FT5: My Most Divisive Bands

It’s interesting being a huge music fan. You come across bands that you absolutely adore, and you rush to make mixes for your friends who ultimately decide that they hate the one song you were most excited for them to fall in love with when you made it.  I started thumbing through my catalog and the Internet, diligently searching for the bands in my collection that I love, but I feel people hate; I also looked at bands on the net I know people love, but I hate.  Here’s my list of the Top 5.


5. Sufjan Stevens

This guy has been a darling of the indie world since day one, practically, but you know what, I hate this guy.  First, how come no one has called him out on abandoning his once promising 50 albums for 50 states?  The guy’s a quitter, and no one likes a quitter.  Second, I feel this guy is way too over-indulgent.  Conceptually, the guy has made some great pieces, but a little self-editing would have gone a long way to making his music more listenable.  I just don’t have the time in my life to absorb such intricate music that runs for at least an hour long.  A man needs a break.  I am one of those, of whom I know many, who can’t stand Sufjan, though I know many people love him.


4. Belle and Sebastian

Let me just start off here saying that I absolutely love this band.  I have the entire catalog on both vinyl and CD, and am always looking up live shows in my spare time.  Something about Stuart really strikes a chord with my sappy-side.  That being said, I know so many people who just can’t stand the band.  If you want to clear out a bar or a party, just throw “Sukie in the Graveyard” on; trust me, I know a bar manager who stands by this rule.  I can’t explain people’s animosity, and frankly I find it ridiculous.  Lyrically, it’s great; musically, it’s great. So what’s wrong people?  Too many gay references?  Too twee for you? Get over it. Don’t hate, appreciate. This band is so good. Maybe they just need more muscles and tattoos–of the tribal sort (or skulls!).


3. Kanye West

Sorry folks, but this guy kind of, sort of, sucks.  I don’t understand the fascination with him.  He’s known for being self-absorbed, cocky, and frankly, a dick. So why do people like him?  I have no idea.  I’d love to make some sort of reference to the world being blinded by celebrity, but the majority of the people who will read this, could care less?  Is it a fascination for the white community to somehow align themselves with African-American culture?  I know that sounds naive, and possibly offensive, but the same thing happened with jazz in its earlier days, so I’m okay saying it.  If you want real hip-hop, go back to the classics, like A Tribe Called Quest, or even early Outkasts (ATLiensya’ll).  It’s a lot more interesting and creative.  Then again, that’s just personal taste.  But, I can promise you that not a one of my friends found Kanye’s album worthy of Best New Music.


2. Joanna Newsom

Way back when she was in The Pleased, she probably would have won over a lot of people; she was adorable and unassuming.  Then she stepped out on the band and blossomed into her own machine.  I can’t tell you how much I love this woman; I’ve even convinced my folk-loving father to enjoy her tunes.  But, I acknowledge that she is one of the most divisive women in music today.  I don’t think it really has anything to do with her musicianship, as we all must certainly agree that the girl can flat out play.  In my opinion it really rests on the fact that her voice is often difficult to take in, and sometimes grating.  However, if you listen to the span of her career, those little nuances and cracks have greatly improved over time, which I think makes her a great deal stronger.  Who knows why people can’t stand her? These people need to reconsider. I’m looking at you Steph!


1. Animal Collective

Okay okay, I like these guys.  I’m probably not the hugest fan, and actually my adoration is only shrinking as time goes by, due mostly to the incessant calls for new AC work, or even spin-offs like Panda Bear.  I mean do we need another record of beeps and blips that badly?  Still, you can look at this web site, two of the main contributors can’t agree on this band. RayRay hates them, like I hate his favorite, Kings of Leon.  I think this is how you should make friends in the real world nowadays.  Make your stance on whether you like Animal Collective or not, then find a person who believes you are completely wrong.  I guarantee that this will be a friend of yours for life. Such is the way we perceive Animal Collective. You love them? Cool. You hate them? Cool. Everyone has an opinion on this band, and no one will ever know who’s correct. Still, as the band unleash more music, the argument will continue to rage on and on, proving that AC is one of the most divisive bands out there today.


It’s clear that I love some bands you probably hate, and vice versa.  Are there other bands you and your friends can’t help but argue about when you get together? I mean, for me, The Hold Steady and Modest Mouse fit in this category too.  You be the judge, and tell me about it.



  • It’s funny that you say The Hold Steady, because I love and hate them. They are entertaining and popular…but why? I mean, I’m guilty. I’ve gone out of my way to see them multiple times. I saw Kanye at SXSW a few years back and he sucked live. I still like him though. Also hate Animal Collective. Cool list dude.

  • I hate Bright Eyes so much, I won’t give half a listen to a band called Monsters of Folk. In normal circumstances, I would feel more than compelled to listen to any band whose name began with the words “Monsters of…” Such is life, such is music.

    Also hate Animal Collective. Does this mean we’re friends 4 lyfe?!

  • You are correct, mainly because I love 4 of those bands and hate one of them. The one I hate, had the most popular album of 2010 and people love everything he does.

    BTW, Monsters of Folk is great regardless of your opinion of one band member. M. Ward is in a class of his own. Jim James and the rest of the clan hold their own too. My brother said, “I watched that Austin City limits last week and cant help but feel Connor Oberst is totally out of his league.” I couldn’t agree more. I happen to like one of Connor’s older side projects too, but I only play a Bright Eyes album maybe once a year.

  • Re: Kanye West

    Get some friends that don’t shop at Whole Foods

  • Great list. I can empathize with all these, although I’d give Sufjan a pass. And maybe Joanna Newsome too. Although I’ve been skipping her lots lately.

    So swap out Sufjan, put in MGMT.

  • Hating Bright Eyes is just plain lazy. The production work Mogis did on his early albums is hands down some of the best there ever was or will ever be. Couple that with Conor’s ability to write meaningful lyrics, and everything works. Yes, his voice was awkward in his earlier years, but he’s progressed, and grown into it, just wish he’d stop trying to write pure country albums. Wait, did Bright Eyes just become divisive?

  • I absolutely adore the band Eisley but pretty much everyone who has ever given them a listen hates them. I mean I don’t get it, is it because they are a girl fronted group. Or is it the family thing? I mean their lyrics have matured. And bright eyes took a while to grow on me for sure.

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