February 29, 2012 12:27 PM | By Emma Jones
False pretense: Lady Gaga and the other 10 most pretentious albums in music

10 albums that are really deserving of the ‘most pretentious’ tag…

US singer Lady Gaga poses after receiving the International Pop award during the Bambi awarding ceremony in Wiesbaden, Germany, on November 10, 2011. The Bambis are the main German media awards and are presented for the 63rd time. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL ROLAND (Photo credit should read DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images) (© Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images)
  • US singer Lady Gaga poses after receiving the International Pop award during the Bambi awarding ceremony in Wiesbaden, Germany, on November 10, 2011. The Bambis are the main German media awards and are presented for the 63rd time. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL ROLAND (Photo credit should read DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images) (© Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Photo of John TAYLOR and Simon LE BON and DURAN DURAN and DURAN DURAN and John TAYLOR (DURAN DURAN) and LIVE EARTH CONCERT and LIVE EARTH CONCERT and Simon LE BON and Simon LeBON and Simon LeBON and DURAN DURAN and Simon LeBON and John TAYLOR (DURAN DURANUNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Photo of John TAYLOR and Simon LE BON and DURAN DURAN and DURAN DURAN and John TAYLOR (DURAN DURAN) and LIVE EARTH CONCERT and LIVE EARTH CONCERT and Simon LE BON and Simon LeBON and Simon LeBON and DURAN DURAN and Simon LeBON and John TAYLOR (DURAN DURAN) and DURAN DURAN and LIVE EARTH CONCERT and Simon LeBON; Simon LeBon; John Taylor; posed; studio; leaning on bar (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns) (© Fin Costello/Redferns)
  • The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards - P&E Wing EventLOS ANGELES; CA - FEBRUARY 08: Singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey performs onstage at the P&E Wing Event at The Village Recording Studios on February 8; 2012 in Los Angeles; California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage) (© Michael Kovac/WireImage)
  • Photo of Fiona APPLEUNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: Photo of Fiona APPLE; Posed portrait of Fiona Apple on rooftop at Gramercy Park (Photo by David Corio/Redferns) (© David Corio/Redferns)
  • Photo of Billy IDOLUNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: Photo of Billy IDOL; Billy Idol of X Generation in Manhattan's East Village (Photo by Roberta Bayley/Redferns) (© Roberta Bayley/Redferns)
  • Pink FloydA portrait of Roger Waters of Pink Floyd at the Olympisch Stadion on 22nd May 1972 in Amsterdam; Netherlands. (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns) (© Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)
  • Photo of NIRVANANETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 25: HILVERSUM Photo of NIRVANA; Kurt Cobain; posed; looking to camera; recording in Hilversum Studios (Photo by Michel Linssen/Redferns) (© Michel Linssen/Redferns)
  • 2011 Celebrate Brooklyn Summer Season - The DecemberistsNEW YORK; NY - JUNE 14: Colin Meloy surfs the crowd as The Decemberists perform at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell on June 14; 2011 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Pereira/WireImage) (© Al Pereira/WireImage)
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British music mag NME likes to cause controversy. After awarding Lady Gaga's smash-hit album Born This Way an eight out of ten review rating back in May 2011, they recently went on to name it "the most pretentious album ever." Topping a list that included a mixture of Lou Reed (in both Loutallica and Metal Machine Music guises), Transvision Vamp and Mansun, Gaga hit back at NME by tweeting "Oh the irony of winning 'Most Pretentious Album Ever' from none other than NME. *eyeroll* I might laugh forever + then return to narcissism."

"Pretentious" is one of those words thrown around the Internet with reckless abandon and whether Born This Way defines the term for any reason other than making headlines remains somewhat dubious. There are much more deserving albums that could have made the cut, if not the number one spot. Join us as we unveil 10 albums that are really deserving of the 'most pretentious' tag...


Mar 2, 2012 10:07AM


You’re free to like or dislike whatever you choose, but to call The Wall, Sgt Pepper’s, Nevermind and so on pretentious shows a serious lack of appreciation for what each of them did for music. Stick to writing about stuff you know something about.

