Top 10 Over Rated Acts in Music Today

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

The mainstream music industry does a good job of catering to low expectations.  Such expectations are consistently low thanks to the lack of opposition within the music industry (that’s what indie music is inherently for).  The industry wouldn’t be what it is without being an absolutely totalitarian entity, one that holds a dangerous amount of sway over the public consciousness.

Too many listeners are lazy.  Too few have discerning tastes, and, as such, groupthink frequently takes hold and creates a consensus from a very narrow stream of selections.  That is the main stream.  For those who know better and want to be in control of their ear’s digestive tract, refuge lies in underground resistances where complex and carefully crafted sonic arrangements run free and unchecked. Unfortunately, the little voice is too often stamped out like an ant crawling in the kitchen of giant breakfast-eaters.  Things have a habit of getting blown out of proportion; here are a few examples in extremely recent music history of overrated acts which fly high above the rest:

10. Kanye West

His ego is similar in size to Lil’ Wayne’s, but doesn’t make his eyes bulge out of his head or result in imprisonment.  Kanye’s ego stems from his skill as a rapper which he, like Wayne, confuses with real life.  His sense of entitlement leaks beyond the studio and into his very functionality as a human being, by which he thinks he can interrupt award ceremonies to make statements which, to him, are revelatory and justified.  Just because he can both speak into a microphone, with and without Autotune, as well as operate Pro Tools, he is a genius like so many “apparent” in the rap industry.  If only inheriting genius were as easy as sampling Daft Punk…

9. Nirvana

This band isn’t around currently, for obvious reasons, though it seems always to be treated as though it fits in a larger pantheon of great rock musicians including the likes of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin.  This is a delusion.  With only three albums to speak of, it’s hard not to think that part of this rushed status has something to do with Kurt Cobain’s suicide.  There are much better examples of artists who emerged from the 90’s grunge movement- ones who didn’t make a conscious and painstaking effort to be so sonically dissonant (i.e. unlistenable).  Cobain despised the songs (Smells Like Teen Spirit in particular) his fans actually liked and actively sought to make music contrarily to this fact, playing poorly and sloppily to discourage enjoyment.  While Nirvana may be talent in its own way (its very own way) and the group may have tried to be true to self (which is highly respectable), people need to quit jumping the gun (no pun intended).  Start by using the phrase ‘musical genius’ more deliberately.

8. Ke$ha

This girl is just like Lady Gaga, only without the class (that’s hard to do).  I challenge you to find a dorm of party sluts getting ready for a night of regret without hearing “Tik Tok” being blasted and sung along to incessantly, brain cells at an all time harmonized low.  Her songs are repugnant slop, chock full of embarrassingly self-degrading lyrics (brushing teeth with Jack Daniels?). Watching her perform on SNL was just humiliating, mostly because she had no studio synthetics to hide behind (and lip syncing has been long since forbidden ever since Ashley Simpson).  Her glow-in-the-dark face paint and trademark –‘un-showered’ appearance at least partially distracted from the cacophony; but,  unfortunately, not enough.

7. Green Day

When you ask someone if they like Green Day, one of two responses is typically offered: either a) yes or b) I liked old Green Day.  The reason being that they used to make punk music as legitimate punks, and played all the power chords and walking bass lines you’d expect from a young 90’s punk rock band.  Now, in the 10’s, they are overrated thanks to the commercial success of American Idiot (currently adapted for Broadway) and its unyielding permeation through the FM airwaves (for years straight following its release).  Listening to Boulevard of Broken Dreams out of choice is impossible without also cringing.  It’s hard for such a successful (not to mention rich) band of eyeliner-coated, near 40-year-olds as Green Day to feign their status as punks, though they try very hard.  Calling them a modern-day Clash, which has been done on too many occasions, is like calling Steel Panther a modern-day Van Halen:  they only steal the sound of the band they adore and cop the respective style.  Know Your Enemy contains a simplistic three minute-long riff repetition that is too similar to Police on My Back to not be called plagiarism (kind of like how M.I.A. “sampled”- an industry euphemism for plagiarism- a loop from Straight to Hell off of Combat Rock).  These guys apparently don’t realize that they are the enemy.

6. Miley Cyrus

She’s really more of a concept than a person.  Or is that Hanna Montana?  Either way, Disney Channel needs to stop launching children into the music industry and start aiming for outer space (hey there’s a sitcom idea).  Miley Cyrus plays a girl with a dual identity on Hannah Montana, as both a celebrity pop singer and an average teenager just trying to maintain a sense of balance with the help of an equally mediocre father who also pretends to be a country musician.  The show can now be considered semi-autobiographical.  The common Disney Channel transformative/brain-washing tactic is to create hype for some sort of teen-friendly form of hyper-stimulating, sensory-overloading entertainment and sell a spin-off album containing all the music which no doubt got drilled into each viewers skull (see how well it worked for High School Musical and it’s every sequel?).  The hook here is that the show is actually about the musician who sings these trashy songs, and thus she becomes one.  Miley needs not move a muscle.  Look for her latest album where her preconceived persona takes on the shape of a rebellious teen (ironic considering how well she follows suit and is inflated out of control).

5. Taylor Swift

What is there that needs to be said about Taylor Swift.  She’s an ingenuous teenager, she plays a sparkly guitar on stage, and she is a genuine sweetheart in the face of a sea of enabled and self-entitled teens. Her music? It’s too pure to even hear (like a dog whistle), pure meaning heavily-synthesized.  It needs not even exist.  She’s won several awards for being likable (as per how the industry operates), including an MTV Video Music Award, a Country Music award, and a 2010 Grammy for Best Album (to be fair…against a bunch of rubbish, slanting the decision inundatingly in her favor).  Being the best, in industry terms, is defined exclusively by quantity in lieu of quality (this case being the quantity of units sold).  Confusion is shown thusly to trickle up the tiers of the music food chain, feeding a self-perpetuating cycle of awfulness. Or McAwfulness.

