The internet has changed the way we think about music. Today, we’re flooded with more songs and artists than we can possibly process. New song stream here. New album release there. It’s a wealth of information, and we can’t seem to keep up. And the worst part of all of this is that most of these clowns don’t even respect music. We’re constantly distracted by bands and artists who pollute our attention, and often times, we miss out on the real artists and the bands that really matter. Because, for every generation, there are music pioneers who change the way we approach everything—those who push us to think about ourselves, our lives, and the type of person we want to be. But then there are just the artists who get in the way. Here at Noisey, we’re music experts, so we took the liberty of sorting out the bargain bin losers who’ve done their best to ruin everything we’ve come to know and love about the craft of music from the bands that really deserve your attention. Here, in alphabetical order, are the 123 worst musicians of all time.
Definitive proof that rock ‘n’ roll is the only place where you can be a professional 12-year-old for 40 years and have it be a totally normal, OK thing. It's great that they built a discography singing about how great their penises were, but let's not forget that Jack Black and a band of actual ten-year-olds in School of Rock did a better job with their music.
This is one of those bands where you stop doing psychedelics and immediately disavow having ever enjoyed. They are this generation’s Phish.
Aphex Twin confuses making boring music using hypothetically interesting methods without actually making interesting music. Plus, “Avril 14th” sounds like a shitty rip-off of Kanye West’s “Blame Game.”
Long album titles don’t make your singer-songwriter ditties innovative. This is music for people who drink kombucha and call themselves poets even though everything they write is terrible symbolism about getting broken up with or some other shit no one cares about.
This is a glorified barbershop quartet that a bunch of record store nerds convinced themselves were cool because they sang about surfing and record store nerds don't know how to surf.
Obnoxious, ironic white boys taking the hot sound of black America, white-washing it, and half-assedly farting it back on over to the suburbs? Is that a description of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis? Nope! It’s the Beastie Boys. If the Beasties came out in 2014, we’d all fucking hate them.
It would make sense to call the Beatles a boy band except, lyrically, they fall pretty far short of the One Directions of the world. Songs like “Hello, Goodbye,” “She Loves You,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” could have been written by three-year-olds, while “Hey Jude” sounds like a bunch of dudes smoking pot and jerking each other off while yodelling. It says all you need to about this group that the most famous thing they ever did was walk across a street together.
The sonic equivalent to a fedora.
Beyoncé™ sings like the member of the choir who no one likes trying to show off, but the only people Beyoncé™ is showing off to are her corporate sponsors. No matter how many GIFs you make of Beyoncé™, you will never manage to make one of her being sincere.
You’re supposed to like Björk because your older brother who studied art at community college told you to, but it’s hard to like somebody who sings like they’re trying to get a Honda off using only sound waves.
The “greatest hardcore band of all time” is actually the greatest tattoo removal pyramid scheme of all time.
Most people can name more animals they think Ozzy Osbourne has bitten the head off of than actual Black Sabbath songs.
If there were any justice in this world, we’d remember Blondie not for having played CBGB but because Debbie Harry was the first truly horrible white rapper. If Blondie released “Rapture” today, ol’ Deb would be hailed as the second coming of Kreayshawn.
Overdramatic, coked-out buffoon who could barely hit a note and whose career would have exploded in a flash of bad ideas in the mid-70s if he hadn’t hitched his wagon to Brian Eno.
BRIGHT EYES/DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
Yeah, dudes. We get it. A girl broke up with you.
Maybe if she stopped running up that fucking hill she wouldn’t sound so out of breath all the time.
People think it’s cool to like Johnny Cash because unlike his contemporaries, not all of his songs were about how he wanted to fuck his sister. But if you look back at his discography, it’s a fiery garbage hole of inane alcoholic ramblings that devolves into that hack who started Def Jam convincing him it was a good idea to cover Nine Inch Nails.
If you wanna bum people out, play the intro to “Straight to Hell” and watch their disappointment as they realize it’s not the M.I.A. song. That’s right, M.I.A. managed to make a more popular song than the Clash. Thank God someone paid to fix Joe Strummer’s teeth or this would’ve just been another unmarketable British band.
