Taste in music is an extremely subjective topic. Two people with very similar upbringings in the same decade can have drastically different feelings about the same band. And while there is no contesting which bands and solo artists have become popular over the years (because of album sales, concert tours, and media appearances), just because someone is popular doesn’t mean everyone has to like them.
A recent conversation on a Sirius XM music talk show focused on hugely popular bands. The DJs invited callers to chime in on their least favorite musicians who also happen to be wildly successful. When I thought about this, I realized that this debate has even crossed the threshold of my very own home, where my husband and I disagree on music all the time.
For the fun of it, I compiled a list of musicians that are totally overrated. They are also totally successful. Let us know if you agree.
When I first heard “Tom Sawyer,” which is the only song by Rush that I can tolerate, I thought it was a woman singing. My husband, who is deeply fond of this band, schooled me quickly on lead singer Geddy Lee. He informed me how talented these musicians are — that they have all been acknowledged as “proficient players on their respective instruments.” But when I listen to them, all I hear is screeching — from the vocals to the guitars. Yes, they’ve been nominated for seven Grammy Awards, but thanks but no thanks.
When I think of Metallica, a certain line from How the Grinch Stole Christmas always comes to mind: “And then all the noise. All the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!” And they just seem so angry all the time. Perhaps I just don’t really understand heavy metal. Perhaps it should matter that they have won nine Grammy Awards and have been nominated 23 times. But all I hear is noise.
3. The Beach Boys
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Metallica, we have The Beach Boys. I just want to shake them! I don’t have any problem with upbeat, happy music, but this is far too controlled and contrived. Sometimes the best thing about listening to a song is the sense of losing control a bit. With The Beach Boys, I can only muster a slight head bop and think about drinking a tame non-alcoholic beverage.
4. Backstreet Boys
Boy bands are nothing new, and the Backstreet Boys certainly didn’t introduce us to anything ground-breaking when they showed up on the scene in 1993. People treated them like the second coming of Christ. Instead, they were overly produced and contrived and they were nothing compared to the best boy band of the previous generation: New Kids on the Block.
Hole made a splash on the punk rock and grunge scenes with “Celebrity Skin.” The song was well-composed and the album (of the same name) that it was on earned the band four Grammy Award nominations. But it always seemed that Courtney Love’s reputation as a rock ‘n’ roll bad girl and the widow of Kurt Cobain was more important than what Hole was doing. There were so many instances when Love’s behavior was so vile that I didn’t even care to hear what her band was putting out there.
While ABBA was always big, they seemed to reach another level in recent years when “Mamma Mia!” hit Broadway. (It is now the ninth-longest running Broadway show of all time.) While there’s nothing wrong with catchy music, the hits that ABBA churned out stick in your head like bubblegum sticks to the sole of a work boot.
7. Mariah Carey
I can appreciate that being a performer of Mariah’s caliber requires a certain amount of pageantry and hoopla, but Carey is a diiiiiva right down to her core. Her first album was impressive when she showcased her extensive vocal range, but since then it’s just been more of the same. Same sound, same shrill, different song title. Even her Christmas album is meh.