Reviler Most Overrated of 2010
Nothing is more annoying that a band you just don’t like getting lavished with praise from critics. Each year there are those bands who you just don’t understand how anyone, let alone tens of thousands of people, get all googly eyed over. Below are lists from Reviler writers of the bands this year who fall into this category, the groups who got lots of love this year who we just didn’t understand why.
Jon Behm (Reviler)
1. Mumford and Sons
I don’t by any means hate this band but I also don’t see how they inspire such fervent admirers. They just seem so average and mediocre in every way imaginable.
2. Katy Perry
Can we please agree to burn the last copy of “California Girls” and then never speak of it again?
3. Local Natives
Still haven’t figured out exactly what it is that people seem to like so much about this band?
4. Owen Pallet
I’ll admit that Pallet is a tremendously talented musician but this year I had to come to terms with the fact that no matter how I try, his sound does nothing for me.
5. Wavves – King of the Beach
Give me Ty Segall over Nathan Williams any day of the week.
1. Local Natives
Boring Yuppie Music
2. The Morning Benders
Boring Yuppie Music
3. Mumford and Sons
Boring Yuppie Music
4. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Boring Yuppie Music
5. Kings of Leon
Boring Yuppie Music
Ali Elabbady (Background Noise Crew, Egypto Knuckles)
1. Mumford & Sons
The Fall’s Mark Smith called them “ass lickers.” And after hearing them, I don’t see much a reason to disagree.
2. Florence & The Machine
VMA Hype way overblown here.
3. Taylor Swift
Sure, Kanye interrupted her. But prove how he wasn’t right on the numerous rants he’s made. Taylor played herself.
4. Anything with relation to American Idol
It’s a cancer of a show and the talent is equally as terrible. I don’t really give a crap about the judges or their changes either. It’s all awful.
5. Dancing With the Stars
See #4 cause it all pretty much applies.
Jeremy Hovda (Reviler)
1. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Since by his own admission, he can’t sing, dance or play a musical instrument, we’re supposed to evaluate his “art” in terms of poetry. Pick a lyric at random. How about, “Now imma need you to kill the hypocrisy, this an aristocracy, I’m Socrates but my skin more chocolaty” . . . Not exactly Langston Hughes, is it? Beyond the style and the hype (the production of which is his real art) lies the void.
2. LCD Sound System – This is Happening
I wish it weren’t happening. This is the music I left Europe to escape.
3. MGMT – Congratulations
Perhaps I’m just experiencing Brooklyn-hipster fatigue, but I don’t get the appeal. Can someone explain it to me? (If you use the name “Syd Barrett,” I’m going to stop listening.)
2. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
These guys are capable of making great pop music, but for some reason they feel the need to wrap it in a fake California-religious-hippie, summer-of-love, packaging which makes the whole product come off as calculated and phony.
5. Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
I think that pigeon in St. Louis spoke for all of us.
John Grimley (Radio K, Green Shoelace)
1. Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
Okay, before you grab your pitchforks, hear me out. This album is damn good, but with the standards that Arcade Fire have set for themselves, I found myself wishing for more.
2. Broken Social Scene: Forgiveness Rock Record
Never could understand what the adoration was about. It felt subdued and disinterested.
3. Vampire Weekend: Contra
Still love the album, just expecting more from these indie-hit makers.
4. Best Coast: Crazy For You
Word of mouth wrote a check that the album just couldn’t cash.
5. School of Seven Bells: Disconnect From Desire
Their debut was so magical, it would be hard to live up to. This didn’t.
Writer / co-founder
Josh: that was great.
I know I didn’t volunteer to write on any of these lists this year, but off the top of my head, I’d throw out pretty much every rapper with any kind of buzz going right now. Wiz Khalifa, Currensy, Yelawolf, Asher, Big Sean, BOB, Fashawn, Blu, Grieves, JCole, Big KRIT, even the chosen one himself, Jay Electronica. Some locals too, but they’ll go unnamed.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re all talented. They’ve all dropped good songs. But none of them have grabbed me by the throat and demanded that I pay attention. Not yet anyway.
Again, I don’t want to take anything away from these artists. It’s more about the fans, who are so conditioned to accept mediocrity and so grateful for anything that’s even just a little bit good that they’ll lose their minds over artists who aren’t really doing anything new or that interesting. But that’s a whole ‘nother post.
“5. Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
I think that pigeon in St. Louis spoke for all of us.”
Thank you for making me spit my morning coffee all over my keyboard. It needed a coffee bath.
Nice lists guys. I couldn’t get my to my list in time but there were many similarities here: both Kanye West and Mumford. The National was also on my list – I just don’t see the appeal. I also agree with Kyle about the wave of new rappers – although I think j cole will turn heads with his debut record. Also a big wtf to all the indie bands who cashed a fat corporate check from a phone or car company in 2010. Props.
