A(n over)simplification of “Rubber Soul/Revolver/Sgt. Pepper”
A) “They were better before they were important, right?”
B) “We, the critics, find this to be the greatest work of an artist that has proven important.”
C) *trumpets* “BEHOLD, THE UNDENIABLY IMPORTANT ARTIST SPEAKS!”
I’ll go two steps further:
D) The solid work that some people think is a peak that arrives after non-fans have stopped giving a shit. Some people get stuck at D. Others, if A, B and C got enough attention, move on to:
E) The still-solid work that critics dutifully praise and people talk up, but that nobody seems to love.
Little Earthquakes/Boys for Pele/From the Choirgirl Hotel/everything else/Night of Hunters
The Kick Inside/Hounds of Love or The Dreaming/The Sensual World/The Red Shoes/Aerial on.
(Other examples? Massive Attack comes to mind, but I couldn’t figure out C. Probably because they skipped right past it. Kate Bush isn’t perfect here, but close enough. But I definitely think this is a thing.)
Modern Life is Rubbish/Parklife/The Great Escape/Blur/13
Er, I guess that doesn’t work if you require approval for C to have held up in any way. Or are American.