Best pop band, ever?

Who would you say?

First, some guidelines:

  1. The Beatles are a given, so leave them out.
  2. It has to be a band with multiple hits. If you want to list your personal favorite that isn’t actually popular (as in, underrated, or enormously influential and critically acclaimed, but never had any hits), go ahead, but also include a band who is actually popular.
  3. No solo artists.

So who do you think? Jackson Five? Fleetwood Mac? The Police?

(Yeah, yeah, I’m not including a definition of pop. Arguing over it in the comments is half the fun.)

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99 thoughts on “Best pop band, ever?

  1. The thing that puts Fleetwood Mac in the running for me is they have three different singers that all had hits. And each of them were such great song writers. Rumors is as close to a perfect album as you can get, I think.

    But the Police…I don’t think they ever wrote a bad song. You listen to their box set and every single song is great. At their peak they were the hugest band in the world.

  2. This is a toughie now that you’ve eliminated the obvious answer.

    U2 or REM, I’d say. They are definitely overlapping into the pop world. Fleetwood Mac is a good call, but next people will be mentioning Eurythmics, and we can’t have that. The Pretenders? Lloyd Cole and the Commotions?

  3. Yeah, I’d have to say U2. Even if you had asked for best R&B band, I still would have picked U2. I’m consistent that way…

  4. U2?? Seriously?? They’re so much more popular State-side of the Atlantic than here. I don’t get why people like them so much. I like a couple of their songs, but mostly I think they’re overrated.

  5. Them’s fightin’ words, Rebecca… ;)

    U2 has been consistently amazing (recorded and live) for over 3 decades. Their lyrics blow me away; their musicality is flawless. Not only do they have the universal appeal, but they connect on an intimate level. They are just fabulous.

  6. Pop band not the Beatles? Rolling Stones, The Supremes, Beach Boys, the Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Band, the Jam, the Smiths, Van Halen.

    U2 is indeed overrated.

  7. First off, “Don’t Stand so Close to Me ’86″ is quite possibly one of the worst songs of the 80s.

    Best pop band ever? REM.

  8. Greg, someone’s got to provide fodder for the U2-haters!

    But of the ones you list, I’d say only The BB, Supremes and CCR count truly as ‘pop’.

  9. I wouldn’t call CCR pop at all.

    CW, there are soooooooo many worse songs from the 80s. In fact there may be more worse songs from the 80s than all worst songs of the other decades, combined.

  10. The thing that puts Fleetwood Mac in the running for me is they have three different singers that all had hits. And each of them were such great song writers.

    You would be referring here to Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, and Peter Green, I hope. (If only I could invoke Danny Kirwan, whose songs, alas, were never hits).

    Anyway, I vote for the Mac minus Stevie Nicks.

  11. When I think of “pop” I tend to think of infectious hooks and sublime melody, so it rules out a lot of the bands I love.

    I’d vote for Crowded House.

    New Order has a strong “pop” record, in my opinon, starting with Ceremony on down to their latest offering a year or so ago.

    Though I’m not a big fan, I’d even give pop bands like Erasure and Pet Shop Boys some love. Both bands have a long list of sublime melodys and catchy hooks.

  12. Also, though shortlived (only two albums), the Queen/Beatles-influenced band Jellyfish were pop geniuses.

  13. So if a band becomes immensly popular, doesn’t it automatically become overrated (way too many people liking the same band for those with more eclectic/eccentric tastes).

    Anyway…I just live for the moment when I turn on “Clocks” and my three-year-old exclaims “I just love that song!” so I think Coldplay should be listed. Oh and how could you all forget ABBA?

  14. Yes, ABBA deserves consideration. As do the Bee Gees.

    Coldplay too, at least for the 00′s.

  15. New Order wasn’t popular enough. Ditto Crowded House, Erasure, or Pet Shop Boys. I don’t think Coldplay should even register, honestly. Good Brit pop, yeah, but best of all time?

    Didn’t Stevie write “Landslide”? And “Edge of Seventeen”? Both awesome, awesome songs.

    EmWJ: I’m looking for bands that weren’t overrated in their popularity. Hard to come by, I know.

  16. Speaking of “Clocks,” does the mix with the Buena Vista Social Club get any airplay outside of DC? I like it far better than the original.

