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Thread: Consideration of What Constitutes So-Called 'Overrated,' 'Overplayed' Music

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    Default Consideration of What Constitutes So-Called 'Overrated,' 'Overplayed' Music

    This subject has been in my head in one manner or another for a while, but recently had the chance to come out in discussions in the Eagles LP Survivor thread. Since there was somebody who had indicated an interest in discussing it elsewhere, I bring this topic of conversation to everyone's attention here and now.

    'Over-played' songs--Easy. Songs that are played to death on satellite and terrestrial radio, almost in an 'every-hour-on-the-hour' manner.

    'Over-rated' songs--Songs that every music 'critic' beats to a blooded pulp, placing emphasis well beyond the original value of the song. Critics that radio people take heed of when considering their playlists, which is why most of radio today sounds very cut & dried and copy-pasted. The concept of over-ratedness underpins the concept of over-playedness. That much is true.

    Here's some examples I have in mind when I consider these particular terms.

    Beatles: "Eleanor Rigby" and "Hey Jude"
    Dire Straits: It doesn't get much more over-rated than "Money for Nothing."
    Eagles: "Hotel California" and "Take it Easy"
    Led Zeppelin: "Stairway to Heaven" and "Whole Lotta Love"(I switch them off every time, and they're not terrible songs in their own right)
    Lynyrd Skynyrd: "Sweet Home Alabama" is one of the most over-rated, over-played songs of all time. I love “Free Bird,” so that really doesn't count IMO.
    Queen: "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Will Rock You/We are the Champions"
    REM: "It's the End of the World as We Know it" and "Losing My Religion"
    Who: "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again"

    For the record, I am very partial to the Eagles' and REM's brand of 'over-rated' music, as opposed to all the others. 'Over-rated and 'over-played' does not necessarily mean the music itself is bad so much as it indicates that people and stations have a way of driving certain songs into the ground.

    Band wise, Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones, while great bands, are about as over-rated and over-played as they come. AC/DC fits that bill, too, but I'm nowhere near as fond of them as I am of the other two.

    There are probably many other songs that fit the definition of 'over-rated' and 'over-played' that I'm not thinking of right now. I'd be curious what songs/bands others on here would use those terms to describe.
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    Default Re: Consideration of What Constitutes So-Called 'Overrated,' 'Overplayed' Music

    I am glad you have created this topic – I really enjoy in-depth discussions like this. I agree with your point in saying that while being overrated and overplayed are not the same thing, they are somewhat related. I’ll start by going through some of the artists and songs you mentioned and giving my own thoughts about them.

    Eagles: My strongest feeling with regard to overrated/underrated Eagles songs is that a number of their deep cuts are significantly underrated, particularly from the first three albums. The only song that I think is genuinely overrated is Love Will Keep Us Alive – I only wish that the IMO far superior Get Over It had received the amount of love/attention it was been given by the band from HFO onwards. I also think it’s a shame that it so overshadows Learn To Be Still, which I find very underrated. I understand that they probably wanted to include another Tim vocal in the setlist, but I prefer both of his LROOE tracks to it (I really enjoyed seeing Don’s backing singers perform IDWTHAM). I personally don’t consider either Hotel California or Take It Easy to be overrated, although I can sympathise more with the former view – I think this is because TIE is my outright favourite from the debut album, whereas there are 2-3 songs on HC which I think are as good as and possibly better than the title track.

    Dire Straits: I can understand why you nominate Money For Nothing, but for me the big one is Walk Of Life. I can understand why it became a hit (it is certainly catchy) but it is usually cited as one of their best songs when to me it is an inferior ‘pop’ version of Industrial Disease, a song which is much less repetitive and has far more creative lyrics. I enjoy it if I listen to it occasionally, but otherwise I tire of it quickly. I would also suggest So Far Away, which I think is a likeable but unremarkable song – it’s too long and doesn’t really go anywhere. What is strange is that apart from these 2-3 songs I think Dire Straits is an underrated band, especially their first two albums. There are wonderful songs from this era like Single Handed Sailor and Wild West End which seem virtually forgotten. The debut is usually reduced to Sultans of Swing (although I definitely do not consider it overrated, as it is the album’s outstanding track) and Communique is either maligned or ignored.

