Rock stardom isn't a meritocracy. And if a band is successful? Maybe that doesn't mean they're good. Because terrible bands rocket to fame all the time. So here are the bands and musicians people most tend to overrate. Above all, don't believe the hype.
Cardi B Is Overrated
I loved Cardi B on "Love and Hip Hop." She was so funny and honest-to-God likable. Even now I admit she'd be fun to hang out with. But not if hanging out with her included listening to her music, which is dreadful. When "Bodak Yellow" took off, it surprised me because it's such a bad record. But, hey, bad records become hits all the time. And then her album dropped and everyone went bananas for it. Now Cardi B is the biggest thing in music and I'm like a stranger on my own planet. — Dan Tucker.
Green Day Is Overrated
I remember how huge "Dookie" was when it hit in 1994. I also remember how anyone with taste or punk bona fides hated Green Day with white-hot passion. And for good reason. Because Green Day have always been poseurs. With their discount-Descendents hooks and fake British accents. But the lesson of Green Day is clear. Stay around long enough and people will call you a legend. When new generations see you as an elder statesman, they'll assumed you earned it. Suckers. — Matt Fayerweather.
The Beatles Are Overrated
It's not like the Beatles suck. The Beatles are great. But a band that people worship as much this band can't be anything but overrated. Yes, they recorded plenty of worthy classics. Of course they did. But can we all admit that a lot — like, a lot — of Beatles songs are mediocre to bad? For every "Hey Jude," there's a "Rocky Raccoon" or "Run for Your Life" that Beatles fans twist into pretzels to justify. And no band that's not overrated would've recorded "Revolution 9." No way. — Marion Eddy.
Radiohead Is Overrated
Is there a flavor of music snob from the last few decades more insufferable than Radiohead fans? The band should have been a one-and-done. If "Creep" had been their only thing, I'd say they were among the great one-hit wonders of the '90s. Even "The Bends" has some good songs on it. But starting with "OK Computer," Radiohead's studied noncommercialism got more and more contrived. And almost 20 years later, "Kid A" is still the platonic ideal of the musical emperor's new clothes. — Darren Barlow.
Bob Dylan Is Overrated
It's not hard to find people who hate Bob Dylan. They're everywhere. Know why? 'Cause Bob Dylan sucks. And most people know it. His voice is an atrocity and everyone agrees. But snobby Dylan lovers shout down the right-thinking Dylan haters. They say his awful voice is offset by his songwriting and lyrics. But here's the dirty secret Dylan fans can't admit. His lyrics are actually 100 percent shallow, pseudopoetic garbage. They're impenetrable for impenetrable's sake, i.e., catnip to music critics. — Kirk Adams.
Nirvana Is Overrated
A wise man once described "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as "an embarrassment" that was "trying to rip off the Pixies." He said Nirvana stole the Pixies' "sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard." That man was Kurt Cobain. Cobain was always a better music critic than an artist. He had great taste, so he knew who to copy. But he didn't have talent or any original ideas. Even Nirvana's most worthy songs are at best clumsy versions of records by better bands. — Heather Gorham.
Queen Is Overrated
The top 10 worst songs of all time are Queen songs. I haven't ranked them, but I'm sure all 10 are songs by Queen. And I'm sure "Don't Stop Me Now" is No. 1. Queen represents everything that almost destroyed rock in the '70s. The wimpy pomposity. The cheesy arena anthems. The operatic posturing. Yet Queen didn't even have the courage of their convictions to go full-bore prog. It all boils down to a simple truth: No band that purported to "rock you" ever rocked less than Queen. — Maggie Ellery.
Kendrick Lamar Is Overrated
Ask someone who likes Kendrick Lamar why he's great. First thing they'll say is something about how deep his lyrics are. Which is a bulls--- answer. Only pretentious chode bros say they listen to music for the intelligence of the artist. Besides, there are legions of rappers with lyrics as good and hooks way better than Kendrick's. And their voices aren't as terrible or their flows as mediocre as his are. When we debate the GOAT in 10 or 15 years, Kendrick Lamar won't even be part of the conversation. — Pete Aldrich.
Weezer Is Overrated
Is there a band that fell as far from grace as Weezer? Their debut was an instant classic and "Pinkerton" was a great follow-up. But Rivers Cuomo was such a baby about the tepid reaction (at the time) to "Pinkerton" that he quit trying. And after Matt Sharp left, fans realized he'd always been the true heart of the band. Weezer's output over the last 20 years is so god-awful that it colors the early albums in hindsight. Now you look at the "Blue Album" like, "Wait a minute. Has this sucked all along?" — T.K. Butterfield.
Vampire Weekend Is Overrated
Not like they're the first Pitchfork-christened indie drips to drive hipsters to ecstasy. Which should be warning enough. But Vampire Weekend are the kings of, well, I've heard it called "Ivy League rock." But that implies they approach "rock." No. Their music sounds like what it is: for rich white guys with no balls, by rich white guys with no balls. Ironic name, though, for the most toothless band of the 21st century. How much you wanna bet their parents paid for all their gear? — Amy Hopkins-Peck.
Beyonce Is Overrated
Has a pop star ever been as contrived and calculated and packaged to within an inch of her life as much as Beyonce has since she was old enough to sing riffs and runs? Nothing about how Beyonce looks, sings, dances or sells herself feels the least bit authentic. I bet she focus-groups how she gets up in the morning and takes a s---. Which is all a roundabout way of saying Beyonce sucks because Beyonce is corporate and boring. Of course she's popular, she has no edges. — Allison Wiley.
