Staff Top 10
Top Ten Mediocre Post-Grunge / Alternative Bands

By: Andrew Unterberger
2004-08-06



Posted 08/06/2004 - 03:09:47 AM by IanMathers:
 I remember the "Greedy Fly" video, and... yeah. It sucked. Best Bush song ever, though: "English Fire".
 
Posted 08/06/2004 - 03:58:32 AM by clem_bastow:
 Here in Australia, the 'chair have NEVER fallen from public favour. And they are so not mediocre! 'The Door' is a bloody rock classic, plus Diorama [and its accompanying live CD/DVD, ...From Far Away Stables] - yes, made with Parks - is terrific. THE 'CHAIR!!
 
Posted 08/06/2004 - 04:02:18 AM by AUnterberger:
 Clem--they might not be mediocre anymore, but "Israel's Son," "Tomorrow," "Pure Massacre"? Wasn't much exceptional about those songs. And that's what counts. What's "English Fire" off, Ian? I heard Sixteen Stone album track "Alien" a while ago and I was blown away with how above-average it was.
 
Posted 08/06/2004 - 05:17:08 AM by holystoning:
 I have Filter's "Take a Picture" on CD single (still holds up, methinks), and Silverchair's "Tomorrow" lovingly taped on a pirate radio mix (awful). Oh, this list makes me squint in self-loathing. Supposedly, the 'chair have here-we-go-quote-matured-musically-unquote since their teen rocking days, but thus far I've been unmoved to discover if this is true.
 
Posted 08/06/2004 - 05:20:47 AM by holystoning:
 I assume Semisonic's exclusion from this list is due to their ass-kicking oeuvre. Feeling Strangely Fine means more to me than Ten, or In Utero, or even Vitalogy. 'Course, it wasn't grunge, but it was as mid-90s alternative as things get.
 
Posted 08/06/2004 - 11:44:58 AM by patrick_hurley:
 gin blossoms just played a free show here in boston, but i just didn't have it in me to attend.... best bush song ever "letting the cables sleep"
 
Posted 08/06/2004 - 11:56:32 AM by AUnterberger:
 Semisonic is excluded because they are not post-grunge, which ceased to exist around '96, '97 at the absolute latest. And if this list made you squint in self-loathing, you're sort of missing the point...
 
Posted 08/06/2004 - 12:12:54 PM by hometapes:
 not to be a total dick...but i feel that this comments section would be incomplete if the following words were not written at least once. "all of this music fucking sucks. it sucked then. it sucks now. sorry it is the first music you could call your own. it was bad enough when it was the first music i could call shit." otherwise, keep it real... muchas apologĂ­as...
 
Posted 08/06/2004 - 12:15:03 PM by AUnterberger:
 Nah, it's cool, you're right--the comments section would be grossly incomplete without a comment of that sort.
 
Posted 08/06/2004 - 07:38:59 PM by grinder:
 "Stephen Thomas Erlewine agrees, apparently." As if that's a recommendation. This guy possesses perhaps the blandest taste of anybody writing for a major media outlet today. Your catalog of crap should be used to warn discerning listeners to stay the hell away from this hall of shame roster. Yeah, I am a total dick.
 
Posted 08/06/2004 - 08:15:41 PM by Nick_S:
 andrew... what do you mean by: " And if this list made you squint in self-loathing, you're sort of missing the point..."?? by the way... what about third eye blind! there's nothing quite like that "doot-doot-doot, doot-dadoot-doooo" refrain from "semi-charmed life" and how about collective soul [GLARING omission, in my opinion] i think something interesting this list brings up is the meaning (or absense of meaning) in/of the word "alternative"... i think this is actually one of the primary reasons why this music, in my opinion, is beyond simply mediocre, mundane... it's insidious and it undermines the public's intelligence--calling total mainstream sludge "alternative"??? what was the logic behind the hijacking of this word? since the inception of the marketing term "alternative" has the general public been tricked into thinking they've discovered the underground?... a toronto radio station used to say "toronto's new rock alternative" ... let me ask ... what's so "alternative" about these bands? a lot of these band they epitomize mainstream. i just don't get it. that term "alternative" has pissed me off since seventh grade. i remember around '93 or so when that word was slung around so freely... it was totally out of hand... "what about true alternative rock: shoegazer, dream pop, krautrock, goth..." i would squeal in my high pre-pubescent voice... Personally, I think a master black-list of these types of bands needs to be compiled a some point... but maybe that's pushing it. What about "alt." frat-boy patio party rock (Cake, Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth?)... Or nu-metal melodrama bands (Evanescence would top the list). It's all one in the same to me.
 