Yeah, I would agree on the National tip there as welll Matt. And I like the National a lot – just not this year’s album as much.
Also, if my list went any longer it would probably look pretty similar to John’s. Except for The Suburbs, which I liked.
I think it is kind of hilarious though that three of us threw Mumford in Sons on there without even comparing notes beforehand. So bland.
have you seen Mumford live Jon?
i agree the album is fairly blah, but of the 5x i’ve seen them since SXSW ’08, 3 of them were pretty fantastic. i was pretty bummed when the album came out eventually as it didn’t capture their live energy at all.
as for Local Natives, Josh/Jon, how about the song ‘Sun Hands’? that song kicks major ass, especially live. if they did more stuff like that, i’d love them.
and we’ll have to agree to disagree on High Violet, it’s in my top 3 on the year 😉
my list of most overrated acts of 2010 (i like a good chunk of these artists too, but still…)
1. Sleigh Bells (they may be fun as hell, but i still think they’re likely a flash in the pan. i love 3-4 songs on the album a lot, but i have a feeling their shelf life will be about the same as a loaf of bread. i guess we’ll see)
2. Best Coast / Wavves (and i’m saying this as a huge fan of both of their latest records. these two are the indie rock equivalent of Spencer & Heidi)
3. Robyn (kind of shocked this is the same chick from the late 90’s. i can understand some of the appeal, but not the crazed fandom i’ve encountered)
4. LCD Soundsystem (album has 4-5 killer songs, including one of my fave songs of the year, but isn’t nearly as solid on the whole as most critics are claiming)
5. Janelle Monae (cue Jon coming to my house to kill me… ;). again, very impressive debut full length, but i feel like she was overhyped a bit compared to her actual impact on the music scene overall. i guess we’ll see how she fares with her next record)
I think what you’re trying to say is that you like everything.
haha, nah. there’s plenty of records this year i didn’t like, but not too many that were hyped a ton either.
Ah man…I can’t believe all the hate for Best Coast and Wavves. I get that they were overhyped, but I love both those albums a lot. Both are in my top ten. Anyway, i’m stoked to witness the chillest tour ever when they come together in Feb. Which brings me to my next point…can I cover that show?
Thank you Jeremy, I’ve been trying to say that Kanye’s rhymes aren’t anything spectacular for a long time.
eh, of everything everyone listed Kanye is the only thing I liked.
Then again, I’ve avoided almost anything mentioned.
amusing that 3 of the ones mentioned most (Mumford & Sons, Local Natives, & Edward Sharpe), all of those albums actually came out in 2009.
Kyle, I haven’t heard M & Sons live but based on their studio stuff, I just don’t see how it could be all that better in a live setting. There must be some reason their shows sell out in milliseconds, but I am not sure I want to find out what it is.
You just put Janelle Monae on your list to spite me, didn’t you? 😉
Sarah -at least in my case I am not talking about any specific album. Local Natives toured relentlessly here this year, and Mumford and Sons somehow managed to sell lots of tickets and get lots of airplay.
I have a feeling we won’t hear from Edward Sharpe again until he has formed a new band though – the guy sheds identities like a hitman
it is articles like this that make me proud to be a part of such an upstanding publication.
I have to agree with Solace on Wavves, Best Coast and Sleigh Bells. All three provide a nice sugary treat, but great bands they are not.
I think Jon mistakenly put Owen Pallet on the wrong list. Shouldn’t he be on “Most UNDERrated”?
Re: Owen Pallet—-Reviler Civil War?
Re: M&S, Local Natives and ED & MZ—-my biggest gripe is their constant soundtracking to the gentrification of 89.3 the Current, who seem to be hell bent on becoming Drive 105. I am waiting for the next Dave Matthews or Phish CD and expect them to play the hell out of it a la new Kings of Leon. Not that they are excessively horrible bands (more boring/bland), just that the adoration (all had sold out shows) seems misplaced and unwarranted. So much good music out there, why the love for medicore bands?
i guess that kinda confirms what i’d initially thought, that a good chunk of this list could have also been entitled “Bands the Current plays the shit out of that i don’t like” ;).
do you honestly listen to the station that much? i don’t really, therefore I guess i don’t really care too much what they overplay (although I do hate the hell out of a lot of the new Ray LaMontagne from the few songs i’ve heard played on repeat, and i like his first record).
also, not to defend them necessarily, but they do base a lot of their playlist (esp. the bands/songs they play a lot) on audience requests, for example, see their Chart show results.
