Laura Marling once alleged that ‘talent, integrity and self-loathing’ are the ingredients to shape a successful virtuoso of poetry and artistry. A description that rings a lot of truth and relevance to a good portion of the musicians in circulation today. So why is that so many modern composers today rely on repetition, mediation and self-indulgence to storm the charts and get their records on peoples shelves? Today, I’m looking at the most overrated bands from past and present that regurgitate this very question.
Oasis – The Manchester based indie-pop merchants finally disbanded in 2009 after over a decade of pretentious pop rip-offs that rang too many similarities to the mutant offspring of The Beatles and The Smiths, as well as sucking off the Factory Records legacy like an unwanted parasite. Despite their mass popularity, all they really contributed to the cultural zeitgeist was the rocky relationship of two brothers made from the same carbon but born on two ends of the spectrum. Even three years since their split, Liam and Noel are still carrying on their bitter sibling rivalry to this day. It seems to me that the Gallagher rivalry became more famous than the band. Alternatives: Graham Coxon, Radiohead, Stone Roses, The Maccabees.
Mumford and Sons – People seem to think that the re-injection of folk music into mainstream music was the doing of banjo playing folk-merchants Mumford and Sons. However, Fleet Foxes had been stringing the silver bow and plucking the nylon string across the atlantic an entire year before Mumford and Sons formed in London. And if the cultural difference isn’t enough, artists such as Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale and Bombay Bicycle club had picked up the acoustic guitar before Mumford and Sons came to fame. Again, their legacy seems to be built on top of the foundations of others who are less recnognised. Alternatives: Fleet Foxes, Dog Is Dead, Stornoway, Bombay Bicycle Club.
U2 – Pretentious, over-produced, self-indulgent Irish rubbish. Harsh, but in my opinion, very, very true. Bono has been wheeling the ‘save Africa’ band wagon behind his dubious shades for over three decades now, and still people are oblivious to his own short comings. He may be a word famous tycoon in African charity propaganda, but he runs his operations on a private Island of the coast of South Ireland and gets around the governmental loop holes to stop himself paying taxes. Nice one Bono, that’ll go down well with the starving African children, knowing that their Messiah is as money-orientated as the rest of the ignorant world that oppresses them. Alternatives: R.E.M, Brian Eno, Radiohead, David Bowie.
Green Day – Come off it, Green Day. You’re not a punk band in the slightest. You had the divides and shards of potential to collect yourself into some sort of punk band with the release of Dookie in 1994, but it was all down hill from then on. With their odd alternation between punk and rock between albums, it’s never been abundantly clear how to liquidate Green Day and place them in a proper genre.Even so, everyone seemed to buy American Idiot in 2004. At the time, it was the album to have for teenagers. Since then, it’s just further emphasised Green Days lack of punk status. Alternatives: The Damned, The Buzzcocks, The Clash, Joy Division.
Coldplay – “Ooh, look at us. We’re Coldplay and we write really weird and interesting music about space and stuff”. No, you do not. All Coldplay do is write boring and generic pop songs that reflect the boring and generic, barely functionalist lives of the members of Coldplay and their fans. Yet another Radiohead rip-off trying to match the Oxfordshire kings of dystopian hymns’ creative complexity and influence. Even more annoyingly, Chris Martin and co have taken to creating a certain ‘movement’ in their music. I.e. They’re giving their fans free colour co-ordinated glow sticks and getting them to wave them in a cult-like manner. Cool. Alternatives: Animal Collective, Portishead, Interpol, Violens.
Guns ‘n’ Roses – The melting dynasty of Axl Rose is steaming away along with his sanity day by day. He’s gone from looking like a gay biker to looking like a gay magician in the space of twenty years. No person has since matched the amazing descent of being one of the most popular rock and roll bands in the world to being the abused captive of Axl Rose as he slowly loses his mind and kicks out any member who questions him. Living mesmorising wake of Nirvana never really gave Guns ‘n’ Roses a fair shout for the crown of rock and roll, and made them look like an average karaoke band instead. Sadly, something a lot of Americans seemed to enjoy. One thing is for sure though. They’ll never headline Reading festival again. Alternatives: Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pagoda, Sonic Youth.
Lady Gaga – Let’s be honest, you knew that the meat-dress wearing Madonna con artist was going to feature in this list from the moment you read the first sentence. Born straight from the feigned, domineering uterus of all-encompassing pop music, Gaga has spent her entire career feeding off of the perceptions and ideas of others and claiming it’s her own original creation. It’s a tragedy that her musical abilities don’t match her own self-importance and don’t reflect the Queen-like status she and her fans bestow upon the ‘Gaga’ fame. To speak crudely, I’ve produced farts with more creative relevance than lady Gaga. Alternatives: Lykke Li, Little Dragon, Bjork, Zola Jesus.
Jamiroquai – Pops biggest arsehole Jay Kay was, much like Gaga, was only going to be included in my humble little list. Please, someone give the man a crown. If you didn’t know, Jay Kay and his funk/pop outfit hold the title of ‘most pretentious act ever formed’. London’s answer to Jesus of Nazareth has flaunted his cash and mainstream success for years, making no bones about his opinion of himself in the process. Given the opportunity, Jay Kay would walk over everyone in the street just to assert his self-appointed alpha male status for making each new track sound like the one before. Alternatives: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against The Machine, Daft Punk, Groove Armada.
Chase And Status – An adored dance duo from London that rain true a furnace of urban chaos and street life that sticks in he throats of the ecstasy seeking fan base. Their citified rural impact would mirror their musical collectivity, if they had not both attended university and come from rich, middle-class backgrounds. Although their music is enjoyable and well produced for their particular genre, their genuine street credibility goes out of the window compared to grime and dance acts like Plan B and Dizzee Rascal. Alas, all could have be avoided if they aimed for the same stance and approach as other artists from similar backgrounds, like The Chemical Brothers. Alternatives: Friendly Fires, The Prodigy, SBTRKT, Happy Mondays.
Nickleback – It’s very fitting that we end the list on rock and roll’s whipping boys. Hard rocking spaniel-esque front man Chad Kroeger has tried his hardest to protect the ego of his fellow bandmates, and would have done a good job of doing so, if it wasn’t for his ridiculous hair. It seems that they are the only band desperately trying to keep the classic rock and roll torch burning with other bands streaming off to the more successful and interesting sub-streams and rock music. Chin up, Chad. It’s not like you’re openly criticised on a regular basis for continouly writing songs that address strippers, sex, prostitution, drugs and more sex. Oh, wait… Alternatives: Black Keys, Pavement, The Libertines, Nirvana.