Contact CU Independent Entertainment Staff Writer Will Witt at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a list of the bands that are incredibly, even horrifically, overrated. This is different than a worst bands list because the bands presented here are considered talented by a large following of apparently semi-deaf listeners. I’m sorry if your favorite band is on this list, and if you don’t agree, feel free to contact me and tell me why Metallica is the greatest band of all time. But without further ado, here are the top ten overrated bands and artists of all time.
This band supposedly reinvented heavy metal, but its real accomplishment is inspiring 40-year-old single men to buy that new pair of cargo shorts from The Gap. Metallica has music that on first listen sounds intricate and developed, yet after closer inspection is hollow both musically and lyrically. I can’t help thinking of an agitated toddler whining when I hear James Hetfield’s voice. Whining and simplicity shouldn’t be what make up the entire framework of a popular band, yet somehow Metallica remains one of the biggest bands of all time. Must be all that heavy metal destroying people’s eardrums.
9. The Eagles
I can see why people like The Eagles. The band was making its best music in the heyday of rock and roll and was, and still is, one of the most famous and popular bands of all time. In reality though, The Eagles are a band with little to no talent musically. The band’s most famous song, “Take It Easy,” wasn’t even written by the band. The band’s soporific music style is the definition of cocaine rock, and its songs fit better into a guide for how to look like a SoCal wannabe tool rather than a greatest of anything list. Hardcore fans of the band deal mostly in nostalgia, and the Quaaludes they were probably on while they were listening don’t help their argument either.
The biggest stadium rock band of all time also happens to be the most mediocre and pretentious band of the ’80s. Bono can’t even get through a concert without name-dropping a politician who is destroying society or the environment. The hidden messages prevalent throughout his lyrics are mundane and drawn-out. The transcendence the band tries to achieve in its music is incredibly arrogant and is about as complex as a bowl of oatmeal. Guitarist David Evans, better known as the Edge, hardly even uses more than three chords in a song, and his playing style is bloated and simple. Even the band’s magnum opus, The Joshua Tree, is just a jumble of overbearing messages and religious metaphors. Even with a voice like Bono’s, the band is unable to achieve the intricacy and impact it narcissistically tried for.
7. Bon Iver
Bon Iver is an indie-folk band that basically just has Justin Vernon whisper on slow, easy-to-play guitar licks until the listener falls asleep or passes out from boredom. I guess that’s what the band’s going for though, because since its creation in 2007, every album has sounded exactly the same. Bon Iver is as granola as it gets, and its popularity comes mostly from high schoolers trying to show off to their friends that they’re hipster and progressive.
Was “Don’t Stop Believing” your parents wedding song? Hey, mine too. Journey is what people are referring to when they say mainstream classic rock. The band has achieved huge commercial success and many of its albums have gone multiplatinum, but as seen with the other bands on this list, popularity does not equal greatness. Journey is as stale as it gets and is a band that never tried to experiment with a new direction, just cranking out hit after hit until the band forced itself on every single radio station in the country. Once inside your head, the simple and annoying Steve Perry pop hits are near impossible to get out, making Journey one the most hated bands on this list.
AC/DC started the death of rock and roll. AC/DC took rock music, put it on a universal slate, packaged it and started peddling it to every person in the country. The music isn’t rich or beautiful, and is less music and more of Brian Johnson’s raspy screaming on an undecipherable hard rock progression. The band was a hit machine in the ’80s and still sells out stadiums all across the world today, despite having songs called “Bad Boi Boogie.” The band is entirely commercial and never put out anything intricate or emotional. It’s what everyone hates about the direction rock was going in the ’80s. When you start seeing 12-year-olds with graphic t-shirts from Walmart with the AC/DC logo on it, you know things are bad.