He started out as an overt racist and then turned into an overt appropriator. No wonder My Aim Is True is a beloved hipster classic.
You know you make shitty music when you sell more backpatches than albums.
CREAM / ERIC CLAPTON
White man discover guitar. White man like guitar. Guitar fun. Guitar make good noise. Cocaine!
This band just made music about crying, which makes sense considering their lead singer looks like a fat, wet baby.
These guys aren’t even punk. They’re just the band we have to thank for EDM.
The weak link in the Black Circle. Hey Darkthrone, burn down a church or GTFO.
Who would’ve guessed that songs about Ronald Reagan and Pol Pot would age about as gracefully as Jello Biafra, who, in turn, has aged about as gracefully an actual bowl of Jell-O.
Here’s how much fun it must be to be in the Descendents: Milo left the band to go to college.
Rock bands shouldn’t be fronted by a guy who looks like he’s covered in moss. J. Mascis is the granddaddy of dudes who sing like a cow giving birth.
Jim Morrison looked good shirtless and wearing a necklace on a poster. But that’s about as far as he got because the only real influence the Doors have ever had is inspiring a generation of college freshmen dudes to learn how to play six chords on their dad’s acoustic guitar through ultimate-guitar.com.
A one-hot-album-every-22-years-and-counting average is apparently all it takes to be a rap genius these days.
Bob Dylan is possibly the most self-absorbed, self-mythologising piece of shit to ever pick up a guitar. By writing inscrutable songs that pretend to elevate the byzantine dramas of his whiny, privileged life to some sort of self-construed poetry, Bob Dylan paved the way for our current vapid culture of appreciating personal expression over any form of talent. He couldn’t sing, he made a bunch of terrible gospel albums, and he sold out his core folk fan base and its laudable values of anti-commercialism by going electric. Although he was seen as a voice of change, he demonstrated himself to be selfish at every turn of his career. And worst of all, he has two first names.
Thank you, Eminem, for convincing a generation of white people that rap was nothing more than screeching homophobic, misogynistic slurs at the top of your lungs. The real Slim Shady should stand up at the top of a cliff and then fall off.
ERIC B & RAKIM
Undoubtedly the best rap act from an era that produced exactly zero records anyone still listens to.
A band with a career that’s publicly been about cheating on each other, living hard, and doing a bunch of drugs—yet their music always sounds like it’s made for 87-year-olds.
Foo Fighters are a band for people who want to listen to “rock music” but only have an FM radio and an IQ of less than 75. They are the musical equivalent of the politician who will say whatever people want to hear to get elected. Foo Fighters are the Mitt Romney of rock music.
You know why Fugazi never charged more than $7 for a show? Because if they charged $8, no one would’ve come. The band of choice for Minor Threat fans who can’t do a push-up.
How big of an asshole do you have to be to have your dad shoot you?
You need to stop sucking up our bandwidth downloading hour-long bootlegs of “Dark Star” while I’m trying to watch porn. You’re 58 now. Have you ever stopped to consider that Jerry Garcia has been dead for 20 years? I was an all-conference cross-country runner and you couldn’t even be bothered to show up to the awards banquet because you were smoking weed. I don’t love you anymore, and it’s all Jerry Garcia’s fault.
Your teenage son
The worst thing would be if you died and they played that “Time of Your Life” song at your funeral.
GUNS N’ ROSES
The only thing good about this band is that it made it possible for you to get laid simply because of your Guitar Hero skills.
More like Shitney Houston, right?
This guy could only play one instrument.
“I wish they would go back in it!”
IGGY & THE STOOGES
Iggy Pop’s only talent was taking his shirt off, and now his only talent is looking like his body has been swallowed up by his own foreskin.
666, number of the beast? More like number of times their fans have tried and failed to lose their virginity.
Dude. Walking backwards is not that hard.
Do the emo nostalgia nerds currently praying for a Jawbreaker reunion have any recollection of how boring this band was live? The music industry was stupid enough to give them a million dollar-record deal in 1994 and Generation X was like, “Ehhh, thanks but we’d rather listen to this shitty Green Day Dookie record.”
Literally only got famous because Biggie died.
This is just Mike Myers playing the piano.
