Great Songs By Mediocre Artists

By Matt Drake

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Like all art, music is a subjective thing. However, I think we can all agree that certain bands seem to tread water their entire careers in terms of making waves

You know who I mean, they’re usually on compilation albums advertised as: “the perfect gift for father’s day! Presenting, Top Gear’s ultimate driving anthems!”

These bands certainly aren’t avant garde, but like sifting for gold in a river, searching through that murky water, you’ll occasionally find nuggets of gold. Here’s a run down of some of songs by – who I believe to be – mediocre artists. Perhaps you’ll find my choices controversial, but like I said, it’s all subjective. (It should be noted that I tried to find a Nickleback song that I liked, but I couldn’t…)

20. ColdPlay, Paradise

Like Super Hans from the Peep Show says, “people voted for the Nazis and listen to Coldplay.” Well, believe it or not, the Nazis invented Fanta, and Volkswagen. And are you seriously telling me you wouldn’t like a nice Audi, or a refreshing bit of fizzy orange? Well like the Nazis, Coldplay occasionally do something half decent.

19. Bon Jovi, Wanted Dead Or Alive

Megalomaniacal front man Bon Jovi’s band, Bon Jovi, are most famous for their song “Living On a Prayer” – which is so overplayed that it can feel like some sort of psychological torture devised by the CIA. This one doesn’t get anywhere near as much air play, but it’s probably one of the better tracks.

18. Alanis Morissette, Ironic

Oxford English Dictionary defines “irony” as: a figure of speech in which the intended meaning is the opposite of that expressed by the words used. Therefore having “rain on your wedding day”, or having “ten thousand spoons” when you need a knife is not ironic. None of the things described in the song is ironic; and isn’t it ironic, don’t you think…?

17. Natalie Imbruglia, Torn

Now this is a better soft rock track! The lyrics makes sense too. In fact, they’re pretty good!

16. U2, Sunday Bloody Sunday

‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’. What a great song. It really encapsulates the frustration of a Sunday, doesn’t it? You wake up in the morning, you’ve got to read all the Sunday papers, the kids are running round, you’ve got to mow the lawn, wash the car, and you think “Sunday, bloody Sunday!”.

15. Kiss, Firehous (live)

I never really understood why there is such fanaticism around Kiss, I always thought it was all style and no substance. But, I have to say actually like this track – especially this live version on The Mike Douglas Show in 1974

14, Stereophonics, Dakota

Not much to say about this one really.

13. Travis, Why Does It Always Rain On Me?


12.  The Darkness, Black Shuck

These guy’s bubble burst very quickly. But this song is actually fairly respectable, miles away from some of their other stuff.

11.  Lightning Seeds, Marvellous

This band is so bland it’s the audible equivalent of eating a rice cake, just no sustenance. However, this one is marvellous.

10. Green Day, Longview

Before they sold out so shamefully, Green Day were fairly legit. I mean “Dookie” is a great album! Take this little ditty about boredom.

09. Razorlight, Somewhere Else

They were a flash in the pan, but their first album was pretty good. Take this one for example.

08. Kasabian, Underdog

They’re not exactly a ground shaking band, but you can’t deny that this is a nice guitar riff, and has catchy lyrics.

07.  Ash, Girl From Mars

Still going, but they’re not in the charts as much these days.

06, Guns N’ Roses, It’s So Easy

Yeah that’s right Guns N’ Roses are bland. They had one good album, and they did the Terminator theme song, but that’s it! This is from “Appetite For Destruction” which is there only good album to date.

05. Supergrass, Richard III

For some reason this song was included on “Donkey Konga” on the Game Cube, which was like guitar hero on the bongos….

04. Status Quo, Picture Of Matchstick Men

It’s all in the name really, these guys are pretty damn middle of the road. However, this is an earlier track from 1968 which is undoubtedly their best.

03. AC/DC, Back In Black

One of the best guitar riffs of all time.

02. The Cardigans, My Favourite Game

The staple choice of any dad rock compilation album, but with damn good reason too! Great song!

01. Areosmith & RUN DMC, Walk This Way

Originally released by Areosmith in 1977, RUN DMC did a cover that was so good that it saved Areosmith’s dwindling career. This is definitely top of the list, but that’s because RUN DMC aren’t mediocre. In fact I feel like we need a track by them to remedy this…

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