Top 5 most overrated artists of 2010

Categories: Year-end blitz
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Photo by Stacy Schwartz
Mumford & Sons at the Varsity Theater last May
Now, before you get all bent out of shape with this list, let me point out that just because I feel a band or an artist is overrated doesn't mean I don't like them or their music. It just conveys my belief that the massive amounts of hype surrounding these artists dwarfs the actual music that they create. We live in an age where publicity and public opinion matter perhaps more than the art itself, where we're blindsided by so much promotion about an album that we buy into an artist long before we've had a chance to fully process their music.

So the musicians on this list are just examples where I feel the deafening buzz surrounding them simply drowned out and ultimately overshadowed the music they produced, not necessarily a judgment on the music itself.

Without further ado, the 5 most overrated artists of 2010.

5. Mumford & Sons

I've never seen a band blow up this much in such a short amount of time. They went from playing in front of 30 of us at the 400 Bar their first time through town to selling out First Avenue faster than any band in recent memory. I don't begrudge them their success, for they seem like good-natured lads. I just don't understand the level of adoration that the Twin Cities music scene (and much of America) has shown to this band. I only hope that their fans dig a bit deeper into the new wave of British folk rock, and discover M & S's former tourmates Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling, as well as a whole cadre of bands that pull off this type of sound a whole lot better.


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Photo by Erik Hess
James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem at Roy Wilkins Auditorium
4. LCD Soundsystem

Again, the live performances by James Murphy and his talented gang of merrymakers are thoroughly entertaining and a true sight to behold, but on record his songs just come across as rather soulless and endlessly repetitive. His production is consistently crisp and innovative, but there isn't a whole lot of depth and emotion to his songs, which in the end just come across sounding distant and cold.


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Photo by Tony Nelson
Robyn at the Fine Line last month
3. Robyn

Sure, her shows are a guaranteed good time, but she's not really offering anything new with her Swedish style of dance-pop. Robyn seems to be just recycling much of what we've all heard on the dancefloor over the last twenty years. If what you're after is just a mindless party then Robyn's music would make a fine soundtrack to your escapades, but dig any deeper and you wont find much substance there.


2. M.I.A.

It's easy to talk about revolution and fighting against the powers that be from the comfy confines of your regal estate (mostly paid for by your husband's Seagram liquor fortune), separated from the suffering you speak so passionately about by money and time zones. M.I.A.'s first two records burned with an intensity and fire of an artist with something to prove and a world that needed waking up, but her recent release mostly rings hollow with juvenile lyrics that seem remarkably out of touch with the struggle she once believed in, and mishmashed beats that cloud whatever her message has become.


1. Kanye West

There is no possible way that Kanye or his bloated but brilliant new album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is as great as he, and we, say it is. It's a good album, mind you, filled with really immense hooks and riveting beats, but it's when Kanye opens his mouth that things tend to get twisted, both on record and in real life. He's not much of a spokesman or an MC, but he's a producer and beatmaker extraordinaire-it's just too bad that all of that other nonsense gets far too much attention and most of the headlines.




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