstep that was Music From The Elder and even the eventual release of Carnival of Souls.  Funny thing is, I liked all of those albums.  No missteps for me.  Their biggest career misstep for me personally is continuing to have Tommy Thayer in the band (he's a nice enough guy and a good employee for Gene and Paul, but his musical touch just isn't cutting it for me).  They need to bring Ace back for one more album and tour, then retire the band and work on side projects until they just can't do it.  Dang, that got away from me quickly.

I always felt that KISS's first mistake was Unmasked...  But maybe it was the 4 solo albums, 2 of which are not good at all.  I love Dynasty, it ranks right up at the top of all time favorite KISS albums for me, only Destroyer is better IMO.  Then came The Elder, which I like!  But after Ace left, Vinnie Vincent gave them seriously cool new life and for whatever reason they blew that too!  Hot In The Shade is still awful, not sure what they were thinking there, but I came back with Revenge and I too liked Carnival of Souls but it could've used some production values!  But the fatal mistake was putting Singer and Thayer in the makeup, thus turning them into a Brand.  I honestly think they will try to figure out how to keep the Brand together after they retire/die off.  Someone else will step in and wear Gene and Paul's makeup and try to keep it going with their blessing and royalty-laden contracts of course.  Still, at the point Thayer wore Aces makeup, I left the army....  Sadly

Do you realize that everytime I read what you write, your voice in my head is that of C. Walken?

Image result for christopher walken meme

I agree: Unmasked was the first big mistake, KISS made. The first of countless mistakes. The solo-albums was a brilliant move, even though Criss's sucks big time. Simmons's is okay. But what a day it was, when those album was released!!! That was a dream coming true, for a 13 year old mega-KISS fan like me!! And again: I agree about Dynasty. The last really good KISS-album, and the last time they could follow up a new album up with spectacular outfits and a new stageshow. I know those outfits get critizised a lot, but I love that look. Too me, it is the look of 1979, which was a great year. But Hotter Than Hell is THE best KISS-album. The Elder is total and utter CRAP!!! Whatever they made after Dynasty, was more or less crap. Ace is the only one left, that has some kind of dignity left.....go figure!!

I go back and forth on which solo album I like best, Pauls or Aces...  The other two?  Never owned either one of them and still don't want them since hearing them.  HTH is a top 5 KISS album for me as well...

TOTO - I've heard this album a few times, but I've never bought it myself. I don't think, i've heard it since....1990 or something like that. The first song sounds very familiar, though. Lukather has a nice voice, even though he rarely sings the very best songs on the albums, except the newest one. Nothing special about this track, until the guitar-solo, which is nice. Not bad, but not great. I never was a fan of Kimball's voice. I guess, it's because, I became a big fan (and still is) of the band, that made "Isolation", and Frederiksen or whatever his name was, was much better imo. Again a song that's good, but not great. Actually I don't really remember this song. Maybe only slightly. Still, this song is better than Lukather's. Classic Toto sounding and "heavier" (not that it should make it better, just because it's heavier).

CARS - I never, ever was and probably won't ever be a fan of The Cars. I don't really get their music at all. It sounds soooo much like some shit from the 80's. I wish to forget. I hate his voice! I don't know, why Mutt Lange wasted his time on this band. I have never heard this album. The first song is not as bad as expected, but still the same style. As a radio-song it's not bad at all. Besides "Drive", it's probably the best Cars-song I've heard so far. The second song also has that Cars-sound, I don't like. Everything is too simple. They remind me of Talking Heads, only in a much more simple way. Your text says it : this is a throwaway, meaning I'm one of many. First song, a pleassant surprise, second is as I would had expected, meaning deep down I still haven't given up hearing The Cars, since there might be one or two other okay songs in their catalog, that won't get on my nerves.

A few other missteps? Hmmm....

Led Zeppelin's "Precence" and ITTOD comes to mind. A clasic misstep: Making their sound bigger and bigger through every album up until "precence", which they never should had made under the circumstances (just as ITTOD). PG should had been the last Zeppelin-album.

Just like The Who should had stopped making albums after Moon died. Each of those albums are missteps.

Talking about Toto, I think misstep numero uno is Fahrenheit. Urgghh....Michael Jackson-music.

you continue to surprise me, what I thought was a Niels-will-hate_everything_about-this-post, turned into a 50/50 thing.

I believe that "Heartbeat City" is where The Cars lost it. Now THAT'S a sellout of an album. Kinda ranks up there with Dire Straits "Brothers In Arms" where they decided to bow down to the unwashed masses and it paid off, but not to me. No, sir. NOT TO ME. 

"Panorama" is a difficult album to get into after their first two. But it's correct in that it takes a few listens for it to grow on you like wanted mold. I don't consider "Gimmie Some Slack" a "fierce" rocker. Rocker, yes. Fierce, no. At least they didn't call it a raging rocker. 

Just so everyone knows and is completely clear on this, Kiss'ssssss missteps are on every album before and after "The Elder". Any other discussion on this is unwarranted and unwanted. Live "The Elder". Be "The Elder". Anything else is just unwanted mold.

"Turn Back" isn't bad, it's miles ahead of "Fahrenheit" which still amazes me with it's downright suckiness. I was so exciterd to get the remastered CD of that album and wish I never spent the money. Eh, maybe I'll revisit it one of these days and like it.

"Permanent Vacation" from Aerosmith is a misstep, but that one sold a boatload as well. After "Done With Mirrors", it was such a sellout step they took.

"Good Trouble" is better than the previous album. Why? BECAUSE IT DOESN'T CONTAIN A STUPID SONG ABOUT A STUPID LETTER.


Sigh. Glad you came up with this idea to piggyback off of my ongoing series. Of course I won't get any credit.

I just barfed up a hairball on the cat thinking about that song about that letter.

Cat ran away. It's not too happy.

Neither am I.

My sincerest of apologies...  I got in a  rush as work has been nuts lately...  I do have about 20-25 playlists that I feed songs into as I come across them, and this one just seemed to have a good feel.  I owe credit to you on two fronts..

1 - Your Toto post helped and

2 - Your follow up to big albums series still holds our interest...

Thanks Jon!!

I didn't FEEL that. It seems a bit forced. 

Maybe you should bow down to me and THEN type that?


Bow down to me WHILE you're typing that.

Yeah, that's the ticket!

thats what I did!  My wife is standing behind me right now saying, "ya I saw him (meaning me) bow and type that!"  so its true....


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