List

Calling All Sound Engineers

We know a lot of you have studio recording experience, so this discussion will be right up your alley. By calling its list “Top Ten Worst Sounding Records, 1997-Present,” Stylus was able to include some of our favorite albums and artists. (One would imagine they’d say, “Hey, great writing, but shitty sound!”) By their own admission, the list is “designed to infuriate you as much as educate you” and is limited to indie rock. Here’s their list of lovable albums with “hideous sonics”:

10. Keane – Under The Iron Sea
09. Massive Attack – Collected
08. Radiohead – Kid A
07. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
06. Cocteau Twins – Heaven Or Las Vegas
05. Phoenix – It’s Never Been Like That
04. The Shortwave Set – The Debt Collection
03. Arcade Fire – Funeral
02. The Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics
01. Oasis – Be Here Now

As always, we’re looking to you for suggestions of records that would qualify for the list, and to tell us which of the identified records don’t belong on there at all (shouldn’t be hard!). And we’ll grant their premise: Some records can have brilliant writing and yet exhibit poor sound production. But the deeper issue at play is this: If a record is critically hailed, personally loved, and flat-out incredible to hear repeatedly — how could it ever be considered one of the “worst sounding”? In other words, doesn’t an album’s production value become part of what makes that album so highly listenable — technical bullshit aside, superseding all auxiliary concerns? The floor is yours.