  17. I’ll give Stevie “Edge of Seventeen,” but she did not record it with Fleetwood Mac so it doesn’t change my vote.

  18. Jeeze. I’m not sure how to distinguish pop from non-pop. Are Pink Floyd or Led Zepplin pop? They both had pop hits. U2 definitely is although it’s not solely pop.

    I think with Floyd there’s enough airplay on radio to count so that would be my choice. I’d put them above the Beatles for sure. Of course I’d put Elvis above the Beatles but he’s a solo act.

  19. That Buena Vista Social Club cover of clocks just made me happy.

    Another cover that I love is the String Quartet Tribute to Clocks. And just in case somebody hasn’t heard of the String Quartet Tribute, check them out to see if they have covered your fave pop/rock/other band…awesome sounds!

  20. Ok, if we:

    1. Exclude the Beatles and all solo acts (sorry Elvis and Mariah);

    2. Give “pop” it’s broadest possible definition; and
    3. If “greatest” means:

    number of hit songs and albums x influence x longevity

    then there’s only one possible answer: U2

    It’s not even close. Overrated? I think not.

  21. Rebecca, I feel the same way about U2- meh. Always have.

    Pop? I mean, don’t the boy bands make pop? What about Genesis? Bee-Gee’s? Rolling Stones??

  22. U2 is consistently very good, over a period of decades. In the age of radio they were played on rock, alternative and pop stations. They deserve to be mentioned as a serious candidate. Besides the fact that they make great music, one has to consider that they still haven’t split up or had a band member die yet. Considering rock history, their longevity is really amazing.

  23. The other interesting thing with U2 is that they’ve had the same lineup for so long. One would have expected at least one band member to walk off at some point or one would have expected Bono to try out a solo career.

    Setting aside the Beatles, I’m not sure if anyone else can really compete with U2.

    I’ve been a major fan of the Smiths and Pink Floyd – but in regards to the specific question Susan is asking, I don’t think either of these bands comes close to U2.

    My odd-ball candidate for a a great pop star that could have been: Edie Brickell. Instead she married Paul Simon and had three kids. I think she probably made the right choice – but I love some of her songs and I think she could have been huge if she had made music her life purpose.

  24. Susan, I would have said the same thing. Oddly, I once heard David Gilmour in an interview referring to his music as “pop music.” Wasn’t sure what to make of that – but I decided I wouldn’t argue with him on the subject.

  25. No Beatles? Then it must be Oasis!
    [Bull Moose grins slyly, like Kevin on "The Office"]

  26. #20, popular shmopular. Yes, popularity should be a factor, but if it were the overriding factor we could just give the award to U2 and go home. I don’t know, to me the more interesting question is “Who should have been the Best Pop Band Ever?” or who is overlooked as the best pop band ever.

    Also, it is ironic to me that U2′s most “pop” album, at least according to the band — 1997′s Pop — was one of it’s biggest commercial and critical flops.

    And why no love for Journey?

  27. Susan (#30), that just highlights the problematic nature of ‘pop.’ To me ‘pop’ entails popular with numerous top 20 hits on Billboard. It’s hard to say Pink Floyd isn’t pop by that standard.

    I mean I know what I disparagingly call pop music. Sort of the Christina Aguilaras, Britney Spears, or the like. But I’d have a hard time putting U2 or many other bands mentioned in that category.

  28. One of the funniest things about the music industry is the changing and elastic definitions of terms like pop, rock, alternative, etc. There is a band I like that I have seen placed in all of these gengres at least once by various retailers: rock, punk, pop, hard-rock, alternative, pop/punk and emo. I’ll let you guess, if you care to, which band it is.

    See here for Wikipedia’s list of genres under the category of “Rock.” It’s interesting to note that the main genres under Rock are:

    Alternative rock
    Blues rock
    C-Rock
    Dark cabaret
    Desert rock
    Garage Rock
    Glam rock
    Gothic rock
    Hard rock
    Heavy metal
    Indie
    Industrial rock
    J-Rock
    New Wave
    Pop
    Progressive rock
    Psychedelic rock
    Punk rock
    Rock and roll
    Southern rock
    Surf rock

    And everything else is a sub-genre of one of these main genres. So, according to this list, Pop is a subgenre of Rock, rather than the other way around, as is Rock and roll. Don’t know if I agree with that list, but there you go.

