Duel 2002! Round 1 Match 15

Which of these bands is worse?

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Originally this Duel! was set to feature the White Stripes, but despite their featuring in that horribly smug Radio 6 advert (‘We play what we like — as long as it’s been in Q.’) they’ve been dislodged in favour of a greater menace. Nickelback have in just a month or two firmly staked a claim to recognition in the highest echelons of contemporary rock awfulness. They all look like they were raised in the forest by guitar shop workers, and if you can make it out through the grunting their big hit is about how Mr Nickel and Mr Back are peeved with their exes for reminding them continually what hopeless knobheads they are. Good work ladies.

But Nickelback’s opposition is no pushover. PRML SCRM have 17 years of ear-bothering experience, and though they’ve been quiet recently the memories have not faded — during the Duel! selection process there was a clamour for their inclusion. ‘Remember SWSTK YS!’ ‘Think of ‘Rocks’!’ Some might say that the biggest gap in all pop is the gap between what Bobby Gillespie thinks he’s doing (insurrectionary meltdown punk-dub-rock, at least recently) and what he’s actually doing (slightly trendier karaoke). Either of these bands would be well-deserving of a coveted Round 2 berth.


Alas! The Scandinavian presence in Duel! is wiped out by a strong vote for Stipe’s dwindling crew of non-insane automatons. Not a Duel! that captured your imagination, this one:

‘Don’t really think either is terrible. REM is irrelevant, Hives barely register with me yet. My dodgy reasoning is nothing good from REM in ages, and that THAT Hives song is OK. It’s so obviously some other song, but I can’t pin it down. Hey Mickey/Song 2/The Passenger bootleg ahoy.’

‘So, so awful.

And yet so completely dull. I am not quite certain if REM are now the worst band in the world, but they are without a doubt the most boring.

REM are such ragingly useless non-entities now that the only reason people can even remember them is for having idiotic air-rage chuckleheads and smug Courtney Love groupies in the band.’

‘Vote ’em down – justice to the wronged BA Cabin Crew’

‘It’s really the length of torture that is the issue here. The Hives could die a quick “What were we thinking” death next year whereas REM have been slowly sticking bamboo shoots under our nails for what feels like an eternity. You end up losing all sense of time and rationale which prolly explains thei success and most Virgin radio listeners..’

‘if only for foisting ‘shiny happy people’ upon the planet, it can only be REM. Can we vote for Placebo soon please?’

‘I like a few REM songs but they suck now and even their fans admit it. The Hives, on the other hand, are GRATE! Who knew the Swedes did anything other than produce blonde, perky popsies?’

‘The Hives are Law — REM are crime.’