Sometimes, a good band can get way too much credit. They can be transformed from a group of brilliant musicians to floating, omnipresent orbs of godly energy. Sometimes, though, their best stuff is overlooked. Time to re-evaluate:

The Velvet Underground

White Light/White Heat
These guys are sometimes called the most overrated underrated band ever. Their debut, The Velvet Underground and Nico, produced by Andy Warhol, can’t match the simple beauty of its successor. Pulsating rock songs drowned in noise and feedback, The Velvets honed an aesthetic imitated by every popular ’90s indie rock band. The eight-minute long, “The Gift” may be the best song of the era.

Bruce Springsteen

The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
Springsteen had the exact opposite of a sophomore slump. This album, his second and best of Springsteen’s discography, showcases the brilliance of the songwriter in ways that no other work has been able to. Without the pomposity of Born to Run, the pretension of Nebraska or the atrocious production of Born in the USA, this fist-pumping piece gives you the most Boss for your buck.

Neutral Milk Hotel

On Avery Island
The debut album from the hauntingly amazing group led by Jeff Mangum, On Avery Island is often pushed to the side by its follow up, Aeroplane over the Sea. The debut serves an interesting purpose. Neutral Milk Hotel is often seen as the creation of a Buddhavista and Avery Island shows that a band can be brilliant and still be grounded on earth. It’s a reality check, but
it also rocks your face off.

Pavement

Brighten the Corners
They made some great songs and some fantastic records, but Pavement is no Beatles. Slanted and Enchanted may rock, but it isn’t Sgt. Pepper. Not that Brighten the Corners is, but it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Billy Corgan, during a long feud with Pavement, said, “no one wakes up with a Pavement song in his head.” Listen to Shady Lane and just try to get it out of your brain. I’ll take weeks — take that, Billy Snore-gan.

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