Our panel of experts answer the age-old question.

Who are the 100 Greatest Shitty Bands of All Time?

November 13, 2015 / by , , , , , , , / 4 Comments

57. (tie) Panic! At The Disco

Analysis: Panic! was great for disaffected youths who were too busy googling Goo Goo Dolls lyrics to turn to good music to express their feelings.
Commercial Success: 6.5
Influence: 4
Technical Virtuosity: 6
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 3.5
VARB: 3
Score: 4.6/10

57. (tie) Eve 6

Analysis: There was once a time when we let what Wikipedia describes as “alternative rock bands from Southern California” control the airwaves. Let’s not let them do that again.
Commercial Success: 6
Influence: 4
Technical Virtuosity: 3
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 7
VARB: 3
Score: 4.6/10

57. (tie) Garbage

Analysis: “It feels so good to feel so sad” because we’re a sad, sad band with sad, sad fans.
Commercial Success: 3
Influence: 4.5
Technical Virtuosity: 4
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 6
VARB: 5.5
Score: 4.6/10

57. (tie) 98 Degrees

Analysis: A lot of 90s boy bands are untouchable (New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, NSync) when it comes to this list. But not 98 Degrees. Fuck them for being so shitty.
Commercial Success: 6.5
Influence: 5.5
Technical Virtuosity: 2
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 6
VARB: 3
Score: 4.6/10

57. (tie) Bowling for Soup

Analysis: The whole experience of having to go back and listen to a Bowling For Soup song is made all the worse by the revelation that “1985” was a cover.
Commercial Success: 4
Influence: 3
Technical Virtuosity: 3.5
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 8
VARB: 4.5
Score: 4.6/10

57. (tie) Smash Mouth

Analysis: Smash Mouth might just be the tipping point where the bands on this list start to transition from just plain bad to actually kinda great if you can get over certain shitty aspects/their involvement in Rat Race. They had a brief period of success, and with each passing year it becomes less and less embarrassing to turn “All Star” on at a party.
Commercial Success: 5.5
Influence: 3
Technical Virtuosity: 3
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 7.5
VARB: 4
Score: 4.6/10

55. (tie) The Darkness

Analysis: Looking back now, The Darkness feels like a really well-crafted joke that could only be funny for so long. They were just so well-versed and studied in what they’re making fun of (see: over-the-top solos in front of a wall of Marshall stacks), and also wanted to have sex with each and every one of us, which is awesome, if not the world’s most sustainable model of shit-rock.
Commercial Success: 4
Influence: 2
Technical Virtuosity: 6
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 7.5
VARB: 4
Score: 4.7/10

55. (tie) All-American Rejects

Analysis: The musical equivalent of black nail polish and white out doodles on assignment notebooks in 7th grade social studies. Case in point:

The Greatest Shitty Bands of All Time
Commercial Success: 6.5
Influence: 5
Technical Virtuosity: 4
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 5
VARB: 3
Score: 4.7/10

52. (tie) LMFAO

Analysis: Ever since the invention of alcohol and dancing, there have been songs about partying, but LMFAO took things to a whole new level.
Commercial Success: 6
Influence: 7
Technical Virtuosity: 3
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 2
VARB: 6
Score: 4.8/10

52. (tie) Simple Plan

Analysis: At this point we just kind of assume that every act on the Vans Warped Tour sounds like Simple Plan — they somehow have just the right amout of gel, shorts that are way too long, piercings, black fabric wrapped around wrist, and nasally vocals to fit the bill.
Commercial Success: 5
Influence: 5
Technical Virtuosity: 4
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 7
VARB: 3
Score: 4.8/10

52. (tie) Barenaked Ladies

Analysis: One Week” is the syphilis of pop music — it’s relatively innocuous, and pops up way more than you’d expect it, especially on college campuses.
Commercial Success: 7.5
Influence: 3.5
Technical Virtuosity: 4
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 5
VARB: 4
Score: 4.8/10

50. (tie) Creed

Analysis: There isn’t a band on this list that more deserved to be right smack dab in the middle of the Greatest Shitty Bands rankings. On the one hand, Creed sucked so much that they got sued by their own fans for sucking. On the other, they represent all that the GSBOATs stand for: a band that is so shitty, it’s kinda great.

Also, apparently if your roommates put “With Arms Wide Open” on every time you take a shower, you just kind of acclimate to it.

