My taste differs from many people because I have an Uncle who gave me 3 Frank Zappa records when I was 11 that I immediately fell in love with--TOP 5 MOST OVERRATED:

1. U2
2. Radiohead
3. Kenny Chesney
4. Mariah Carrey
5. Green Day

Tags: overrated

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GOD you must be fucking high, if you think the Drive-By Truckers are overrated. One I think you need an ounce of mainstream attention to even be overrated.

Second and more importantly they are the best god damn band in America right now. You can't be serious or you have not heard the right shit.
Have to agree with the others here--DBT is completely underrated and is probably one of the 2 or 3 best bands out there today. And I haven't even seen them live.
1. Dave Matthews Band (With a bullet)
2. Jon Mayer
3. Aerosmith
4. Post-Beatles Paul McCartney
5. and, yes, the Eagles
Well, I guess I have to say that I think that Townes Van Zandt is a little overrated. Perfectly good songwriter, but "Pancho and Lefty" always seemed like such a contrived song. I do like a lot of his songs and I think he had talent, but as a performer, he always seemed lacking, and that's not to mention the production of most of his records.

A lot of the posts above hit sort of barn-sized targets, like Dave Matthews. John Mayer isn't horrible but really, who rates him that highly, or, for that matter, who really takes Dave Matthews seriously except for trust-funders in Boulder, Colorado, for whom this kind of jam-band thing is (or used to be) the soundtrack for their lives? Am I wrong about this?

In the rock canon, I've always found Janis Joplin overrated. In terms of what she was imitating, although she imitated some good stuff. Eric Clapton is overrated, in my book, because he's such a lousy singer and because he always seemed like more of a guitar stylist and not really a complete guitarist. But I mean, I think the late Snooks Eaglin was far better than Eric Clapton, and of course I love Hendrix.

As a performer, Lucinda Williams has always struck me as overrated. Not as a songwriter. Voices and how we respond to them is subjective. Hers makes me want to jump under a rock until it's over. I also realize that I have a knee-jerk response to anyone like Lucinda whom I perceive, rightly or wrongly, as a Professional Southerner. But she is a fine writer.

The Eagles are an interesting choice. I grew up in the era of their total dominance of the airwaves and in my career as a writer on country music I've interviewed dozens of famous musicians for whom the Eagles were a formative influence. They're professional, skilled and not without a certain feel for their subject, which is California. But "Hotel California" is such an obvious song, and if Lucinda strikes me as someone taking her Southern accent all the way to the bank, the Eagles are drugstore cowboys. But I would ask: who, critically, rates the Eagles highly? Maybe Chuck Eddy, who has made a good career out of championing bad music that we ought to be cool enough to like, likes them.

I find Tom Petty depressingly overrated. Sting. Solomon Burke post-1985 is a good example of an artist who used to be great, and once he found favor with a new audience, was a shadow of his former self. Joe Henry can be pretty overrated. R.E.M. I always found overrated in terms of the--to my ears--far more accomplished and truly MUSICAL pop of the same blighted '80s era. The dB's were way better, they just didn't have the ability to turn all mysterioso for their audience.

There's lots more.
I would also tell folks that, at one time, I was as snobby about the Doors and the Dead as one could be. The Classic Rock era drummed into our ears the work of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Doors, the Dead, the Beatles, the Stones...and the Moody Blues or whoever. The Band. I heard all that music at the time it was made but was just a little too young, and in around 1973 I started to get a dose of it all over again. Pink Floyd, post-Syd Barrett. (Now, of course, I think the Barrett stuff is far better but I'm no snob--I kinda dig the Floyd in their less songful phase. It's part of my cultural DNA.)

I guess the point is that it's hard to perceive music that was everywhere and accepted by everyone as "great" and drummed into your head at the expense of a lot of great or even greater stuff (that now everyone with any pretense of cool accepts as great, like the Carpenters or Moby Grape or the Stooges). The Doors and the Dead are perfect examples of this. Had no one ever tried to convince us of the poetry of Jim Morrison, we maybe could've accepted the Doors as what they were--great schlock-rock purveyors, Garage Rockers. Or the Dead as a pretty good electric blues/bluegrass/country band, with a great guitarist. I think Garcia was fantastic. So by the time you get to the late '70s/early '80s and punk had supposedly wiped the slate clean, you could say you loved, oh, Tom Verlaine but not Garcia. But they play a whole lot alike, don't they?

Ed, I don't know you, but I like your take on this. The Verlaine/Garcia connection is clear to me, too. I love Lucinda's voice AND songwriting, but for me, and this'll piss off this crowd, Steve Earle is overrated. His is the Professional Southerner voice that makes me cringe. Your take on the Doors is great. 

What I like about Hotel California is the sound. The instruments on that record killed me before I even knew anything about music or sound or recording. The production is nailed on that. The fact that I graduated high school in '76 tells you all you need to know about how many times I listened to Hotel California without thinking about it. I'm just a sucker for it. 

Seriously you have to be high. Townes van Zandt is overrated???? Give me a break, by who editors of alt. country magazines... I would say may be 3% of Americans would even recognize the name and half of those would think he was a former member of the E Street Band.

I'm fine with saying Pancho and Lefty the song is overrated. BUT To Live is to Fly, Greensboro Woman, Cocaine, his haunting cover of Dead Flowers, If I needed You, Waiting Around to Die... come on

Who else is "overrated" in your book? Guy Clark, Willis Alan Ramsey?
Poncho and Lefty isn't overrated. Good song-writing, put it is not terribly popular or touted as the best song of all time. It's mentioned now and again as a strong song, exactly what it is.
I've got to totally agree. Townes van Zandt might not be a better songwriter than Dylan as Steve Earle has asserted, but he wrote some real gems that held up. And even through I'm not a bit Elvis fan after he came back from the Army, you just can't put him on this list.
Fascinating post. Agreed about the barn-sized targets. (well, mostly) I think Mayer might be underrated, he's just getting started, after all, and I've already requested that his "Gravity" be played at my funeral. Dave Mathews is overdue for re-inventing himself if he means to stay relevant to his core audience which you've so aptly identified. Disagree about Janis, she may have been emulating, but her suffering was real. I've seen both Snooks and Clapton and you might be surprised at whom I prefer; hint, BB did more records with my choice. I'm a fairly recent Lucinda Williams convert and it was her voice more than her songs that melted me. (well that and she's more than a little hawt) Which brings me to the Eagles-easy to dismiss them for the bloated corpse they are nowadays, but modern country music wouldn't be conceivable without their contributions, the Byrds and the Flying Burritos notwithstanding. (and they all rode Graham Parsons' coattails to some extent) Tom Petty and Elvis Costello are probably the last of the great rock songwriters, after them, they'll all have to make do with a label that includes the word "post". And yes, the dBs were way better than REM. I also agree with the poster who believes Wilco is overrated. The Bottle Rockets and, to a lesser extent, the Gin Blossoms wrote better songs. (some great players have been in and out of that band, though)
You are obviously from another planet. Steve Earle said "Townes Van Zandt is the greatest songwriter in the world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table and say that." And I agree. One of the greatest songwriters ever.

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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.