4. The Jonas Brothers

They’ve been compared to the Beatles (and not just as a franchise or brand name, lunch boxes and television series included).  These three purity-ring-sporting brothers make squeaky clean, studio-polished Disney Channel pop and have a habit of finding someone in Rolling Stone willing to label them as a modern incarnation of the Fab Four.  Usually that idiot is Rob Sheffield, who also digs Miley Cyrus and writes rock reviews with rap in mind (see his feckless review of JET’s last album).  Everything the Jonas Brothers create, however, sounds hardly more advanced than that Baby Bottle Pop jingle they wrote several years back.  Also, they perform live with backing musicians, which seem to make several of the brothers really just for show.  And they are.  Just see fifteen-year-olds filling their stadium venues (well not lately thanks to inflated ticket pricing) and 3D concert movie premieres; these shows really aren’t about the music played within so much as how dreamy Joe is (who used to date Taylor Swift, both of which have devoted albums to their dramatic break-up) and how adorable the diabetic one is.  And #3…um…well…he’s related.

3. Justin Bieber

Boy can this boy sing.  Poorly.  At age fifteen, with no acne in sight, he is the perfect jail bait for cougars and desperately lonely teachers (such as Tina Fey portrayed in the SNL sketch she shared with him).  He seems to take all of his hairstyling advice from Rod Blagojevich, which is fitting as his music is manufactured and peddled by similarly seedy music industry wrinkle-necks.  Discovered by Usher, and appearing on his label, Bieber is given an arsenal of utensils and studio tricks that can turn any blemish-free twink into the next pop icon (even if Usher can sing without the assistance of Autotune).  R&B and Hip-Hop are the perfect avenues for any hollow vessel that wants public acceptance but has no intrinsic talent.  Preteens don’t care about integrity or artistic craft so long as they can sing along to the radio on the way to the mall (ask any mom on her way to a Twilight premiere).

2. Lady Gaga

Originality no longer exists in the mainstream.  This stripper-turned-musician (or is it the other way around) is an exaggerated pastiche of Bowie’s outer-spaciness, Madonna’s overt in-your-face sexuality, and Britney Spears’ role as a bimbo that makes a peepshow out of a live performance.  Lady Gaga has come out with two albums, both of which contain the word “fame” in the title and break no new ground. Nonetheless, she receives endless radio overplay and plenty of undue praise (like from Sting, who still believes that the Police was the worst thing he was ever part of).  Gaga (like Usher, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber and a plethora of others) has been prematurely and fallaciously (not to mention outlandishly) hailed as “the next Michael Jackson” on gossip TV and other filth venues that commonly lack a penchant for making unique analogies. She’s also been the closest thing to publically nude on innumerable occasions, both on and off the stage.  That, more than anything else, seems to explain her frequent landings on Rolling Stone covers (even while she offers no forthcoming material, just clichéd insight and a hackneyed back-story).  A monster indeed, her ego she feeds and from a dumpster she finds ideas and outfit selections.  She seems to take the song Ziggy Stardust a little too seriously, creating an identity solely from its lyrical cues.  There is no visible end to her reign of terror. Gaga was quoted in a recent Rolling Stone article, saying (for apparent shock value) that “all music is a lie.”  No ma’am.  Just yours.

1. Lil’ Wayne

Little (or Lil’ to those who fear syllables) Wayne is the quintessential example of a music artist (namely rap) whose ego vastly outweighs his talent.  Proof?  He has a tattoo above his right eyebrow which states “I am music,” as if he is a genie and the Descartes quote “I think therefore I am” applies to him in a supernatural way.  Rolling Stone tossing around the title ‘musical genius,’ as it does so liberally in his direction, doesn’t help any.   Wayne made quite the imposing gesture by hyping his conversion to a rock musician, marked by his rock crossover album called Rebirth.  Not surprisingly it failed, drowned in a pool of poorly contained ambition.  His definition of rock is apparently something like Kanye West’s 808’s and Heartbreak, featuring nothing but studio software loops, samples of synthesized instruments, and about a gallon of auto-tune providing the vocal melody.  As far as rap music goes, he may deserve credit for his virtuosity within particular conventions, but a genre that lacks melody and little more than vocal dexterity and intrinsic rhythm just does not transfer directly to its antithesis.  Instrumental skill and tonality is a must in the realm of quality rock music.  You can’t just point a gun at a guitar and tell it to play (he learned that the hard way).


Share.

107 Comments

  1. Very good list. I think Kanye West should be higher because his ego is infinite and he is such an awful person in terms of self-awareness and self-control. It is as if he has the mind of a child but then again, that’s based on his media image and not why he’s overrated so I digress. Yet, I think his ego is relevant to how annoying he is because he acts like his music is god’s gift to people thus his ego does play a part in how overrated Kayne is. If he was mature, he’d create better music and be more likable. Also, I can’t wait for the use of the auto-tune to wane.

    Lil’ Wayne is a mystery. I don’t even understand his popularity. His songs are idiotic and superficial. I guess you can say he got his newfound popularity by “selling out” b/c the music he first produced in New Orleans is completely different from the [email protected] he puts out today.

    The rest of the people on the list are simply recreations of old. Madonna = Britney = Gaga. T. Swift = Leann Rimes perhaps? Jonas Brothers, another good looking boy band, etc. Nirvana, the most interesting selection on the list, don’t deserve to be on the list. I agree they don’t need to be put in the same league with the legends of rock but I don’t think it is their fault. When Nirvana hit the scene, corporate America (if you will) pretty much made them a huge commodity, robbed them of their intended purpose and originality, and in fact came up with the umbrella term ‘grunge rock”, despite many Seattle-based bands NOT fitting that terminology. Corporate America turned “grunge” into a lifestyle. Not to mention, there were bands BEFORE Nirvana that started the whole “grunge” movement.

      • No…I do not.

        Nirvana was one of the most important rock groups of the Nineties. Kurt Cobain was a genius.

        I actually think that they DO deserve to go down with Led Zeppelin as one of the great rock groups, solely because they were able to so drastically change the game.

        • I didnt read your list past Nirvana.I stopped right there beacuse to continue would have been a waste of my time.I too can make my own list of bands I think are overrated..doesnt make it true or correct.I cant stand classic 70’s rock so I guess Led Zeppelin are vastly over-rated in my book.But Im not going to stand on an internet soap box and make myself look stupid.Its a silly idea to make a list of most over-rated bands and present it as a FACT as you have most certainly done.I mean just who do you think you are?Do you have any credentials?Do you write for Rolling Stone perhaps who btw rate Nirvana among the greats of all time?These lists are all very well but in the end they are mostly ramblings from cyberspace nobodys who frankly should get a real job.