U2 Is Overrated
Choosing U2 as the most overrated band feels like a wasted pick. Because there are so many people who agree with me, it's not that hot a take. But somehow they're still one of the biggest bands on the planet, so f--- it. I can't stress enough how much I hate every second of U2's music. I hate their early post-punk trend chasing. I hate their by-the-numbers anthems. U2 is the epitome of bands that exist only to be popular. There's no artistry or conviction behind a single smug note. — Chad Weldin.
The Rolling Stones Are Overrated
Rock and roll is a young person's game. Nobody proves that better than these wrinkled potatoes. The Rolling Stones haven't recorded a listenable album since 1981, swear to God. That means they had less than 20 years of a decent run. But after almost 60 years, they still charge people hundreds to watch them trot out "Gimme Shelter." Give me shelter from these overrated fossils. "Start Me Up"? Try shutting it down. "Waiting on a Friend"? More like waiting for them to end. — Julie K. Bressler.
Drake Is Overrated
I f---ing hate Drake. When Drake first started bubbling up, other hip-hop fans agreed with me. He couldn't sing, he couldn't rap, he was a clown. But Drake stayed having hits and I had to watch everyone succumb to his omnipresence. It was like they all shrugged and said, "I guess I like Drake now." But he still sucks as much as he ever did. And here I am, alone in the world like Donald Sutherland in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Swimming against the tide of Drake-fan pod people. — Jacqueline Browning.
Kiss Is Overrated
Let's be clear about something. No one actually thinks Kiss is good. Not even their fans. They'll never admit it, but even for the most ardent Kiss followers, their fandom has nothing to do with music. Kiss is a band tween boys dug in the '70s because they looked like comic-book superheroes. Then those kids became adult man-babies who couldn't let go of their toxic nostalgia. But make no mistake: They've been pretending for 40 years that "Calling Dr. Love" (or whatever) isn't lame as f---. — Jarobi Dorr.
LCD Soundsystem Is Overrated
I was so happy when LCD Soundsystem broke up. Then that pile of mayonnaise James Murphy got the band back together. And they started making flabby elevator music for bland hipsters again. LCD Soundsystem's music is as boring and meaningless as their name. Ever wonder why people hate hipsters? Listen to this Pitchfork-prescribed s--- and you'll understand. It's hipsterism itself distilled to its essential oil. OK, that's a weird metaphor because oil isn't sound. But you get the point. — Andrew Merrow.
Bob Marley Is Overrated
Bob Marley might be good. Is he good? I can't tell anymore. I don't know. It's impossible to separate the man or his music from his reputation. Not the one he used to have as a ground breaker and revolutionary political activist. I mean how his music is a favorite of college guys spinning "Legend" nonstop after they try weed for the first time. I'm sure Bob Marley's music had life in it once. But it's been too well wrung out by losers over the years, and I can't listen to it anymore. — Anthony Heathman.
Foo Fighters Are Overrated
Dave Grohl seems like a good person and I liked "Sound City" a lot. But Foo Fighters is embarrassing. Not only because they're terrible, which, there are plenty of bad bands. But because so many people who should know better seem to like them. Even the first two albums, which people defend, are such zeroes. And on top of it all, of course, Grohl came from one of the greatest bands of all time. To follow Nirvana with decades of mediocre stadium dreck is so, so disappointing. — Kat Hutchinson-Hill.
Run the Jewels Is Overrated
Killer Mike is the worst rapper in the game. Except for El-P, who looks (and kinda sounds) like Macklemore and that guy from LCD Soundsystem had a baby. Whenever I talk about hip-hop with people who love hip-hop, Run the Jewels is never in the conversation. Do you know who I usually hear talking about Run the Jewels? Sweaty nerds who play video games and watch a lot of "Rick and Morty." And other hipsters who read Pitchfork but don't listen to hip-hop. — Ray Coddington.
Neutral Milk Hotel Is Overrated
More than one friend with otherwise good taste has held up "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" as a favorite album. And I no longer trust those friends all the way. The main reason why I don't like Neutral Milk Hotel is because they're bad. But one can argue the greater sin is the generation of copycats that aped Jeff Mangum. Without Neutral Milk Hotel, we wouldn't have the Decemberists. Or the Mountain Goats. Or other dull bands for dull pseudointellectuals whose ears don't work. — Alex Burnside.
Adele Is Overrated
Lord save me from belters. If you're the type of person who thinks going over the top equals emotional power, guess what: You're stupid. Does it make you emotional when you hear Adele's nails-on-a-chalkboard yowling? When she screams at you from the speakers in your SUV? You're dumb. If you think Adele is good, you're too dense for nuance. Adele will never impress anyone with restraint or subtlety. Because she lacks those qualities. And her fans lack the ability to detect them. — Jennifer Garrahy.
Eminem Is Overrated
Don't get me started about white people falling over themselves to say he's the greatest of all time. Please. First of all, the albums that launched Eminem's career have aged like hot piss. Even if you liked them in 2000, when was the last time you listened to them? And be honest. Tell me it wouldn't humiliate you to play "The Real Slim Shady" at a party. And that BET "freestyle" a couple years ago was a total embarrassment. I've seen high-school slam poets with better flow and sicker burns. — Kevin Tart.