Three Bands Everyone Pretends to Like More Than They Actually Do

Sonic Youth

Anyone who claims to love Sonic Youth is 60% lying. It’s not because they suck—they’re actually very good—but it’s because they’re one of those bands that people automatically know to like regardless of whether or not they’ve actually listened to any of their music. It’s just one of those accepted things: Sonic Youth is cool, we need oxygen to breathe, water keeps us alive.  Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore are these untouchable rock gods living in Northhampton, Massachusetts, raising a teenage daughter named Coco, and everyone just can’t seem to get enough of them. They even appeared on an episode of Gossip Girl and people were still like, “Loves it.” As of right now, I have only four Sonic Youth songs on my iTunes, which I’m sure is average for a self-professed fan.  I’m sure you would like to hear more of their music but their discography is so extensive and you’re already consumed with the new Yeasayer album. One day you’re just going to sit down and listen to all of their records, right? Riiiiiiight.

The Smiths

Morrissey got you through a real rough patch when you were sixteen, didn’t he? it was when you hated your parents, your crush wasn’t paying you any attention, and your skin was a real youth in revolt. Listening to The Smiths was the only thing that made it better. Posters of the band adorned your wall and you may have given your best friend a copy of The Queen Is Dead instructing them not to tell a soul about this band. Little did you know they broke up like 20 years ago and a cover of “How Soon Is Now?’ was used as the theme song to Charmed. But as things got better and your emotions started to level out, you found it harder and harder to fit them into your musical life. Today hearing “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore” is nice for about ten seconds until you’re transported back to being an unloved teenager and then things start to get uncomfortable. Your lip starts to quiver, your eyes start blinking rapidly, a zit begins to form on your chin. Suddenly you get the urge to throw your iPod across the room and smash into a million dejected little pieces. It’s okay. This just means you’re a grownup now who doesn’t need to magnify their sadness by listening to some closeted British guy wailing.


When a band is universally loved, they are not to be trusted. Case in point: last summer I went on a group wine tasting tour in Napa Valley {I know, I know!) with a bunch of young married couples who were wearing visors and ill-fitting khakis. For the first hour, things were pretty awkward, but after a few collective glasses of vino, the yuppies started to let their hair down and chat with one another discussing primarily 401K’s, the real estate market, and backyard BBQ’s. This one couple in particular was studying my friend and I curiously, perhaps confused as to why two 21 year old gothic princesses ended up on a wine tasting tour. Finally, the woman—who had managed to get wasted after only visiting one vineyard—asked us if we liked Radiohead.

I replied yes and exchanged a confused look with my friend. I then looked back at the woman and noticed that her performance fleece vest was becoming off balance almost as if it had gotten contact wasted from its owner.

She bobbed her head lazily and said, “We do too! Me and Bob are gonna see them at the summer festivals, um, this summer. Got our bags packed. We’re ready to go. We saw them at Coachella last year and it was like “Wow!” Bob just loves them.”

“I love them.” Bob echoed.

So apparently Bob and the drunk woman love Radiohead. Do they love the band like they love their french press or their Roomba? Who knows, who cares, I’m turned off. When a band has the ability to transcend social groups, you might take that just to mean they’re super talented, but you’re wrong! It means someone is not being completely honest with their feelings, someone is using the band to establish some sort of credibility. I’m not pointing any fingers here, but let’s just put it this way— I doubt Thom Yorke would ever wear a performance fleece vest. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


More From Thought Catalog

  • Michael Koh


  • ℜυ§‡¥

    i ony like one of these bands. the smiths.

    • None

      You have good taste.

  • Lazy Roar

    Uhh, The Beatles should definitely be on here.

    • jacob

      I was surprised that it wasn't. Definitely should be.

      • char

        umm no cos some people think it's cool to like hate on the beatles now, whereas it's totes not cool to hate on sonic youth.

      • Dan

        Meh, I've been hating on the beatles and all the bands on the list since before it was cool. Because I actually do hate them. Go figure.

      • Fox

        @ Charles: Really? Cos i totes luv spellin lik a dumfuck an sonic yooth is shit compared ta music that will actually be popular a few years from now(the beatles dapshit)

  • Mike

    Belle and Sebastian. No one seriously listens to twee pop.

    • Dave P

      Wrong. Thanks for playing, though.

    • Grostface Killah

      “listening to beat happening” is like 20% of my daily life.

    • Guest666

      lemme guess you also hate cardigans, glasses, and c86. fuckin a…

  • beachsloth

    I feel if you say you don't like or get Radiohead, you're automatically labeled a music snob. So there's this social pressure to say they are good, for fear of upsetting others.

    • lukebourassa

      I feel that it used to be if you liked Radiohead a lot, you were probably a music snob. Now it's the opposite.

  • Ditrapano

    I call bullshit on The Smiths. They're the best. The other two? Yeah, probably.

    • Ryan O'Connell

      YOU CAUGHT ME. I love The Smiths.

      • None

        See? I think (secretly) *everyone* loves The Smiths, and the people who don’t are either morons or just flat-out liars.