        • there was nothing genius or original about Nirvana (few good songs in Utero. Smashing Pumpkins, Sunny Day Real Estate,, Chille Peppers up to sex magic, grant lee buffalo..

          Of all the known bands onl smashing pumpkins, and blind melon did something new or interesting

        • OMG come ON!! How can you call a herion junkie who couldn’t even write a tune that made sense, and then killed himself to escape his “horrible” life not to mention that he did this to his wife and baby daughter.. you call that a “genius”…

          wow, i guess that makes you a genius too.

        • i won’t say kurt is genius. but he was a great musician. you may think some glittered slut or an alien or a sparkly guitar or some boy getting period for 1st time, doesn’t belong here. but they are the real star here & so are you…………………

        • I enjoy Nirvana but I wouldn’t call Cobain a genius. His lyrics though are VERY good though. They should be up there because like you said, they changed the musical game.

    • I’m a huge fan of Nirvana since the moment I heard premiere of SLTS on MTV Europe. I’ve been on their last full concert in Ljubljana, traveling to Wienna to buy In Utero 2 weeks before it was released in my country, and crying for 2 months after Kurt died, but let’s face it…
      they could do much better music if they wanted to.
      Half of their songs was a joke – literaly.

      They are definitely one of the most important and influental bands in past 30 years, but technicaly speaking, they could do much higher quality music if they only wanted to ( listen to all other music that Grohl and Novoselic did after Nirvana), and that’s the point of this list.
      This is a list of musicians that do low/medium quality music but they are worshipped as they are Mozarts of 20th/21st century.

  2. This is a silly category IMHO. 99 and 1/2 percent (at least) of pop music stars today are overrated in my view. I can think of a few exceptions, but they are rare. This category should be the top 1000 (at least) most overrated pop stars. Enough said.

  3. i agree with little sam, most of the music today is overrrated but there are exceptions. i suppose a list of the exceptions would have been more appropriate…

  4. I guess Brittney has already slid to far into the Vanilla Ice valley to make the list.
    I hope the list of the ten most underrated acts is coming soon.

  5. Seemed a bit harsh to me, although I don’t listen to the radio so I am not bombarded as much as I can be, I would like a list of ten artists that you do like in music today, just to see the other side and make the author a bit less cynical haha

  6. I agree with some of the selections. Most Teenybopper acts are overrated. However, I am in disagreement with others. For one thing, Nirvana isn’t an act that is in music today. The reason that Kurt Cobain is placed among the likes of The Beatles and Led Zeppelin is because he defined a generation of music. The moment when alternative rock entered the mainstream was in late 1991 when Smells Like Teen Spirit topped the U.S. singles chart. Before that time, this genre of music had not been fully accepted. You do claim that there are better examples of grudge bands that emerged during the 1990s, but then fail to mention any. During his lifetime, Kurt Cobain found himself referred to in the media as the “spokesman of a generation,” with Nirvana being considered the “flagship band” of Generation X. You might feel that all this hype was not warranted, but the band certainly made a name for themselves and impacted people all around the world. Putting them on the same list as Justin Beeber is a bit wrong.

    Other than that, Kanye West and Lil Wayne have some serious lyrical skills and Lady Gaga uses some great beats and hook lines in her songs. It was an interesting read and a controversial list is always a good one in my eyes.

    • Bands that deserve the praises Nirvana doesn’t: Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins. Nirvana produced almost 3 albums of original material. Led Zeppelin and the Beatles produced 9 and about 12 respectively. The quantity and quality don’t compare and those three albums hardly show the level of stylistic evolution of their infinitely greater predecessors. A lot of repetitive garbage came from the nineties and why it is a mostly terrible decade for music. Also, people love grunge for the same reasons they also hate disco: every band that partake copped the style for the short-lived window of commercial success. Difference: disco was refined and positively affecting, not the sound of self-destructive hate-mongering.

      • Pissedoff Punkrocker on

        Self-destructive hate-mongering isn’t all that punk, and by extension grunge, is. It’s about living in a world that doesn’t always make sense, and sometimes there are people in it it’s hard not to hate. The only difference is that we don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. We attack it head-on and stand up for what’s right.

      • I hear what you are saying. Radiohead has a bit of a different sound from Nirvana and are much less popular in the mainstream U.S. I don’t really think that the amount of albums produced by a group has much to do with whether they are overrated or not. I do agree with you that a band like the Beatles, that has released a number of great CDs, should be held above others (I personally wouldn’t compare Nirvana to the Beatles, but I also wouldn’t say that The Beatles were overrated). I don’t know much about disco, but I can enjoy alternative rock music without causing destruction. It could be a generation gap, like I mentioned in my previous comment. It sounds like you think most alternative/hard rock/ explicit rap music is overrated. I did enjoy the list and thought you did a good job writing it.

      • WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how come Nirvana could be in the same list with Justin Bieber???????????? Nirvana IS (yes, still is and will be) one of the bands that revolutioned the rock and began a new era of music, doesn’t matters the 3 albums or the short carreer or the fact that Cobain despised the songs, actually that is the demonstration that Kurt himself knew he could do it better and if he could do better than Smells Like Teen Spirit that is the reason for they don’t deserve to bee in this list

      • Before this starts I can’t believe I’m defending Nirvana of all bands.
        A. Quantity does not equal quality. Jimi Hendrix created three studio albums before he died. Joy Division created two. Both are critically and in Jimi’s case commercially beloved despite this.

        B. How can you accuse Nirvana of lacking Stylistic Evolution then throw Zep out as an example of it? Zeppelin is stupendous at two things: misty british folk and bombastic blues rock. Thats it. Stylistic detours do not count as evolution. And as far as Nirvana goes, the production and song writing between Bleach and In Utero is a leap by any means. Its not “evolution” but it is a marked improvement.

        C. Your argument about the reasons people like grunge could apply to any genre of music thats been the big thing, from gangsta rap to emo to psychedelia.

