For the Greatest American Band debate, I'm not nominating anyone today, I'm going to tell you why I think a lot of the bands out there today, that are played on the radio will not be in this conversation.
These bands don't have the staying power that a lot of the bands myself, RD and Tina have written about. I know I wrote Sugarhill Gang and how they are a one hit wonder, but they invented a genre of music. These bands today aren't inventing anything, they are strictly one hit wonders, or bubble gum pop. Now, I do like some current bands a lot. I've written about the Black Keys for this very debate. I'm a huge fan of TV on the Radio and I will be writing about them in the near future for this debate. I'm a huge Odd Future fan. I think they're the new Wu Tang Clan. The problem is, these bands don't get much, if any, radio play. Their music isn't catchy enough, or it's too weird for the masses. I've had a problem with pop music, I've written about the current state of radio on this site before, pretty much my whole life. When I was in high school, while I was listening to Outkast and Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, my friends and girlfriends were listening to shit like N'Sync, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. These people and "bands" will never be mentioned in any debate involving good music ever. They are ear worms. They're a hazard to people who listen to them, and the fans are some of the most annoying people in the world. They act like crazed religious people when talking about this music. It's not sufficient enough for them when I say I don't like this music. They have to not only berate me for not liking the music, but tell me why I'm wrong. And before you say it, I'm not telling you that you have to listen to the bands I like or have mentioned, I'm just telling you why pop music isn't sustainable, especially what they play on the radio. Do any of you millennials really think that Backstreet Boys or N'Sync is going to be Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees?
I didn't think so.
I have this same feeling for current pop "stars' like Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and George Ezra. You read that and said, "those are all solo artists, they don't count", okay, here's some current bands that will never be in this conversation, Imagine Dragons, OneRepublic and EchoSmith. As far as the solo artists go, Taylor Swift is annoying. I don't know if she's a country musician, or a pop musician. It's pop, right? She's a terrible role model as well. She may not want to be a role model, but she is. Her music all sounds the same, especially the garbage she's currently putting out. Miley Cyrus is terrible in every way. She's an abysmal singer, a terrible dancer, a bad actor and a shitty person. She's the worst. George Ezra was cool when he first came out, but he's doomed to be a one hit wonder. His sound is too weird, and the fact that "Budapest" became a hit is completely shocking to me. People will only remember him for that one song. The "rock" bands that they play on the radio today are just as bad. Imagine Dragons are America's version of Nickelback. They might not be as terrible as Nickelback, but it's pretty close. They are more worried about their image than their music. They are a band of haircuts that play absolutely unlistenable music. First of all, their songs do literally all sound the same. They are all horrible rock songs. They want to sound like The Black Keys mixed with pop music, but it doesn't work for them at all. When they were on SNL last year, first of all, they sounded bad and when they brought Kendrick Lamar on to perform their second song, even he couldn't save how terrible it was. I love Kendrick Lamar, and when he can't make you song mildly enjoyable, you have a problem. OneRepublic sounds like the crappiest version of a Christian rock band, and Christian rock music is terrible. Their song, "Counting Stars" is so bad, that when it's on the radio, I'd rather listen to the band Train, and I hate Train. They are also a bunch of dudes that seem more interested in their look rather than their music. If these bands put a quarter the effort into their music that they do their look, they might be decent, probably not, but maybe. OneRepublic is a hazard to your ears. Avoid listening to them at all costs. EchoSmith is a brother sister combo, I believe, but their music sounds like love songs to each other. It's creepy. I don't like the way they sing to each other. It's like Donny and Marie Osmond. Go back and watch the old SNL skit where Julia Louis Dreyfuss and some male cast member, I don't remember who (ed note: it was Gary Kroeger), play the Osmonds, and they're singing so sweetly to each other, they start to make out. That's what I fear with EchoSmith.
I'm just fed up with today's music I suppose. But, these bands will never be remembered for making great music, or even decent music. They will become trivia questions at companies trivia nights. Their sound has no staying power. They will never, ever be mentioned in the Greatest American Band Debate, except for today, and I'm trashing them. In ten to fifteen years from now, I won't come back to this topic and talk about any of these bands. So, what does this say about American music and radio right now? I guess, if I had to give an answer I'd say, that we are in a bad place right now with "pop" music. We don't have any CCR's or Talking Heads or Sugarhill Gang's to listen to and that's a shame. Step your game up pop bands and start making better music.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man podcast. Every morning he turns on his radio and has hope. Within in 5 minutes his hope is replaced with dread. Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.