  29. I won’t argue The Police’s influence and critical acclaim, but are we overselling their popularity?

    Without question, during the Synchronicity album they were the #1 band (in terms of popularity) in the world from the standpoint of album sales, concert tickets, and general buzz. Prior to that they were a solid band with a respectable level of popularity, but they weren’t a mega-band.

    But how many bands can say that? That at a given point in time they were the biggest band in the world? Any of the following bands: Van Halen, Journey, Def Lepard, Hootie, Oasis, Coldplay, even the Backstreet Boys.

    Because The Police went out on top, we tend to project their popularity backwards and forwards.

    In comparison, U2 reached Synchronicity-level zeniths at least three times — Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, and All That You Can’t Leave Behind — and maybe four.

    I love The Police, but they didn’t achieve crossover mega success until their last album.

  30. Also, it is ironic to me that U2’s most “pop” album, at least according to the band — 1997’s Pop — was one of it’s biggest commercial and critical flops.

    The band has acknowledged that the name of that album was not accurate. It was a rock album, although influenced by electronica.

  31. Matt, I’ve got all kinds of love for Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Kansas Boston and Rush. But none of them come close to U2 in terms of the combined factors of widespread popularity, influence and longevity.

  32. Funny, I’m listening to U2 right now (a b-side “Where did it all go Wrong” from Even Better than the Real Thing IIRC)

  33. MCQ, I think the failure of Pop was that they needed about one more month in the studio. There are some great tracks on that album. The problem was that they wanted that media-savvy self-conscious irony that they’d started by Achtung Baby. But it had wore out its welcome. And, say what you will, but both Discoteque and the Popmart tour were very pop-focused. (Starting with the song Pop Music that they covered)

    I agree that most of the other tracks were very unlike Discoteque though. And some when done later in stripped down acoustic versions were amazing.

  34. Matt, wasn’t Ghost in the Machine just as big?

    I agree though that the Police were very much part of the late 70′s counter-pop/disco movement. We remember them because they remained great more than their success at the time.

  35. “I’d vote for Crowded House.”

    Well, that’s definitely where my vote would be as well. Esp. if we realize that the world is much bigger than the U.S.!

  36. If we go by best selling no one comes close to the Beatles. Next up (outside of single acts) is AC/DC, ABBA, Bee Gees, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Queen, and the Rolling Stones. The Police are way down the list.

  37. Clark: I understand the ironic media commentary they were going for with Pop, but I think people just didn’t get it. It fell flat. It was too clever by half.

    Go back and listen to Discotheque. (OMG, I forgot how bad that video was—-ok maybe don’t click that link). I think Pop is a low point in an otherwise stellar catalogue of amazing, even groundbreaking music. But regardless of what you think of Discotheque, It’s a rock song. Listen to Edge’s guitar. There’s nothing poppy or disco-y about it. The album’s name was intended ironically, not as an accurate label of its contents.

    BTW, I was at the PopMart concert in SLC and they did not cover Pop Muzik, (the song by M). They covered the Monkees “Daydream Believer.” They played a recording of a dance remix of Pop Muzik during the introduction to each concert. That remix was later released as the “Pop Mart Mix” on U2′s “Last Night on Earth” single, with new vocals by Bono.

    I think your point was that they were trying to make a pop record or create a pop performance with that tour. I disagree. I think they were using a rock album to make a statement about pop music that was largely misunderstood or ignored.

  38. Clark, I wouldn’t take that list as gospel, but even if we accept its accuracy (for the moment), it shows that the Beatles are the only “band” to have sold more than 500 million records.

    But the bands you listed are shown as equal to each other in sales because they are listed alphabetically in the 200-500 million category. They could be very close to the Beatles, but just below the 500 million record cutoff; we just don’t know from this chart.

    The next box is the 100-200,000 category and its equally ranked bands are: Aerosmith, Backstreet Boys, Beach Boys, Black Sabbath, Bon Jovi, Carpenters, Chicago, Deep Purple, Eagles, ELO, Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, Iron Maiden, KC and the Sunshine Band, Petshop Boys, U2 and The Who.

    Those two lists of bands actually make a pretty good list to consider as contenders for greatest pop band ever. I still think U2 is the best on that list, but you could make a case for any of those bands (with the possible exception of the Backstreet Boys and Deep Purple).