Mar 2, 2012 2:44PM
Fire Emma Jones - this article is terrible
Mar 2, 2012 1:55AM
I've never bothered to comment on these before and probably never will. But his is a horrible load of crap and leaves such a bad taste in my mouth. I think you've misunderstand what pretentious means. Pretending to be something you're not, like music critics. Ridiculous, I fail to to see how Sgt. Pepper, The Wall, and Nevermind are pretentious. Maybe you guys should stick to what you know whatever that is. Thanks for making sure people don't listen to these albums and are perplexed because they don't know who Sir. Paul is and why he's at the Grammy's. Wow, I'm speechless. There's a difference between being pretentious and daring as far as I'm concerned.
Mar 2, 2012 12:04PM
Worst. Music. "Journalism". Ever.     This topic is so over-done that it reeks of charcoal.  Music, like all art, is a subjective, individual experience, so this type of list is good for nothing except getting rabid fans of one band into fights with rabid fans of another.  As I am not twelve years old, this does not  interest me in the least.  Emma Jones, if you are too lazy to write something interesting, don't write at all.  How the hell do I get a job where all I have to do is troll an archive for pretty pictures, type 500 words and post?   On second thought, forget it-I'd rather have a real job and some self-respect.
Geoff Nash, you are my hero (for the day, anyway. ) Awesome comment.
Mar 2, 2012 2:14PM
Most feeble music article ever. Calling Nirvana - whose lead singer proved his sincerity in the most devastating and final manner possible - "pretentious"? Jumping on the ignorant bandwagon of inverted snobbery that is the reaction against the very talented Lana Del Rey, whom the masses have decided to make their musical pinata du jour simply because of an accident of birth? Sneering at - give me strength! - 'Sgt Pepper' and "The Wall'?

I've seen some pathetically weak excuses for music writing on this web site, but I think this one takes the cake by miles.

Mar 2, 2012 1:05AM
Three albums that definitely do not belong on this list, Pink Floyd The Wall, The Beatles Sgt. Pepper and Nirvana's Nevermind. The wall could possibly be one of the greatest albums of all time, Nevermind changed the music landscape and Sgt. Peppers was a breakthrough in terms of experimental. Obviously whoever made up this list hasn't got a clue about music. The one song alone on nevermind, "Smells like Teen Spirit", has never been matched in terms of how powerful a statement the song was. But I suppose judging by this list, this rant will fall on deaf ears!!
Mar 2, 2012 2:06AM
Sgt. Pepper has been given NOTHING but praise over the years since it came out, not to mention being Rolling Stone magazine's #1 album of ALL TIME. I'll be happy to admit that while The Beatles themselves may have been a bunch of pretentious pricks (at times) and especially Paul (like I said; at times), they were passionate about their music. To claim that music is 'pretentious'; just for the sake of showing off? That's ****. It's a slap in the face to talented artists like The Beatles, Kurt Cobain, Bob Dylan, and the others. I don't listen much to the others, and while I admit there are many pretentious artists out there, this is a ridiculous list. Musicians, at least most of them, go into it for music - not for money, and not to show off. It's their way of expressing themselves. They're ARTISTS. They have REAL TALENT, unlike **** rappers who only sound good once their voices get stripped down and put through a computer so that they make perfect notes, regardless of actual skill and musical experience.

If you want pretentious, you put those newer, non-talented artists' singles and "albums" up here rather than music from some of the greatest musical artists of our time. Not to mention that The Beatles, Cobain, AND Dylan were all essential in changing the face of rock n' roll and the introduction of "grunge" music, in Cobain's case. They sang from their hearts. And if you're really set on putting The Beatles up here just for that 'controversial factor' in your article, put some of the early Beatles albums up here, because a lot of that was them working for publicity. That's more pretentious than a band trying to make the greatest album of all time; and happening to succeed. 

Mar 2, 2012 1:09PM

One just has to shake their heads at this nonsense.  

Mar 2, 2012 2:27PM
You're going to criticize some of the most talented artists that ever existed?  What exactly gives you the authority?  This article was the most pathetic and ironically most Pretentious I ever read, assuming you have some weight on even criticizing the Beatles, Dylan, Pink Floyd, Nirvana.....nice try, you're definitely hyping yourself up a little too much, NEXT
Mar 2, 2012 9:06AM

This might be the worst article of all time. What is pretentious is Emma Jones thinking she knows a damn thing about music. Pink floyd! the Beatles! nirvana! Emma jones you are either very bold or very stupid. I'm gonna say the latter. Where is the internet police when you need them, somebody please silence this idiot, Emma Jones.

Mar 2, 2012 9:08AM

OK..  Where to start.


First off, ALL music is good.  You may not like it Emma, but what you call pretentious others call revolutionary.


Calling the Beatles pretentious is absurd.  (as much as I dislike them *A lot*) they changed music forever and you do not do that by being pretentious, bad or talentless.


Pink Floyd :  They are not one of the BEST SELLING ARTISTS OF ALL TIME being pretentious.  You are calling an album that in it's time was a master piece and completely different then anything else ever put out. 


