Artists that had few great songs but produced a lot of mediocre music

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Purple7x08_24

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I want to make it clear that the technical definition of a 'one hit wonder' is fundamentally flawed. It's based on the idea that popular opinion matters.

If you're passionate about music, and you listen to complete albums then you would not consider an artist to be mediocre or disappointing based on this idea.

Soft Cell is considered to be a one hit wonder but in my mind have some of the most amazing songs of which I feel are significantly better than tainted love.

The Knack is full of nice songs and even though they might be a little generic in my mind I would not consider them to be mediocre.

This is not a knock on The Beach Boys but they have many great songs and quite catchy, but they also had a lot of very mediocre songs. I'm not sure if I'm being harsh, perhaps expecting a better hit rate but I love and hate their music.

For mine, perhaps without question the most disappointing band I've ever listened to is World Party. Their biggest song "Ship of Fools" is in my mind a masterpiece. Upon listening to their album "Private Revolution" I didn't enjoy listening to that album at all. I felt as if the disparity between the best song and the rest was vast.

 

La Dispute

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Weezer are a clear nomination here. Pinkerton and the Blue Album are fantastic LP's, the White Album was a pleasant surprise and still holds up pretty well, but the rest of their catalogue is horribly forgettable - and that's in spite of having a ridiculous set of B-sides from the Blue and Pinkerton eras.

Smashing Pumpkins had a great 4-5 year stretch then really tapered off and haven't produced a lot of great music since Mellon Collie.

Probably an unpopular opinion but Arctic Monkeys debut was head and shoulders above and they've been in a steady decline since. I like a couple of songs of Favourite Worst Nightmare and scattered tracks off all their other albums but they just aren't an exciting, interesting band anymore.

Arcade Fire are in a similar boat. Great debut, but every album since Neon Bible is just another sidestep - there's just nothing compelling about them anymore.
 

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La Dispute

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This is not a knock on The Beach Boys but they have many great songs and quite catchy, but they also had a lot of very mediocre songs. I'm not sure if I'm being harsh, perhaps expecting a better hit rate but I love and hate their music.
You could put together a pretty decent set of songs together for the Beach Boys, but they aren't really an album band - which is a little bizarre given Pet Sounds is almost the perfect end-to-end album.
 

La Dispute

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I would put the band Live in that category. Lots of greats songs, a couple of good albums but the rest of their material is pretty forgettable.
Throwing Copper is great, Secret Samahdi has some good songs but they were always going to mellow into a soft rock band.

I can't even remember the last time I sought out their newer stuff, but even their early 00's sound was so watered down and almost unlistenable. Genuinely turned softer than Creed or Nickelback.
 

Purple7x08_24

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Bad Religion
Oasis
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Elvis Costello
Update: Listening to Armed Forces and This Years Model

Only one good song in my mind

Oliver's Army 100
Pump it Up 85
The Beat 70
Little Triggers 70
Accidents Will Happen 50
Everything else <25

Conversely, an artist with great songs despite being unknown to the general public is

Spin Doctors. To the public they probably only ever heard two of their songs but They've got a lot of interesting songs. Interestingly their song Hungry Hamed's features samples and riffs used in Two Princes

La Dispute Just started listening to Weezer discography and that Blue album is literally hit after fracking hit. William Corgan solo is really good
 
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DEVO

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U2 had a few good songs early in their career, but there is a sameness to most of their music that I found disappointing.

The Dandy Warhols started brilliantly with three great albums, but afterwards were nothing short of terrible.

The Rolling Stones have a dozen or so great songs, but most of their catalogue is disappointing.

There were a lot of Prog Rock bands (The Moody Blues, Yes, ELP etc...) that had a few classics songs but most of their music is dreadful.
 
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No eye deer

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U2 had a few good songs early in their career, but there is a sameness to most of their music that I found disappointing.

The Dandy Warhols started brilliantly with three great albums, but afterwards were nothing short of terrible.

The Rolling Stones have a dozen or so great songs, but most of their catalogue is disappointing.


There were a lot of Prog Rock bands (The Moody Blues, Yes, ELP etc...) that had a few classics songs but most of their music is dreadful.
We will have to agree to disagree here. Their run of albums from Beggars Banquet to Exile is one of the best in music history IMHO.
 

DaRick

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Duran Duran.

