For the most part, we all fall guilty to the “modern” way of storing our music- digitally; on our phones, iPods, computers, all of which makes it easier to let some of your old favorite albums fall through the cracks. In Greg Prato’s newest book, Overlooked/Underappreciated: 354 Recordings That Demand Your Attention, the author gently guides us back to some of the albums that might have been our favorite once upon a time; or maybe we’ve never even heard of them.
As a long-time music journalist whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone and has also written several other books such as Grunge is Dead:The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music and MTV Ruled the World: The Early Years of Music Video, Prato is most definitely equipped with the knowledge and the access to a wide variety of music. Amazingly, he even seems to remember the story of how he came across almost every album he features in the book; be that at Tower records, the library, through the BMG music club or other CD bargain bins. There are also several that he discovered through his journalism career by receiving review copies or through interviewing other artists who listed some of their personal musical influences.
Each entry on the list is in the following format:
Artist Name–Album Title [ Record Company:Release Date]
Discovery:How Prato first came across the recording and, in most cases, where he purchased or received it.
Scrutiny: A short review of the album.
Similarity: A list of other artists you might enjoy or want to take a listen to.
Keepers: Best songs on the album.
Follow Up Listening: More albums, either by the artist, or by related artists.
Tidbit: Some sort of interesting fact about the album/artist.
The albums are listed alphabetically by artist, and there is only one album by each artist (except for one, which you will have to find for yourself). Some are popular artists that may have had an album early in their career that has been overlooked upon later success, some artists you might never have heard of at all, and still others were quite popular elsewhere, such as England, but never got the recognition they deserved here in the States. All genres are covered; rock, heavy metal, alternative, punk, jazz, prog, blues, rap and many more. Some of the more interesting or surprising choices include albums by William Shatner, Crispin Hellion Glover and Right Said Fred. Yes, that’s right. The I’m Too Sexy guys.
Of course, these are Prato’s personal selections, so every reader will not agree with each choice, but with a list of 354, the chances are high that there is a little something for everyone. Personally, this writer has been inspired to try to take a listen to each of the albums listed.
Give it a read, and then impress your friends when you are able to say, “Hey I bet you have never heard about this album.” And then tell them all about it and maybe even let them borrow your copy of Overlooked/Underappreciated.