4. Dave Matthews Band
“Once upon a time/When the world was just a pancake/Fears would arise/That if you went too far you’d fall/But with the passage of time/It all became more of a ball.” -Some Dave Matthews lyrics
Do I really need to say much more? Dave Matthews Band, or as frat brothers from the 2000s would call it, DMB, is one of the most played-out bands of all time. Striving to be “ethnic” and original in its music, Dave Matthews Band comes off as bland and incredibly monotonous. I’m sure I could walk into an Abercrombie and Fitch at any given time and hear DMB playing, along with some Jack Johnson for a little variety. You might also hear it at a barbecue for 30-year-old midwesterners drinking Blue Moon and playing horseshoes. The music takes a one size fits all approach, and is more likely to make me feel embarrassed for listening to it than at all like the “Proudest Monkey.”
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers
How does one come to enjoy a punk metal band with a lead singer who makes duck faces all the time? And he raps? My mind is boggled at how this band hit the mainstream. Seriously, listen to some of the lyrics on Bloodsugarsexmagik and tell me this is what music is about. “She stuck my butt with her big black stick/I said ‘What’s up?” Yes, the band actually said that, and much worse. This band heavily contributed to the decline of good music starting in the early ’90s and continued on a downward spiral for the rest of the decade. Its biggest hits deal in sappy sentimentality and are as bland as the stories the band tries to tell in its lyrics. Even 20 years later, its music is exactly the same, and if you go to one of the band’s concerts you will probably meet someone who left their AA meeting early to get there. Luckily, I will never have to deal with that myself, and I can only hope I never have to hear “Dani California” on the radio ever again.
2. Jimi Hendrix
I’m sure this is an unexpected one for most people. I realize the impact Jimi Hendrix had on rock and the development of music and guitar playing thereafter, but I think there needs to be stress on the word influence. Yes, he was an incredibly wicked guitarist, and yes, he defined the genre of ’60s psychedelic rock, but where was the pizazz? The guitar playing on every song was incredible, but… that was kind of it, wasn’t it? It seems like I have to wait through two minutes of the main riff, hear the words “Foxy Lady,” then just listen to the guitar riff for another two minutes until he says it again. Then the solo comes, after which he repeats Foxy Lady, followed by more guitar, then the song ends. You can replace “Foxy Lady” with title of any of his songs. Being able to write lyrics well is important for the skill and prevalence an artist has, and the fact that Jimi Hendrix never was able to really achieve that tarnishes my view of him. What about All Along the Watchtower? His most popular song is actually a Bob Dylan cover. That sells it for me. Hendrix is heralded because he died too early, yet I can’t help but wonder if he would have fallen off the radar anyway.
1. Nirvana/Foo Fighters
If you didn’t hate me already for the last one, let me really make you despise me. Kurt Cobain was a genius, and I think if he didn’t die so early he would’ve moved on from the grunge scene he was so confined in. This was already evident on MTV Unplugged, but during the time he was active with Nirvana, the songs were monotonous. Nirvana, of course, has some good songs, but its albums are a sort of mesh of the hits, which are softer and more personal, mixed in with the hard grunge tracks where you can’t even understand what he’s saying. After Cobain’s death, David Grohl formed Foo Fighters, which is basically Nirvana without Kurt Cobain, making it just like every other terrible 90s grunge band. Nirvana is no longer a band that existed in the 90s, rather it’s a brand. People who don’t even know Nirvana wear the band’s t-shirts and hang its posters on their wall without even knowing the name of one of the band’s albums. The worst part is is that Dave Grohl, the forgettable, easily replaceable drummer who wrote no songs or music, reaps all of the benefits. Even Grant Hart of Husker Du refers to Dave Grohl as Dave Goul, reaping off of the dead. Kurt Cobain was Nirvana, and is in no way overrated, but Nirvana without him is the most overrated band to ever exist.
Honorable mentions: Pearl Jam, Beck, Grateful Dead, Morrissey, Sex Pistols, Mumford and Sons, Aerosmith, Sublime, Third Eye Blind, Jack Johnson and Notorious B.I.G.