Point #1- I could have put the Current as my #1-#5, but that would feel like a cop out. They do play some good music, although less than I wish and shrinking daily. The thing with overrated is that it isn’t even necessarily the bands fault, but I don’t really care where they get over hyped from, they just do. When family and friends who think Animal Collective is a Discovery Channel show start repping a band, you know they have penetrated the masses. My problem is that when you play mega sold out shows and get your music spun ad nauseam, you should have something tangible to offer. I think all five bands on my list are super run of the mill. If they played to 50 people in the Entry it wouldn’t seem so outlandish, but when they are getting more attention than really great bands, it is where I start to consider them overrated. Like all lists, it is super subjective. I know a lot of people who think Ariel Pink is “overrated” because they don’t get him and can’t believe anyone likes him, but in the grand scheme of things his popularity is miniscule compared to the bands above who pack venues each time they come to town.
Point #2- “basing playlists on request” Give me a fucking break. Like people intuitively like songs before they hear them? I am sure people were thinking “hey, that Kings of Leon song I have never heard, I hope they play it endlessly.” Just like 93X plays the shit out of the new Green Day (or whoever) and KDWB plays the shit out of the Black Eyes Peas (or whoever), people get inundated with hearing a certain song and it gets in their head and then they “like” it. I’m not saying their isn’t some semblance of organic appreciation, but a good portion of Current listeners are like casual music fans of any stripe…they hear something once every 90 minutes, it gets in their head, they go to target or itunes to buy the cd and then it becomes their new favorite (then they go to First Ave to catch the show and get drunk and talk and take pictures for their profile pic through every song but the “hit”). It is a cyclical process that for the most part is pre-determined, so I don’t think they get a free pass for “following the masses” based on their chart show. The fact that the bands they push and people latch onto are mostly boring generic folk-pop music shouldn’t be a surprise, as the Current has become a commercial radio station (for upper middle class white people) like all the others, just without the ads. People look to the current for what is cool (within the realm and possibility of what they think is “cool”) and the current projects back to them a sound within reason. They have admitted to tightening playlists to rope in more people, which is a easy transition than to chart shows which then reinforce that they are playing what “people want,” even if they “want” it because it has been shoved down their throats. My biggest beef is with that power comes the ability to really shine a light on bands that are a little different or are underexposed, but more and more they seem content on the status quo and becoming a (slightly) cooler Cities 97/Drive 105.
Josh I couldn’t agree more with your opinion about The Current illustrated in your point2. Especially the part about buying the album (in reality they probably just grab “the hits” they hear on the radio) and going to the big sold show at first ave. I think all of the bands on you list fit into that notion. Mumford and Ed Sharpe more than any others in the twin cities based solely on the delirious hysteria that follows them locally. Its unwarrented and annoying.
i see what you’re saying, and not saying i disagree in theory, but i can tell you from personal knowledge that not everything that gets “overplayed” on The Current is simply from them pushing it, and a good case is Home by Edward Sharpe. i know for a fact that a lot of people who work for The Current were sick and tired of that song but it got a ton of play due to the number of requests it was getting. Vs. Mumford & Sons whom a good chunk of the Current folks actually do like a lot.
but I will also ask, what about say Phoenix last year? They were played a TON on The Current, had 2 sold out shows (and another one this year). do they not fall into your criteria because you like them (and like me, liked them prior to The Current even existing)?
the reason i ask is, like i said, i had seen Mumford & Sons live 3x before they even had an album out, and I dug them quite a bit live. Sure I was underwhelmed by their album, but I’m not surprised at a good chunk of their success either, minus The Current’s effect.
yes The Current certainly has their “pet bands” of sorts, but i’d also ask what does the station gain by “shoving” certain bands and songs down listeners throats? not saying they don’t do it (certainly not as bad as most commercial stations though), just what is your reasoning for feeling that way, other than you don’t like the band or feel they’re getting undue attention? i’d argue Arcade Fire & LCD Soundsystem get played almost as much this year, and played WAY bigger shows than Mumford, etc.
and lastly, while there’s certainly things to dislike about The Current or that could improve, i’d argue our music scene & the number of national acts who come to town are better off with the station in existence, whether you like the station or not. i know plenty of people in Seattle who bitch that KEXP plays “too much hip hop”, so i feel like any station of their ilk is gonna generate some dislike from certain folks no matter what they do. since you brought Ariel Pink into the discussion, i mean you would at least have to agree that their music isn’t one that lends itself to radio all that well no?
p.s. Josh, you sound way too bitter/jaded for a man of your age 😉
i did like that you pointed out that it’s not the band’s fault though… that is a point i think too many people forget about.
i mean Pitchfork pushes a ton of bands/albums i think are complete shit and overrated too, and while i feel like their influence and importance overall has wained a bit the last few years, i’m not gonna say they’re irrelevant or anything stupid like that.