        D. Now we’re getting to the meat of the argument. Its not that you don’t like Nirvana. You just don’t like grunge, you see it as one-dimensional, and your experience is obviously limited seeing as you refer to the genre as “self-destructive hate mongering”. Rap music is far more hateful and misogynistic, as well as contributed to violent self destructive tendencies than grunge ever was. The only thing grunge seemed to “hate monger” against was clean sounding guitar.

        E. So, in conclusion, you have summarily given the middle finger to an entire genre based on one band that eventually wasn’t even playing grunge anymore by their 3rd album. Are they overrated, yes? Is grunge filled with self destructive hate mongers? No, and that statement is just ridiculous, and puts your ability to objectively make silly lists on the internet into question.

        • Yeah, Hendrix could have just released Are You Experienced and still be incredibly influential. The Sex Pistols released 1 album vand are one of the best punk bands ever.

  7. Pissedoff Punkrocker on

    Green Day and Nirvana? I think not! The others actually are in it mainly to be praised and paid. Green Day doesn’t have to ‘feign’ anything. They are what they are, not every punk band that breaks into the mainstream are sellouts. And Nirvana? A. Not in music today, you said it yourself. B. Perhaps they weren’t the first grunge band, but they popularized the genre. You wouldn’t say that Guns ‘n’ Roses are overrated just because they weren’t the first hard rock band. I even have some sympathy for Lady Gaga. I read an interview in RS (which I realize to you guys must be like a Satanist holy book considering how much you dig on it, but I disagree) and she’s actually trying to send a message. But, I agree on the stripper comment. Oh, and don’t diss M.I.A., she’s also trying to spread the word, and sampling a song like Straight to Hell is a great way to do it. Even if Joe Strummer played it first.

    • I was never a fan of Nirvanna so I never really understood the appeal. And I think Kurt Cobain’s suicide has elevated him to a cult-like status that is undeserved. It made me sick when they were doing the Seven Ages of Rock on VH1 a while back and almost an entire episode was devoted to a single bank: Nirvanna.

      A good band? Definitely. Influential. I will concede that. Over rated? Absolutely.

    • “not every punk band that breaks into the mainstream are sellouts”
      What kind of Punk fan are you? Seriously man WTF? Punk is by definition against the mainstream, that was Punk’s whole point in the first place, going against the mainstream/establishment/whatever you want to call it, not trying desperately to join it. If you do break into the mainstream, you are by definition not Punk.
      Green Day is not Punk. If you’re playing the VMA’s, you are not Punk. If you make a music video with U2, you’re not Punk. If you rant against capitalism and then rake in millions of dollars you are most certainly not Punk.

      • That’s true. I consider Green Day rock, but the way they act towards music is still punk. They go at it and don’t hold back because of what anyone says. The genre is rock though.
        I don’t believe that they deserve to be on this list, though, because the only reason they’re “over-rated” is because of the haters. If they didn’t make such a huge deal, Green Day wouldn’t be as popular, and they’re wouldn’t be as many fights over this and “what’s punk” and all that crap. The whole band says that they’re rock anyway. Why the hell are we still fighting over if they’re punk or not if they say themselves that they’re not????
        Oh, and Nirvana. What the hell.

    • Ahahahahaha, I’m laughing so hard about how you think Green Day hasn’t sold out! Sure, they’re not ‘feigning’ (lol if that’s actually a thing) but they’re almost as bad as Metallica. It takes you like 10 seconds to know whether it’s a Green Day song or not. Same riffs over and over again and it’s gross!

  8. Musical praise is just like Television and Film, if the masses buy it then its glorified. The problem is that the masses aren’t true musical fans just like they aren’t film fans and television fans. Avatar was the number one film of all time because it looked good not because it was a good film. American Idol gets the biggest ratings because its family friendly not because its the best show on Television. Most people don’t like the Roots and Radiohead because the music doesn’t speak to the masses. On the flip side Kings of Leon and Lil’ Wayne aren’t breaking any new ground but are loved by most. You can’t knock artists as overrated just because they don’t fit into your musical taste. I think its a bigger accomplishment to have 10 million people love your song rather than 10 people who are “TRUE MUSIC FANS”.

    Ps. I hate the Jonas Brothers, Ke$ha, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift.

    • The Roots and Radiohead aren’t popular, yet somehow magically fill arenas when they play live. Riggght. Those were poor examples. Both artists receive heaps of critical praise and their albums sell like gangbusters. Thom Yorke and ?uestlove will not be going hungry anytime soon.
      And actually I’d argue Lil Wayne is breaking new ground, in that he’s managed to stay perpetually stoned for at least five years yet still keep attention on himself. Thats an accomplishment right there. As for Kings of Leon, everything they’ve done after Aha Shake Heartbreak is useless, but there was a time that believe it or not the Kings were to legit to quit. Then they decided big buckets of money is important, dropped the rougher edges (listen to the song Tranny and see what I mean) in favor having sex whilst on fire, then dousing it off by using somebody.

  9. i dont know who you put at #1 because I didnt make it past Nirvana. You obviously didn’t grow up in the grunge era. Cobain was hugely influential long before he died, his death was a shock to his fans. you cited Hendrix who only made 3 albums with the experience and lets face it, some of the stuff he did with band of gypsys was, as you said, purposely unlistenable. Robert Johnson only left us a dozen or so songs but his influence is still felt today. Hell, James Dean only made 3 movies and was hugely influential. I notice you say there were better artists to emerge from the grunge era but don’t actually name any…nope I can’t think of any either.

  10. i agree with nickelback being on this l;ist..every single song of theirs sounds exactly the same..no originality or exploration with guitar riffs or drum beats..they basically make the same album time after time with new words and different name

  11. Keith Watabayashi on

    I like controversial lists and I appreciate the thought that went into this. But who cares man? Popularity has never equaled quality, but so what? It’s like having a list of the ten most overrated foods and listing french fries as number one. Should music be judged solely on the artistry and depth, or should it be judged by the number of people that escape reality for the 2 minutes they listen to the artist. Whether you think they should or not, these “musicians”, for better or worse, inspire and encourage people. Are you saying that they shouldn’t? That they shouldn’t be endorsed by the corporate media? If thats the case, who are you to judge? What’s the alternative to popular and mindless music for the mindless populous?

