The Musical Basket of Deplorables

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In the music industry, it is inevitable that some artists and groups will receive incessant criticism, whether it be due to their insufferable sound, lack of authenticity, or poor character of the frontman. This list of utterly atrocious musical acts encompasses all modern genres, including rock, pop, rap, EDM, rap, hip hop. While some artists simply produce poor music, there are some bands that create such an unbearable music that their general reputation is for being terrible. Below are three particular bands who have widespread negative reputations:



Bands like Nickelback, in spite of their horrific excuse for music, manage to sell millions of records and make millions of dollars. It seems paradoxical that Nickelback draws so much contempt and hatred, yet they are ranked number seven on Billboard’s “Artists of the Decade” list for the 2000s. While many would agree that commercial success equates to artistic success in the music industry, Nickelback certainly defies this theory. Chad Kroeger’s unsettlingly raspy voice coupled with generic guitar and bass lines combine to form an almost unlistenable noise. In fact, Canadian cops are now using Nickelback songs to punish drunk drivers.

An investigation into the public’s hatred for Nickelback showed that they lack “genuine self-expression” and their music is “forced and made for commercial reasons”. The general consensus is that Nickelback has focused too much on their marketability, completely ignoring creativity and artistic expression. While these are valid reasons to hate Nickelback, why don’t artists like Rihanna receive the same criticism? After all, Rihanna’s songs are no more artistically profound that those of Nickelback. Therefore, I believe that it is hypocritical to hate Nickelback for their lack of artistry but at the same time enjoy the vapid, bubblegum-style pop music of Rihanna and Selena Gomez. Nonetheless, the public holds Nickelback to a much higher standard than Rihanna, and they disregard the lack of creativity in Rihanna’s songs. This, I believe, is owed to the fact that rock music is expected to be more genuine and expressive because members of rock bands are actual musicians who have talent in a specific instrument. Many pop artists, on the other hand, are popular for their showmanship and their cheap, catchy, and marketable sound.

Think about it: the most popular bands of the 1990s and 2000s almost always wrote their own music and had a unique style and sound. Nirvana specialized in angst, the Red Hot Chili Peppers mixed funk with rock, Coldplay had a modern, alternative sound, and Pearl Jam essentially created mainstream grunge. Nickelback cannot be described as simply as the aforementioned bands; instead they borrow bits and pieces from other bands to a point where musicality and uniqueness dissolves.



Creed is another band that comes to mind when discussing the worst bands of all time. Their sound is less harsh and punishing than that of Nickelback, but they employ a similar copycat strategy. However, instead of stealing sounds from all sorts of bands, Creed seems to focus just on imitating Pearl Jam. Primarily, Scott Stapp’s voice is nearly identical to Eddie Vedder’s, but the former’s is not nearly as authentic. The only positive thing about Creed is their lead guitarist, Mark Tremonti, who is a talented musician stuck in an awful band.

In order to mask their generic sound, Creed attempts to add meaning to their songs by including religious references. What results, however, is vapid, faux-spiritual lyrics that do not even come close to emulating the profound messages found in Pearl Jam’s songs.

Another difference with Nickelback is that Creed’s songs are bearable, or even pleasant to listen to at the beginning. However, “Higher” or “With Arms Wide Open” can become annoying after a few listens. Nickelback, on the contrary, is instantaneously insufferable: It is painful to sit through four minutes of “Photograph” or “She Keeps Me Up” even once.


Dave Matthews Band:

Personally, I am a Dave Matthews Band fan. I enjoy most of their music, and I believe that they are artistically creative and authentic. However, a large swath of people would disagree. They appear on countless  “Worst Bands of all time” or “Most Hated Bands in the world” lists. Unlike Creed or Nickelback, the disdain for DMB derives not from a lack of authenticity or egregious sound. Instead, the fans of Dave Matthews Band are what makes the band despised by so many. The DMB scene is very cultish, consisting of privileged partiers who believe that anyone who doesn’t share their love for Dave Matthews Band has a problem. Like the fans of other jam bands like Phish and Grateful Dead, DMB fans’ fierce devotion to their music irks everyone around them.

In a conversation with someone who was raised during Dave Matthews Band’s heyday, I was told that many people’s scorn for DMB came not from their music, but instead it came from the incessant playing of “Crash into Me” on MTV. As someone who did grow up during Dave Matthews Band’s rise to fame, I did not have to grow weary of hearing DMB’s songs constantly being played on the radio and MTV. Therefore, I can listen to DMB without any of the baggage that millennials have to deal with.


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About the author

Matt Walsh is a V Form day student from Southborough, Massachusetts. He is a member of the Model U.N. club, edits for LEO, leads Openly Secular, plays trumpet, and works on the Lion Term Leadership Committee. Matt is a hot sauce connoisseur, and he loves Tabasco. In his free time, he enjoys sailing, skiing, and playing with his dog, Portia. He plays baseball and runs cross country, and his academic interests include chemistry, biology, Spanish, and government.

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