  39. Here’s my top 5:

    1. The Kinks. I know people want to call them a rock band, but their best stuff has a pop riff that makes it so good. Think David Watts as they do it, not as The Jam do it.
    2. The Temptations. OK, you might argue R&B isn’t pop, but you’re wrong. Great range, great songs.
    3. The Beach Boys. Underrated as a novelty group, totally influential, so evocative.
    4. ABBA. Groovy, singable, dreamy.
    5. The Go-Gos. Great voices, sweet hooks, no pretension.

  40. ABBA

    Just for context, I really dislike both The Police and U2. I do like Achtung Baby, though. I like nothing by The Police.

  41. Pop was far, far better than the preceding album, Zooropa which really only had one memorable song (Stay). Pop has some good stuff, “Please”, “If God Would Send His Angels”, “Gone”, “Do You Feel Loved”.

  42. (begin snarkiness)

    No mention of Air Supply?

    (snarkiness over)

    I’m actually suprised that Bon Jovi (meaning the band, not the man) hasn’t gotten more discussion.

    Yeah, he’s trailed off a bit, but the man was a huge influence in the 80′s and continued onward (though quality is something that is lacking).

    Aerosmith is another that I’m suprised hasn’t gotten mentioned. I guess it does matter what your definition of “pop” is.

    I don’t want to create a firestorm, but I’ve never liked U2. Ever. Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby included. I did like “The Wanderer” with Johnny Cash, but that was about it. Is there some U2 101 course I could take to understand this following?

  43. The Carpenters
    ABBA
    Duran Duran (you know–of a certain era)

    I almost feel like U2 should be exempted like The Beatles.

  44. Uno, Dos, Tres, …. Catorce!

    U2 could put out an album consisting entirely of burp and fart noises and critics would continue to rave. What an annoying, overrated band.

  45. I have a U2 bias, since the first album I ever bought was WAR, and they were my first true love.

    Air Supply was the first single I ever bought, though.

  46. In 04, Rolling Stone did a list of the top fifty artists of all time. You can see it here.

    Interesting to note that the top 10 “bands” are:

    1. The Beatles
    4. The Rolling Stones
    12. The Beach Boys
    14. Led Zeppelin
    19. The Velvet Underground
    22. U2
    26. The Ramones
    29. The Who
    30. The Clash
    32. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

    I might argue with the order of those bands a little, but it’s hard to argue with that list as the top ten bands of all time.

  47. Give a little love for Dave Matthews Band

    I look at DMB more folksy than pop

    I don’t even know if I consider U2 to be pop

    I think U2 should be exempted due to not being very good.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks they’re overrated

  48. Does Elvis Costello and the Attractions count? Because after The Beatles, they just might get my vote.

    REM is a great rock band, and some of their stuff is pop, but most of it is not their best stuff.

    The Kinks were great, but if you look at their career in total, they put out a lot of bad, bad music in the 1970s and 1980s.

  49. Another vote for the Beach Boys – it’s timeless(well, somewhat), catchy, fun.

    Duran Duran was my favorite pop band of the 80s, been a while since they released a song I really enjoyed (Electric Barbarella, maybe.)

    Modern pop, though… Does Pet Shop Boys count?

  50. To you U2 haters, I think you can argue that U2 isn’t pop (I still don’t know what pop means, so until we define it better, it could mean anything), but anyone who seriously argues that U2 isn’t any good risks losing all credibility. If they’re in the hall of fame, they’re good, even if you don’t like them. Those are the facts, folks.

  51. If they’re in the hall of fame, they’re good, even if you don’t like them.

    Are you sure you want to go there?

  52. Sure, Brian, point out all the artists that are in the hall of fame that you don’t think are good. Be exactly that obnoxious, if you wish.

    In so doing, however, please be aware that you are failing to recognize that if the overwheming weight of knowledgeable opinion is against you, your continued insistence on your perverse little isolated pont of view makes you appear as something of a moron.

    There are just certain points of view that ought to be accepted as a given at some point. Not reasonably contestable. Those points include such things as sunshine being warm, gravity causing objects to fall downward, and U2 being one of the greatest bands of all time. Sorry to break the news to you, but there it is.

  53. good
    –adjective
    2. satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree: a good teacher; good health.
    3. of high quality; excellent.

