Great songs by mediocre bands

Bonus points if they form part of an exciting musical direction which the band then moved away from in favour of blandness as per above ^^

Leaving aside my Spinal Tap reference up there, I can think of a few great songs but the band members kept swapping around. One minute they were in Poco, then they were in The Eagles.

It's not meant to be one hit wonders no

In fact, best option is bands who had lots of hits and are generally not all that great, but who had some flashes of brilliance before some change of direction which maybe got them a ton of success but lost them their soul a bit.


For instance Coldplay are mostly tedious/bland/also a bit of a poor man's U2 for the last 20 odd years but this was a sublime early hit IMO

Oasis - Some Might Say

Pet Shop Boys - Left To My Own Devices

Osmonds - Crazy Horses

Dodgy - Summer Fayre

Stretching it to solo artists:

Cliff Richard - Wired For Sound

Leo Sayer - The Show Must Go On

Crazy Horses is a perfect example

Oasis and PSB are ripe for the title but unsure why you picked songs which I'd place firmly mid range in their respective repertoires

Each to their own ofc

Blink 182. Miss you


they are  utterly mediocre but that one song is sublime 



arctic monkeys... when they are good (fake tales of San Francisco) or whole second album....


Shiver is probably my single favourite Coldplay track. I still have the CD single somewhere, I think.


If you’re going for Oasis, Whatever or Masterplan must be up there.

Girl From Mars.

The Day We Caught The Train.


Chasing Rainbows.

Slight Return.


BritPop is rich in one-off greats by otherwise mediocre plodders. 

anyone nominating the Pet Shop Boys as a mediocre band needs to punch themselves out in front of the bathroom mirror

anyone also nominating LTMOD as their best song needs then to wait until they’ve come round, and punch themselves out again

for the record, it’s Always on My Mind

which is coincidentally the best cover version ever

the sub-Coldplay strata of noughties british bands provide loads of these, often big indie power ballads eg - 

- Run and Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

- Wires by Athlete

- Munich by Editors

This trend was perhaps started by Embrace wirh Come Back to What You Know

Oasis have loads of good songs, but weirdly few of them are from their peak period of fame

What does that indie landfill generation listen to now? Must be rather embarrassing for those whose ‘time’ was then. 

btw LTMOD is one of their best imho. And Being Boring is one of the greatest pop songs of all time. 

I'm not counting covers as that's cheating.  (And that disqualifies Whatever.)  Nobody would have heard of PSB who had flopped hard had Tennant not called in a few favours and got Breakfast TV to have them on for weeks talking about how to make a single and video and, hey presto, on release it went to no. 1.  It was Fix Factor tactics.


But LTMOD is a touch of genius. Clever construction, ambiguous, better and more incongruously deadpan sprechgesang than WEG.

My first thought was Shiver by Coldplay. All downhill for them from there.

Toxic by Britney

With or Without You by U2

Heh, came here to mention Female of the Species. 


I notice Space are touring again. Nothing makes me feel older than seeing the state of 90s bands as they are now. 

Modern English - I melt with you.

Electromic- Getting away with it.

Jesus and Mary Chain - just like honey.

Actually, Europe were shite rather than mediocre. Also my younger self wants to nominate mmmbob by Hanson - but they were also generally shite.


What Laz said about the Pet Shop Buys but he needs to punch himself in front of the mirror in relation to his views on Snow Patrol.

I remember buying the La's album and being utterly disappointed that There She Goes was the only decent song on it.

Oasis to some extent led the way for Coldplay who have also perfected the art of catchy tunes with totally meaningless lyrics.

Blur a good shout as a mediocre band, but Beetlebum not a good shout for a good song of theirs. Coffee and TV was good.

Suburbia is my favourite PSB song, close second is Always on my Mind.  LTMOD is also a corker, tho.

So PSB don't belong on this thread

Yes Chambo but Edwyn Collins was not a one hit wonder. Before going solo he performed under the name Orange Juice and had a massive hit with a song called Rip it Up. Also he did have another top 40 single after Girl Like You.

Attention to detail please...

Sir Woke XR Remainer FBPE MBE28 Jan 22 06:26

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anyone nominating the Pet Shop Boys as a mediocre band needs to punch themselves out in front of the bathroom mirror

anyone also nominating LTMOD as their best song needs then to wait until they’ve come round, and punch themselves out again

for the record, it’s Always on My Mind


Sorry Laz I forgot to mention...

No covers allowed. It has to be their excellent song.

I love PSB generally (while realising they can seem a bit "machine line" when consumed in bulk) but particularly appreciated this post peak gem

Hate that Public Service Broadcasting have now nicked their iconic acronym too

As others have said, PSB fo not belong on this thread. Waaaay too many classic songs (LTMOD, Being Boring, Rent, Love Comes Quickly) and for an older synth band, the songs/production have stood the test of time much better than some of their contemporaries. 

Also agree with Jack's point about britpop being a rich vein for this topic.

Oh sorry just scrolled up and saw...

Of course Whatever is allowed, not a cover in any way shape or form

Iris by Goo Goo Dolls?

Girl From Mars is also a good shout. Which reminds me that the guitarist from Ash was super hot.

Ready To Go by Republica. Singer of whom: also hot.

Geoff Roe, point of order - I am the last person to suggest that Chambo isn’t a slack-jawed waddling goon, but in this case I think his contributions are valid. It doesn’t matter if one member of the mediocre band was previously in a good band. They’re still releases as a mediocre band.

At least that’s my understanding. I’ll defer to Lordgaga as it’s his thread.

Of course Whatever is allowed, not a cover in any way shape or form

The royalties from it being a copy of The Idiot Song made Neil Innes a millionaire. 

I'm not sure we have had the honour of meeting Mugen. If ever it happens, you may change your views.


They did a song called Sleep on the Left Side that was essentially identical.

I will say... sorry to be a pedant but... in order to denounce a band as mediocre and hail 1 song as anomalously great it is somewhat necessary to know a reasonable amount of their other material to be identifiable mediocre in a way that makes said song anomalous.

Otherwise it's just 1 hit wonders and there are enough of them to fill a whole other thread 

Brimful of Asha, Cornershop - somebody tell me they did something else?

6am Jullandar Shere, which is the answer to the question “what would it sound like if Kevin Shields had discovered the sitar?”

@Skep Tick - Yes!!! Rediscovered my 7inch of 6AM JS the other week. I'm not sure huge fan of Cornershop but that song is a true original....

I’ve given this a lot of thought. People naming ash are half right but their early tune petrol is their best song 

Dakota is  a very good call but the whole average band great song is basically blur (chemical world) and oasis (live forever). 

Less of the arch weren’t the 90s terrible posting. They were great. Last proper music decade 


The fact that multiple people have mentioned Oasis but cited half a dozen different songs... kinda suggests that Oasis aren't the prime example of this phenomenon!

Good points from Laz re Embrace, though Come Back To What You Know predates Coldplay's arrival by a couple of years.

How do you define a mediocre band? I would suggest that a band that has produced at least one great song is not mediocre.

Wide Open Space  - Mansun

You get what you give - New Radicals

Somewhere only we know - Kean

You're not alone - Olive