Go ahead and turn on VH1 right now. You know those bands playing in the background
of your favorite hot mess celeb reality show? Notice how they all sound like some pop
crossover version of Kid A? The prosecution rests. Radiohead went from being maudlin alt rock radio standard bearers to self-consciously difficult and avant-garde. They're currently the preferred artistic rock band for people who don't like artistic rock, with NPR-listening Volvo drivers everywhere lapping it up. -Nicholas Pell
4. Will Smith
Too many years in Bel Air were bound to affect him. -Ben Westhoff
3. Vampire Weekend
Before anyone had yet coined the term "stuff white people like," Vampire Weekend had already delivered the soundtrack: a queasy tangle of East Coast prep school lyrical imagery and borrowed highlife guitars, all bloodlessly delivered by two failed white rappers and their Ivy League pals like it was part of some African Studies project. Not everyone at the Weekly dislikes their music, but we will say this: Describing it as "Upper West Side Soweto" does not make it ironic, or subversive. It just makes Vampire Weekend the whitest pseudo-Afro-pop band since Rusted Root. -Andy Hermann
Wilco is the Mark Ruffalo of bands; just slightly-grizzled and tortured-seeming enough to disguise the fact that, at bottom, they're just a bunch of boring middle-class dudes who like Ben & Jerry's like you do. Listening to Wilco -- much like watching, say The Kids Are All Right -- lets you momentarily believe that life really is hard for us low-melanin types, and that nobody out there should ever forget it! -Ben Westhoff
1. Kenny G
What do we mean when we say an act is "the whitest?" We mean musicians without any
flavor at all, the musical equivalent of a mashed potato sandwich with mayonnaise on
white bread. We mean a total lack of influences from R&B, jazz, soul and blues; sure,
Kenny G aims to roughly approximate jazz, but in truth he made an entire generation hate the genre with his customer-service-on-hold-style saxophone. Christ, it's not even a
real saxophone; it's a fucking soprano sax. The dude might as well be playing a flute. Mr.
G's backup band, so far as we can tell, is a Casio keyboard. Stinks, right? But get ready for this: He's the biggest-selling instrumental artist of all time. -Nicholas Pell
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