  54. I’m not contesting your opinion, MCQ. However, the whole “if it’s popular that means it’s good” argument is a popular one but also, I feel, a misguided one. If this logic is to be believed, Milli Vanilli and New Kids on the Block are two of the best groups of the 90s, McDonald’s is the best food in the country, Friends is a great show, The Da Vinci Code is a great book, etc etc you get the idea.

    There are just certain points of view that ought to be accepted as a given at some point.

    Seriously? I couldn’t disagree more. “Good” is about as subjective as anything can get. Madonna’s in the rock & roll hall of fame. I think she’s terrible. If I don’t like something, it’s not good (to me), and I’m not going to force myself to try and like something just because most people do. You disagree with my taste? Great! I won’t try to force you to share my opinion.

  55. I might argue with the order of those bands a little, but it’s hard to argue with that list as the top ten bands of all time.

    I’d argue about that top 10. Seriously. Little Richie is #8 whereas Led Zepplin is #14 and Pink Floyd isn’t even anywhere on the list? Seriously? I mean I can see disputing order and all. But Zepplin at 14 and no Floyd? Note that both Nirvana and the Ramones are on the list. I love both. But no Floyd? I can see maybe not putting them in the top 10. But not even in the top 50? The guys who still outsell most of the rest of the top 50? The guys who had an album that stayed on the Billboard charts for 741 weeks!

  56. Here I thought Brian V would point out that the nomination process for the R’n’R Hall of Fame is controlled by only a few people. (I think of the Hall of Fame as the Establishment. Why should I care what the Establishment thinks is good?)

    I love these kinds of conversations even though they end up being futile.

  57. I can’t see the Ramones being in the Top Ten. Their recordings are fun to listen to on a certain level, but they were a three-chord band and sometimes they didn’t even play those three chords very well.

    I saw them live once and was very disappointed.

  58. (…)but anyone who seriously argues that U2 isn’t any good risks losing all credibility. If they’re in the hall of fame, they’re good, even if you don’t like them. Those are the facts, folks.

    You know how you lose all credibility? When you imply that everyone must accept your subjective tastes as a standard for “good” music, when you equate mass popularity and music industry self congratulatory a** kissing to quality, and when you start calling people morons because they don’t hold a bunch of self-obsessed publicity whore Irishmen in the same esteem as you. MCQ just won the triple crown of fanboy pretentiousness!

  59. Clark, I agree with you about Floyd, they should be on that list, that is a glaring omission.

    “if it’s popular that means it’s good”

    No, that isn’t my argument. I’m not equating popularity, by itself, with being good. I’m suggesting that, after a certain amount of time has passed, and knowledgeable people have expressed a certain consistency of opinion, we ought to be able to accept certain points of view as a given.

    I think that’s why Susan exempted the Beatles from this thread. It’s a given that they are the at the top of every list. Does that mean you have to like them? Certainly not. Nor do you have to like U2. Wouldn’t dream of forcing them on you. You can certainly say you don’t like them and good luck to you.

    But if you are going to say they are “no good,” that’s another thing entirely. There has to be some minimum objective standard of merit, whereby we can agree that certain people or bands have passed the threshold where its reasonable to question whether they are any good. The piles of awards, accolades, top ten or top fifty lists just reach a certain critical mass where you have to just accept that they are good, whether you like them or not. I was using induction into the hall of fame as an example of that threshold, since it generally comes only after the test of time and many other awards and accolades have already been received. Perhaps that’s not a good example, but it’s certainly one possible measure.

    So, kwk, I’m not asking you to “accept [my] subjective tastes as a standard for “good” music.” I’m asking you to accept that there is some objective standard, and that the only way to determine whether that objective standard is met, is by accepting that at some point, the weight of knowledgeable (not necessarily popular or public) opinion actually does mean something, and what it means is that at minimum, we accept that the artist is at least “good.” I don’t think that’s an earthshaking statement, nor is it stretching the bounds of credibility. I think it’s far more incredible, at this stage, to make statements about the Beatles or the Stones or yes, even U2, not being “good.” I think it should be accepted that they are good. How good? Well, ok, we can differ about that.

    …when you equate mass popularity and music industry self congratulatory a** kissing to quality, and when you start calling people morons because they don’t hold a bunch of self-obsessed publicity whore Irishmen in the same esteem as you.

