Everyone is entitled to their opinions. And while it’s true that celebrities are included in that “everyone,” it’s also true that non-celebrities are not required to care about the opinions of celebrities. When Meryl Streep decided to use her incredibly privileged platform to express a few of her political opinions, the actress was well within her rights. For those watching who were irritated by her opinions, it was their right to change the channel, express their opinions about her on social media, or even decide to never again watch one the actress’ movies. Likewise, musicians are free to insert their opinions about religion, politics, or whatever else into their recorded music and/or concerts. And fans have the right to cease to be fans because of those opinions, especially if the musicians seemingly bend over backward to alienate large portions of their fan base.
The point at which the expression of opinions makes a band persona non grata is going to differ from fan to fan. There are a few bands, however, that have mostly ceased making art and, instead, have become traveling evangelists for whatever activist hobby horse they’re currently assuaging their rich person’s “guilt” with. Following are the five bands/musicians whose opining is threatening to completely overshadow what little art they still manage to squeeze out.
(FYI – I’ve only chosen bands/musicians that are still active. Otherwise, Rage Against the Machine and Pete Seeger would’ve both made the list.)
5. Pearl Jam
Oh, Eddie Vedder, what hath fame wrought? A sense of self-importance, that’s what. Pearl Jam has always been a band that wears their politics on their sleeves and actively promotes progressivism. This past year, however, saw Pearl Jam upping their activist ante. They were one of the first bands to lead the charge in boycotting the state of North Carolina because they objected to the state’s attempts to prevent grown men from using the same bathrooms as young girls. Not content to quietly boycott, though, Vedder and company have made it crystal clear what they think of those who aren’t on board with their brand of politics. Having different political opinions than many of your fans is one thing. Frequently reminding those fans that the band believes them to be awful human beings is a good way to irritate people, at the least.
4. Lady Gaga
Part of Lady Gaga’s schtick is over-the-top performance art (which is irritating in its own right), but her constant drumbeat for some of the favorite issues of SJWs pushes her music into the unlistenable. The self-appointed defender of any and all aberrant sexualities, Lady Gaga creates songs that are little more than SJW re-education videos; children (and adults) around the country are being manipulated by a pop singer. Lady Gaga’s swipes at Melania Trump after Donald Trump’s wife made some very pointed and poignant anti-bullying statements came awfully close to bullying.
3. Jay Z and Beyoncé
While obviously not a band, Jay Z and Beyoncé are both wildly successful musicians who also happen to be married to each other. Using their collective platform to promote Black Lives Matter, Hillary Clinton, and an array of progressive causes, the duo’s activism threatens to overshadow their music. For example, at last year’s Super Bowl, Beyoncé thought it appropriate to disrespect the police and promote violence through her BLM-themed stage show.
2. Bruce Springsteen
Out of all the bands/musicians on this list, I find Bruce Springsteen’s presence the most disappointing. That may be why he’s ranked so high; I’m irritated that I’m irritated by a musician whose music I’ve loved for decades. Sadly, though, whenever I turn on The River, I now have a hard time enjoying the music because of Springsteen’s constant political harping. In case his constant sermonizing wasn’t enough, like Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen made a big deal out of boycotting North Carolina.
1. Green Day
At this point, I’m assuming that Green Day is on the Democratic National Committee’s payroll. If 2004’s American Idiot didn’t turn you off to the faux-punk band, surely the band’s latest album did the trick. Released in October of last year, Revolution Radio is filled to the brim with sophomoric lyrics that fit neatly on the memes of SJWs. In the video for “Troubled Times,” lyrics like “What good is love and peace on earth if it’s exclusive?” are sung over placards demanding, “Unite Against Islamophobia and War!” Green Day is the Michael Moore of music.