    Lynyrd Skynyrd: I enjoy Sweet Home Alabama although I agree it is overrated. I’ve seen some lists of classic rock songs which place it in the top three, which I think is definitely too high (it isn’t in my top three Skynyrd songs! My top three would be Free Bird, which I’m with you about, plus Simple Man and That Smell).

    R.E.M.: I like them but I am only really a casual fan, mainly of the Automatic for the People era. I do think Everybody Hurts is overrated – I’m sorry to say this but I’ve never really felt any emotional connection with the lyrics. My parents had a compilation by The Corrs which featured this song, so I heard their version first, which I never liked and I think that might have influenced my view. Another ‘problem song’ for me is Shiny Happy People, which I can’t stand, although from what I’ve read there are other fans who don’t like it so it’s probably not overrated.

    Pink Floyd: It’s funny because I think they actually receive less airplay over here, and the only two songs that I think are seriously overplayed in the UK are Money and Another Brick In The Wall Part 2. My love of the former has never wavered and I personally don’t find it overrated. Another Brick however is a different matter – it’s not in my top five songs from The Wall, and I don’t like how it is always included in ‘best songs lists’ in favour of better and more representative Floyd pieces such as Time or Us And Them, while the band is reduced to the lyric ‘we don’t need no education’.

    Led Zeppelin: Similar to my love of the Eagles as I enjoy the vast majority of their songs and there are very few I would consider calling overrated. I have to say Stairway To Heaven isn’t hasn’t lost any of its magic for me. Whole Lotta Love I can understand more, as it’s more straightforward hard rock and less enigmatic. I think it comes down to some extent to your opinion on the un-radio friendly middle section (I enjoy it myself, but I think puts off a lot of people). I must admit when I first heard Kashmir I wasn’t that impressed, but it suddenly ‘clicked’ for me and I would not call it overrated now. I did consider Fool In The Rain, which I find somehow not very Led Zeppelin-ish (I consider Thank You and That’s The Way to be every bit as ‘Zepp-ish’ as Black Dog or Immigrant Song, so it’s not about being ‘hard rock’, I can’t quite put my finger on what it is), but I still kind of like it.

    There is a lot more I can say but I think that’s probably enough to be getting on with…

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    Default Re: Consideration of What Constitutes So-Called 'Overrated,' 'Overplayed' Music

    I hear if you look in the dictionary for 'Overplayed' there's just a picture of the AC/DC logo, and if you look for 'Overrated' there's a photo of Iron Maiden...

    I'll put my neck on the line here, I'm not normally a huge fan of signature songs. Stairway to Heaven I can listen to, and Page's guitar solo in the middle I think is one of the most underrated in all of rock music, but I don't really feel the same attachment to it as I do for the likes of Kashmir. Free Bird is a beautiful song and I love the lonesome slide guitar (which I'm presuming is Gary Rossington), but the solos never really did it for me as I've never felt like they really built to anything or progressed anywhere. Hotel California, whilst I like it as a song, probably doesn't make my top 30 favourite Eagles tracks and whilst I could listen to the outro all day, I much prefer their laid-back country work to any hard or typical rock songs they put out. All of the above songs and the other examples like BOC's Don't Fear the Reaper get their reputation for a reason, and whilst I won't deny people that, that same metric usually doesn't do a lot for me.

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    Default Re: Consideration of What Constitutes So-Called 'Overrated,' 'Overplayed' Music

    Great topic. I won't do overplayed though, because I haven't listened to radio for a long time. And for the most part, I do like 'signature' songs.

    Eagles: What JCL said about LWKUA although it doesn't usually get raved about by critics. About HC, I wouuldn't say it's overrated but I am tired of it, and that is a very different thing. The song I have always really considered overrated is Best Of My Love. It plods along with virtually no melody, though I like the lyrics & harmonies, and is too repetitive at the end. I would say the same for One Of These Nights. At the risk of upsetting some I would add I Can't Tell You Why & Wasted Time.

    Beatles: There aren't any. Oh, OK... perhaps And I Love Her & Something. That hurt.

    Rolling Stones: You Can't Always Get What You Want & really, the entire Exile On Main St album.

    Dire Straits: I love Money For Nothing too much to see it as overrated. So as JCL says, Walk Of Life, So Far Away and (here we go JCL)... Telegraph Road.

