25. Imagine Dragons
I think the problem with Imagine Dragons is that all of their songs sound the same. Okay, so they don’t sound identical, but there’s a certain commonality among all of them that comes across as monotonous. They always seem to be singing some overwrought lyrics with apocalyptic or sinister supernatural overtones. It all comes across as a schtick that gets old really quickly. But, God bless ‘em — they’re making a ton of money with this musical formula. Maybe one day Imagine Dragons will release a song that appeals to me. But I’m not holding my breath.
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24. Maroon 5
We’ve talked about one-hit wonders before. I like to think of Maroon 5 as a one-album wonder. Their debut album, Songs About Jane, was a terrific pop-rock outing. However, everything they’ve done since has been banal ultra-pop. The promise of Maroon 5’s first album has given way to a bunch of boring songs — usually in Adam Levine’s falsetto — that all sound the same. To be totally honest, I think the success of Maroon 5 rests largely in Levine’s appeal as eye candy. After all, we all saw the reaction to the band’s Super Bowl halftime performance.
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23. Creedence Clearwater Revival
There are some bands that you just kind of don’t like, and there are bands that you absolutely cannot stand. Creedence Clearwater Revival falls on the extreme end of the second category for me. Let’s start with the obvious: John Fogerty’s horrific screech of a voice. For the life of me, I can’t see how anyone thinks this guy has a great voice. Then there’s their barely disguised anti-war politics that they seemed to slip into nearly every song of theirs. The biggest problem I have with CCR and their fans is that people try to lump them into the Southern Rock genre. They were from California. On countless occasions, Fogerty tried to fool us singing about riverboats and the bayou.
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22. The Rolling Stones
We love to joke about Keith Richards surviving the apocalypse and outliving basically every other peer he has. But are they getting more credit than they actually deserve? I think so. They didn’t reinvent or redefine anything. While The Rolling Stones did have their moment when they were at the top of their game, I believe it’s high time to give it a rest. These dudes are above 70 years old and still performing. Seriously, they should be at home watching TV or jamming with their grandkids. I can think of more than five other classic rock bands who can blow them out of the water easily. The Rolling Stones had phenomenal songs, but they’re not among the greats as they were portrayed to be. Others still think otherwise.
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21. Red Hot Chili Peppers
When you think of the greatest classic rock bands to ever walk the Earth, Red Hot Chili Peppers wouldn’t even cross your mind. For the record, they’re not exactly horrible — but their songs are mediocre at best. They’re fun to listen to, but that’s all there is to it. Some grunge, some funk. They stuck to the same sound for years and it eventually got boring. To be fair, they were pretty great at the beginning. Blood Sugar Sex Magik was good thanks to John Frusciante. Still, they get way more fame and acclaim than they actually deserve.
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20. Dave Matthews Band
Ugh. Dave Matthews Band garnered a strong cult following from a specific type of person. You know, the guy who loves wearing plaid button-down shirts and boat shoes year-round. Dave Matthews might be a gifted musician, but his music sounds highly unoriginal (not to mention boring). It’s the type of music that you wouldn’t notice playing in the background — though still appreciated because it prevented the environment from being utterly silent. That’s where it serves its purpose best.
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Let’s get one thing straight: I freaking love Radiohead. They are easily one of my top-five favorite bands of all-time. With that said, I feel like people on the internet are far too quick to praise anything they’ve done. They’re a genius band, but I think they just get a bit too much hype — especially when it comes to an album like Amnesiac. Everyone seems to love it even though it’s just Kid A’s b-side.
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It pains me to do this because I still love the band, but this needs to be said. Queen, from my opinion, is the most overrated band ever. Is Freddie Mercury the greatest frontman ever? Maybe — even probably. Is Bohemian Rhapsody one of the greatest songs ever made? Yeah. In my opinion though, Queen never released a full album that floored me compared to the likes of The Beatles or Pink Floyd. Queen undoubtedly has great songs, but I feel like so many people consider them to be the greatest band ever, when they’re not. Not even close. Their albums honestly can be pretty uneven. They’re legendary, but not as legendary as some people think.
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Talk about a commercialized band leaning on merchandise sales and the strength of roughly three songs. AC/DC is certainly one of those polarizing groups. You either love Brian Johnson’s unique voice, or you can’t stand it. From a quality standpoint, these songs were not poignant nor clever. Once you get past the lack of nuance, you’re left with clumsy screaming and over-the-top instrumentals.
