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Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

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What makes a terrible band? Is it being prepared to do the wrong thing, whatever the price? That and a pair of testicles. Only, some of the below groups possess testicles only in the symbolic sense. Because, even if you're composed of ladies, it takes balls to make music that is simultaneously pretentious and dopey, derivative and uniquely craptastic. And so in that spirit we present the worst bands of all time. As with our top 20 greatest musicians of all time and top 20 hair metal albums of all time lists, we take this shit very seriously, even enlisting objective third party analysts to review our findings for accuracy. -Ben Westhoff

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

20. Spin Doctors

Did you know that Blues Traveler's John Popper used to be a member of this damn group? That may explain why a Spin Doctors song is a bit like herpes. You get infected at a young age when you don't know any better. When you think it's finally gone, it rears its ugly head again. The mere mention of tracks like "Two Princes" create an earworm so powerful that you're going to need to see an ENT doctor. Forget Chris Barron's scraggly beard; the real problem with the Spin Doctors is their enduring lightweight retro "jam" song legacy on crappy corporate radio. Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in. -Nicholas Pell

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

19. The Raconteurs

Formed in the late aughts, The Raconteurs consist of Jack White and some other guys. They call themselves "a new band made from old friends," but it's more accurate to call them "slumming dudes attempting to trick fans of the White Stripes into liking their boring, awful, music." Track "Consoler of the Lonely" repeats the phrase "I am bored to tears" six times, which is only a small fraction of how often everyone else was saying it. -Gabrielle Canon

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

18. Oasis

Why is Oasis among the worst? Because Liam Gallagher only plays tambourine and possesses the single most nasal voice in pop. Because "Wonderwall" is pure nonsense. Because they combine simple composition with over-the-top production and pretentious length. "Champagne Supernova," anyone? Because they've been caught ripping off other artists' songs, including Stevie Wonder, The New Seekers, and Neil Innes. Because their backstage altercations always boiled down to sibling rivalry. What's next, hair-pulling and time-outs? But mainly because courting comparisons to the Beatles is always lame, no exceptions. -Anna Westhoff

See also: Liam Gallagher On His Brother Noel: "I'd Rather Eat My Own Shit Than Be In A Band With Him Again"

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

17. Phish

Phish is supposed to be the next generation's Grateful Dead, right? But with the Dead, one at least enjoyed a fighting chance of enjoying them sober. Also, there's the fact that the Dead never composed these lyrics: "Down with disease/ Up before the dawn/ A thousand barefoot children outside dancing on my lawn." -Elano Pizzicarola

See also: Can an Intelligent Person Like Phish?

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

16. 4 Non Blondes

We can be thankful that 4 Non Blondes only made one album— 1992's Bigger, Better, Faster, More! — but it's a doozy, a mess of classic rock wails and faux bluesiness. Consider yourself lucky if you don't remember lyrics like "Oh please Mr. President, will you lend me a future." Their hit "What's Up?" meanwhile combines the worst of what Ani DiFranco and grunge had to offer, all of it dressed up in thrift store clothing that probably smelled funny. The quartet has disappeared, but the band's dubious legacy lives on through member Linda Perry, writer and producer of some of the most boring radio songs imaginable, including Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" and Pink's "Get the Party Started." -Liz Ohanesian

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

15. Pretty Ricky

Emerging with their mid-aughts hit "Grind With Me," Pretty Ricky somehow managed to lower the bar when it came to heartthrob groups with baby-oil-smeared chests. It's excellent that they've got great abs, and they certainly have the right to wear their shiny jackets wide open. But their musical sensibilities are questionable; someone in the group seems to have decided that New Jack Swing was too subtle. Pretty Ricky's rap-R&B hybrid is so tasteless and tacky, even, that it could make Mariah Carey blush. The point here is seduction, but it's hard to be seduced when you're nauseous. -Ben Westhoff