Patient Zero for the trend of white girls thinking they can sing like black women and an inducted member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—both unforgivable sins.
Despite the fact that there are about two million Joy Division shirts out there, there are maybe two listenable Joy Division songs. That's a ratio of one million shirts per listenable song, which is a pretty terrible ratio. But hey, cool shirt, bro!
Pretty much the only cool thing that ever happened to this band was when Rob Halford came out of the closet and bummed out the homophobic metal dummies.
The only thing worse than a talentless egomaniac is four of them. The only thing worse than four talentless egomaniacs is four talentless egomaniacs in clown make-up who slap their dumb-ass logo on every square inch of product they can get their paws on.
Lynyrd Skynyrd is a band for clueless 60-year-old music executives who frame LPs and hang them as art in their million dollar condos and dudes who name their trucks. No matter what kind of Skynyrd fan you are, the Confederate Flag is still corny, requesting "Freebird" at concerts still isn't funny, and this band is a still a soundtrack for racists.
One thing about Bob Marley’s music, when it hits you do feel pain. (Because Bob Marley’s music is bad.)
Sure, Metallica’s material since the 90s has been sub-par. But let’s also not forget how bad they were in the 80s! And how lame is it to name your band after the genre you’re in? Who the fuck would listen to a rap group called Rappica?
A band who inadvertently started the eventual movement of fat dudes in mesh shorts beating the shit out of people for drinking a beer. What a great contribution to punk rock.
Punk has always been about dressing up in dumb costumes, but these bridge and tunnel posers took it to the next level. God bless Jerry Only for desperately clinging to this band’s bloated corpse harder than his receding devilock.
Modest Mouse is a cool R.E.M. covers project that was once sampled in a Lupe Fiasco song.
It’s amazing to think that Van Morrison made Astral Weeks at the age of 23. Most people don’t lose touch and make terrible adult contempo music until they hit 40.
MY BLOODY VALENTINE
Hey idiots, maybe stand farther away from your amps when you’re playing.
You know in Peanuts, how Charlie Brown’s always trying to kick the football and Lucy keeps moving it at the last second? That’s what it’s like to be a Nas fan, and he’s Lucy. This guy's so-called classic album crams way too many words into every verse in an attempt to prove he’s brilliant, rather than just showing us how brilliant he can be. Listening to it feels like running on a treadmill with your ears, but because it offered the sheer shock of actually forcing listeners to pay attention to music for once, Illmatic became mislabeled as a hip-hop classic whose legacy Nas would never be able to follow up on. Still, by offering just enough scraps of promise, Nas was able to convince his fans he somehow deserved the title of greatest rapper ever and trick them into listening to a series of underwhelming albums with terrible beats and overwrought concepts for perpetuity. Plus, the diss track that supposedly cemented his legacy peaks by calling Jay Z a gay slur in a shitty insult rap that doesn't even rhyme.
This loser cowboy couldn’t hold a tune if it were wrapped in a double strength raw hemp Zig Zag rolling paper.
This dude sucks.
NINE INCH NAILS
Trent Reznor almost did the noble thing of quitting music when he first disbanded Nine Inch Nails in 2009, but instead kept releasing godawful soundtracks to even worse movies, and his shitshow vanity project How To Destroy Angels, therefore solidifying his legacy as the guy who makes music for the smartest guy in the trailer park.
What has more brains than Kurt Cobain? The wall behind him!
You’ve really gotta hand it to Fat Mike and NOFX. Not many people can fart and turn it into a 30-year career.
Aren’t these two just the same guy?
You know a rap group is legendary and full of talent when half the members in it don't even write their own raps.
No one likes Outkast because he turned rap into a fashion-oriented top 40 freakshow, abandoning the true lyricism that the genre was founded on in favor of following his own agenda about promoting Southern soul. This guy was indulgent enough to make a double album with two sides that didn’t even really fit together, and then he had the temerity to do a reunion tour where he just played festivals instead of catering to the real fans who have been with him since day one.
This band sounds like every indie rock band ever.
“OoooOOOOhhhWaaaauUUUuuuGGgggHHHHHeeeeEEEEEaaaaaMMMmmmmUUUUuuNn.” There, you now have a thorough knowledge of Pearl Jam.
