The most over-rated acts in pop music

There are plenty of recording artists I hate, plenty of truly dreadful groups and soloists out there in music-land, but they're so bad that anyone with functioning ears can recognize them.  Bands like Stickelback and The Tweeling and The Tragic Slumbers were clearly just invented by record company execs who knew that people with no palpable taste in music would lap up their vapid offerings.

Far more problematical are those acts who get raved about by people with generally good taste in music, but who are actually rather rubbish.

1. Paul McCartney

The prime example of my case study.  The two genuinely talented, innovative and interesting Beatles are dead, so McCartney is able to milk the band's legacy unchallenged.  And how his sycophantic fan base lap it up.  One ridiculous poll named him "The Greatest Composer of the Millennium".

This is despite musical crime after musical crime.  From Ob-la-di, ob-la-da to Mull of Kintyre, Silly Love Songs to We All Stand Together, the songs he's spewed out have been almost unremittingly twee, dull and dreadful.  Occasionally he produces something fantastic, like Live & Let Die, but mostly he doesn't.  Quite how he continues to be idolized is beyond me.

He even manages to ruin Live & Let Die with a pompous intro


2. Marc Bolan

Hot Love, Get It On, Jeepster, Telegram Sam, Metal Guru: all the songs of T. Rex are the same.  Devotees claim that Bolan's death robbed us of one of the icons of rock music, someone who was already a star, and would have gone on to become a music legend.  This is utter piffle, and his recorded material gives no evidence this would have happened.  The first T Rex single, Ride A White Swan, was issued in 1970, and Bolan died in 1977.  This means he had 7 years to develop in new and sonically interesting directions, and he simply didn't do it.  Rather like Donovan, he thought he was amazing, but he was just derivative.

Compare this with David Bowie, who in the same 7 year interval went from Space Oddity to Hunky Dory to Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Sane to Diamond Dogs to Young Americans to Low to Heroes.  Watching a recent Top of the Pops re-run from the 70s, the comparison becomes even more stark.  Bowie is bewitching, and continues to be so to this day.  Bolan has no real charisma, and his songs are really not much cop.

Magical music by a real star man


3.  Foo Fighters

I like Nirvana, I like Dave Grohl, and I want to like Foo Fighters.  Unfortunately, every song I've ever heard of theirs is just insipid.  They get lauded by the music press, yet they just produce rawk of a mediocre calibre.  A far less-lauded and infinitely more praiseworthy outfit are their contemporaries, eels, one track of whose is worth the entire Foo Fighters back catalogue.

eels - Last Stop: This Town.

4. Red Hot Chilli Peppers

In a similar vein to number 3, RHCP are inexplicably massive, despite producing mostly middling music.  The Pixies are approximately eight million times better.

Where is my mind, if I think the chilli peppers are red hot?


5. The Hollies

The Sixties were good, but they weren't that good.  Though I love Brian Matthew, listening to his show makes this abundantly clear.  Still, many of the bands he plays never made it big, and at least deserve a second listen, decades later.

The Hollies, however, are the opposite.  They made it big, they've been played for decades, and they deserve no further listening.  Their songs are anodyne or asinine; records like Bus Stop, Carrie-Anne, and On A Carousel sound like they were written by whiny, lovestruck schoolboys.  They were the Keane of the 1960s.

Give them a miss.  Play the Kinks or the Animals or even the Troggs instead.

6. Elbow.

I want to love Elbow's music, I really do.  They seem like a great bunch of guys, they make music for themselves, and I saw them live at the Connect festival a couple of years ago, and they were very engaging.  Problem is, they've only produced a single great song.

Only one song like this.


7. Bob Marley


The greatest reggae star there has ever been, or probably ever will be.  An icon to millions of people across the world.  A man who died tragically young.  And sadly, a chap whose tunes are beloved by too many white, British middle class wannabes with spliffs and acoustic guitars.  He wrote some decent tunes, but after hearing about three of them, I begin to switch off.
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