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

14. Foreigner

Where Journey was a hit factory, Foreigner are the sweatshop equivalent, churning out shoddy products full of lead paint. "Juke Box Hero" is no "Pinball Wizard"; "I Want To Know What Love Is" will make you wish you didn't; "Feels Like The First Time" will hopefully be your last; "Head Games" is not about oral sex; "Urgent" is not that; "Hot Blooded,""Double Vision" and "Cold As Ice" will send you to the doctor. "Waiting For A Girl Like You"? Maybe, but if you've got Foreigner on the playlist, she won't be waiting for you. -Ben Westhoff

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

13. Wings

With the exception of the song "Band On the Run" — which sounds like a forgotten White Album b-side — and the bass breakdown on "Live and Let Die," there are no greater offenders of '70s schlock than Wings. Born the year after the death of the Beatles, the group — consisting of Paul McCartney, his wife Linda and a revolving door of drummers and guitar players — solidified every argument that John was better than Paul. Using the spoils of the Beatles, Wings built a castle out of cheese. -Nikki Darling

See also: Top Three Beatles Who Got a Star on the Walk of Fame Before Paul McCartney

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

12. Fleet Foxes

A good band should be like Frosted Mini-Wheats, a substantive cereal loaded with fiber and whole grains made edible by delicious sugary coating. Fleet Foxes, unfortunately, are more like Weetabix, a healthful, bowel-movement-inducing breakfast option that skimps on taste. There's undoubtedly genuine musicianship behind this Seattle outfit, it's just wholly unpalatable, lacking even the most basic hooks and melodies necessary to sustain most listeners. Of course, white people aren't like most listeners, and will tolerate almost anything they're told is good for them; hence the group's popularity. Unlike Weetabix, however, there's not a shred of evidence suggesting Fleet Foxes prevent colorectal cancer. -Ben Westhoff

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

11. Red Hot Chili Peppers

Funk metal is a bad idea. We love funk, we love metal, but we also love peanut butter and veggie burgers, just not together. And what about Anthony Kiedis's rapping? The "Give It Away" video could be called "Anthony and the Hand Jive," and it's even more ridiculous when he starts doing duck lips. The sex rhymes on Bloodsugarsexmagik would be forgettable if they weren't so awful — "She stuck my butt with her big black stick / I said 'What's up? Now suck my dick.'" On the plus side, however, we do thoroughly back the legit bromance between Messrs. Kiedis and Flea. -Nicholas Pell

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

10. Pussycat Dolls

The Pussycat Dolls may seem like an easy target, but they're actually a quite difficult one, considering they're less band than brand. There's their reality show and various line-up shifts, of course, but the details of those are too depressing to go into. Getting angry with the Pussycat Dolls is like getting angry with Bank of America or Walmart. That said, fuck Walmart. -Kai Flanders

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

9. Rush

You realize that Jason Segel's character's obsession with Rush in I Love You Man is tongue in cheek, right? It's often said that people either love Rush or hate them, but a more accurate statement is that most people hate Rush, while a scattered few really love them. Sort of like anchovies; in fact, it's quite fair to call Rush the anchovies of rock music. Then there's the fact that "drummer Neil Peart generally consents only to speak to the drum press," a pantheon that includes in its entirety Modern Drummer and Not So Modern Drummer, if we're not mistaken. -Kai Flanders

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

8. Hootie & The Blowfish

What do white people have to complain about, George Carlin once posited. "Did Banana Republic run out of khakis? Are Hootie & the Blowish breaking up?" If only. Though their leader Darius Rucker is black, Hootie could not be more vanilla. What's worse is that, while good bands struggle to make decent money, Hootie seemingly siphoned off all of it in their '90s heyday, going more platinum than Sandra Dee. If only Hootie were Sandra Dee. -Kai Flanders

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

7. Pearl Jam

Boring, tepid, rehashed classic rock with a thin veneer of alt. As noted in our piece on how Pearl Jam are the most boring band in 20 years, grunting, dumb hats and Z-grade attempts at Who's Next do not a great rock and roll band make. The act took moronic-faux-concern-trolling to heights even U2 couldn't achieve. Also, Eddie Vedder thinks this is a lyric: "Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo oooooooowhoaaaaaaaaooooooooo ohhhhhhh ohhhhhhh ohhhhhhh oooooooowhoaaaaaaaaooooooooo hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiyiiiiyiiiiyiiiiyiiiiiiiiii yeah uhhh huh uhhh huh uhhh huh yeahah uhhh huh uhhh huh uhhh huh uhhhhh huh." -Nicholas Pell

