Not too long ago, I came across an article about how Imagine Dragons has taken the title “worst band in the world” from reigning champs Nickleback, and how there were even other musical artists who agreed with that statement. This confused me for a variety of reasons: first, they’re both very successful groups, so clearly somebody likes them. Second, who even gets to decide who the worst band in the world is? Is there a committee I can vote on? And third, I don’t find it very respectful to trash on another band especially if you’re also in the same industry. Isn’t that an unspoken rule of something you don’t do? It really got me thinking about what criteria you must to meet to be considered a “good” band. And the reality is, there isn’t any criteria for it all.
Let’s start out with our alleged “worst bands”. When it comes to Nickleback and Imagine Dragons, both groups are immensely successful and have had very solid careers for many consecutive years. Nickleback has had five number one albums and two number two albums on the Canadian charts (sometimes I forget they’re a Canadian band), along with a handful of Platinum singles. Imagine Dragons’ four studio albums all went number one on the US rock chart, almost every single they’ve released is certified Platinum and “Radioactive” is even certified Diamond. They’ve both received numerous accolades and continue to have sold out tours, along with radio staples year after year. I even took it upon myself to listen to every single Nickleback record consecutively to really try and understand what makes people hate their music so much. Surprise, surprise, I couldn’t find much at all. Besides some very cringe worthy lyrics and a formulated feel (especially with their most recent work), I actually enjoyed much of what they had to offer. Even their most popular, overplayed songs I still find to be ridiculously fun and worth the listen. When it comes to Imagine Dragons, I was definitely into them back around 2012 and even though I don’t go out of my way to listen to them anymore, I won’t turn off the radio if they happen to come on (unless it’s “Thunder”, I can’t listen to that one). In retrospect, the charts don’t always mean much but they are a good signifier that there are people out there indeed who enjoy this music.
So, when it comes to ultimately making these decisions, it obviously can’t be based on album sales or radio play because these bands have plenty of that. They both also have a large fan base so maybe there’s just also a large group of people who dislike them as well? But then again, that’s with every group or artist. Nobody is ever going to have perfect acclaim from critics and fans, or be accepted by everybody. But the thing that I can’t seem to get a grip on is the amount of people who go out of their way to express distaste for these artists. What’s the point of constantly reiterating something that you don’t like? Maybe they’re just easy targets. But on the flip side, maybe these fans have a point, especially when other artists in the industry also dislike their music. However, I find that to be rude, cruel and absolutely pointless. I’m not going to drop names but a few of these artists were ones that I adored and looked up to, and it’s heartbreaking to see them take on such a hurtful attitude. It’s totally fine to think that your music is better than someone else’s but expressing that in such a narcissistic and self aggrandizing manner is what diminishes the quality of your band, not theirs.
In conclusion, there truly is no such thing as “the worst band in the world”. Music is all subjective and opinionated, and if someone chooses to focus so much on the negatives, I honestly feel sorry for them. Constructive criticism is one thing but completely trashing a group or someone else’s music taste is another, and in reality, I don’t think many people know the difference. Besides, it’s much more productive to put that energy into a positive outlet instead of complaining about a band that doesn’t care about your complaints anyway. Nickleback and Imagine Dragons are both remarkable and entertaining in their own right, and have solidified their presence in pop/rock music. They’ve had consistent attendance on the charts and with more than a few accolades and awards won over the years, and I’m sure they’ll be just fine. At the end of the day, there really isn’t any criteria to meet to be considered “good”; if you like a song, genre, or artist, it shouldn’t matter if someone else doesn’t.