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7 Worst Rock Bands of the 1990s

A look at the worst of the worst from one of the most diverse decades for rock music.

By Matt KnightPublished 6 years ago 8 min read

In the immortal words of the great hip-hop luminary Unkle Adams, "Oy I’m from the 90s, boy I’m from the 90s, boy I’m from the 90s, didn’t cha knooooow?! Girls with the scrunchies, ribbons, and boooows, the Velcro shoes and the neon cloooothes." Real words to live by right there. However, with the sickening deluge of 90s nostalgia that seems to spew from every corner of the internet in 2017, it's easy to forget all of the aspects and components of 90s culture that were simply atrocious. While much of the music that came out of the 90s has since proven itself to have the ability to withstand the test of time nearly 20 years later, like with any decade, the 90s gifted us plenty of garbage, as well. But while Shirley Manson and the gang surely produced some of the most interesting rock music of the decade, it was not enough to distract from all the trash (cause ya see?). In this list, I will be taking a look at seven of the worst rock bands to gift this decade with its sonic displeasures, because boy do I love to hate things. Let us kick off this super objective and not at all meme-centric list with:

When compiling these "Worst Bands of the ______s" lists, there are primarily two types of bands I like to focus on: groups that annoyingly stood out as a result of their awful music (Godsmack), and groups whose music was so bland and formulaic that it stuck out as being indicative of a given musical trend, a trend that slowly died as a result of the over saturation it experienced due to said bands (Nickelback). Bush is the latter. In 1994, Bush released their debut album Sixteen Stone only a few months following the suicide of Kurt Cobain. Simply put, Bush released a grunge album immediately after the death of grunge. Following Cobain's death, the dreary and melancholic aesthetic of grunge became far too much for the public, as Britpop acts like Oasis and Blur began to emerge and dominate the rock scene. As the grunge scene began its plunge towards irrelevancy, bands such as Bush, Creed, and Candlebox spearheaded its demise. Bush is essentially to grunge what Enuff Z' Nuff was to hair metal in the late 1980s. In the same way I chose Simple Plan to represent the horrible pop punk music of the early to mid 2000s, I have chosen Bush to represent the awful post-grunge to come out of the mid to late 1990s. Why Bush? Well, they sounded way too much like Nirvana and Gavin Rossdale is an asshole, what more do you want? They spent over a decade making music that Homer Simpson did better in under two minutes.

You ever get the slightest bit of interest in joining a college fraternity, so you go to one of those interest, festival things and notice a guy, approximately 6'2", popped collar, most likely named Brent, dry humping a 19-year-old Lil Yachty video extra gripping a red cup in one hand and her second place 2002 Little Miss Beauty Pageant trophy in the other? Well if you have, you pretty much have no need to listen to the Dave Matthews Band, given you might as well consider that little viewing party to be your iTunes preview. While some have compared the band to the Grateful Dead (...HA), the Dave Matthews Band more closely resembles what one might think the Grateful Dead sounds like if he/she has just downed their tenth Natty Light, and just so happens to be Bryce from 13 Reasons Why. They're bland, lack any smidgeon of creativity, and as one LA Weekly writer once described, "Dave is a jam band, with no jams." Also I suck at beer pong. Next.

Hey, remember all that fun stuff I said about Bush? Ya, ya, ya remember that? You skipped over it? Oh, well here I'll give you a couple minutes to go back a read over my thoughts there...

...yup. Good stuff up there in that ol' Bush paragraph...

...God remember Porno for Pyros? Man, "Pets" was a jam, I wonder what happened to those guys...

*sniffles*, the... news has been crazy recently huh? All that... stuff, g-going on, ya know? Ya know Trump once tried to purchase our high school football field so he could plaster his name over it... I'm not even kidding, what a guy...

Done? No? My bad, my bad, I'll give you another minute there. able to get your hands on any of that promotional Szechuan Sauce McDonald's was giving away? Yeah me neither... some serious BS man... in fact–

Oh, you're done? Cool. Well yeah, Collective Soul was kind of a combination of music that annoyingly stood out for being awful and the bland representation of an oversaturated genre of music stuff I mentioned before. Is "December" the worst song ever? Well, maybe if you ask talented songwriter, Kevin Devine, yes, but not really. Is "Shine" the worst song ever? Well if you ask one of the greatest musicians of our time, Billy Corgan, yes, but... actually yeah, "Shine" might be the worst song ever. Collective Soul seemed to perfectly capture the magic needed in order to write some of the most bland post-grunge of the mid to late 1990s, yet somehow do it in a way that pisses you off while listening to it. God, I don't even know why I wasted my time writing about this dumpster fire of a group. Why could't I have just done the cop-out move of replacing my actual critique with a meme in order to break the flow of the article? What other band could have possibly been so bad that I found it necessary to avoid talking about them and just use a meme?