    Led Zeppelin: NOT the magnificent Stairway, my third favourite song. If anything I would say Achilles Last Stand.

    Genesis: Far too much emphasis is placed on Phil Collins ballads like In Too Deep & Throwing It All Away (though I'm very fond of the latter). Here is where I CAN do an overplayed track; it's the onmipresent Invisible Touch.

    Peter Gabriel: Shock The Monkey. There are many, many better songs in his catalogue than this.

    Phil Collins: Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now). A lot of critics, having dealt with In The Air Tonight, reduce Phil to songs like this. Grossly unfair though this is, it's what happens.

    Queen: Another One Bites The Dust, though I am very fond of it.

    Neil Young: Tonight's The Night album & all the 'grunge' stuff.

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    Default Re: Consideration of What Constitutes So-Called 'Overrated,' 'Overplayed' Music

    Quote Originally Posted by thelastresort View Post
    I'll put my neck on the line here, I'm not normally a huge fan of signature songs. Stairway to Heaven I can listen to, and Page's guitar solo in the middle I think is one of the most underrated in all of rock music, but I don't really feel the same attachment to it as I do for the likes of Kashmir. Free Bird is a beautiful song and I love the lonesome slide guitar (which I'm presuming is Gary Rossington), but the solos never really did it for me as I've never felt like they really built to anything or progressed anywhere. Hotel California, whilst I like it as a song, probably doesn't make my top 30 favourite Eagles tracks and whilst I could listen to the outro all day, I much prefer their laid-back country work to any hard or typical rock songs they put out. All of the above songs and the other examples like BOC's Don't Fear the Reaper get their reputation for a reason, and whilst I won't deny people that, that same metric usually doesn't do a lot for me.
    Interesting points. One thing I notice is that the first three signature songs you mention are often considered to be ‘guitar anthems’ – in other words, the classic rock answer to standards. I think one reason why they could be seen as overrated is that they are usually the favourites of wannabe guitarists, who tend to hype them up to an extreme level. By contrast, a song like Kashmir (which doesn’t feature an obvious guitar hero solo or riff) is less obviously appealing to this demographic so perhaps isn’t hyped up in the same way? Just a possibility.
    I love most of the signature songs myself – at least, the ones of the bands I like – but I’ve noticed a bit of weird trend with them. Note the repetitive sentence structure!
    - Stairway to Heaven is on balance my second favourite song on Led Zeppelin IV (my favourite Led Zeppelin album), after When The Levee Breaks.
    - Free Bird is on balance my second favourite song on Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd (my favourite Lynyrd Skynyrd album), after Simple Man.
    - Hotel California is on balance my second favourite song on its eponymous album (my favourite Eagles album), after The Last Resort.

    I can add Deep Purple’s signature song to this list too – Smoke on the Water is on balance my second favourite song on Machine Head (my favourite Purple album), after Highway Star.

    Some more songs that I think are overrated to a greater or lesser extent.
    . California Girls – The Beach Boys (I cannot get past the lyrics, which I think are silly)
    . Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands – Bob Dylan (great lyrics, but gets tiring as it is less interesting musically than say Desolation Row, which is similarly lengthy but holds my attention throughout).
    . Mr Tambourine Man – The Byrds (I like their cover, but it does not touch the magic of Dylan’s original. My favourite elements of the original, the harmonica solo and the stunning imagery of the final verse, are absent).
    . All She Wants To Do Is Dance – Don Henley (catchy and fun, but hasn’t aged as well as his more thoughtful 1980s hits and I get tired of it quite quickly. I honestly wasn’t that bothered that Don didn’t play it in Manchester).
    . Not That Funny – Fleetwood Mac (critics and some Lindsey fans rave about this one. I find it too unpleasant to enjoy. I don’t like the vocals, the music or the lyrics, and I don’t like how it seems to self-plagiarise I Know I’m Not Wrong, a song that I actually really like).
    . Supper’s Ready – Genesis (technically excellent, but I don’t really feel any connection to the music or lyrics the way I do with something like Echoes. There are individual parts that I think are great, but it doesn’t quite come together for me. Perhaps I need to listen to it more though).
    . Wonderwall – Oasis (I’ve never liked it. I’m not sure why, I think it might be the chorus that annoys me. This is overplayed too, which doesn’t help).
    . Learning to Fly – Pink Floyd (one of the better songs on that record, but doesn’t match up to the classics from the earlier albums)

