In Do They Actually Suck?, we take a closer look at some of the most universally loathed bands to examine whether people’s overwhelming hatred is justified or whether the bands are getting a bad rap. We objectively rank things like their music, behavior, appearance, and fanbase to determine if these bands do, in fact, suck.
Today, we look at two bands who have had strangely similar career trajectories: Coldplay and the Black Eyed Peas, and rank their attributes on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most sucky…
Coldplay gets a reputation for making sissy rock for sissies. But what everyone has collectively blocked from their memories is that once upon a time, Coldplay made music that was considered at least semi-cool. Hot off the buzz of their debut album, Parachutes, the band released A Rush of Blood to the Head in 2002, which was met with critical acclaim and fanfare from people who hadn’t bought a new album since Oasis’ What’s the Story (Morning Glory)? And Coldplay rode the acclaim out for a little while. But then something changed. Maybe it was a case of overhype or maybe the world got sick of hearing that jangly fucking riff on “In My Place.” Either way, everyone seemed to collectively look down at their copy of Rush of Blood and say, “Wait a minute… this shit is for pussies,” as was illustrated by the voice of a generation, Paul Rudd:
Coldplay has often been compared to U2 and they’re not doing themselves any favors in this department. The band has put their support behind every goddamn “Make the Earth a Better Place with Anything But Music” cause, such as Make Trade Fair, Amnesty International, and the Buy Gwenyth Paltrow a New Escalade Foundation. They’ve also played every charity festival like Band Aid 20, Live 8, and Hope for Haiti Now. But at least they’ve got a sense of humor about their over-the-top do-gooding as demonstrated in their admittedly hilarious one-second cameo in Shaun of the Dead:
On the upside, Coldplay have also mimicked U2 on the only thing they’ve done right—not lending their songs to every product under the sun. Although, like U2, they did sell their song to the mother of all companies: Apple.
Coldplay’s promotion for their new album has been thoroughly obnoxious though. They hid lyrics for Ghost Stories in libraries around the world. Most bands are humbled if their fans will drive five minutes to Best Buy to buy their album. But Chris Martin deemed his words brilliant enough to send people on a worldwide bibliophilic scavanger hunt.
Also, fun fact: Before choosing their now notoriously goofy name, Coldplay also tinkered with the names Starfish and, wait for this one… Pectoralz. PECTORALZ.
Unlike Bono, Chris Martin has at least avoided the adoption of a one-word name or wearing his grandma’s sunglasses. Coldplay just look like a bunch of regular dudes.
Coldplay fans mostly seem to be parents in their 30s and 40s who don’t have time to dig deeper than entry-level radio rock bands. One day, they will discover Vampire Weekend and it will blow their minds.
Actual Suckage Rating: 4.625/10
Coldplay may have outworn their welcome as the world’s go-to wuss rock band, but admit it, you’ve totally gotten dumped and listened to “Fix You” in the dark.
The Black Eyed Peas
Much like Coldplay, Black Eyed Peas’ name was not always synonymous with the epitome of musical lame-as-fuckness. In their early days, they were a critically acclaimed hip-hop group who could be considered the poor man’s A Tribe Called Quest. And then… Fergie happened. Now, we are absolutely not going to open up a gender-charged discussion about women’s place in hip-hop nor are we gonna sit here and fall back on the old cliché about women ruining bands—they don’t. But a woman named Fergie did in fact 100% absolutely ruin the Black Eyed Peas. It’s not entirely her fault, per se—but the inclusion of Fergie into the band marked a distinct heel turn in how the Peas wanted to be perceived. They no longer seemed interested in having cred as rappers, they now wanted to make cash and lots of it. They adopted this new, weird nerds-from-the-future look and started releasing genetically engineered pop songs. There’s actually nothing wrong with songs like “Pump It,” “I Gotta Feeling,” and “Let’s Get It Started” (which was originally called “Let’s Get Retarded”). These songs are specifically designed to be catchy and stick in your head. The problem is, the songs have been so oversaturated throughout the world that most people would rather watch their own pets drown than hear “Boom Boom Pow” ever again. The songs have been used in commercials, movies, TV shows—hell, BEP would let “My Humps” become the official song of funerals if they could make money off it. So basically, the Black Eyed Peas sold their souls to make music that could be used to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. But hey, at least they’re rich.
Black Eyed Peas score high on this one for looking like a gang from Mad Max who gets beat up a lot:
People always joke about how pretentious it is to have a guy named will.i.am. in your band but what often gets lost in the shuffle is that there’s also a guy named apl.de.ap. Also, let’s not forget that there’s a terribly unsettling man named Taboo who looks like a character from Mortal Kombat. Also, they piss their pants:
Anyone who likes Black Eyed Peas at this point is probably just a disillusioned Obama ‘08 voter.
Actual Suckage Rating: 7.35/10
The Black Eyed Peas is a band that tries to make obnoxiously catchy pop songs for lots and lots of money. And let’s face it: they’re really, really good at it.
Dan Ozzi has listened to A LOT of Black Eyed Peas and Coldplay for this article so he's in a real weird place right now. Follow him on Twitter - @danozzi
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