Top Five Wednesday: Bands that have contributed the most to the downfall of radio

So, once upon a time, The Who were played on standard rock radio, right next to Aerosmith, Led Zep, and (maybe, if your station was cool enough) Hendrix. Now, obviously, is not that time, as we are treated to Nickelback, Kelly Clarkson, and Fall Out Boy. What happened to the radio?

I’ll tell you what happened: people started copying other people egregiously. Copying has been around forever (look up Donovan Bob Dylan in Google for evidence of that). But we’ve made it an art form (literally) in the modern world. Here’s the top five most influential, actually good bands that have inadvertently ruined radio today.

5. Metallica. Every metalhead that formed a band from 1989 to about 2000 wanted to make “…And Justice For All” all over again. Seeing as that’s impossible, because Metallica was really, really good back then, people just copied the “let’s make a really wicked awesome acoustic thing on this metal album” idea. All the crappy acoustic ballads by metal bands you hear now? “One” is directly responsible. And I am not happy that “Bother” by Stone Sour exists.

4. Bush. Although mostly a footnote in history (unless you really, really like “Glycerine”), Bush was the leader of the post-grunge bands: bands that weren’t exactly hard enough to be grunge but weren’t happy pop music either. “Machine Head” is a perfect example: it’s got excellent, grungy verses but an undeniably ’90s pop chorus with some tender moments. It was totally awesome, then and now, but it’s ridiculously hard to pull off effectively. Direct , inadvertent descendants: terrible pop bands with mega-distorted guitars and emo lyrics like Three Days Grace.

3. Blink-182. Brought juvenile, sophomoric humor directly to the forefront of pop music. It had always existed, but until Blink, it was mostly underground and subversive. Their best album (which I own and listen to with frightening frequency) is the thinly veiled innuendo Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. They are primarily responsible for any crude joke that makes it onto the radio, because it’s probably not as bad as what Blink passed off on the public. Not so awesome.

2. Green Day. While Blink helped a lot in Green Day’s floundering middle years, Green Day was the band that brought pop-punk to the world. Seeing as most of the crap on the radio is pop-punk (The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus? What is this?) and it proliferates faster than any other genre ever, Green Day is pretty high up on the “inadvertently ruined good radio” files.

1. Nirvana. I really can’t fault them for this, because what was on the radio when they appeared was terrible hair metal. They single-handedly thrust American radio out of the dark ages, but after they left, we just reverted right back, only with pale copies of Nirvana songs. Direct descendent: Nickelback. There is no justice in the world (see number five?). So, they should get major props for singlehandedly changing the music world, but I’m not sure if we changed it for the better. On second thought, anything is better than Poison.

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  1. Anonymous
    01/12/2009 at 11:45 am Permalink


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