  12. This seems more like a “Top ten artists the author dislikes”
    We must remember music is a matter of opinion, not something that is written in stone

  13. When I saw this list I was highly excited for some common sense considering the “fakeness” of music today. But when you list Nirvana higher than Kanye West… I’m at a loss of words. I agree that Kurt may not have been the most sensible person, but the meaning behind all of his songs and doings absolutely destroys Kanye West. Also I believe Green Day does not deserve its ranking. American Idiot had a a deep complex storyline that wasn’t audible to the naked ear. Although I agree their new album has been… lacking. Besides those two, I was very happy with your list. I completely agree with your foreword and believe it is long overdue. It may appear I am simply defending rock because… it’s rock, but pop music is called pop for a reason. Pop (ularity). Sound is in the ear of the beholder and like it or not pop will always fill our radio’s with terribly overrated music, but eh that’s what IPods are for.

  14. Actually, Nirvana and Green Day are good bands actually. I have to agree that Justin Bieber is WAY overrated. Really, Green Day’s not THAT overrated. Yes they got huge popularity when “American Idiot” came out in ’04 but now, to me they just seem like a regular band with good music. Nirvana has a HUGE cult following right now ever since “Nevermind” came out in 1991 and when Kurt Cobain died a few years later. Really, Cobain was a music genius, and Nirvana and Green Day deserve the popularity they get today. Still, I agree that Lady GaGa, Lil Wayne, ESPECIALLY Justin Bieber are way overrated

  15. Great list! I thought it was very funny and also very accurate…with the exception of Nirvana, and Kanye West. Although this list is a matter of opinion, I strongly believe our present day society has totally become enamoured with celebrities and commercialism. It’s so sad that artists with true talent and have something real to say are not the ones making any money, its the talentless wits that only speak about sex and partying that get any recognition.
    I am so incredibly tired of Lady Gaga! She is not fashion, she is just a bunch of costumes!!

  16. Nirvana has 5 albums with original content, many more live records, and tons of complilation albums. I think someone was looking at a bad wikiepdia entry for their info. Im fans of lil wayne Nirvana and Greenday. I thought some of your arguments made sense but others were more like delusional rants. Its very hard to tell whats really popular in pop music these days because of all the ways the internet allows us to circumvent buying albums. I think certain groups of people are more inclined to buy music and that probably dictates to some extent what pop music is these days. Then this is perpetuated by youth supporting pop music because they dont yet really have the experience to pursue other types of music.

  17. Lets get to the point, Nirvana was added simply to garner responses and some buzz about this blog. Anyone who puts Miley Cyrus, Justin Beiber and Nirvana on the same list for anything is simply seeking attention…

  18. so by reading a couple of your lists ryan i have come to the conclusion that you must be anti-mainstream no matter what it is. worse yet you like things until they become mainstream then all of a sudden they “sold out” and now no longer like them. good music (and movies) can be had in the mainstream. what a pity. most of the time they’re is a legitimate reason why something goes mainstream. it is because it is genuinely good.

    • Looks like you figured me out. But as for your argument suggesting all things that are popular are so because they are good. That is hardly the case every time. It’s not a matter of refusing to jump on board for attention. Its a matter of not liking where the train is going. There are a lot more people with low standards and unrefined tastes than otherwise. Explains why restaurants like Hooters exist or “artists” who should be working at them run amok in the music industry. The industry thrives on numbskulls that accept rap music or pop for the crude entertainment it offers: repetitive thumping that feels good when you’re drunk and words that solely endorse having a limitless ego. Also most people attending Lady Gaga concerts (guys anyway) go because she gives them a boner and usually gets near-naked at all her shows. I like the Doors, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Kings of Leon, MGMT, bands that approach grandiosity because their talent is evident and their sound is appealing. But sound is not authentic in the mainstream very often, and KOL are one of several instances of breaking through indie ground to mainstream territory (arenas, MTV-aired videos, 70-dollar concert tickets when once were 30). But when a band or pop act is generated in a studio, given material to sing and dance to, there’s nothing to appreciate, except skin complexion and bust size, that is original or stimulating on a more than primordial level. I stand up as one who doesn’t drag his knuckles and approaches music as an artform not a platform for cheap exchanges, handjobs for cash.

      • considering i didn’t say everything was popular was because it was good. i’m not sure where you got that from. did you read someone else’s post and attribute it to me? i said most of the time an act goes mainstream is for a legitimate reason. that reason is because they are good. i agree with most of your picks, except taylor swift because she actually rights all he rown music and it has personal meaning to her, it is just how you write it leads me to believe you dislike anything mainstream regardless if it is good or not. most of pops popularity is from following the herd. especially in younger kids. lil wayne i have no idea why he is popular. he can’t rap and he is a rapper. kesha, myley, and lady gaga are hideous. lady gaga has come out and said she sings soulless pop music that means nothing. not to mention any guy who gets a boner from her needs help. she is hideous.

        • I exaggerated your words: “most of the time they’re is a legitimate reason why something goes mainstream. it is because it is genuinely good.” My argument is that most of the time, at least with most of the examples I deliberately selected, this is not the case. I will concede that Nirvana isn’t necessarily a horrible band, so much as it’s not as good as the god-like credit it continues to receive to this day. And it is bold to assess my holistic self based on two lists of the four I have published on this site. I am reticent to accept most of today’s mainstream offerings for distinct reasons, not just shock value (that’s just an adopted voice you’re hearing); this list’s aim is to disseminate those reasons so people might hopefully be a little more…autonomous when it comes to what they hear. It’s important to evaluate something critically before you consume it, like a parent checking Halloween candy for razorblades and needle punctures.

      • Silentangel1313 on

        lol the reason guys go to lady gaga concerts is cuz she gives them a boner? i dont know a single straight guy that likes lady gaga OR thinks she’s hot. i dont know any straight guys that go to lady gaga concerts, only gay guys.

        anyway, i dont listen to most of the music on this list (cuz a lot of it really is horrible). but all of them deserve some credit. really, the only person/band on this list i like is lady gaga. and yes the whole slutty thing is….less than great. but she writes nearly all of her music by herself (bad romance and a few others she worked with others to right) and she can definitely sing AND play piano. and others on this list have talent somewhat….well….no maybe not the jonas brothers or miley cyrus.

      • Kings of Leon are garbage. “Sex on Fire” is awful. The entirety of Only By The Night is awful.
        And no one that hates rap as much as you should be writing music lists.

