Blisterd

This list made the Popblerd staff angry…for several reasons.

It’s the result of a poll we took on our Facebook page. Because it’s so easy to focus on negativity, and because music has its fair share of perennial whipping boys (and whipping girls,) some of our top brass decided to sit a list of worst bands out. I totally understood that, too. As much as I complain about sites and blogs who use negativity and snark as their main calling card, you might call a list like this a teeny tiny bit hypocritical. Then again, I’ve never been ashamed to write a bad review or beat on deserving artists (Black Eyed Peas, anyone?) So, maybe I’m not as hypocritical as I think I am. Besides, this is a site that focuses on music criticism-good or bad.

Of course, when the following list was unveiled-there were a few staffers who were aghast at seeing their favorite artists on the chopping block. However, no two people have the same musical taste, and something like that was bound to happen. In this case, it’s probably easiest to just agree to disagree.

Before we present you with the first part of the list-be aware that there were some ground rules. The artist had to have released an album within the past ten years (in case anyone wanted to vote for, I don’t know, Starland Vocal Band.) Also, we decided to kick out some artists who regularly appear on lists like these, just to give things a little fresh flavor. So…no Limp Bizkit, no Creed, no Hinder, no BEP (or will.i.am or Fergie) and NO NICKELBACK. With those restrictions in place, let’s see who made the list.

20. Korn

Considering Korn works the same corner as the skeevy likes of Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park, this entry should write itself. Rap-metal is a genre that defies good taste however you look at it, but more depressingly, as these three acts have built careers on verifying, it just lacks impact. The rapping is thin and unconvincing, the lyrics offer streams of grossly immature posturing (“shut up, shut up, shut up I’ll fuck you up” goes one Shakespearean chorus), and the muddy, apathetic hard rocking sounds like it was composed and performed by an obsolete computer program. Korn even manages to be the least interesting of its peers – not as flourescently hideous as Bizkit but also not as skilled as Linkin Park. Their artless, flaccid, meat-and-potatoes funk-metal sludge, overseen by Jonathan Davis’s braying Billy Corgan impersonation, rules the boring section of the most ear-gouging sub-genre in music. Even crappy music is a step up. (Mike B)

19. Lady GaGa

Lady Gaga is one of the latest manufactured pop icons to grace the charts with her presence over the last 5 years.  Every move of Gaga’s can be traced to an idea someone else has done before (and better).  She’s just the first to roll them all up into one package.  While her music is terrible – overly synthetic pop dance tracks for the masses – my biggest issue with her is that of authenticity.  It’s one thing to be edgy and try to push the envelope – its quite another to carefully calculate your moves with your PR assistant in order to create the illusion of “pushing the envelope.”  With Gaga, it appears like more of the latter than the former.  Then again, maybe all I’m seeing is just her pa-pa-pa-poker-face-pa-pa-poker-face.  Who knows? (May)

18. Joss Stone

I’ll keep it 100 with y’all. I don’t really dislike Joss Stone so much that I’d consider her one of my 20 least favorite artists. But-BUT!-I can understand why people don’t like her, and I also see a ton of wasted potential in the British soul singer. The hippie Earth mama image isn’t a big deal, and I genuinely felt bad for her when it was revealed that she was the target in some bizarre murder plot, but, Joss, that voice! Sometimes I wonder if she wasn’t given a stack of records from the ’60s and ’70s and told to imitate them because “that’s what soul singin’ sounds like.” All melisma and growling and turning “ing”s into “ang”s-oops, that should be turnang. It occasionally feels like minstrelsy. Thankfully, Joss has occasionally been paired with producers who know what to do with that voice, like Raphael Saadiq or Salaam Remi. However, her recent excursions (another covers album, a bizarre “I hate my label” record, the SuperHeavy side project with Damien Marley, Dave Stewart and Mick Jagger) indicates that those good career decisions were likely more of a fluke than a turn to the right track. (Big Money)

17. Madonna

There are just too many reasons to dislike Madonna – for starters, she’s a marginally talented pop star who has sustained a career for three decades.  Shacking up with whatever producer-of-the-moment is hot, she’s been called “visionary” for way too long.  In the ‘80s, she brought countless derivative, paint-by-numbers songs to the top of the charts.  In the ‘90s, she became a professional whore, put out a sexually unprovocative book called Sex, asked David Letterman to smell her dirty panties on the air, and started practicing Kabbalah. In the 2000s, she became a faux-anti-war activist, incorporated the swastika into her tours as a pathetic attempt to appear “edgy,” and put out a collection of records so shitty, they made True Blue look sound like Quadrophenia.  For some reason, the gay community absolutely adores her, well, except for Elton John.  I believe he summed it up best when he said, “She’s such a nightmare. Sorry, her career is over. Her tour has been a disaster and it couldn’t happen to a bigger c*nt.”  Go Elton! (May)

 

16. Puddle of Mudd

Few things kill a band for me than lack of innovation, and Puddle of Mudd’s Nirvana-lite sound stands out as some of the least inspired radio rock of the past decade. Parroting the motions of Nirvana’s groundbreaking grunge sound during the height of the early 2000s “grunge revival”, while maintaining none of the heart, Puddle of Mudd comes across as a bad cover band that somehow found a record executive to push them to the main stage. Their songs follow the soft-loud dynamic without any thematic reason other than “this is cool”. Their stab at Cobain’s wry sarcastic wit instead produced the goofy and artless “She Hates Me”. And don’t get me started on their cover album re:(disc)overed, an hour long butchering of rock staples that would struggle to garner applause from a bar house band.
It’s not that I personally hate the guys in the band, or even want them to stop making music. I just don’t understand how in the competitive music world, a glorified cover band managed to make millions. (Stephen M.)

