It’s been a while since I did a “Rank ‘Em” column, so apologies for that. It was hard to decide who do look at next. Gentle Giant has been a band that taught me a lot as well as just being fun to listen to. It’s not easy (usually) but when you “get” Gentle Giant, it’s quite amazing. So here we go, ranking their 11 studio albums!
11. Giant For a Day
This is easily my least favorite album by them, no contest here. They were trying to be more mainstream and sadly they couldn’t effectively “dumb down” their sound. I like a couple of the songs on this one though but otherwise, this is forgettable.
Controversy already! I do really like this album but it sounds forced to me. Yes they still sounded like GG but the songs just weren’t up to the standard that the band were known for to this point.
I actually really like this album. Unfortunately, it’s just not consistent. Yes it’s their second attempt at being commercial and they were much closer to getting it right. “Inside Out” and “I Am a Camera” are two of my favorite GG songs.
8. The Missing Piece
Ironically titled. This album was the transitional album. Some songs dabbled in being more user friendly while others were very much like the Gentle Giant people knew to this point. “I’m Turning Around” is in my top 5 songs by them but songs like “Mountain Time” and “Betcha Thought We Couldn’t Do It” are just plain bad. Had the band steered clear of their new desire to be more famous, this album could have been better.
7. Acquiring the Taste
6. Gentle Giant
The first two albums are interchangeable for me. Each have plenty of high moments. The down side is that they still were growing into the band that they would become. “Funny Ways” is another one of those top 5 songs for me.
5. Three Friends
Their third album ranks slightly higher simply because they were finding their footing. Not a weak track on here but it’s just not better than the 4 albums that I rank above it.
4. The Power and the Glory
3. Free Hand
Now things get difficult. Gentle Giant had 4 albums in a row that, for me, are perfect albums. But I tend to place these two albums at 3 and 4 but they are definitely interchangeable for me. I rank Free Hand higher because it was my first Gentle Giant album.
2. In a Glass House
The album that was initially not released in North America because it was deemed “uncommercial.” No shit. This album is my #2 album for sure. Perfection. Not a wasted note. Every song is great and were it not for the album before it, it would be my favorite.
This album is one of the greatest albums in all of music, let alone prog. To me, this is Gentle Giant’s ultimate masterpiece. It sounds like a “best of” album. Each song is so well written and arranged. The album flows perfectly as well. If you are into progressive rock, you have to own this album.
OK, that’s my list. Let me know how wrong I am and tell me how you would rank these albums!