  19. I thought being a music fan was appreciating talent in genres you might not necessarily listen to. You have Green Day, Nirvana, and Kanye West on your list. Huh??? Have you even listened to anyof these artists? I would love to see the list of artists you listen to regularly. Has Kanye West released an album that was not close to perfection yet? People get caught up on him being outspoken and let their disdain for the person overshadow his talent.

    • No, it’s his all-too-common tendencies to sample unoriginal material that makes him abominable. Studio tricks and auto-tune are the real “genius” in his work. Otherwise he is just a crude, often egomaniacal poet like every rapper. Drake rap lyric: “Last name greatest, first name evah,” speaking about himself of course. Yet success! Because he reads from the same manual.

        • Comparing Drake with Kanye proves just how much a fan of hip hop you are. You want to talk about overrated? Where’s Eminem on your list?

      • Why are you even bothering to write these? What I’ve gathered from reading some of your articles is that unless it’s classic rock or a very narrow group of entry level indie you don’t like it. And you have no right to talk about Kanye West or Lil Wayne if you’re going to dismiss hip hop as a genre. Btw, way to take up the noble fight against the evils of sampling lol, you would sound very logical if this was 1997. Fact is, you have no idea what goes into music production, so you just assume that it’s something easy. I would love to listen to a hip hop beat you made if you think it’s so simple.

        Oh, and classic rock blows. Don’t know how you can criticize sampling for being unoriginal then heap praise on dinosaur rock. Look at me! I can repeat the same four chords in EVERY SONG!

  20. I agree w/most of those acts. HOWEVER, Green Day & Nirvana are GOOD bands – possibly overrated in the sense of not being the greatest bands ever as some seem to think, but still MILES better than anyone else on that list – except possibly Lady Gaga.
    Which is a big problem with this list. She is NOT overrated. She is very exceptional, fresh, unique – does a great stage show, etc.
    Course I think the current crop of bands is pitiful, myself. Have to really dig to find the great bands – most of whom are indy.

  21. I assume it’s all been said before me but Nirvana shouldn’t even be close to this list. I agree with the rest of the entries but Nirvana are far from overrated.

    The bridged a gap, defined a generation and brought to the fore a whole new genre of music. Few can claim that, but as I’ve said I’m sure it’s all be said!

  22. I agree with most of the list, Especially with Justin Bieber, Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus, for they are just things girls whore over. However, I do have a few arguements;

    Lady Gaga may be slutty and her music videos certainly prove that but does that mean she’s a bad singer? No. She’ plays the piano and writes most of her music, although her outfits are a bit crazy

    Niravana and Green Day I agree with most of the people who commented on them; they’re decent.

    Taylor Swift should be number 10 at least; she’s decent and uses a genre of music that normally doesn’t make it high, showing bits of talent in her. At least she’s not an a** like Kanye.

    Ke$ha is very much agreed.

    Also, there are some people way more deserving here, like the cast of High School Musical.

  23. Hey gang, aren’t we missing out on the the most overrated of all? A “woman” who epitomizes style over substance and has since Day One (no early “cult period” for her, unlike Green Day and Nirvana, who at least had that)?

    Yes, I’m talking about Madonna, who only genius is for PR.

  24. Truer words were never spoken than the ones in this article. Too bad it can’t be “Top 11” because Eminem could have been included.

    • You're wrong lady on

      Nope, Eminem has been in the business for 10 years now.

      Best selling artist of the decade. He is an incredibly humble man & never ever raps about how much money he has or how albums sold unlike every other rapper on the planet including hipster fav Kanye,

      So no, Eminem deserves all the credit he gets & he’ll keep winning. This years grammys for example.

  25. I think that Ke$ha’s songs, though trashy, are catchy and upbeat. Lady Gaga is absolutely not overrated! Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, on the other hand are talentless people. The only reason Miley became famous was because of her dad. They had originally offered the role of hannah montana to Jojo, but she turned it down saying that the role just ‘wasn’t her’. Justin Bieber became famous because he sounds like a girl and its incredibly amusing:)

  26. Wait… What? Nirvana? Green Day? Lady Gaga? Are you serious?

    Nirvanaâ??s music obliterated everything the â??80s stood for, and carved a new defining sound for the â??90s. They are appreciated and loved with a reason. The fact that they only have 3 albums, and, I quote: ” it seems always to be treated as though it fits in a larger pantheon of great rock musicians including the likes of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin. ” doesn’t mean that they’re not good. Do you even know how many albums Hendrix made during his lifetime? Three. Yup. And if you knew that, why do you compare Nirvana with Hendrix and point out the fact that they only made 3 albums?

    Green Day… Why do you think it’s bad they keep playing songs from American Idiot on radio? Listeners love it, they love listening to it, people want their radio being listened, so they play music listeners want to hear. What’s the problem there? It’s not Green Day’s fault they make good music.
    So what if Billie wears eyeliner? Alice Cooper does it too (and many others), and he is app. 20 years older than him. If you’re a punk-rocker you are allowed to look pretty much any way you want to. Green Day has made a lot of quality music. So yes, the new album is a little different, and a little worse than other ones, but that doesn’t change the fact that they have 6 excellent albums (7 if you count A.I.) behind them, and that they made earned the fame and money they have now,

    Lady Gaga. The best new artist world has ever seen. She built her career in less than a year, and yes, she IS great. She makes her own music, writes her own lyrics, never lip-syncs, and does an amazing job performing live. And no one can confute that. So yes, maybe Madonna and Bowie are her idols, and maybe she resembles to them, but everyone has to have someone to look up to. And she has made an excellent combination of those two, and made them a lot more interesting and better. Her originality is doubtless, and her songs are popular and entertaining. She likes 80’s, but she has adjusted herself and her music to the new era, and did an excellent job. She knows what she likes, knows what people like, and uses her knowledge for making music. Gaga is a well educated musician, with great talent for playing piano and singing.. and dancing.

    In my opinion, every artist that is loved by many and has at least average songs (as long as they don’t suck really hard) deserves the fame he has and is not over-rated. Well people can’t be that stupid, can they? I don’t like Justin Bieber either, but if he really was THAT bad, would he have millions of fans? Only his facebook page has 16,000,000 fans.
    There are just better and worst artists, there are not over-rated ones. As long as people love them, their music, and as long as it makes them feel better, they are worthy. All of them.

