Everyone loved these bands in the ’90s… but they were actually bad. People who grew up in the 1990s (like me) love to talk about how great the music of their generation was, and music has been going downhill a lot since then. But let’s be honest: most of the bands they consider the greatest ever were actually pretty crappy. Whether it was over-produced boy bands (like Color Me Badd) bubblegum electro-pop (like Aqua) everything post-grunge (like Bush) nu-metal (like Korn) rap-metal (like Limp Bizkit) butt rock (like Creed) or just a pretentious folksy band (like The Spin Doctors) that couldn’t actually play, there was no short supply of terrible music in the ’90s. Sure, you think most of it sounded good then. Maybe it was a different vibe… or maybe we all just have terrible taste. So without further ado, here are the worst bands of the ’90s.
This is one of the most-hated bands of all time. Fronted by lead singer Scott Stapp, they rose to fame in the late ’90s with songs like “My Own Prison” and “Higher” and “With Arms Wide Open.” In 2003, their own fans sued them after a notoriously bad concert.
The “R” is supposed to be capitalized… and backwards. The lead singer has massive dreadlocks and is white. Follow the Leader from 1998 was one of the worst albums of the decade. Their fans were the worst kind of people. I’m not sure I have to even say anything more.
A trio of musically-inclined young brothers decided to form a band and record some songs. One of those songs was “MMMbop” and after that it didn’t matter how talented the brothers were: we never forgave them. Sorry, Isaac, Zach, and the hot one.
Dave Matthews Band
Yeah, you knew these guys were gonna be on there. With fans as annoying as Deadheads and pretension as insufferable as U2, there’s something about Dave Matthews Band that just makes them miserable to listen to.
Ace of Base
I saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes to the fact that all these hit songs had the same exact beat!
Hootie and the Blowfish
I think we knew, when these songs first came out, that Hootie and the Blowfish was a bad band. We knew, and we kept listening anyway.
Rap-metal didn’t really get going hard until the early ’00s, but in the late ’90s, butt-metal lead singer Fred Durst gave us songs like “Break Stuff” and (ugh) “Nookie” with maybe the worst band of the ’90s, Limp Bizkit.
There was a particular sort of person who loved Spin Doctors. They probably blasted out “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes” from their Volvo on their way home from working at Blockbuster, where they regularly stole snacks for when they got the munchies at their friend’s sausage-fest, weed-smokin’ house parties.
Please, God, please God, strike me down with lightning instead of making me listen to the poor man’s Sublime, which were themselves very overrated in the ’90s.
I can’t bring myself to disgrace either Backstreet Boys or NSYNC on this list, but even when I was a kid, I knew that 98 Degrees were nothing more than some lame producer coughing up some crappily-produced pop garbage to try to get in on the boy band craze of the ’90s.
“Every Morning” when I wake up and think about Sugar Ray, I want to “Fly” away, but I can’t. Every time I hear one of their songs, I’m just glad “When It’s Over.” Maybe “Someday” we will hear this band again, but I hope not.
If you’re looking for the MOST EuroTrash band, look no further than Aqua, most known for their song “Barbie Girl.” Life in plastic was not so fantastic.
Insane Clown Posse
When your band is more of a lifestyle than a band, it’s usually pretty creepy either way. But Juggalos take it to the next level. White boys rapping, clown makeup, and ugly tattoos? I’ll pass.
4 Non Blondes
The worst part about 4 Non Blondes is that people really, truly believed they were some sort of incredible Lillith Fair-esque band, and they were really just incredibly boring and kind of untalented. Name one song other than “What’s Up?” You can’t.
I’m ALL about the Girl Power, and yes, I saw Spice World, and yes, I owned many of their CDs. But, my friends, if you listen closely, you’ll find that maybe, just maybe, these people couldn’t sing at all.
The Goo Goo Dolls
Formulaic music and “deep” lyrics in songs like “Iris” and “Black Balloon” that people put into their AIM profiles like it was Shakespearean poetry. Yawn.
Every single post-grunge band is better than Bush, even the “also-ran” bands like Spacehog, Belly, and Local H. And the song “Glycerine” literally means nothing.
The worst part about Pablo Honey is how much Radiohead has claimed to move on from this album and talk about how they’re like, SO much more talented than “Creep.” No, you’re not.
Is there a more insufferable love song than “I Knew I Loved You”? And I cannot get over the lead singer’s nasty, greasy hair.
Even Kurt Cobain knew he couldn’t sing or play the guitar. Sure, his lyrics were okay, but musically, Nirvana barely held it together.
I would rather spend the rest of my life counting crows than ever be forced to listen to “Round Here” again. And if there is a grand champion of lame white people dreads, I nominate the Counting Crows lead singer, Adam Duritz. Yes, even worse than Jonathan Davis from Korn.
The Offspring has this knack for writing a couple of good songs to go with the rest of their absolutely atrocious compilation of work. They aren’t a post-punk masterpiece, they just got lucky.
Everclear had an uncanny ability to make serious subjects like death, substance overuse, childhood abandonment, and divorce seem kitschy, thanks to their insanely terrible pop songs about them.
Our Lady Peace
Here’s a guarantee: every single person who claims Our Lady Peace as their favorite band takes themselves way too seriously, just like OLP did.
I don’t know where Collective Soul got away with calling themselves grunge-inspired. They were SOFT ROCK. ADULT ALTERNATIVE. Fine. Just don’t pretend to be harder than you really are.
Color Me Badd
They tried to be like, a hardcore version of New Kids on the Block. Instead, they were tacky, terrible, and untalented. It’s no wonder this group quickly fizzled out.
Rage Against the Machine
Before we had the term “woke,” Rage Against the Machine was the MOST woke band. And they always let you know it, especially as they screamed out punkish-rockish-rappish crap lyrics with instruments that sounded like they’d been through a garbage disposal.
I know, R.I.P. Dimebag Darrell. But that doesn’t mean this metal band was actually any good.
Smash Mouth is simultaneously a good band and a bad band. It’s like, I know “All Star” is not a good song, musically or lyrically. But I’m still enjoying it, and I don’t know why.
Eve 6 was never good enough to get more than two hits: “Inside Out” and “Here’s to the Night,” a graduation classic. Personally, I’m glad to be rid of them. Rendezvous and I’m through with you.
Third Eye Blind
What if we took a rock band and turned them into a pop band? What if our lead singer sounded like he had a perpetual sinus infection? Well hey, look, it’s Third Eye Blind!
Crash Test Dummies
I can’t say the lead singer, whose name I don’t know and won’t look up because I honestly don’t care, was a bad singer. That baritone was something else. But c’mon, “Mmm Mmm Mmm” is one of the worst songs of the ’90s. And we all thought it was SO deep. Hah.
House of Pain
I’m going to include Everlast, the lead singer and later an individual act, in this entry too. Because as a band AND as a solo artist, he left the ’90s in a sweet state of “meh.” Boring dance-rap AND boring acoustic-rap.
I’m not sure who was responsible for producing the Vengaboys with their terrible songs “We like to Party!” and “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!” (exclamation points theirs, not mine) but I’m reclaiming my time for these AWFUL hits being stuck in my head for hours.
I want to laugh at this college rock alternative band’s only hit being about how hard it is to get famous (“Cut Your Hair”) but it’s a little sad. Plus, they had a base of devoted underground fans that frankly, they didn’t deserve. There were a lot of white boy alt. rock bands in the ’90s, and Pavement just wasn’t that good.