*Haters will say it's photoshopped*

So far in this "Worst Bands of the (insert decade here)" series, there has been one word that has come up quite often. That word is "generic." Sometimes, "generic" is the hardest thing to write about. I mean, how do you write about something that barely exists? Generic music, typically, is inoffensive, easily accessible, and safe in its composition and approach to song crafting. Now does being "generic" necessarily mean a band is bad? Well, no. AC/DC is one of the most successful generic bands of all time and they kick ass. Unlike other generic acts, AC/DC holds components that makes their music interesting. The guitar playing of Angus Young is and has always been stellar, and Brian Johnson's vocals (while lyrically simplistic) are delivered in a manner that has soul, as he sells every lyric without taking himself too seriously. However, what makes some generic bands "bad," is the absence of said components that help the music stand out. At least when you are listening to AC/DC you KNOW that you are listening to AC/DC. So back to the aforementioned question, how does one critique and formulate thoughts on something so generic it lacks any sense of originality and creativity? Well, you talk about AC/DC or something more interesting until it's time to move on, IDK.

Of all the bands on this list, Korn certainly warrants the most respect from me. I mean, that's all that matters right? *pats self on back, staring into mirror* In a decade filled with innovation and creativity, Korn certainly, umm, gave us that? Their chaotic blend of funk, groove, and industrial metal certainly, well... sounded different? Did it work? Hell no. Was it different from all the other Nirvana and Pearl Jam wannabes on the charts parading themselves around with their pants down, looking for album sales and p***y? (wassup Gavin, how you been?) Certainly. However, Korn's attempt at seamlessly stitching genres of music together worked out about as well as if Stevie Wonder attempted to actually stitch two things together (Stevie Wonder joke, classic comedy. *CHECK*). God, I'm funny. At the end of the day, their music is disgustingly cloddish. Their bass player "Fieldy" Arvizu literally hates the bass:

"When I would want to slap my bass, I wanted it to sound like it was being slapped. I didn’t want it to sound like a bass; I wanted it to sound like if you slapped a string. I don’t even like bass, to tell you the truth—it makes me nauseous."

And their guitarist, Brian Welch, is literally a f**king asshole:

"Honestly, Chester's an old friend who we've hung with many times, and I have friends who are extremely close to him, but this is truly pissing me off! How can these guys send this message to their kids and fans?! I'm sick of this suicide shit! I've battled depression/mental illness, and I'm trying to be sempethetic [sic], but it's hard when you're pissed! Enough is enough! Giving up on your kids, fans, and life is the cowardly way out!”

If you're one of the many who have successfully banished the memory of this band's existence in the basement of your mind, right beside the Gulf War and Woodstock '99, then I offer you the most sincerest of apologies. However, as the integrity of this highly researched and profoundly objective list is at stake, I can't leave out the worst group of Nebraskan tank-top reggae-rockers to stumble their way onto the 90s music scene. To quote Benjamin Shapiro's riveting exposé on 311:

"K is the 11th letter in the alphabet. Say it three times and you get three K's. 3 x K = KKK. 311 = KKK."

P O W E R F U L. I mean, do you need anymore reason as to why this group is awful?

Like the Dave Matthews Band, 311 is a another group primarily enjoyed by intoxicated university students. However whereas members of DMB at least have the musical skills necessary to generate jam music, 311 possesses none of the like. 311 is a college band without the college. While many of the bands on this list produced bland, inoffensive music, 311 only produced the offensive. Their half-assed, unintelligent attempts at conceiving rock-infused reggae and funk music do as much justice to those two genres as the Insane Clown Posse's music does to hip-hop. Plus we all know the only good bands that offer cruise experiences are the Barenaked Ladies and Paramore.

Also side note: Never date a girl that loves 311. It's not worth it.

On the bright side, this list has definitely made me gain a greater appreciation for the brilliance of Billy Corgan. "We'll crucify the insincere tonight, we'll make things right, we'll feel it all tonight. We'll find a way to offer up the night, tonight. The indescribable moments of your life, tonight. The impossible is possible, tonight. Believe in me, as I believe in you, tonight." It's poetry like this that reminds me that, for the most part, the 90s were an amazing time period for rock music. See, I don't JUST hate things.

Honorable mentions: Limp Bizkit, Creed, The Presidents of the United States of America, The Offspring, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Counting Crows


About the Creator

Matt Knight

I anything can't do right since because pickles

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  • Mike Andersonabout a month ago


  • Mike Andersonabout a month ago

    Brian Welch was actually one of the nicest people I've ever met, within the industry. LFO, Len, Crazy Town, Hanson, ...I could easily think of PLENTY of other bands who can be considered worse than ANYONE on this list.

  • Mike Andersonabout a month ago

    Very opinionated and WRONG. lmao You've named some actually GREAT bands. I'm guessing you listened to only unknown artists who had less than 10,000 fans, cause maybe you were one of those kids who wouldn't listen to anyone popular, cause you saw it as uncool.

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