    Greetings from Croatian girl.

    • Hahahahahahaha! I’m still laughing over the comment that Lady Gaga (or Lady Caca as I call her), is the best new artist the world has ever seen! Are YOU serious? Bowie is one of her idols? (Or so she says). If he really was, than she wouldn’t have mentioned “Let’s Dance” as her favorite Bowie album. (No serious Bowie fan would ever do that.) And she’s an excellent combination of the two? (Bowie and Madonna) Just tell me; in what way, shape or form is she at all similar to the great Bowie? I see no (even vague) similarities in her music whatsoever. Nirvana, Green Day and (especially) Lady Gaga all belong on this list along with everyone else on it…

  27. you can criticize wayne all you want for his rock crossover because that was garbage. But when we’re talking hip hop, wayne’s concepts, metaphors, and out of the box rhymes surpass some of the best writers in hip hop and he doesn’t even write his lyrics! While yes his subject matter may largely consist of p—sy, money and weed –but considering the amount of content he has put out, we’re talkin over 20 mixtapes and like 8 studio albums, it’s amazing how he doesn’t run out of things to say. From another MC’s point of view, this guy is your modern day premier MC and should not be on this list. I think you indie rock/hardcore/metalcore/etc scenesters should do your research in hip hop before thinking you can ctriticize. I’m sorry that you’ve only heard Lollipop, go listen to Dr. Carter and maybe you’ll learn something.

  28. “As far as rap music goes, he may deserve credit for his virtuosity within particular conventions, but a genre that lacks melody and little more than vocal dexterity and intrinsic rhythm just does not transfer directly to its antithesis. ”

    This is possibly the dumbest sentence I have ever read. It sounds like you’re just using a bunch of big words (incorrectly) just to make yourself sound smart.

    As for the list, it sounds like you just hate them because they’re popular.

    • You basically just summed it up. Once he brought Indie artists into it, I knew it was going to be full of hate and bias. Some people just cannot love and respect all music and artists.

      • No indy artists were brought into it…? Except the line about Daft Punk, but that was in reference to the songs Kanye West stole…err sampled rather.

    • Those “big words” aren’t really so big if you’ve ever set foot inside of a college classroom. You seem easily frustrated/intimidated by words you don’t understand…Go read the funny pages if it’s too tough for you to swallow.

  29. Everything you said is based on opinion, not fact. It’s also laughable because I don’t remember any critics really praising Miley, Ke$ha, Justin or JB. What no Rihanna. She has zero musical talent. JB is underrated. IMO

    Yeah, I admit their voices are terrible, but I really think they have talent and should make more mature music. Chris Brown is the only artist of this generation that can dance like MJ, period. Nope. Not even Usher, Ne-Yo or Omarion can touch him.

    • Dancing has nothing to do with creating music, but in response to no critics praising the aforementioned acts: apparently you’ve never read an issue of Rolling Stone or a music review by Rob Sheffield; all he does is offer them witless praise, and I’ve pretty sure I’ve seen a Miley Cyrus album get more stars in a review than an actual accomplished-in-own-rite, self-written musician appearing only a few columns away. Substance fails to be adequately appreciated these days.

  30. We'll just say Zepfan on

    I don’t quite see how anyone could think that Kanye West, Lady GaGa, Miley Montana, Ke$ha, or anyone one this list that’s recent in the music business is in anyway talented. I do like old Green Day and some Nirvana songs. I think that Katie Perry should also be on the list. California Girls? Sounds like just awful pop mixed with washed up rap. Teenage Dream? F&ck that song. If anyone says that anyone of these people should be on a greatest anything list except disappointment, then they should be reminded that people who listen to the correct music will take it as a huge affront. I personally have had to suffer through all these terrible, terrible “artists” (if you wish to call them that), with sisters caught in the music mob mentality. Forced subjugation seems like the only way this music will thrive, although the ADD culture of today will soon pass on, anyone remember Avril Lavrine, neither can I, I don’t even think I can spell her name, but she was a pop star at some god awful point.

    • Lady GaGa, Kanye West, and Kesha do have talent. Deal with it. GaGa can play the piano, she writes her own stuff, her voice isn’t huge, but it’s good, and she can dance a little bit. Kanye has produced a lot of hits, and he’s a pretty good rapper. Kesha writes her own stuff. No, it’s not John Lennon, and her stuff is annoying, but she writes. Just because you don’t like an arist, doesn’t mean they’re not talented. Now, there is an Artist I call untalented, and her name is Rihanna. She cannot sing, write, produce or dance.

    • Absolutely! And it received its critically acclaimed label from real music critics, not people who only like one genre. Every time I look at this list it pisses me off. Eminem, for people who follow rap music, is a white Joe Buddens. Take away the fact that he’s a decent white musician in a genre of music populated by Blacks and he is pretty much out of everyone’s top ten greatest rappers. Elvis Presley is another musician who is ridiculously overrated and pretty much stole Chuck Berry’s complete style. The number one most overrated act in music ever??? The Beatles

  31. I agree with every single artist on here, except maybe Nirvana. They may be overrated, but they’re still a respectable band and great to listen to, but hey, the list is over-rated acts, although if it was strictly for today it would’ve been more appropriate. I’m glad to see names such as Bieber, Lady Gaga, Kanye, Jonas Borthers, Hannah M., Lil Wayne, and thank god Kesha. My god, when it comes to the jonas bros, hannah montana, and kesha (HORRIBLE) there is absolutely no talent whatsoever. Kanye and lil wayne may have style, but rap is not the place to ONLY exaggerate your “greatness”, especially wayne’s case when he uses lyrics that don’t make sense at all: “I’m stuck in a maze therefore I am a-mazing” or something like that bull. Lady gaga is just one annoying and mentally challenged chick who needs to be in the hospital and not on stage, while beiber’s popularity really pisses me off when I see acts like Damain Marley, Pantera, or for god’s sakes even Poets of the Fall get so much less publicity for so much more talent and artistic and musical value.