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“I will try to fix you.”
Man, I hate Coldplay. The more you listen to this one damn song, the more repulsive it gets. Now, there’s people who adore the band. I get that. They connect with the songs in swirls of emotions tethered on by the seemingly omnipresent voice of Chris Martin. He’s an annoyingly likable dude who unfortunately strayed off the path of musical righteousness and instead became a figurehead of musical landscape’s dullest corners. The more the band tries to branch out, the more chaotic and tacky their music gets. However, the stuff they did when their music was stripped down was actually not half bad. They’re decent musicians, and can probably kick it to something fresh if they wanted to. Instead, they employ entire orchestras and horn sections for songs invoking the same old schtick over and over again.
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Nirvana was a premier band during the emerging grunge era in Seattle during the 1990’s. Frontman Kurt Cobain led the group (until his sad death later that decade). Nirvana is one of those bands that needs to stay in the ’90’s. The music didn’t age well — primarily because you know exactly which decade it came from. There wasn’t a sense of invention or creativity. To make things worse, people still work Nirvana apparel today unironically without even being alive to listen to the band during its prime.
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14. Bon Iver
Bon Iver is one of those bands that quickly garnered a groundswell of popularity from the off-beat crowd. It was a cool thing to like Bon Iver when they were relatively anonymous. When the band blew up, it was immensely uncool to still have an affinity for them. It’s certainly an acquired taste, with Justin Vernon’s meek voice accompanying pedestrian guitar playing.
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13. The Eagles
The Eagles are firmly embedded into the fabric of rock and roll within the country. You won’t hear over-the-top riffs or screaming vocals. While we respect the band for what its accomplished, the overall sound isn’t anything to write home about. The overall tone of the band is quite repetitive to the point where it sort of all meshes together into one singular sound. A respected band? Sure. A great one? Well, that’s up for debate.
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Okay, okay…Journey definitely has some hits. You’ve probably been inebriated a time or two at a bar while “Don’t Stop Believing” blares from the speakers (which also signals ‘last call’ at most spots). While Steve Perry certainly has a great voice, the band itself was not adventurous in the slightest. Not every song needs to be constructed in a way which catered to large groups of people belting it incessantly. The lack of diversity in regards to their albums really hurts their legacy.
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Aerosmith is not, and has never been, a metal band. They were at most a hard rock band. By the ’90’s, they had transitioned to pop rock — focusing instead on singing pop love songs with decent guitar riffs. Aerosmith had a few groundbreaking albums in the ’70’s, and a couple of decent ones in the ’80’s. But by the time Get a Grip came out, they had started writing formulaic, radio, and pop-friendly dribble. When Aerosmith started selling out concerts and selling millions of albums, they stuck with the formula.
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Like most bands, Metallica had their hits and misses. But to treat them like they’re the best thing metal has to offer is just ridiculous. They’re not bad or untalented; They’re simply overhyped — and it’s not always their fault. Both radio stations and other media can be blamed for playing average songs too much. I actually like Metallica with their awesome riffs and catchy tunes. While they’re not the MOST OVERRATED rock group, they are still surely up there. Musically, they were above-average — but definitely not as untouchable as others make them seem.
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9. Green Day
Punk has been a vital part of the landscape of rock for at least four decades. Imagine a world without the Ramones or the Sex Pistols? It would be a lot less interesting, wouldn’t it? There’s a subset of the punk genre that’s not worth listening to. Call it pop-punk, for lack of better terminology. The flagship band of this lame, watered down take on punk is Green Day. For starters, there’s Billie Joe Armstrong’s voice — the punk equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. And the fake accent? I can’t tell if he’s trying to mimic a British frontman or if he’s just aiming for something totally annoying. It seems like everything they try to write is supposed to be some kind of statement. However, it’s really nothing more than reactionary liberalism. An entire album slamming the majority of Americans in the Bush era? So brave, guys.
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8. Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi songs all sound the same. There, I said it. Richie Sambora is a great guitarist and their tracks are generally enjoyable. However, they found a formula that worked for them — and as such didn’t find any reason to stray from it. No reinvention, experimentation, or innovation. “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ On A Prayer” are decent tunes. Despite that, they are too commercialized. It’s as if every classic rock radio station has to play one of their songs at least once every hour. They weren’t keen on taking risks and experimenting — two things common for those who wanted to do “art” instead of just focusing on selling records.