    Bitter much? If you read carefully, you will see I didn’t call anyone a moron. I said certain points of view could make you appear to be something of a moron. Your point of view would be a good example of that. Calling U2 publicity whores is like calling George Washington an office seeker. You can’t fault people for playing the hand they are dealt to the best of their ability, especially when they use the benefits of their position to try to benefit others.

  60. Pretty good for a kb thread, morons.

    George Washington was a total sellout. His first year in office was his only good year.

  61. Well, it seems this argument, as most such arguments do, has become a semantic one. To my way of thinking, if I don’t like something, it’s not good (again, to me – this is subjective stuff). If I’m giving my opinion of something I don’t like, I’m going to express it this way. Why is that such a problem? And why does it matter how many rock critics before me have thought otherwise? I should just accept that my not liking The Band is a personal failing because Jann Wenner likes it? Or I should make some ridiculous clarification like “Oh, I guess it’s really good, it just doesn’t work for me”? I’ve got no time for that.

    Plus, your argument raises a whole bunch more questions about these alleged tastemakers. If rock critics en masse are the ultimate judge of what’s good, do we need to examine their resumes before counting their opinion? I mentioned him already, but I’m as inclined to accept Jann Wenner’s opinion of what’s good as I am to jump out of a moving car for fun, and he’s one of folks in charge of the hall.

    On a larger level, though, I find your idea that the majority rules (even if we’re talking “knowledgable” opinion (another quagmire, by the way) rather than popular) when it comes to rock & roll simply wrongheaded. Since when has rock & roll been about pleasing the majority of any group? Like Susan said, the establishment’s opinion of the quality of rock music means very little to me.

  62. I’m sensing a lot of anger in the comments. And looking at the time the comments were made, I think some of you need to get some sleep.

  63. Calling U2 publicity whores is like calling George Washington an office seeker.

    Are we even talking about the same band here?

    No one is going to get me to accept U2 as “good”, just like no one is going to convince me that a stale BigMac or a freezer-burned frozen burrito is good. I don’t like them. In the realm of music, or food, I would rather listen to, or eat, anything else. If you picked four random people off the street, could they make music as well as U2? Probably not. (Though I think it would probably be more interesting.) But in the context of all of the thousands of musical choices out there, U2 is near the bottom of my list.

    It’s not that I don’t understand your point about critical acclaim given by those “in the know” establishing roughly defined standards. U2 is not Mozart, or Proust, or Da Vinci. They’re more like Kenny G. They are a mediocre-bad pop-rock act that spends more time hawking ipods and calling press conferences to commemorate their latest charitable donations than they do to making music that’s not derivative crap. They are good at at least one thing – getting aging hipsters with inferiority complexes to fork over money hand over fist.

    I guess I’m am a little bitter, yeah. It’s because U2 and the incredibly overrated drivel that they put out finds it’s way into my life way too often. Come to think of it, in that sense it’s a lot like all the internet’s arrogant, self-anointed art authorities.

  64. Well I think you missed my point again Brian, but I sense it’s not worth arguing about further. To clarify one thing though, I don’t think any one person’s opinion counts any more than any other’s. I don’t put any more weight on Jann Wenner’s opinion than yours, for example, nor do I recognize anything called “the establishment” (is that a rock band?).

    I do, however, think that at some point you have to recognize that some measure of quality exists if years of accolades from multiple independent sources have shown that to be the consensus of people who should know what they’re talking about (meaning, other artists, among others). It’s very hip and cool to call that “the establishment” and say you don’t care what “they” think, but hundreds of people who have spent their lives playing, recording, and writing about music don’t all reach the same opinion for no reason.

  65. kwk, you’ve convinced me, there’s no way we’re talking about the same band. You obviously have U2 mixed up with some other band. When you figure out who it is you’re really talking about, let us know.

  66. It’s very hip and cool to call that “the establishment” and say you don’t care what “they” think

    First of all, I could care less about being cool or hip.

    hundreds of people who have spent their lives playing, recording, and writing about music don’t all reach the same opinion for no reason.

    I don’t want to belabor my point by continuing to repeat myself, but people don’t all reach the same opinion about anything. That is what I’ve been trying to say, and if I’ve done a poor job of expressing that, I apologize. No band is unanimously loved, not even the Beatles. There are always going to be dissenters no matter what, and to say that they should just accept what the majority thinks is not an opinion I share. That sort of thinking, removed from the rather innocuous arena of pop music, has spawned some pretty ugly things (none of which I am accusing you of, just to be clear).