Some of their early singles (Planet Earth, Girls on Film, Hungry Like The Wolf, New Moon on Monday, Rio, Save A Prayer, Careless Memories, Is There Something I Should Know?, The Reflex) were among the best of that era, but even at their peak they were IMO very much a singles vs filler band, and they deterioriated remarkably quickly. A View To A Kill is total cringe.

Ordinary World showed signs of life, but I haven't been as impressed by their recent output as many critics.
 
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DEVO

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We will have to agree to disagree here. Their run of albums from Beggars Banquet to Exile is one of the best in music history IMHO.
My father is a massive Rolling Stones fan and has most of their albums, I think he stopped buying them in the mid '70's because he thought their quality was plummeting faster than a Chinese jumbo . I have heard most of their albums and I don't think any of them are all that great, their are some great songs on them (Out Of Time, Gimme Shelter, Sympathy For The Devil to name a few) but there are a lot of songs that don't excite me at all.
 

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CliffMcTainshaw

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Green Day for me. Some great songs and plenty of crap. Their last album Father of All Motherfu@kers was absolute rubbish that sounded like it was produced to get out of a contract.
 

Vincent Hanna

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Duran Duran.

Some of their early singles (Planet Earth, Girls on Film, Hungry Like The Wolf, New Moon on Monday, Rio, Save A Prayer, Careless Memories, Is There Something I Should Know?) were among the best of that era, but even at their peak they were IMO very much a singles vs filler band, and they deterioriated remarkably quickly. A View To A Kill is total cringe.

Ordinary World showed signs of life, but I haven't been as impressed by their recent output as many critics.

Rio is a killer album, top to bottom - one of the great 80's albums from any genre.
 

DaRick

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Rio is a killer album, top to bottom - one of the great 80's albums from any genre.

See, I'd like to agree, but the three megahits well and truly overshadow the other songs. Most of the other songs sound OK to my taste (maybe the more brooding The Chauffeur is the best; not sure), but they can't help but seriously disappoint in comparison.

If you tack Is There Something I Should Know? onto the first album, then that one IMO pips Rio, especially since Tel Aviv does show some real artistic ambition despite instrumentals not really being my cup of tea. Otherwise Rio wins due to its marginally stronger singles (Save a Prayer > Careless Memories).
 

DaRick

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Green Day for me. Some great songs and plenty of crap. Their last album Father of All Motherfu@kers was absolute rubbish that sounded like it was produced to get out of a contract.

Dookie and American Idiot are IMO legitimately good albums. Granted the former is more fun but disposable pop-punk, but the latter showed some real artistic ambition at times (Jesus of Suburbia).

The problem is that the latter became a victim of the hype surrounding it, which forced Green Day to retreat for five years before releasing...a pile of mediocrity.
 

DEVO

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Duran Duran.

Some of their early singles (Planet Earth, Girls on Film, Hungry Like The Wolf, New Moon on Monday, Rio, Save A Prayer, Careless Memories, Is There Something I Should Know?, The Reflex) were among the best of that era, but even at their peak they were IMO very much a singles vs filler band, and they deterioriated remarkably quickly. A View To A Kill is total cringe.

Ordinary World showed signs of life, but I haven't been as impressed by their recent output as many critics.
I agree, although I'd replace Save A Prayer and Rio with Union Of The Snake. I've never liked Rio, one of the most over rated songs (and albums for that matter) of the decade.
 

DaRick

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I agree, although I'd replace Save A Prayer and Rio with Union Of The Snake. I've never liked Rio, one of the most over rated songs (and albums for that matter) of the decade.

Union of the Snake is listenable, though to me both the riff and chorus sound a bit awkward and forced.
 

La Dispute

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Muse.

Origin of Symmetry and Absolution are great, Black Holes & Revelations was pretty good - but was the clear start of their decline. The Resistance was cringy in parts, even as a Muse obsessive at the time.

The rest of their discography is forgettable.
 

Purple7x08_24

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I agree, although I'd replace Save A Prayer and Rio with Union Of The Snake. I've never liked Rio, one of the most over rated songs (and albums for that matter) of the decade.

NI have Rio. Great album. I quite like Notorious. Ordinary world is good. Admittedly I haven't listened to their compete discography. I need to listen to Seven and The Ragged when I get a chance

Definitely agree on Weezer, post 1996 they seem to have rebranded. Although their covers 'teal' Album not too bad
 
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