    Conversely, here are three songs could be seen as overrated, which in my opinion aren’t so I’ll offer a ‘defence’ for each:

    . Telegraph Road – Dire Straits. Yes indeed FP! It would take too long to explain everything I love about it. Essentially, to me this song is the sound of the ‘real’ Dire Straits/Knopfler, the great songwriter-guitarist, same as with the title track from Brothers In Arms, which is what I’ve always loved. I don’t feel that way about Walk Of Life or So Far Away. Also, unlike many of the other comparable epics (some of which have already been mentioned), it is not overplayed.

    . I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) – Genesis. I think it’s mainly prog rock purists who would say this was overrated. I love it – it is catchy and concise yet wonderfully inventive and whimsical while fitting in perfectly with the central themes of the Selling England album. It doesn't need a lengthy keyboard solo to be great. I think it is underrated by prog fans, and deserves the praise it gets elsewhere.

    . High Hopes – Pink Floyd. This is generally considered to be in the same category as Learning to Fly (the two biggest songs of the post-Waters era). The difference is that this song is magical and IMO stands up against their classic songs (Gilmour’s lap steel solo is one of his very finest). It was the perfect closer for The Division Bell.

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    Default Re: Consideration of What Constitutes So-Called 'Overrated,' 'Overplayed' Music

    Regarding Telegraph Road - I like it. How could you not? But there is something about it that never pushed me over the final barrier, even though I've seen it live at least twice (I can't remember if he did it on the solo tour in 2005). None of his solo work is overrated. If anything it isn't well known enough.

    Elton John: POSSIBLY the Captain Fantastic album, great though it is. When you break it down to song by song there are a couple of not so hot moments in there which tend to get overlooked. Also the Madman Across The Water album, Levon in particular. I am better at doing overrated albums than I am songs.

    Don Henley: Building The Perfect Beast; the 'synthesiser' album, Boys Of Summer or not. I hesitate to say that song is overrated, but deep down I suppose I think it is.

    Glenn Frey: Totally underrated, sadly, except for The Heat Is On & The One You Love.

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    Default Re: Consideration of What Constitutes So-Called 'Overrated,' 'Overplayed' Music

    Building on some of the things already posited by others,

    Elton John: I'd probably contend that the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" album is slightly over-rated. "Candle in the Wind" is certainly very over-played

    Glenn Frey: I'll agree on "The One You Love, which has always been a bit too Michael Feinstein/Barry Manilow flavoured for my tastes.

    Fleetwood Mac: I feel like this band is not properly rated at all. The highly commercial Buckingham/Nicks output from the mid-70's on into the 80's is about the most over-rated and over-played stuff out there. The Bob Welch era("Future Games," "Hypnotized," and "Emerald Eyes") of the band is grossly neglected.

    Phil Collins: "In the Air Tonight," "I Don't Care Anymore," and "Don't Lose My Number" are all over-played on both Adult Contemporary, Classic Rock, and Variety/Oldies stations. "Against All Odds" is more than over-rated.

    Beatles: If I were picking from their early career, I'd maybe go with "PS, I Love You" or "All My Loving" as slightly over-rated tracks. Having said that, "Seargeant Pepper" is without question the most over-rated album of all time, even if it does contain some of their more under-rated stand-alone songs("Getting Better," "Fixing a Hole"). There are real classic points on this record, but also some pretty lackluster material("She's Leaving Home," "Within You, Without You," "When I'm 64"). Most of their other albums and 45s are far better.

    Rolling Stones: While "You Can't Always get What You Want" and 'Exile' are both a little bit over-rated{I'd also put in "Heartbreaker(Do, Do, Do, Do, Do)"}, none could even begin to approach the searing heights of over-ratedness that is "Satisfaction" and "Start Me Up."

    Eagles: "Love Will Keep Us Alive" mainly gets airplay(and not a whole lot at that) on Adult Contemporary stations, so I wouldn't call that one 'over-played.' 'Dreadful' is a better term for it. "Get Over it," a fairly flaccid song, is very over-rated, but not to the degree of other Eagles songs.

