Welcome back to Answer That and Stay Fashionable, where every week various members of the Dying Scene team will take a question posed by you, the readers, and pour their hearts out in regards to all things punk rock: from favorite records and show experiences to embarrassing purchases and fashion styles. If it’s punk, it’s fair game. This week’s question:
“There are lots of bands that the entire scene seems to love like Hot Water Music or The Lawrence Arms that I can’t stand. What bands do you think are over-hyped in punk today?”
Read our responses below.
I can’t get into the Descendents. They’re alright; I like a few of their songs, but overall they don’t excite me. “I’m the One” is so Nice Guy ™ that it makes me gag.
I might get some flak for this, but I just don’t care for Frank Turner all that much. I’ll rephrase that: I think Frank Turner is an excellent songwriter and I completely understand the appeal of his music, but I just don’t think there’s a single album of his that I’ve been able to make it through without skipping songs or totally blanking out. To me, his consistency is just way off balance: I think songs like “Try This at Home”, “The Ballad of Me and My Friends”, and “Recovery” are fucking fantastic tunes… but for every song I do like on an album, there are two or three that just do absolutely nothing for me. Maybe I’d just be better suited for a greatest hits type deal when it comes to him.
Speaking of Turner, I’m kind of over this whole acoustic solo front-man thing too. I’m not against the idea of solo projects in general, I’m just bored of the ones that are nothing but a guy and his acoustic guitar. Sure, it’s nice to hear for a song or two, and live it’s always fun to hear, but once it becomes a whole studio album it all begins to sound the same after awhile. Chuck Ragan’s earliest solo albums are the biggest offenders I can think of (I’ll admit, however, that I’ve heard his newest one is pretty good and expands on the instrumentation so maybe I need to give that one a chance), but Tim Barry and Ben Nichols are also in that category.
This is probably the easiest question asked so far for this ‘Answer That and Stay Fashionable’ dealio – Blink 182. One of the worst live bands I’ve ever seen. I’ve been to a ton of shows that cost around $15 to get into that were a million times better than Blink’s $60 disaster.
As someone who is not a fan of the modern pop punk / melodic hardcore sound (which seems to becoming more and more popular), this is an easy question for me. I have to do stories all the time on bands that I dislike, especially because there are constantly new groups in these genres but hey, it’s all part of the gig!
I particularly dislike the whiny yelling vocal style of La Dispute, Such Gold, Alexisonfire, and Touché Amoré, but I can’t say I like the whiny singing style of Four Year Strong or The Wonder Years much better.
La Dispute’s “Such Small Hands” is maybe my least favorite song ever.
I have to get something out of the way before I answer this question. I complain about music way too music amongst my friends or on Facebook. At the end of the day, does it really matter what I think of a band? If a band can make someone happy and connect with an audience through their music, I feel like they had done their job. Being in a band is a tough and mostly a thankless job, so it seems unfair for me to sit behind a computer and criticize them when I don’t even have the courage to chase my own dreams.
Now that I’ve cleared that up, I will finally answer this question. The first bands that pop into my mind are Touche Amore, La Dispute and Title Fight. They aren’t bad bands, I just never “understood” them. By all accounts, they seem like nice dudes though. I just don’t like the vocal style and it seems like a lot of bands are tying to emulate Touche Amore now. It’s weird to me. There is also the 90’s grung(ish) emo revival bands that I don’t get the hype for like Turnover, Citizen, Daylight, Modern Baseball etc. Who decided emo needed to be brought back? Fidlar gets a lot of love, but they have some of the worst lyrics I’ve heard. Garage punk seems to be on the rise too. I tried to get into folk-punk, but couldn’t do that either for the most part.
The other thing I don’t get and think is overrated is the newer wave of “pop-punk” bands. Bands that sound a lot like Blink 182 or New Found Glory. I thought that trend would have stopped by now. Bands like The Story So Far, Real Friends, The Wonder Years, Fireworks, Neck Deep etc. It all sounds similar to me. I feel like a lot of kids are jumping on the “pop punk” train without any knowledge of the music’s history. They think Blink 182 is “Old school” and just want to wear their hats backwards and be the next big thing. In reality, a lot of “pop punk” bands out now are pop rock bands marketed as pop punk.
That’s not to say that I don’t like modern pop punk bands. I do enjoy Sold Gold, Junior Battles, Dear Landlord, The Dopamines, The Murderburgers etc.
There are also bands that I like that I think are overrated. For example, people go crazy over The Menzingers, The Gaslight Anthem and Against Me!. I’m not saying they’re bad. They’re good bands. I just don’t get the five star reviews and people acting like there are the second coming or something. That’s not the band’s fault though.
While we are on the subject, I love Bad Religion, Pennywise and NOFX. They’re hugely influentially and I would never say they’re overrated, but they sure do have fans eating out of the palms of their hands. Let’s be honest about this. NOFX is cool, but they’ve put out many half-assed albums through the years and people snatched up their vinyl box set like it was going out of style. Bad Religion is amazing too but sometimes it feels like they’re phoning it in. That Christmas album still pisses me off. I can’t get over it., forgive me. Their last few albums haven’t done anything for me.
I thought it was hilarious when Pennywise were pissed when Zoli filled in. He has an amazing ranger and is a better singer than Jim could ever be. I thought he brought something new to the mix, which Pennywise needed.
Now that I’ve pissed off some of my heroes and readers, I’m finished writing this.
I just don’t get the appeal of Old Man Markley. I’ve seen them a few times (opening for bands like NOFX) but I can’t stand them.