We’ve all been there. You’re hanging out with friends and the smash hit of the moment comes on. Everyone knows the words and cranks the volume. And you just cringe and pretend to like it too, but inside, you’re dying. Today, we dive into the artists we think are overrated and get the thumbs down in our playlists.

J Number one on my list of most overrated artists has to be Coldplay. They are U2-lite for a younger generation, with many sonic parallels. That’s not to say they aren’t talented–I just find them derivative. And Chris Martin’s voice is so grating to me. It’s monotonous and always sounds sad, even in his upper register.

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Speaking of monotonous, can we talk about Drake? I won’t deny that his songs are catchy, but his voice has all the charm of a pencil sharpener chewing lead. It’s overproduced into a barely-recognizable moan, masking the fact that he has little actual vocal talent. As a rapper, I don’t mind him, but the vocoder talk singing of hits like “Hotline Bling” is just garbage. No one will be listening to his songs ten years from now except at high school reunions.

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Rounding out my list of most overrated artists is Ariana Grande. Yes, she has a lovely voice. There’s no denying that. And she could be brilliant. Unfortunately, she takes no risks and charts no new territory with her music. It’s all bland, generic, simplistic pop and R&B. There has been no reinvention a la her contemporaries like Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus. Perhaps that will come with time, but for now Ariana is forgettable and lacks staying power. I hope she eventually puts her voice to better use.

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K I second J’s sentiments about Ariana Grande. Though, I argue that her voice isn’t that special in the context of its use. Her songs are melodically mundane (saw that lovely alliteration somewhere) and don’t show off her actual abilities.

I have never truly enjoyed Christina Aguilera’s style. From the excessive rifs to her forced lower register, where it sounds like she’s stretching her larynx to create the sound rather than it coming naturally. (It has been many years since my vocal pedagogy class so I might not be describing it just right). Perhaps it’s that unique (but weird) sound that attracts some listeners. To me, her high notes are cat wails to my ears.

Lastly, since Christmas music is back, Karen Carpenter. She’s technically not current (spoiler she’s dead) but her Christmas music is super popular this time of year. My dad loves her voice. But if Merry Christmas Darling comes on the radio I’m turning it. Immediately. While I enjoy a contralto, her singing is void of emotion for me. The neutrality in delivery makes even the cheeriest of lyrics melancholy for me and in 2020 especially I’m going to opt out of that.

Who’s someone on your do-not-play list?

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