Readers Poll: Who Is the Most Overrated Artist in Rock History?

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The concept of "overrated" and "underrated" has always confused me. There are groups that are critically lauded, yet got little commercial love, like The Band. And then there are groups that were almost universally reviled by critics, like Journey, who consistently managed to sell out shows, sell millions of albums and continue to kick ass on the karaoke circuit.

What defines "overrated" and "underrated," anyway? If critics and fans adore you and a loud minority hasn't drunk the Kool-Aid, does that mean you're overrated? If you sound like someone farting into a tin can and only the cool kids like you, are you then underrated? Can you be both these things at the same time? Mom, are we there yet?

I think that Bon Iver is overrated because I don't think that Justin Vernon's project is as earth-shaking as everyone else in my line of work perceives it as being. I still listen to For Emma, Forever Ago on occasion, so I obviously don't totally hate him, er, them. I also think that Arctic Monkeys are extremely underrated, and many disagree, so the adventure begins again.

In the middle area there are two subheadings: Groups that are rated just as they should be, whose influence and popularity are not in dispute, and they just sort of sit there, like the Beatles or Nirvana. Few people will say they straight-up hate either of those two, and when they do, they give you one-note reasons why.

And then there are the groups that you either love or hate with your entire being, like the Smiths, U2 or Metallica. And that is where we find ourselves today with this readers poll. Who is the most overrated artist in rock history?

Brace yourselves, U2 and Pink Floyd fans. It might get frightening.


Lots of bands feature the technical meedly-mee on guitar and even the excited thunga-wunga on bass. Only Rush (and millions of bands who never made it anywhere) also feature a male harpy screeching songs about Tom Sawyer or a war amongst the goddamned trees. -- Tim


I think the sound they developed to distinguish themselves from other rock bands really worked for them originally, but they have released so few genuinely interesting songs over such a long career that I really think their massive popularity is mostly just a result of them having the right sound at the right time.

I don't think they're a bad band by any means, I just think they're pretty average songwriters and musicians who came up with an aesthetic that was appealing (and pretty ahead of its time) and never really went to a very artistically interesting place with it.

They have obviously been really influential, but again, I think it's mostly their aesthetic and not their songwriting ability that has had an impact on modern bands like Coldplay (although those dudes are following in U2's shoes by making a whole lot of uninspired albums after that first one, in my opinion). Bono is a pretty great singer though, and probably a great human or whatever. -- Kenny

I would have to go with everyone in U2 except The Edge. Bono for obvious reasons, and the rhythm section because they're pedestrian at best. Reverb and delay can only hide so much lack of talent. -- Colby

The Rolling Stones and Nirvana are the only two bands that should ever play football stadiums. -- Creg

Bonus: Bono

Seems like no one gave a shit about U2 as "songwriters" until they started hanging out with Nelson Mandela and dressing like Doctors Without Borders. I find trouble positing Bono as a savior of any type, so all the Jesus Christ poses and Masonic hand gestures in photos need to take they asses on. Best thing U2 ever did was let Johnny Cash cover them. -- Shelby

Bruce Springsteen

There is already one raspy singer, and his name is Bob Dylan. Seriously, his last single sounded as if he was reading off items on his grocery list. He's tired, defunct, and his songs are repetitive at best. -- Jason

Bob Dylan

I love him to death, but his ratio of good albums to mediocre or even terrible albums is way off. Everything between Blood On the Tracks and his late-'90s stuff is forgettable at best. He's also a shitty live act. -- Andy

Quick, name five Dylan songs without using Google. Average guitar player, horrible vocalist, and all-around grumpy dick. -- Eric


What exactly have they done in the past 20 years that's earned their more recent success? Release four shitty studio albums? Yet, radio stations still kiss their ass with the "Mandatory Metallica" BS though. -- Willie


Derivative at best, blatant thievery at worst. Generic "epic" rock played to the lowest common denominator. Fans more annoying than Dream Theater fans and if I hear one more Musetard compare them to King Crimson, Tool or even Dredg I may lose my shit. -- Josh

Pink Floyd

Everybody cums stupid sauce over the lamest band of all time.

"Welcome To The Machine " sounds like a whiny guy getting his itty-bitty testicle fried by a shitty laser beam. Everyone says to try listening to Dark Side Of The Moon while watching The Wizard of Oz.

I would rather listen to an album I like, such as Slayer's Seasons In the Abyss, while watching a movie I like, such as The Goonies. Or they say to try listening to their stuff with Syd Barrett. Fuck that tired old justification.

When a band has released albums for three decades and the majority of their songs suck, guess what, the band sucks. Hence, Pink Floyd sucks. -- Joe

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