The Vaccines: 'Rihanna Isn't a Real Artist'

The Vaccines have suggested Rihanna lacks artistic merit because she does not write her own songs.

Ultimate Guitar

The Vaccines have suggested Rihanna lacks artistic merit because she does not write her own songs.

The band also suggested Coldplay would do anything to be the biggest band in the world.

The Vaccines guitarist Freddie Cowan told Digital Spy: "Rihanna isn't an artist - she has 15 writers, 15 songwriters and 15 producers all fighting for space on her albums and she's the face of it."

"I have nothing against it, but I don't want to be associated with it," he added.

Coldplay are due to perform their collaboration with Rihanna, "Princess Of China", at the Paralympics closing ceremony next month, and the guitarist suggested the song lacked "artistic merit" - although he admitted he had never heard it.

"I've never heard that song, but it's Coldplay - they'll do whatever they can to be the biggest band on earth, to be bigger than U2," he said.

"They Do It Really Well And They'Ve Never Put Out a Bad Album So Hats Off To Them," he continued. "I have nothing against those collaborations because I don't feel you can judge people, but I don't think I'll ever be involved in something like that." "It needs artistic merit," he said.

The Vaccines are set to release their new album "Come Of Age" on 3 September.

The band recently announced their biggest headline UK tour to date, playing 11 shows in November - check Gigwise Gig Tickets for more information.

Thanks to Gigwise for the report.