  67. We’re still talking past each other Brian. I’m not saying that anything is ever unanimous. I’m just asking that people give me the (realitively minor) concession that an avalanche of supporters, accolades, awards and critical acclaim probably means that, at a minimum, something doesn’t totally suck. It might actually have some merit. Even if I don’t particularly care for it personally. You might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us, and the world will live as one.

  68. kwk, you’ve convinced me, there’s no way we’re talking about the same band. You obviously have U2 mixed up with some other band. When you figure out who it is you’re really talking about, let us know.

    LOL.

    I think Brian’s point is a good one. For instance outside of a few songs, I don’t like the Beatles. But I’d acknowledge them as the greatest band of all time.

    I think it is possible to be able to distinguish between what I enjoy and what is good and probably even enjoyable to most people. This isn’t really a Big Mac like comparison. I think most people would like a well cooked meal by a top chef far more than a Big Mac. The fact that more Big Macs are sold has nothing to do with that. I think the same is true in music. The better analogy might be a perfectly cooked fish by an amazing chef. I may not like fish but I can at least acknowledge that a perfectly cooked fish by an amazing chef is good.

  69. You obviously have U2 mixed up with some other band. When you figure out who it is you’re really talking about, let us know.

    Obviously. Because it’s inconceivable that any opinion that is different from yours can hold any merit whatsoever. Yay for ad hominem attacks!

    …but hundreds of people who have spent their lives playing, recording, and writing about music don’t all reach the same opinion for no reason.

    That’s why the Grammys are so good at determining the very best music every year. If you want to find all that is worth listening to in popular music, you can start and stop with music that has won Grammys!

    Your “hundreds of people who have spent their lives playing, recording, and writing about music” are not the impartial, unbiased judges that you think they are.

  70. kwk, take it easy, I’m just having a little fun with you.

    BTW, I never said anything about the grammys. That’s just one award. By itself, it means little or nothing. Any one award or critic or accolade may be biased or flawed, but after 20 years of multiple awards, accolades, acclaim and applause from numerous independent sources, we might have something that is worth paying attention to, no?

  71. I may not like fish but I can at least acknowledge that a perfectly cooked fish by an amazing chef is good.

    No. U2 are not master craftsmen. Their music is not a “perfectly cooked fish”, it’s lazy, safe, uninspiring, preachy rock created by mediocre talents that gets polished by millions of dollars of production and hyped by an army of cultural elitists who never got over a pimple-y make out session to “One”.

  72. Don’t hold back, kwk, tell us how you really feel. It must be hard to be constantly fighting that army of cultural elitists out there. How did U2 get that whole army of cultural elitists on their side, anyway? It seems kind of odd that four nobodies from Dublin could have accomplished that so successfully. Must have had an amazing PR man.

  73. I’m obviously coming off like a ranting idiot here. I’m sorry. Like I said, I don’t disagree that certain artists are so talented that it becomes impossible to deny their talent. I just don’t think U2 is anywhere near that level, and it’s kind of irritating when obsessive fans discredit anyone who doesn’t acknowledge their dubious “facts”.

    It’s obvious that U2 appeal to a certain aesthetic that I just don’t get. And as far as all their accolades and awards and etc. – I found that when I stopped listening to music that was getting all the major label music industry back-slapping I discovered music that was much more honest, rich, and innovative.

  74. Not meaning to discredit you, just get you to agree with me!

    Let’s hear about some of that other music, kwk. What are you listening to lately?

  75. How did U2 get that whole army of cultural elitists on their side, anyway?

    The same way that 50 Cent gained an army of urban worshipers and that made Creed the biggest rock band in the US – by filling a niche (a big one) and appealing to certain sensibilities and markets. I won’t argue that it takes a certain level of ability to get popular in the first place, but I think it’s pretty common for bands to ride the wave hype, luck, and a hastily given good reputation all the way to super-stardom.

    I’ve just heard far too many rock bands that I think are far superior to U2 to feel OK about calling them “good” for the genre.

  76. What are you listening to lately?

    Lately, I’ve been hooked on Porcupine Tree and a band called “3″.

  77. [...] websites dedicated simply to ranking things. Perhaps the easiest blog post in the world is to come up with a list and invite debate.  Lest anyone think I am criticising, I have done this too, and it can be good fun.  Although I [...]

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