Posted 08/06/2004 - 09:14:11 PM by Nick_S:
 whoa... i think i must be the *biggest* dick on here... how come it always seems so much smaller in the comments box?
 
Posted 08/07/2004 - 12:25:24 AM by AUnterberger:
 STE is an OK guy--and a great writer when he actually tries.
My comment on HS's "self-loathing" statement meant that this thread was to supposed to be a re-evaluation of these bands, not a nostalgic "oh god what was I thinking?" type journey. The point is I don't regret liking any of these bands because I don't think that bad and I still enjoy listening to them.
Collective Soul was actually going to be my #10 until I realized that I forgot Bush. "December" was my p-g classic of choice. And the reason why this all was branded as "alternative" was because when it started out, it was alternative--Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains all were a legitimate alternative to the music on the airwaves at the point. It's just that the most got less and less alternative and more and more mainstream so gradually that no one realized a complete 180 had been made. It's nobody's fault, really.
And I don't classify Third Eye Blind as post-grunge--once again, a couple years too late for that.
 
Posted 08/07/2004 - 01:14:08 AM by IanMathers:
 Ah, the ol' bugbear of "discerning listeners". Andrew, "English Fire" is apparantly from "The Science Of Things", as is "Letting The Cables Sleep" (which is also good). I downloaded it after NME actually praised it, since they normally hated Bush. Well worth your time.
 
Posted 08/09/2004 - 04:17:41 AM by edwardo:
 I like every Gin Blossoms single I've ever heard. They weren't awful at all. I'll also stick up for Better Than Ezra's "In The Blood" and, to a lesser extent, "Desperately Wanting".
 
Posted 08/09/2004 - 05:54:07 AM by JacobDEvans:
 Holy Fucking Shit, someone FINALLY makes a case for The Gin Blossoms being a Really Good Band. "New Miserable Experience" is a great record from beginning to end (even that crappy, smartass fake-country song is good) and "Hey Jealousy" is one of the best rock songs ever. But all the Doug Hopkins tracks on there are amazing--"Lost Horizons" is just as good as "Jealousy", if not a little darker, which is in itself a major accomplishment, as all of his songs on that album are really depressing as hell, and of course we all know what became of him. I'm so impressed that someone actually stood up for them, and that album. My compliments. One minor complaint, though: Hopkins doesn't sing lead on "Hey Jealousy" or any other Gin Blossoms songs: he wrote it, but all he did was play guitar. All the vocals are by Robin Wilson.
 
Posted 08/09/2004 - 12:19:20 PM by AUnterberger:
 I guess that would explain how they were able to continue after Hopkins died, though apparently it wasn't too fruitful at that point. "Follow You Down" is still great, though. And yeah, "Lost Horizons" is almost as good as "Jealousy"--after those being the first two tracks on NME, I was hoping for the best album ever. It wasn't, but it's still great. I'll have to listen to it again soon.
 
Posted 08/09/2004 - 12:32:48 PM by kingatnight:
 Let us also hear it for sponge. Not only does Molly (Sixteen Candles) totally rule, but Plowed! "In a world of human wreck-age" -- totally awesome, great voice. They really do stand out from this group I think, and looking back their sound is surprisingly unique and original. This made me decide to acquire Rotting Pinata as soon as possible - an album I've been debating whether to buy since like 8th grade.
 