  32. I don’t know anyone (apart from tweens) who rates Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, The Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber in the first place, so your list to me is somewhat redundant. As someone who actually listens to and enjoys rap music I feel Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne are two of most inspired and original artists within a genre that is currently unimaginative and stale. Surely only a fool would include a band that is as influential in rock music as NIrvana in a list of overrated acts. I certainly agree with your inclusion of Lady Gaga and Ke$ha and although I wouldn’t have chose them you put forward a good argument for the inclusion of Green Day who really should have called it a day years ago.

  33. Nobody even listens to the Jonas brothers anymore, so I have no idea why they’re on your list. lol. But to me, musicians are popular for a reason. If you think about it. I mean, we are not FORCED to listen to these artists. Nobody is holding a gun to our head. They were doing that in the 70’s when hip hop was a new musical art form. They would take rock beats, remix it, and talk over it, and break dance to them. You just seem biased. And besides, did you hear My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy? Amazing. 😉 To me, mainstream artists, at LEAST, are very diverse in their sound, whereas indie artist artists offer the same thing. To me, people like Kanye and Lady Gaga are pushing musical boubdries more than those so called indie bands.
    p.s. led zepplin stole all their music.

  34. We'll just say Zepfan on

    I don’t know who you are, atmie, but I am personally insulted by the comment on Zeppelin, like others; however that is not the issue. While nobody is forced to like it, people choose to like it because they hear they are supposed to. Does it really take any thought or ingenuity to write a song these days? Unfortunately, with “devices” such as autotune, talent has been taken out of music. Instead of having instruments, you can hire your little sister to make something on GarageBand. Instead of being a good singer, you can use autotune to appear visionary. I will give some credit though. It seems people have found away of making music that takes no effort whatsoever and yet is profittable because, in the case of Kesha, they are strictly about getting drunk, and those are the songs clubs will play because it encourages people to drink and spend money. So the club scene and the music industry are now intertwined, and if your a hipster who hates commecialism yet loves those those songs, you’ve got a problem. Also, led Zeppelin made blues songs better, they didn’t steal anything, well litteraly yes but in terms of quality it is a vast improvement over anything the lazy bastards today do.

  35. We'll just say Zepfan on

    In case I haven’t made my point clear, I will add a comment to each “artist” on the list in order of when I remember them, also adding some misses.
    Kanye-the first time iheard of him, I did not care. I was just realizing popular does not always=talent, you could argue some talent, in vain though, and all talent that may have ever existed vanished via his ego. It turns out that that south park episode was not a bad representation. Ego comes from insecurity, so he just needs to stop making terrible music that he is clearly insecure about.

  36. We'll just say Zepfan on

    Kesha- while I hate her fans with a passion, I am willing to admit she’s got a good agent who turned something devoid of talent and musical diversity to a commercial success. If I might roughly quote David thorne the music industry is both “origional and commercially viable; however, the part that is origional is not commercially viable and the part that is commercially viable is not origional.” seriously, everything is the exact same thing. Her music is kind of like madlibs, where the plot is filled out and everyone thinks of the same thing to fill in the gaps. The plot is the entire song besides vocals, and the fill in the blanks is the words, AND the lack of creativity is the part of the lyrics about drinking, oh sh!t, right, that equates to Kesha not being creative.

  37. We'll just say Zepfan on

    Lady gaga- the shemale of the hour, lady gaga has raped her way into music infamy. As aforementioned, she has completely taken her act from the sovereign of the Guild of Calamatis Intent, David Bowie. So she plays the piano, so does everybody, I can even mash keys that sound pleasent and make billions out of the deal. The other problems I have I will withhold because of it’s similarity to complaints everybody has.

  38. omg people… I dont understand how people can keep defending a drug addict who shot heroin and then shot himself… wtf is the world coming to??

  39. What absolute idiot put Nirvana in this list? Be ashamed of yourself, whoever you are. Go listen to their Unplugged session and tell me again that they are “overrated”. They were one of the most influential bands ever, and the fact that they still manage not only to be played today but also counted in this list of “today’s musicians”, shows that they are timeless. They’ll never get old.
    Also, they had three studio albums, but I maintain that they had 4, as Incesticide had tracks not covered on the other three. And Nirvana had enough demo tracks/ B-sides (many of their unreleased tracks, Aneurysm and You Know You’re Right being the best examples, are actually arguably amongst their best songs) to had produced another two after that. That’s not to mention their covers. As a wise person once said (I think it was actually David Bowie), once Nirvana has covered your song, it’s no longer your song. So true.
    So basically, they deserve a billion times more credit than you just gave them, and come on, it was Kurt’s birthday a few days ago, why not go and edit them out of this list? (I agree with the rest of it by the way)

  40. i agree with your whole list except Nirvana and Green Day, they just got was attention because they are way better then other and for me it’s a good thing, many band don’t get chance like this but i m glad they did, all other stupid pop artists should be banned, they all cant even make their own music unlike the bands, who can at lest attempt to write their own song

  41. I’m surprised that Katy Perry wasn’t on this list, as well as Beyonce, Rhianna, Ciara, Chris Brown, Drake, and countless others. I someone happens to be a fan of the “artists” mentioned… then phooey kablooey!!! Songs back then had a story, actual musicians,singers, talent, chord progressions… everything today’s music lacks.

  42. This is a very great list Ryan, i agree on Nirvana being overated even though i am quite a big fan of Nirvana. Nirvana is actually a great band but has always been taken too seriously by the media, basically the media itself made nirvana overated

  43. Kanye West shouldn’t be on this list. The man has AT LEAST 3 undeniable classics (College Dropout, Late Registration and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) and he’s an above average MC and one of the best producers of all time if not the best. If anything, he’s incredibly underrated especially on the internet excluding most review sites.

  44. How are Nirvana in this list!? I will admit they are slightly overrated but they definitely are not one of the most overrated, and there are plenty of other music ‘artists’ that could be in this list instead.

  45. A very good list indeed – well, nearly. Nirvana should not be on this list, end of. There are so many talentless bands and artists out there.

    Regardless whether you like them or not, or if they started a movement or not, their music inspired and led an entire generation.

    And their tunes were sublime. The Nirvana: Unplugged MTV recording is one of the best unplugged sessions ever made – y’know, back when MTV actually had something to do with the music genre. Nirvana also launched the career or a certain Mr Dave Grohl, who is undoubtedly one of the most important musicians alive today.

Leave A Reply