Here in our great nation of the United States of America, nearly 75 percent of the wealth is owned by ten percent of the population. Celebrities determine the direction of culture. Racism is still active and very much alive. Half of the population couldn’t care less about climate change. Two-thirds of the citizens are overweight. And Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers is the most American band of all time.
Fun fact!! If you sync up Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz, it still sounds like unlistenable horseshit.
It makes sense that the pinnacle of this band’s career was getting a song on the Fight Club soundtrack, given that both are just pseudo-intellectual bullshit for people who want to pretend to have indie cred.
Why would you name your band after a group of militarised, racist thugs?
At an absolute low point in his bloated, erectile malfunction of a career, Elvis Aaron Presley diarrhea’d out Having Fun with Elvis on Stage, a record consisting of 37 minutes of Elvis’s stage banter, which is widely regarded as the worst album of all time. That’s giving the vocal diarrhea of his other albums a lot of credit.
Isn’t he the guy from Chappelle’s Show?
Maybe they'd be OK if they tried rapping about anything anyone actually cared about instead of politics, but then again, they'd still probably sound like your uncle lecturing you with a clock radio as a backing track.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is every terrible improv routine condensed into one six-minute song.
Everyone hails Radiohead for being genius aliens from the future who are musical pioneers. Well if they’re such geniuses, why can’t they make listenable music? The Brit nerds have been bleep blorp blooping away their career for 30 years now and still haven’t managed to make a decent song besides “Creep.”
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
Rage is a band for the dude who just took a poli-sci class at the University of Phoenix Online.
The Ramones’ diverse catalog includes songs like “I Don’t Wanna Walk Around with You,” “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up,” and “I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement.” How about “I Don’t Wanna Hear the Same Goddamn Three Chords Again or I’ll Step In Front of a Bus at Rockaway Beach.” Learn a new chord, dudes. The Ramones’ music sounds like if you found a cheap chainsaw at a garage sale and lit it on fire. CBGB never mattered, and leather jackets just look stupid.
Rancid was MTV’s token band-with-mohawks back in the 90s, and they’ve stuck around for another two decades for no reason. To be fair, they’re the best band to be fronted by a guy who sounds like he’s constantly chewing on peanut butter.
This guy’s “best” song was “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” and he didn’t even bother to finish it.
Is there any band more full of shit than Refused? Yeah, dudes, we all totally buy your anti-capitalism bullshit when “New Noise” gets played in Friday Nights Lights, Crank, 24, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and any other show, movie, or video game where they need 15 seconds of an intense pump-up song. Not to mention cashing in a fat paycheck on the reunion show at Coachella. Refused are no more punk than Deftones.
Once Moby started this whiny side project, it really was the end of the world as we knew it.
The Replacements are the ugly guy at the bar who you fuck because you’re too drunk to know any better. This is the band playing on every car stereo in the history of drunk driving.
THE ROLLING STONES
Wow, it must have taken a lot of creativity to just blatantly rip off a bunch of black guys from America and do a bunch of drugs. Cool dance moves, Mick Jagger.
“Everyone’s favourite late night television sideshow” isn’t quite immortal cred. It’d be easy to criticise their other music, but no one has heard any of it.
These guys have always sounded like dads, and, like dads, now people just assume they're cool because they're old when in fact they're lame and obsessed with Aerosmith.
Rush is the soundtrack to being a fucking dork.
THE SEX PISTOLS
Oh, congratulations, you’re the pioneers of music’s dumbest genre.
A lot of music sounds like shit, but Slayer’s guitars literally sound like a cluster bomb of diarrhea hitting the sides of the toilet bowl, and the vocals literally sound like the sighs of a 300-pound man voiding his bowels.
Billy Corgan is like the Samson of music. Cut his hair off and he loses his ability to make popular, navel-gazing, whiny 90s alt-rock and starts going off the deep end of insanity. Somewhere in between starting a wrestling foundation, dating Tila Tequila, performing 8-hour synth interpretations of Siddhartha, and looking like what happens when Hellraiser and middle-aged Charlie Brown have a baby, Billy has managed to ruin any shred of dignity the Smashing Pumpkins had by reuniting the band with zero original members and putting out 128-part concept album box sets that even he wouldn’t listen to.