Posted 08/10/2004 - 05:02:26 AM by holystoning:
 Andrew- I saw the 'alternative' portion of the title, noted the presence of poppier acts such as Gin Blossoms and Better Than Ezra, got that cross-wired with that new The Buzz compilation, and dredged up Semisonic. The Great Divide's "The Prize" paid tribute to St. Kurt, and the rest of the album featured that alt/rock/nu-rock buzz, albeit with sonic textures guitar hooks blah blah still a damn fine album. Now, of course I agree that objectivity isn't the name of the game here. But in my defense, I spent three years in a Chick-fil-A kitchen with a good friend who seemed to catch on to post-grunge about four years after the fact, so I got to hear the tunes for the first time in a relatively hype-free environment. At first, the musical newbie in me ate up Hints Lies and Razorblade Suitcase and Tiny Music. But when I came back years later, hoping to reawaken the rocker who had been slain by Ghostly Industries and Tomlab, I was sorely underwhelmed. Hopefully, I did and do understand the point of your list: to highlight the best work of a maligned style of music, but speaking as a typical boy who used to love it, on the whole, the tunes aren't nearly as great as the memories. A fine list to be sure, just one with picks that don't coincide with mine. That's why my reaction is squinting ("self-loathing" was a harsh term, but "some of the most reviled shit on earth" got me thinking). A lot of it falls on deaf ears now. This from a man who loves the new Finger Eleven single (a 2nd-generation "Take a Picture," perhaps) and Nickleback's "Figured You Out," and still turns to Hell Below Stars Above for a remembrance of that sweet, sweet 101X RockFest, when Toadies ruled and Live blew. Hey, in a year's time, I'll bet we could cook up a decent Nu Metal best-of retrospecticus.
 
Posted 08/10/2004 - 01:27:36 PM by AUnterberger:
 That's gonna be coming in a whole lot less than a year, HS.
 
Posted 08/11/2004 - 07:51:38 AM by holystoning:
 Can't wait. Dibs on Static-X.*

Back to this article. Spacehog, maybe? I enjoy me some Spacehog still.

*I know I'm not writing the damn article.
 
Posted 02/01/2005 - 05:53:14 PM by travisdisaster:
 I'd have to get on the "gin blossoms didn't suck" bandwagon. i picked up New Miserable when i was 8 years old and haven't put it down since. start to finish it's amazing. and even though doug didn't play on it, congrats im sorry was quite a rockin' album too. it didn't get the critical acclaim but i found that most of the time critits are a**holes. just my two cents.
 
Posted 03/09/2005 - 08:19:07 AM by unsaunsa:
 Andrew, you bag "Israel's Son," "Tomorrow," "Pure Massacre"? as being unexceptional and you may be right however, they were 15. Fairs fair, if you want to give Daniel a headstart on musical development like most artists get because they don't make it until they are into their 20's, then start counting his stuff from when he was 23 or whatever . i.e. Emotion Sickness and the other songs in open c sharp minor 7th tuning or whatever...And yes Diorama is brilliant. Fantastic in every way......Also if you want to pin their approach onto a band before them then don't make like a hack journo and say "Pearl Jam." They sounded nothing like Pearl Jam, they did however rip Helmet off with no remorse. Check out "Speechless" off of Betty and then listen to "Undecided" by Silverchair. That'll prove the point. The first lyric in "Speechless" is actually 'indecisive' for God's sake.
 
Posted 03/09/2005 - 08:27:12 AM by unsaunsa:
 p.s. "Greedy Fly" video..Yeah pretentious and awful. No, I'm not going to sit through a 10 minute intro bit while you get interogated by police. No your music isn't worth the wait. No you don't have any talent...Man I hope the clip I am remembering is for that song otherwise I could be coming off half cocked. Either way, Bush's best song. There isn't one. Another victory for "dude this all sucks so much dick" crowd.
 
Posted 06/16/2007 - 02:39:53 PM by Garret:
 This list makes me want to watch "The Cable Guy."