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Apart from their messy breakup, the Gallagher brothers are just way too loud and vulgar. Some people know more about their feuds than their songs (which is kind of sad). Yes, they can play instruments and write their own songs (can’t say the same thing about other groups). At the end of the day, they are overrated and overhyped. They had good tracks, but are just so full of themselves. They had big claims, but nothing to back those up. It also didn’t help that they weren’t the nicest guys, either.
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Okay, I can hear your collective groan all the way from here. Before you start throwing stuff at your screen, hear us out first. Like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Genesis’ earlier stuff was amazing. Phil Collins’ drumming is equally impressive. We have plenty of favorite songs during the Peter Gabriel era. Even after his departure, they still managed to release some great tracks. Maybe my issue here is there are those who call Genesis the greatest rock band of all-time. In my humble opinion, this assertion is just absurd. There are enjoyable tracks post-Gabriel, and perhaps they wouldn’t be on this list if fans stopped hailing them as the best thing since sliced bread.
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U2 was creative and imaginative — which reflected on how amazing their concerts were. Bono, with all the hatred hurtled at him, has some serious pipes. So, what’s the problem? They had some solid tunes, but they also had mediocre tracks which received major air plays. They had maybe two or three stellar albums — but that doesn’t even put U2 in the same league as other GREATER rock acts. There were those who thought they were the next Led Zeppelin or The Who, but we beg to disagree. While U2 isn’t bad, they’re not the greatest either. They were a tour de force in the ‘80’s, but even at the height of their career, they’re still incomparable to maybe about 10 other better classic rock artists.
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If you’re surprised that KISS is the one of the most overrated bands ever, then you haven’t been paying close attention. Although to be fair, the band never made it a secret or pretended they wanted anything other than making big bucks. Gene Simmons will do anything for easy money. It doesn’t matter if it’s selling coffins or delivering mediocre records on your front door. They have a handful of good tunes, but they were more hype and gimmick. Being a sellout is the surefire way to be hated. However, KISS embraced it fully. There are a few standouts in their catalog and maybe even some classics, but there’s nothing awe-inspiring or even innovative about them.
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3. The Doors
One of the things I remember about middle and high school was that a few of the artsy, pretentious kids around me discovered The Doors. You would’ve thought that they had discovered some poetic genius. Instead, they found a band whose lead singer possessed enough artsy pretension to make these kids look like rank amateurs. I’ll give The Doors props for having terrific musicianship. Ray Manzarek could play some keys. Despite that, Jim Morrison was so obsessed with his own cleverness that most of the band’s output comes across as silly and ridiculous today. The worst thing about Morrison is that he doesn’t sound like a rock star. Instead, his vocals put forth the image of a smarmy lounge singer. I can’t help but imagine that he would be doing a lounge act in Vegas if he were alive today.
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2. Motley Crue
The fact is, Motley Crue had a few good songs. The rest were nothing but fillers. This is why I don’t understand why some consider them as the best hair metal band. They fall under the “bands that are okay” category, so it’d be great if fans don’t act like Motley Crue is the most outstanding rock act to emerge from the ‘80’s. Their music is entertaining and fun, but definitely not the kind to blow you away with its sheer awesomeness. Even Nikki Sixx knows somewhere in their catalogue are a bunch of crappy songs. As individual musicians, they may not be the crème de la crème but they still managed to make it work. They have classics and all things considered, they’re still getting way too much credit.
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1. Guns N’ Roses
Maybe their appeal lies in how unapologetic they were. Aside from Axl Rose’s random rants, their concerts had that raw and primal energy (even if they sang songs which aren’t even too great to begin with). Axl Rose had an impressive range, and Appetite for Destruction was stellar. However, it went downhill from there. In terms of technical skill, Slash isn’t the best guitarist either. They’re not an awful band — but to say that they changed the hard rock game is a bit of a stretch. “Welcome To The Jungle” will always be a favorite, but let’s all be honest: They were hyped up so their big bosses could pocket more bucks. They didn’t single-handedly redefine rock, they were so far from that.
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