        Maybe not.

        Let me amend my theory: I think (secretly) everyone loves The Smiths… and if they don’t, they should be run off the earth.

  • christopher lynsey

    I genuinely like Radiohead.

    • Daniel Roberts

      I had precisely the same thought from this.

      • christopher lynsey

        Daniel Roberts also genuinely likes Radiohead.

      • Ben

        i genuinely like radiohead and have for awhile.

        not sure how i feel about this article.

    • CRO

      I genuinely like Radiohead too.

  • clwaddell

    hate sonic youth and radiohead. violently. liked this post though. non-violently.

  • Joseph

    i saw this headline on twitter and immediately thought radiohead

    • christopher lynsey

      Daniel Roberts and I genuinely like Radiohead.

  • JOEB

    i'll represent the faction of people that genuinely likes Sonic Youth. (i totally pretend to like the other two. i always tell people my favorite smiths song is “there is a light that never goes out”–it's my favorite because it's one of the few i've listened to with anything resembling frequency.)

  • Alicyn024

    All 3 of these bands have influenced all of the stuff we are listening to today tremendously but it is just so watered down sugary, and manufactured that it's hard to tell. If you are “pretending” to like these bands and can't recognize and appreciate the significance their music has had, you might as well be writing about Justin Beiber.


    i don't think it would be possible for me to like a band more than i like The Smiths, but i agree with Sonic Youth secretly sucking a dick. they really phoned it in at rufus and lily's wedding.

  • Disc

    So I don't listen to every album these bands have brought out, but I love 'The Smiths' 'The Queen is Dead' 'In Rainbows' 'Pablo Honey' 'Ok Computer' 'The Bends' 'Daydream Nation' 'Rather Ripped' 'The Enternal' 'Washing Machine' and songs off a few more. Does this mean I pretend to like them more than I do? Please help, I dont want to tell someone I like a band if I may only be pretending.

    • tiff

      You like these bands? Tell people that. No one is going to quiz you about your loyalty. I promise, you are safe. And if they do quiz you about your loyalty, tell them to fuck off. If they want to talk music, talk music. If they're worried you might be a poser or some shit, they're obviously not as in to the music as they claim to be.

  • joey

    true for 2 out of 3. ill keep the 1 i actually really do love to myself……

  • Kanye East

    What a snobby, pretentious asshole you are. “Sorry, can't like Radiohead unless your pants are tight and you look morose all the time.”

    • JJ

      Hush up, Kanye.

    • diva


  • samready

    I like The Smiths but I think I pretended to like them way too much when I was younger. I now pretend to like Fever Ray.

    • tiff

      All the anger I felt towards this article melted when I read this. :D Thanks.

  • Evan Hatch

    2/3rds of this list was also on my own list of identical premise
    seems like some “deja vu” shit
    i feel outdone…


  • missmollymary

    this is so true. when i was sixteen i bought “experimental jet set, trash and no star” by sonic youth because everyone was gushing about how cool they were. and god damn, that album sucked!

    • eve

      that album rules

  • Joseph Ernest Harper

    Weird article.

  • atallo83

    new bands that everyone pretends to like because they feel like they have to (or maybe just ultimate bandwagon jumpers: frat dudes):
    mumford and sons
    avett bros
    my morning jacket

    • GeneHarper

      My Morning Jacket have been around for far too long to be described as 'new'. I wonder if you view The National or The Black Keys as 'new', as well?

      • atallo83

        Actually Gene I was referring to the people I decribed in my comment thinking they are new. I worked for a radio station in college and interviewed the Black Keys in 2004 probably before you knew about them. They were on a local record label called Fat Possum and they came in town to play a show.

        As for MMJ and The National, yeah, I realize they are not new but the dickriding frat dudes and band wagon jumpers I mentioned above are all over them now.

        Maybe next time I will put quotations around the word new to minimize confusion for you.

    • jeez

      i don't even know who mumford and sons is but damn what a bad band name

  • NoahTourjee

    Oooh this is one touchy subject! I simply don't understand why you didn't mention Hannah Montana.

    • V2Blast

      Because nobody likes Hannah Montana, and nobody wants to.

      Ok, that's a lie, I'm sure *someone* does, but it's not “cool” to like it in general.

      • NoahTourjee


  • Smarter than You

    Do you find that you spend all day trying to suck your own cock? This is because you are too self indulgent to realize everything you say is bullshit. You are the reason people hate hipsters.

  • tiff

    I cannot take someone who refers to herself as a “goth princess” seriously. Especially if the person in point decides to hate a band because it “has the ability to transcend social groups”. You're stupid.

    • tiff


  • KM

    I don't know about pretending to like these bands, but I think everyone pretended to be happy with In Rainbows.

    • Disc

      Big call. Get your hands on amplives 'rainydayz remix'

  • Annika

    Sonic Youth never really interested me. Except 'Tunic (Song for Karen)', I like that one for some reason. The Smiths, however, rule.

    • None


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