‘Coolness’ can be such a fickle concept sometimes. One minute you’re the toast of Pitchfork, the next you’re being slated on a million message boards for ‘selling out’ or mysteriously losing whatever touch you had in the first place.
It’s never been quite clear who decides on what’s ‘cool’ or not (our god-like cultural overlords, perhaps, plotting the rise and fall of pop-culture from a volcano fortress somewhere in the mid-Pacific), but the rules of the game seem genuinely unfair a lot of the time. Here’s a look, then, at some of the acts whose talents have often been overlooked simply because they’re so ‘uncool’ …
5. Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
Boring, trad-heavy, MOR dadrock, right? WRONG. Petty’s ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation is pretty much a masterclass in songwriting, and all the hip sneering in the world ain’t gonna change that.
Okay, so they’re lyrically simplistic and Chris Martin can be a bit whiny, but let’s not pretend that they don’t write great tunes.
Bono’s constant sanctimony and messiah-complex can be wearisome, true – a fair trade-off for three decades of killer songs, one might argue, however.
2. The Pretenders
‘I’ll Stand By You’ might have been overplayed on a million romantic-drama trailers, but if you don’t like ‘Brass In Pocket’ then you may well have no soul.
1. Bruce Springsteen
One of the finest singer-songwriters in history has bizarrely found himself labelled ‘middle-of-the-road’ and ‘leaden’ by a legion of try-too-hard cool kids. Who should stop it.
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