Commercial Success: 6
Influence: 5
Technical Virtuosity: 2
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 10
VARB: 1.5
Score: 4.9/10

50. (tie) Train

Analysis: Train’s been selling music to mothers, girlfriends, and a cappella singers since the Clinton administration, an astounding period of longevity for what has got to be the whitest band on God’s green earth.
Commercial Success: 9
Influence: 2
Technical Virtuosity: 4
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 6
VARB: 3.5
Score: 4.9/10

46. (tie) Pretty Ricky

Analysis: Let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about what the hell Pretty Ricky’s been up to these days.
Commercial Success: 4
Influence: 3
Technical Virtuosity: 3
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 9.5
VARB: 5.5
Score: 5.0/10

46. (tie) Linkin Park

Analysis: Okay guys, here’s the plan. Step 1) Fuse the blandest aspects of hip hop and late 2000s rock together with vague lyrics about angst. Step 2) Get literally all of the money.
Commercial Success: 8.5
Influence: 7
Technical Virtuosity: 3.5
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 4
VARB: 2
Score: 5.0/10

46. (tie) Nickelback

Analysis: Of course Nickelback had to be on this list. But where? How are we supposed to deal with a band that’s sold more albums in the U.S. than any other foreign band besides The Beatles and yet is also the worst band ever? How can the one thing that Americans of all races, genders, classes, political backgrounds, education levels, and stages of inebriation agree on is that Nickelback is terrible, but they’ve still sold over 50 million records?

Who knows, but one thing’s for certain: Nickelback deserves it’s title as one of the all-time Greatest Shitty Bands of All Time.

Commercial Success: 8
Influence: 7
Technical Virtuosity: 3
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 7
VARB: 0
Score: 5.0/10

46. (tie) Fountains of Wayne

Analysis: Smart people with good opinions (or at least middle-aged white guys with bylines in online periodicals) often view Fountains of Wayne as a sneaky good band, but everybody can agree that they have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, dirt-fucking awful band name. At the end of the day, though, Welcome Interstate Managers is one of those albums you secretly enjoy, even if you’re mostly hoping nobody catches you listening to it on Spotify.
Commercial Success: 5.5
Influence: 3
Technical Virtuosity: 6
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 5.5
VARB: 5
Score: 5.0/10

42. (tie) Sum 41

Analysis: What about the early 2000s made us love pop-punk from skaters in polos so much? Sum 41 is like Blink-182 light, or the crappier-mall’s Simple Plan. Also, did they really call out The Strokes, The Vines, and The Hives in their music video? Bold move from a band who would probably get their ass kicked singlehandedly by Ed Sheeran.
Commercial Success: 5.5
Influence: 6
Technical Virtuosity: 3
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 7
VARB: 4
Score: 5.1/10

42. (tie) Sublime

Analysis: If Bud Light Lime wasn’t invented before Sublime recorded “What I Got,” then where did they find their inspiration?
Commercial Success: 6.5
Influence: 4
Technical Virtuosity: 6
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 3
VARB: 6
Score: 5.1/10

42. (tie) Fall Out Boy

Analysis: We might just have to come to terms that Fall Out Boy was the best of the emo-ish pop punk bands of the mid-2000s, and certainly the ones with the most career longevity.
Commercial Success: 7
Influence: 6
Technical Virtuosity: 4
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 5.5
VARB: 3
Score: 5.1/10

42. (tie) 38 Special

Analysis: 38 Special all but defines “Budweiser-soaked,” and somehow featured hair that looked exactly like the hippies their fans almost certainly beat the crap out of in high school. Shit, the 80’s seemed great.
Commercial Success: 6
Influence: 3.5
Technical Virtuosity: 6.5
Ironic Re-Listening Value: 5.5
VARB: 4
Score: 5.1/10

100-80 | 79-60 | 59-40 | 39-20 | 19-1


  • mysticnox

    You seriously have no taste.

  • Thaddeus lovelock

    A great list.

  • 136 or 142

    Agree with many here, disagree with some.

    The one very well known band that is considered to have made great music that I think are terrible are The Who.

    I like a lot of solo Pete Townsend and I guess Roger Daltrey is ok as well, but together I thought their music was loud, lacked melody and annoying and Pete Townsend mostly didn’t sing but shouted, and sounded very unpleasant doing so.

    I like Squeeze Box but that’s about it.

    I wouldn’t include them on this list because they’ve done some decent songs, but I also think Led Zeppelin is enormously overrated. I’d consider them as overrated as The Doors, who are on your list.

  • Isaiah Ounce

    Great list, but Pink Floyd should rank very high here.