15. T-Pain

HOW DID THIS GUY GET A JOB IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY!

T-Pain looks like a clown and has no discernible singing or dancing talent. Yet, for a while a few years ago, he was the hottest artist in the nation. Everyone from Justin Timberlake to Mariah Carey worked with him. And his hook was…Auto-Tune? Sure, at least he was open about his need for vocal enhancement (unlike the many artists that use it on the low) but still…WHY? It’s not like his lyrical content was worth a damn (song titles: “I’m In Luv (With A Stripper)” and “Buy U A Drank”) either. One could argue that Jay-Z destroyed his career with “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” but really, who thought T-Pain was going to go on to a long career anyway? I’d say a comeback is unlikely. Let’s hope that Mr. Pain saved his money. (Big Money)

Eagles14. (The) Eagles

It’s easy to hate on The Eagles. After all, they’re The Eagles. Apparently, millions of consumers disagree with me. The band has sold more than 150 million albums, and Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) and Hotel California are among the 20 best-selling albums in U.S. history. They’re all over classic rock radio and have reformed several times to rake in the big bucks on reunion tours.

But the main reason I hate The Eagles is Don Henley, the band’s de facto leader and noted pompous douchebag. The guy’s ego tends to overshadow everything within a 10-mile radius. As for the music, the band started out as a country-rock act in the early ‘70s coming out of the same California scene as Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt before moving to a more mainstream pop-rock sound. Objectively speaking, there’s nothing any worse or better about The Eagles’ music than that of countless other bands. But it’s the general concept of The Eagles that gets to me. The band, especially Henley, is prone to obnoxious statements like a recent one stating his pride at the Eagles being the first act to break the $100 concert ticket barrier on their reunion tour in 1994. Ultimately, The Eagles represent everything I don’t like in a band. ’Nuff said. (Jay K.)

13. Toby Keith

I’ve been notoriously hard on country music over the years, but in my defense, that’s only because it’s terrible. And yet, in a genre practically defined by the painfully generic, there’s one artist that sticks out like a sore thumb, and that’s Toby Keith. And it’s not necessarily because he is musically inferior to his contemporaries; when you’re in the company of people like Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, and Jason Aldean, there are no winners. No, Toby Keith is a unique brand of odious: he’s a slimy, nasty specimen of songwriter that realizes that his bread and butter is easily duped, and squeezes them for every penny. Toby Keith is why people satirically say “AMURRICA!” His fanbase is the lowest common denominator, and he treats them as such, churning out patriotic swill stuffed with jingoistic catchphrases, because money. It’s the “these colors don’t run”/”freedom ain’t free” philosophy, this ideal that pride in your country is the stuff of t-shirts and bumper stickers; it’s the noxious concept that, hey, writing a song about the troops makes me look good AND lines my pockets; and, worst of all, he’s the type of guy willing to spout the most hideous ideologies in order to pander to people who don’t deserve to be pandered to. He attacked the Dixie Chicks for speaking their mind, ignoring the core irony: that, despite the talk of Toby and like-minded people who like to uphold the archetype of the country rebel, the Chicks were the ones with real balls. Toby Keith: patriotism as high commerce. (Drew)

12. 50 Cent

FiddyIs it the mush-mouthed delivery? Is it the ridiculous public pronouncements and attention-seeking? Is it the repugnant lyrical content and lack of remorse for unnecessarily violent lyrics. All of it combines to make one wish that the gunman who sprayed 9 bullets into Curtis Jackson had aimed for the throat and silenced his voice box.

Fiddy certainly has an ear for business and aligned himself with the right people (Dr. Dre and Eminem) at the right time (when both artists were red-hot). His initial burst of hits coincided with beef with…just about everyone in the music business. However, money talks in the entertainment biz, and folks were lining up to work with 50 and his G-Unit compatriots. As with just about everyone else, though, the 50 love died down. Kanye West initiated a more thoughtful, artistic phase in commercial hip-hop, Lil Wayne replaced 50 as America’s favorite rapping thug, and the G-Unit fizzled. 50’s fifth record has been pushed back so often people are wondering whether it’ll ever come out, and the rapper has been in the news more for his choices in “dating” partners (Chelsea Handler) than his music.

So, uh, 50 Cent? Yeah, that’s about how much you’d have to pay to get a copy of Get Rich or Die Tryin’ these days. (Big Money)

11. 3 Doors Down

Love and hate are closely related emotions, which is why I feel a special disdain for 3 Doors Down. After hearing their debut single “Kryptonite” in middle school, I was won over by 3DD’s country-fried rock and quickly bought their first album Better Life. At the time, I actually enjoyed it, perhaps because I wasn’t terribly interested in analyzing lyrics.
Sometime around the middle of the last century, however, my love for the band turned sour. Maybe it was the fact that my tastes matured and their sophomoric lyrics and unsophisticated arrangements began to stand out. Maybe it was their eagerness to brand themselves so closely to the armed forces during the early days of Iraq, something that always smacked of calculated commercialism rather than sincerity. Maybe it was that stupid armed forces recruiting video that played before EVERY movie for years. The drunk driving manslaughter charge for their bassist this year was the nail in the coffin for me. There are bands that sound objectively worse, I’m sure, but I’d rather have sincerely bad music than mediocre music that seems to stem from empty intentions. (Stephen M.)

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