When it comes to rock music, some bands are simply hyped beyond belief. Unfortunately, few major bands are able to live up to their own reputations. Here are just a few rock acts that have had their public images inflated for years.
1. 4 Non Blondes
When they released their hit single “What’s Up” in 1992, the band 4 Non Blondes were essentially unavoidable. Indeed, “What’s Up” was all over MTV and alternative radio for months. While the song is well-written, it was essentially a great example of how to pander to an audience looking for something edgy but palatable.
2. The Red Hot Chili Peppers
No one can deny that The Red Hot Chili Peppers are gifted musicians. But the band has been running on fumes since the early 1990s.
3. Modest Mouse
Perhaps the most hyped up indie band in history, Modest Mouse has been a one-trick pony since their 1990s heyday. That hasn’t stopped critics from singing their praises to the skies.
4. The Eagles
Riding the tails of the hippy ethos into the cynical 1970s, The Eagles were one of the biggest acts of their time. They were also one of the most cold and calculating bands to ever emerge from LA’s notoriously competitive music scene.
5. The Dave Matthews Band
It can’t be denied that The Dave Matthews Band is composed of great musicians. But the band’s leader is arrogant to a fault: Had he reined in his more bombastic and sentimental impulses, Matthews might have been one of his generation’s best songwriters.
6. The Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead certainly knew how to create their own genre of music; the success of jam bands like Phish are a testament to that. But the band’s sloppiness and lack of quality control made many of their performances a total mess.
7. The Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas certainly have a knack for writing hit songs. But their music seriously lacks intellectual depth and rigor.
8. The Fray
The Fray gained popularity on the strength of their truly overblown music. Indeed, the band took the concept of bathos to another level altogether. Had they dialed it back a bit, The Fray might have made a real impact on pop music. Instead, they ended up being a one-hit wonder.
9. Arcade Fire
Bombastic to their core, Arcade Fire appealed to critics but not to a mass audience. It’s easy to see why: To this day, the band is unbelievably arrogant. Given their not inconsiderable level of talent, a bit of modesty could have shaped Arcade Fire’s albums into something truly special.
10. 30 Seconds to Mars
At base, 30 Seconds to Mars is Jared Leto’s vanity musical project.
11. Linkin Park
A talented band to be sure, Linkin Park also produced some of the most overblown music ever committed to tape. Many of their songs are the musical equivalent of an emotional tantrum.
12. Maroon 5
It is bewildering that Maroon 5 has achieved so many kudos over the last two decades. They appear to have been designed by an advertising firm.
13. Hollywood Vampires
Johnny Depp is a great actor; however, he is a mediocre musician. His vanity musical project Hollywood Vampires shows that.
14. Daft Punk
Take away their samples of other musicians, and you’re left with a few interesting backing tracks. Daft Punk are truly one of the most overrated groups of all time.
15. The Pixies
Too esoteric for popular tastes, The Pixies nonetheless captured critics’ hearts back in the 1980s. Sadly, the band never lived up to their hype.
16. Talking Heads
Critical darlings from the outset, Talking Heads were nonetheless one of the most shallow bands to ever emerge from the 1970s CBGB scene.
If there was ever a band in love with their own sound, Wilco was it. They’re also a band whose critical reputation far outreaches their actual musical accomplishments.
A decade ago, Salem was hyped beyond belief by the Pitchfork music review site. The band seemed to implode under the weight of their own hype.
19. My Bloody Valentine
Certainly, MBV is a very good band. But to hear music critics tell it, My Bloody Valentine is one of the greatest bands of all time. It simply isn’t true.
Throughout the 1990s, Pavement coasted to indie rock stardom on an undeserved wave of critical kudos. The band has never managed to live up to their own hype.
21. Animal Collective
Once touted by the Pitchfork music website as the next big thing in music, Animal Collective never achieved anything close to cultural significance.
Praised to the skies by critics, R.E.M. never really had the songwriting skills of truly great bands like The Beatles.
Always ready to pander to their audience, Blondie was one of the most overrated acts to emerge from the New York New Wave scene.
24. Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes were another band who never lived up to the hype that Pitchfork showered on them.
25. The Beastie Boys
Astonishingly mediocre as rappers, The Beastie Boys coasted on pure hype for decades.