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A Brief History of Musicians Saying That Their Own Music is Shit

"It's almost an embarrassment to play Smells Like Teen Spirit".

by Ryan Bassil
01 April 2014, 11:33am

It’s hard being a musician. Yes, a body of creative work will ensure almost infinite impunity from the harsher edges of the human realm; for example, an artist will forever slide through a wait queue at the Harvester like poop through a diarrhoea-infected goose. But it’s also this body of creative work that will contribute to their downfall; self-loathing until they finally crack and release an eight-hour freeform synth interpretation of Siddhartha or book a DJ set at The Launch Of a Pop-Up Shop That No One Cares About Because They Only Want To Drink All The Free Drinks, Sorry.

Like us, musicians hate their previous work. Instead of burning a GCSE art portfolio in a fit of nostalgia-induced rage however, their art is seen and loved by millions. This presents a problem. The human is a vile, disgusting, and greedy species that expects artists to exist as an entity incapable of change. Like an emotionally capable barnacle we attach to the artist, putting them in a position where they’re expected to play a song for the 377th hate-fuelled time. Others release shit albums, shit videos, and shit songs.

Here are some people who have acknowledged this:

KURT COBAIN CALLED “SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT” ‘AN EMBARRASSMENT’

We’ll start with the obvious. Talking to Rolling Stone back in 1993, Kurt Cobain stated "It's almost an embarrassment to play [“Smells Like Teen Spirit”]. Everyone has focused on that song so much. The reason it gets a big reaction is people have seen it on MTV a million times. It's been pounded into their brains… I can barely, especially on a bad night, get through 'Teen Spirit.' I literally want to throw my guitar down and walk away."

“FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT” HAS ALWAYS BEEN A JOKE

“Fight For Your Right (To Party)” is almost definitely the biggest Beastie Boys song mostly because frat-boys put it on at the house party when they’re trying to experience the life of a DJ through an iPod and a shit pair of speakers. The Beastie Boys are aware of this and Mike D has stated that all the douchebags who fist-pumped and shot-gunned to the track are “oblivious to the fact that it was a goof on them”. The linear notes to the album Sounds of Science also state that the song “sucks”.

MILEY CYRUS DOESN’T WANT ANYONE TO PLAY “PARTY IN THE USA”

Miley Cyrus’ “Party in The USA” has been played so many times on YouTube that, had they been played on one-continuous loop, it would last for 52 million days. This means it is a VERY popular song. Yet, according to a 2011 report in the New York Post, Miley requested that a DJ not play her jam. “My 13-year-old self would have beaten up my 17-year-old self because she would be like, ‘You’re a sellout!’”, she said, referring to her pop tracks. Meanwhile “Party in The USA” remains the best Miley Cyrus song ever made, Katy Perry cannot touch that hook.

TYLER, THE CREATOR DOESN’T HATE EVERYTHING THAT HE’S MADE (BUT HE’S SCARED EVERYONE ELSE WILL)

Almost every project that Tyler, The Creator puts out comes with a prerequisite of self-inflicted hate. Talking on the OF Tape Vol 2, he stated: “Everybody's going on it and I just think, fuck, everybody might hate this shit”. Not that he cares though, on Domo Genesis’ track “Whole City Behind Us” he raps “Goblin was a disappointment / Yeah right / Shit dropped / I bought a house that night.” so, you know, who cares? He’s got a better house than the one you picture yourself in while day-dreaming of a future life.

KANYE HATES “GOLD DIGGER” (BUT LIKES IT SOMETIMES)

“I never really liked [“Gold Digger”], but I always knew that I would get paid for doing ‘”Gold Digger.”” – said Kanye West, in an interview with Zane Lowe last year. Fair point, bro. But this still doesn’t explain why he jumped on a commercial flight’s intercom to perform the track a cappella back in 2010.

JAY Z SAYS THAT KINGDOM COME IS HIS WORST ALBUM

True. JAY Z was forced to come out of retirement and release Kingdom Come in an attempt to save Roc-A-Fella from bankruptcy and it showed. In 2013, he ranked his solo albums and agreed, Kingdom Come is the worst thing he’s ever done.

BOB GELDOF IS REALLY SORRY FOR MAKING “DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS”

Band Aid made a considerable amount of money for charity and created one Christmas song that will never be removed from memory, even if Bob Geldof has now decided that he hates it. In 2011 he told the Daily Mail: "I am responsible for two of the worst songs in history. One is 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' and the other one is 'We Are The World.' Any day soon, I will go to the supermarket, head to the meat counter and it will be playing. Every fucking Christmas." A fair statement but TBH, I’d rather “I Don’t Like Mondays” was obliterated from existence, like a screensaver after I slam my hand on the table in rage, but unable to return.

LADY GAGA ALSO THINKS THAT THE VIDEO FOR TELEPHONE IS A BIT SHIT

Have you seen the video for “Telephone”? I only just watched it because yes, I’m a music journalist but yes, I’m also a human and therefore have limited time on earth so whatever, shut-up. Anyway, I watched it, it’s nine-minutes too long, and the whole thing is one big mess where nothing seems to make sense. Thankfully, Gaga agrees. “I hate ‘Telephone.' Is that terrible to say? It’s the song I have the most difficult time listening to," she told Time Out in 2011. "I can’t even watch the 'Telephone' video, I hate it so much. Beyonce and I are great together, but there are so many ideas in that video and all I see in that video is my brain throbbing with ideas and I wish I had edited myself a little bit more."

RIVERS CUOMO THINKS PINKERTON IS A “PAINFUL MISTAKE”

Pinkerton took everything good about the Blue Album and doused it in a round of voyeuristic angst coupled with pop sheen that managed to sound both heartfelt and distant. It’s the best thing that Weezer ever did (FIGHT ME!) but thanks to the critics, who panned the original release, they’ll never make anything like it again. Speaking on the record, Rivers has said – “It’s hideous. It was such a hugely painful mistake that happened in front of thousands of people and it just won’t go away. It’s like getting really drunk at a party and spilling your guts in front of everyone and feeling incredibly great and cathartic about it, and then waking up the next morning and realising what a complete fool you made of yourself.”

He continued: “The most painful thing in my life these days is the cult around Pinkerton. It's just a sick album, sick in a diseased sort of way. It's such a source of anxiety because all the fans we have right now have stuck around because of that album. But, honestly, I never want to play those songs again; I never want to hear them again." - which is nice, because the band have since played Pinkerton and Blue Album in full.

JOHN LENNON HATES AT LEAST EIGHTEEN DIFFERENT BEATLES SONGS

Here’s a few choice selections:

“When I’m Sixty Four” - it’s “granny music”.

“Good Morning, Good Morning” - “a piece of garbage”.

“Let It Be” - “It has nothing to do with The Beatles. It could’ve been Wings. I don’t know what [Paul’s] thinking when he writes ‘Let It Be.’”

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanBassil

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