You guys write too much 😉
I have often wondered whether the Current’s predominant focus on vanilla music is a reflection of the staff’s tastes or a more “market focused” approach (giving people what they want).
I wasn’t really thinking of the Current much though in relation to this list though. Though in the early years I was a big Current supporter/listener, I haven’t actually turned on the station in probably over a year, so I actually don’t really know what they play anymore. By the sound of it things haven’t changed much (i.e. Mumford and Sons, Ray Lamontage)
For the record I think “Home’ is actually a pretty good jam.
Jon, from what i’ve experienced first hand, i’d say the truth lies somewhere in the middle of reflecting staff’s tastes and “market focused” approach. it’s a little from both sides. they were a lot more receptive to suggestions on what to play (that wasn’t already in their music catalog) when they first started (and under Thorn’s tenure), but i’ve still had some good luck in getting a few things through lately (last one i recall is Tallest Man on Earth).
i don’t HATE Edward Sharpe’s music (although Home is a bit too campy for me usually), but i agree with you that Alex basically goes with whatever music is selling at the time (ie: google search Ima Robot and watch their videos on YouTube from just 4 years ago).
Two of you should write an “I Disagree” about the value/quality of the Current. I’d read the SHIT out of that.
I started writing half (pro-side, oddly enough) but I don’t listen to it enough to have a really valuable opinion.
2005 me would love to do that, 2010 me isn’t as invested/interested to probably say too much of interest 😉
Also: re: Josh’s opinion – I basically agree with what Josh says though, but I have come to terms with the fact that most people just don’t care that much about music other than to zero in on a few hit singles. Its unfortunate but finding/appreciating good music often takes effort, and most people are fine with just going with the flow and listening to whatever they are perscribed by mainstream radio. It sucks, but thats how it goes. Lots of tremendour artists in many different discliplines are overlooked.
What concerns me more though is people’s general apathy about the world around them. First and foremost I wish people would actually pay attention to politics rather than just relying on a single source for news (or none at all). Michelle Bachman, for instance, is by far a much more insidious, dangerous force than, say, Mumford and Sons.
Not that we should talk about politics now. Basically I am just steamed about unemployment benefits being allowed to expire. Oh, and the culture war against any sort of perceived intellectualism. I should stop now though before I really get going…
It took me forever to come to terms with the fact that most people just don’t care about art. As an artist, and as someone who is constantly thinking about art and its relation to politics, community and life, it’s a difficult concept to grasp. What is a kind of lifeblood for me, and maybe you, is just window dressing to 90% of people.
this is interesting– can we have an article that tears the shit out of Pitchfork? And also include why people like me, who despise it, still read it every week… please tell me i’m not alone.
i agree with a lot of what you guys are writing about here…and im hoping that maybe you ‘ll check out an album i recorded in my basement this year… just me- its honest and gritty, sometimes lofi, sometimes punk, sometimes country….
ive been getting a lot of positive responses, but very little press…would appreciate it if you checked it out.
its called “a hollow drum from a hallowed place” and it is here:
you can stream it for free… and at the risk of being reviled, i ask you to give it a minute or two.
Wow, Guante’s crazy out of line with that first post. I can see your point with some of those rappers but come on man, Fashawn is mediocre? Did you hear his record? See him live? Also, Big Krit is the real deal. Dude is a dope producer.
Not saying that Fashawn is mediocre or that Krit isn’t talented. Saying that they’re overrated. Big difference. I actually like them both a lot.
Should qualify that when I say overrated, I’m referring to critical circles within hip hop. Of course, when you look at all of music or pop culture, pretty much everyone on that list is insanely UNDERRATED. It’s just within the tiny circle of rap nerds that people get put on an untouchable pedestal for making good music that hasn’t yet reached its potential.
That being said, you’re right– I probably shouldn’t have included Krit in that list.
So many wonderful and completely agreed-upon opinions here. I’ve been all but physically threatened for being a hater of what was most eloquently put here as “Boring Yuppie Music.” Well done, lads. Well done.
Ha, was reading through this thread today and chuckling to myself. After listening to The Current consistantly at work for a few months, I found that the best part of the day is “No Apologies” when they play something that would fit nicely in a Jack FM rotation.
I mean, who doesn’t want to hear J Giles – “Centerfold”?
couldn’t agree more with the listing of mumford, owen, and the local natives. Got to disagree with the overhyped assessment of edward sharp. I understand that the singer tends to go overboard (religious motif, genre jumping, lyrical cereal, etc.,) but that album has some pretty amazing moments (jangling, 40 day dream, home, blackwater…come on). Their live show was about as energetic as they come (crowd control like mr mojo risin). I don’t see this album as yuppi music at all. The album just happens to be widley accessible and i’ve used it a couple times to pull outsiders into the music scene.