    REM: "Everybody Hurts" wasn't the big hit that "Losing My Religion" or even "Man on the Moon" were, so I don't think I would call that one over-rated or over-played. One that IS very much both of those is "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" I never understood why that song was so popular.


    Some additions on my part.

    Uriah Heep: "Easy Livin'" is a fab song, but, from the band that did "July Morning" and "The Magician's Birthday," it does get a little outsized value from those places that even know the band Uriah Heep.

    Moody Blues: "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Nights in White Satin" are both fairly rated, IMO. To me, it is "Isn't Life Strange?" that is given more than its due. Same goes for Justin Hayward's "Forever Autumn."

    Jack Bruce: The former Cream bassist's "Songs for a Tailor" LP is a good introduction to what he offers up as far as solo material, but, when compared to such works as "Harmony Row" and "Out in the Storm," is not his best album.

    Grand Funk Railroad: "Some Kind of Wonderful" is a nice song, but not among their better songs by any means.

    Emerson, Lake, & Palmer: Of the band's deep tracks, "Trilogy' gets a bit over-blown by the rock literati. Of the hits, "Karn Evil 9," the song which reduces the band to the lyric 'Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends,' is more than a bit over-rated, even if it's not so much over-played(not many of their songs would get much airplay anymore).

    Paul McCartney: "Maybe I'm Amazed" is a sweet tender song, but is grossly over-played. "Jet" and "Let 'Em In" are total jokes, but fun jokes none the less.

    John Lennon: Why do people always use the song "Imagine" when "Mind Games" or even "Nobody Told Me" would be a better fit?

    Ringo Starr: "Back Off, Boogaloo" and "Oh, My My." Do I need to say any more?

    Harry Nilsson: "Coconut" is one of the dumbest songs, and yet it is also one of his biggest ever hits. I don't know why that is so.

    Boz Scaggs: "Lowdown" is not his best song.

    Gordon Lightfoot: "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" is properly rated, IMO. "If You Could Read My Mind," while a beautiful little ballad, is a bit over-played on the Oldies stations.

    Jim Croce: "Bad, Bad LeRoy Brown" and "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" are not his two best songs.

    Joe Walsh: "Life's Been Good" has been so thoroughly plowed into the ground by Classic Rock stations. "The Confessor" says in many, many more wails and wauls what "A Life of Illusion" (more pleasantly) already intimates.

    Van Halen: Blurgh. The notion of them being one of America's best rock bands is just silly.

    Guns 'N' Roses: Ditto.

    Def Leppard: The much-beloved "Hysteria" album is an over-hyped, over-rated mess.
    All carrot, no stick.

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    "You think you know me, but you haven't got a clue."--John Lennon/Paul McCartney


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    Default Re: Consideration of What Constitutes So-Called 'Overrated,' 'Overplayed' Music

    Agree about Maybe I'm Amazed, not so much overplayed, as overrated.

    Abba: The Winner Takes It All, while hearbreaking, etc etc etc.. there is a bit too MUCH of it (compare Phil Collins' You Know What I Mean). The two best Abba songs are Knowing Me, Knowing You & Money, Money, Money.

    Oh, and Dancing Queen. WHY? It's catchy, that's all. A great song it is not.

    Losing My Religion, REM's greatest song, is not overrated, but I think Everybody Hurts, which 'tries too hard', is.

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    Default Re: Consideration of What Constitutes So-Called 'Overrated,' 'Overplayed' Music

    I'm Afraid I must disagree about Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Being overrated and certainly Candle in the Wind being overplayed. Also Sgt. Pepper is far from overrated as well.

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    Default Re: Consideration of What Constitutes So-Called 'Overrated,' 'Overplayed' Music

    I consider myself a huge Waters fan, but IMO The Wall is overrated. It was a wonderful personal statement from Roger and I appreciate it if someone has really listened to it and genuinely gets something out of it. I know that - lyrically - it's the kind of narrative that must touch some people. But I think it's rather weak musically. So I'm pretty sure that there are tons of people who have learned to love it ("Everyone says it's amazing, so of course it's amazing"). And there must be tons of people who love Another Brick part II and Comfortably Numb and therefore think they love The Wall.

    Personally I get much more out of The Final Cut. And that has been my personal experience, no one has decided it for me.

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