It is easy to bash Pink Floyd's 30 + year old album ( beetles even older ) while sitting in front of your computer being judgmental and from the sounds of it just wanting to make a buck or two ( and your little list is not worthy of even that ) on the backs of people with real talent.


The points are this.  Music is subjective and none is really bad because at least one person ( the person who made the music ) likes it.  It is pretentious to call other peoples musical tastes bad or wrong ( which is what you are doing ) and sit there bashing pure talent and not actually walking a mile in their shoes.  I would like to hear what you come up with before I ever take what you have to say seriously.  


You mentioned many artists ( Some  I like and some I do not ) but they are all artists to someone.


Me.  I am just a music fan  and apparently I like pretentious music.

Mar 2, 2012 1:47PM

Pink Floyd, Nirvana and the beattles.....pretentious...... To even have nirvana mentionned in an article with lady gaga is laughable....Nirvana redefined music and you call em pretentious?? He didnt even know what he had done before he died!!!  And Pink Floyd's The Wall is on of the greatest albums ever!!! Oh but U2, Britney,new kids and such were all left outta that list though.....

Mar 2, 2012 1:46PM

Emma Jones you a waste of poor journalism in the best sense of the word. Try another profession that you might be at least subpar at.

Mar 2, 2012 12:53PM
Didn't you or some other quasi-"journalist" already try to do this very recently? "most pretentious" the follow up to "most overrated".
It's so desperate for hits, and comments, I'm angry at myself for perpetuating this!
While entitled to your opinions; they reek of thinly-veiled attempts to garner as much buzz as possible, to stay employed.
Like other comments have pointed out:
1. It's freaking subjective
2. Who the hell are you to make such broad sweeping statements on musicians and artists, that have connected and identified with the millions of listeners/fans upon whom they've impacted in one way or another.
3.  The time and context in which said artists created those albums have to be taken into account.
Bottom line, stop disgracing the field of journalism!  I'm going to make my own list, the' "Top" msn "journalists" that need to go back to school, and find a real job'.

Mar 2, 2012 12:24PM

did msn just say The Beatles were pretentious???! wth?!

The Beatles were the most natural and gifted harmonizing singers ever in a modern band.they never faked anything or came across as anything more than normal people.

later Lennon would get a little odd but,people are just people except for lady goo goo(ga  gaagh!) and others that think showing boobs gets them rated as stars.

IT TAKES MUSICAL TALENT! and dedication with a lot of practice! not lip synching or programmed instruments.

Mar 2, 2012 1:53AM

Seargeant Pepper sub par? Pretentious?As in pretending to be good when it's no good?

The Worlds greatest Melodies!The first album to use every new creative idea,every new instrument,groundbre​aking in everyway,the cause of every creative album since,The Beatles always the First innovators of everything.By the Greatest Songwriters in History.The Wall,brilliant Worldclass Melodies.And Hey!=Want to listen to who is making the most Melodious,Powerful, Creative, Fresh Cutting edge,Biggest Sellling Music in the World today? = RUSH.

Pretentious crap?=most Rap=altho some of them have something to say.God bless the Honest ones for being Real street poets.May we all respect everyones opinion and right to like and dislike what they want!

Mar 2, 2012 8:02AM

This has got to be one of the worst articles I've read in a long while. So sad that the internet is a forum for idiots 5 times out of 4. Pretentious ? That's a character trait, not an art trait. Pretentious is an excuse for critics to kick artists in the crotch and say: Stick to what we know, we're so frickin' scared of (pick one) change/evolution/experimentation/talent...


By this article's logic, Radiohead's OK Computer got to be one of the most pretentious albums ever, right next to Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway...


Well you know what, I think I love pretentious albums, bring them on !!!

Mar 2, 2012 4:36PM
Wow, this writer doesn't know anything about music. The editor should really get someone who knows about music to write about music. This is wrong in so many ways.
Mar 2, 2012 2:59PM
Please for the love of god or marshians, dont ever compare The Who to or say that The Who could even come close to creating art the likes of which Floyd has created.  If you dont know what you are talking about get another job.  Stupid people will listen to you and believe what you say!  Floyds The Wall is the most intricate and disturbingly beautiful peice combined music\art\cinema the world has ever seen.  The themes and images are profound and mixed with real life msgs and history that cannot be ignored or written off as pretentious.  I have a feeling that when something is perhaps a wee bit more complex or beyond your grasp of art, that simple people like you feel better about yourselves if you can write it off as pretentious.  Get over yourself!   Fire Emma Jones!
i think its rediculous to even include the Beatles,they shaped rock and roll.These guys were artists,and the record sales form then,and even today still show that they are still popular.to say that Sgt. Peppers was a bad album is laughable.
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