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

6. Black Eyed Peas

The common rap on Black Eyed Peas is that they deteriorated after adding Fergie on 2003's Elephunk, trading their funky soul for kitschy dance-pop. Well, in this case the common rap happens to be true. "My Humps" was bad, but who would have figured the group could get worse? Last year's Super Bowl halftime show — where they sung out of sync and trampled "Sweet Child O' Mine" — made Madonna's version look brilliant. -Elano Pizzicarola

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

5. Animal Collective

I really wanted to like Merriweather Post Pavilion, even going far out of my way to appreciate the record as it was surely intended: super-stoned, miles from civilization in the northern California woods. Still, no dice. The problem is that Animal Collective are a special kind of unlistenable; their albums don't reward active engagement, but they don't make good background music, either. Their brand of twee is cloying and grating like an attention-starved, sugar-crashing eight-year-old who wants you to admire his finger painting, while you're trying to wash the dishes. -Ben Westhoff

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

4. Sex Pistols

Touted as the originators of punk, the Sex Pistols were really just a third-rate Faces rip off with a low-rent Richard Hell on vocals. Paul Cook and Steve Jones are great, but were held back by the larger-than-life personalities of Sid Vicious and John Lydon (or Rotten or whatever). Sloppy, derivative and obsessed with shock value for its own sake, the Pistols set the template for British punk rock bands trying too hard. Plus, how much of a dick is Lydon, allegedly punching women in the face, running around with racist goons and slamming Duffy against a wall? Bollocks. -Nicholas Pell

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

3. LCD Soundsystem

If LCD Soundsystem were only responsible for three albums that are half-filler and a "workout mix" made by people who clearly don't go to the gym — for people who don't go to the gym themselves — they wouldn't be on this list. No, they deserve special mention for the critical crusade to pass James Murphy off as indie rock's preeminent male role model in spite of, nay, because of his worldview which remains as rigid and obnoxious as Toby Keith's. It is, roughly, that music achieved perfection in 1977, no one outside of New York City is important, and your interaction with credibility and its overseers is a bigger concern than learning how not to be an insufferable, self-obsessed jerk. In other words, LCD Soundsystem fans are the type of people who think buying their 10-year old kid a Public Image Ltd. record for his birthday is an example of good parenting. -Ian Cohen

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

2. Eagles

The all-mighty arbiter of SoCal cool, Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski was famously willing to be thrown out of a cab because he hated the fucking Eagles, and you should be too. Soporific Laurel Canyon coke rock whose chief existential lament seems to be "What toppings should I get on my burrito?" the Eagles are the quintessential band for a decade whose favorite barbiturate was the Quaalude. -Jeff Weiss

See also: The Eagles' "Hotel California": Why This Song Sucks

 

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

1. Dave Matthews Band

"Once upon a time/When the world was just a pancake/Fears would arise/That if you went too far you'd fall/But with the passage of time/It all became more of a ball." -Some Dave Matthews lyrics

You want a real American Horror story? Sit in the back of an SUV with off-key sorority house members singing along to Dave Matthews Band. "Dave" is a jam act with no jams. They make Perrier seem vibrant and ethnic. Dave Matthews croons like Kermit with a hangover, for a presumed intended audience of trustafarians and frat bros bonding via hacky sack and horseshoes. Them, and folks whose favorite book is The Da Vinci Code and favorite TV show is Two and a Half Men. They are permanently beige, the sonic instantiation of Ambercrombie & Fitch cargo shorts, South Carolina Gamecocks hats, and flip-flops flailing. -Jeff Weiss

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The 20 Worst Hipster Bands

Top 20 Musicians of All Time, in Any Genre

Top 20 Sexiest Female Musicians

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