We were far too positive over the New Year period, who cares what albums we enjoyed last year when there’s arguing and bastards being as picky as possible to enjoy instead. Today we spark ten new Twitter outrages by saying who we all think are overrated in the music world. Expect bad takes, confusing takes and some you might just agree with:
There’s something deeply self-congratulatory about IDLES’ music that has irked me from the first time I listened to them.
Their music covers worthy topics such as toxic masculinity, immigration, class and self-love. But they do this with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer smashing through a watermelon, aggressively delivering a series of nuance-free observations on societal issues. What’s the point of it? To convince those who think otherwise? It does my head in and I broadly agree with what they say, so I have no idea how it is received by those who don’t.
I frequently heard their second and most acclaimed album, Joy As An Act of Resistance, described as “important”. But how important is music that purely seems to preach to the converted? It’s the equivalent of those people on Twitter who specialise in smart-arse replies to those who they disagree with, with the purpose of getting positive reinforcement from their own echo chamber. Tell me I’m wrong.
These may be the final words I type on this website for serious music fans, but I’ll start by making sure it’s obvious I’m not saying Radiohead are ‘bad’. They are surely one of the most influential bands of the 90s era at their creative peak during a time when ‘guitar bands’ just didn’t sound like that. But there seems to be this strange attitude towards their musical output as if nobody could say a single bad word about any song that Tom Yorke has been involved in.
It feels like whenever they release an album there’s this kind of outpouring of emotion and grasping for the highest possible praise when to my ears it just sounds like those other Radiohead songs? I realise this is very ‘No it’s the kids who are wrong’ of me but I’ve just never heard that magic in very much of their music that everyone else seems to hear. It’s perfectly fine that you all love the music, but this need to lift them to be these god like figures where all other music pales in comparison is just strange for me to see.
I can kind of understand why people liked Is This It when it came out. There was a freshness to it. If you ignored the fact that the eleven songs were built around the same basic structure you might even say they were innovative, but you’d have to be ignoring pretty hard.
What I can’t fathom is how they are in still seen as noteworthy. That album was a mediocre flash in the pan and yet they have still never managed to create anything even close to that quality since. Seeing rave reviews for 2020’s The New Abnormal told me all I need to know – some people can’t admit when they’ve had too much of a (not that) good thing. The Strokes can keep putting out the same song again and again until they’re 999 years old and people will hold them up as something special. They aren’t.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers
In the summer of 2004 what seemed like everyone I knew deserted me to bugger off to London’s Hyde Park to witness one of the most heinous acts of outdoor live music scheduling ever to take place. To most this was simply a Red Hot Chilli Peppers gig at the height of their baffling popularity. But everyone had overlooked the fact (by fact I mean hideous mistake) that one of the most boring, machismo and dumb rock bands ever were being supported, yes supported, by all-time legend and funk pioneer James Brown.
To reiterate, James Brown (you know, THEE James Brown) was on before the dust covered crispy forgotten wank sock under the bed also known as Red Hot Chilli Peppers. This isn’t why I think they’re overrated but it’s useful to illustrate the point. Actually I don’t have much more of a point because their music inspires so little. They’re dull, stupid, and make songs by alternating between two notes on the bass and reciting the dictionary of platitudes over the top in a shit voice.
The acclaim that Billie Eilish’s debut album received was baffling to me. As a record, it’s fine: a low-key pop record undoubtedly influenced by revivalists of minimalist indie pop such as The xx. But the way the momentum grew throughout 2019, Christ! You’d think she’d dropped an out-of-this-world classic.
Follow-up Happier Than Ever dialled down the irritating affectations and annoying song titles… and seemed to receive a more muted reception. Which figures: 2020s internet culture loves to bestow insane levels of hype on anything remotely intriguing. Eilish is a young, talented artist whose best work could be yet to come. Cool it with the hype though.
Father John Misty
The main person who overrates Father John Misty is himself. You can tell how up their own arse some people are as soon as they open their mouths, but with this guy you don’t even have to wait that long. You can tell he thinks he’s god as soon as he looks at you and scratches his stupid beard.
Somehow, people agree with him. There’s an army of fans who think his 13 minute rants over boring guitar lines qualify as interesting music, rather than the sonic sleeping pill they actually are. I’ve given ample time to 3 Father John albums and all I hear is a man pointing at his own face saying ‘look how clever I am’. Fair play, though. He’s convinced you all that he’s right. Watch his upcoming 2022 album sound the same as the others and yet still take out every prize going.
Most of the time when I don’t like a band I can at least appreciate why they are considered good. One of several exceptions to this is Roxy Music. Their lasting cultural legacy far outweighs their actual talent and quality of songs. Total mystery to me. It’s clear any talent in the band was Eno’s but, and I know this will be sacrilege to many, but that talent was best exemplified by who he influenced rather than through his own output. Brian Ferry is and was a waste of space. And he loves killing foxes for no reason.
Everything Frank Ocean has released since Channel Orange
Let’s continue the ‘takes so bad I’ll get banned from music twitter’ with this belter. Everything that Frank Ocean has released since 2012’s Channel Orange has been pretty mediocre and massively overrated. I absolutely LOVED his debut studio album Channel Orange which felt like such a moment in the industry, tracks like Pyramids and Thinking Bout You so inventive musically and deeply emotional too. There was the hope that this would lead to even more brilliant music, but it never came.
We’ve had guest spots I’ve liked, singles that were great but never a full length that matched it. The dreary and boring video album Endless was one thing, but when proper studio album Blonde dropped a day later the hype was so high that it could only leave people disappointed. Instead it seemed like I was the only one who didn’t hear what everyone else was hearing. I have returned to Blonde a few times trying to just get something out of it and I’m always left wishing I’d spent that hour listening to something more memorable.
The only reasonable explanation is that fans were so desperate for it to be the album they wanted that they convinced themselves it was one of the albums of the year. What are the chances any of those critics who said it was an album of the year have actually gone back since? Slim at best.
Until 2020, I merely found Taylor Swift uninteresting and thought the song ‘Shake It Off’ was more annoying than my alarm clock. These were my only opinions. They were the only ones I needed. But then she released folklore and evermore and the world went more mental than it already was.
There’s a lot to admire in these two albums. The reality is, though, that there are great swaths of musicians out there making this kind of music but much better. They just don’t have the Swift name. To see these two albums being held up as genius, or as the shining lights in the folk-pop genre, is irksome and laughable. The main way in which she’s overrated, though, is as a lyricist. This is a 32-year-old we’re talking about now, so why do all of her words sound like they were written at the front of the school bus on the way back from cheer practice?
The Flaming Lips
Another band in the “I just don’t get it” category. One of the worst singers ever recorded. Their live act relies entirely on gimmick (and yes I have seen them before anyone moans at me on twitter). Ooh you’ve got a zorb ball. Well done mate. How about some decent songs instead of wailing on about whatever it is they wail on about. And they’ve somehow been doing this for well over thirty years. How did nobody notice how average they were? Don’t. Get. It.