Dopey the Fuck-Clown is truly the voice of a generation of moody, self-indulgent depressives who probably should’ve played team sports in high school.
Nothing screams punk like wearing a hobo clown hat and reading shitty poetry on stage at CBGB. Can anyone even name a Patti Smith song (again, not some hippie bullshit poem) that isn’t “Because the Night?” Thought not. Oh, and good job, everyone, on pretending her book had more literary value than Clifford the Big Red Dog.
This is music for people who need to get the fuck over themselves made by a dude who really needs to get the fuck over himself.
Mumble-mouth anthem king Bruce Springsteen is the most talented person to ever come out of New Jersey, which is like being the skinniest person to ever come out of a Cheesecake Factory.
Sonic Youth albums aren’t as popular now as they were in the days of cassettes. That’s because now it’s a lot easier to say, “Hey this song is going fucking nowhere, skip it.” Every single Sonic Youth song is a “skip it” song. Every single one. Unless, of course, you enjoy hearing Thurston Moore sound like he’s dicking around with effects pedals at Guitar Center.
Rod Stewart is kind of like if scientists did an experiment in which they crossed the genes of Hulk Hogan, a glass of bad cognac, and your creepy uncle.
It’s a pretty good indicator of the sad shape rock ‘n’ roll was in during the early 2000s that a bunch of trust fund cokeheads dressed up like the Ramones and people thought that somehow made them interesting.
Hey David Byrne, here’s a dry, nonsensical lyric for you that might accidentally convey the oddity of the human condition: go fuck yourself.
Justin Timberlake is the perfect pop star in that he has no discernible personality, appeals to advertising sales guys by looking like one, and makes music that rips off other artists who made the unfortunate mistake of being less white than he is.
There’s a strong correlation between this band’s name and the type of people who listen to their MC Escher butt rock. Hopefully it will be 10,000 more days before they release another album.
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
Every Tribe song sounds like the hardest quest involved was how to get from one end of a hopscotch game to the other. The only “it” they should have kicked was “the bucket.”
The only time U2 sounds good is when they’re being played from a U2-branded iPod plugged into the sound system at a charity event for people who suffer from the rare disease where they can’t take their sunglasses off.
Velvet Underground is proof that if you want to create something truly terrible, you just need to start by telling a bunch of burnouts that they're artists. Then let them fire away, get hooked on heroin, and keep perpetuating the cycle by influencing new generations of shitty wannabe artists. It's the greatest conceptual art prank Andy Warhol ever pulled.
Because who needs talent when you sound like you’re gargling broken glass?
He’s okay, but he’s really a better producer than a rapper.
THE WHITE STRIPES
Responsible for the worst stadium song ever recorded and a two-person band in which both members look like the sex offender of the week on an especially dark SVU episode.
Wow, a carefully constructed rock opera about the trials and tribulations of growing up, confronting bullying and abuse, and ultimately accepting yourself? More like The Who Gives A Shit?
“I Am Trying to Put You to Sleep.”
The reason people like to call Amy Winehouse the greatest talent of her generation is that she sounds like music that isn't from her generation. Specifically, she's like a hoarse version of a third- or fourth-tier talent of a previous generation. But apparently nobody under the age of 60 has ever heard a live horn played on a song before, so she can get away with it. Not that anybody even liked Amy Winehouse's music that much until she died, but she did, and now we listen to her two so-so albums out of guilt.
STEVIE WONDER/RAY CHARLES
Pretty sure the history books only need one blind dude playing boring songs on piano. So one of them sucks, the other is redundant. You pick.
Oh cool, a bunch of nerds rapping about kung-fu. Shaolin’s probably not even a real place.
The only thing that sucks harder than Neil Young’s whiny cat squeal of a voice is people who put his music on road trip mixtapes for “adventures” they have into the mountains with their pals while the entire group does a singalong. Old man, take a look at your life and shut the fuck up.
Honestly, this list just needed a “Z,” and this person probably sucks.
Did we forget any? Let us know in the comments!
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