138 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I wonder what he has to say about classical performers who tour the world performing beautiful music from the repertoire but haven't written a note in their lives.
    Those people tend to put their own personal flair into the songs. No one knows specifically how Mozart's pieces were supposed to sound as he was never personally recorded, being over a century before that tech existed. So everyone is playing Mozart their own way to a degree. Besides, they still play intruments well; Rihanna can't even sing that well.
    How well do you have to perform before you become an artist? Apply to punk vocalist who can't sing and doesn't write
    Eh, seems like you're straying off-topic, nobody commented on her performing other people's songs. Nobody contests that a composer is an artist, but we can have our doubts whether stars like Rihanna are performers or artists.
    Callum Zandir
    What if a classical musician's interpretation is entirely dictated by their knowledge of performance practices of the time? Would you say these performances lack 'artistic merit'?
    Yeah I probably would. It's the same as watching a kid do a clarinet recital, or playing a tab from this site to the T. Until you are able to add your own variation to the playing, it just does not merit artistic integrity. Although it can still sound good and be a cool experience, it won't have the same lasting appeal.
    Rihanna's songs don't really have anything outstanding and she didn't really write anything.. but "post break up sex to help you forget your ex" isn't really what one would call an inspiring chorus either.
    I'm not a Rihanna fan but id rather listen to her than The Vaccines any day.
    Well considering I have no idea who they are, yet Rihanna is nearly a household name by this point.... where's the artistic merit? Why are all bands turning into massive children suddenly?
    What a pretentious ****. I won't go over the arguments because the comments section did that pretty well already, but jumping ****ing shitballs this guy is a douche. For the record I have nothing against Rhianna, but I don't like her music either.
    I don't know who The Vaccines are, but I can't argue with them. Any of that stuff out today whether it's Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga or even Jay-Z It all lacks talent. It's manufactured, processed and cookie cutter Pop and R&B.
    While i agree with most of what you said, Lady Gaga actually writes her own music and lyrics, she even put out a singer songwriter style album before she was Lady Gaga
    Bernie Taupin has had a big career as a song writer, probably isn't a great performer. Michael Jackson only had 3 co-credits on the thriller album, but was an absolute perfectionist in his vocal performance. The way I see it if I've got an artistic idea and you can make it come to life we're both contributing to the creation of that art and are thus both artists.
    Basically, I've said the very same thing you said and I got 6 downvotes so far... lol, good old UG
    The songs were written by bussinessmen/artists. I put bussinessmen first for a reason.
    Everybody that ever tries to make a dime off of their art is a business man. The way you conduct the business has no effect on how much of an artist you are. The person writing these songs might not be a good artist (I would say he's not, as well) but there's no way of saying whether or not business comes before art in his/her eyes. In fact, I would say art is extremely important to this person, or they wouldn't have made a career out of creating it.
    I don't know about the good artist comment. The songs these song writers write for other artist are not nearly as powerful or artistic as the songs they write for themselves. Take Frank Ocean for example. He wrote a few shitty songs for Bieber and Beyonce, then released an incredible album of his own.
    It's one thing to say Rihanna isn't the brains behind the operation, it's another to say the songs lack artistic merits. Surely someone wrote those songs.
    A manufactured popstar doesn't have artistic merit comparable with a band who wrote their own songs?! Who knew?! It's hardly any kind of revelation. Just another band desperate for exposure attacking someone more famous than them because they have an album coming out. Which is pretty ironic given what they said about Coldplay "doing anything" to be the biggest band in the world. I've still never heard anything by them, and I care even less now.
    The vaccines make a fair point, but they've basically released an album with the same song at different tempos
    "They Do It Really Well And They'Ve Never Put Out a Bad Album So Hats Off To Them," What's up with the capitalization?
    I know what I'd say: "those people sure can actually play an instrument." Those people usually adapt the pieces they play to their own liking too; give it their own personal flair. Rihanna can't even sing very well.
    The Vaccines to release their new album... on 3 September." Ohhh, that explains it.
    The thing is: being an artist is not only about writing its own songs. An artist also knows how to entertain the public, maintain touch/appeal with the public, perform on stage, etc. So yes, Rihanna IS a real artist. Elvis Presley did not wrote a single song is his whole life. Therefore, he's not a real artist, right? Elitist logic wins again... And just for the record, I can't stand her songs.
    I'd call someone whose primary function is to entertain an entertainer.
    Being an entertainer is also part of being an artist. Not a fundamental part maybe, but indeed a part of it.
    Being an entertainer is part of being an artist, but being an artist is NOT a part of being an entertainer. Art is a product of creativity. If you didn't create the music then you're not the artist. If a friend draws a picture of me am I the artist? Of course not, and the same applies to music.
    My point is: I'm not even arguing that she does not write her own songs. But you can't say she "isn't a real artist" just because of that, she makes shows, she performs, she connects with her public. That is also PART of being an artist. Particularly I'm not impressed by those kinds of pop concerts, but there's people who are. If she expresses herself and there's people who feel related, does not it makes her an artist? See, I was fine with the first sentence of this article: "lacks artistic merit" It LACKS artistic merit, which does not mean she "is not a real artist" like the band said.
    she is a performer/entertainer by every biut of what you defined bro...if she was her own choreagrapher, maybe then i could agree with you, but she doesnt even do that herself, she is a hired puppet for a record label to sell a bunch of garbage to idiots who will follow...she has no ARTISTIC talent, or CREATIVE talent if you will, she is simply an ENTERTAINER...
    "if she was her own choreagrapher maybe then i could agree with you, but she doesnt even do that herself" Well, I'm really not into pop music tricks tbh, but if this is true, THEN I AGREE that she's JUST an entertainer and I apologize for my mistake here. All the stage performance counts as a creation somehow, and therefore it holds artistic value, take for an example the zillions of bands that put (or used to put) some serious effort on their live performances, like Kiss, Alice Cooper, Ozzy, Mercyful Fate, etc.
    Oh well, @MrDo0m, I didn't saw your comments, my bad... but what I replied to @aueliusgtr kinda applies to what you said, too. :p
    Sorry man, but the way I see it being an artist =/= being an entertainer. In a lot of cases, an artist is also an entertainer (in the case of performing musicians and comedians), but by definition they are not one in the same.
    how is she able to connect with her public through something she had never felt or thought. She sings other persons lyrics, that ir enough lack of artistic merit for me.
    how is she able to connect with her public through something she had never felt or thought?. She sings other persons lyrics, that ir enough lack of artistic merit for me.
    Sorry man, but the way I see it being an artist =/= being an entertainer. In a lot of cases, an artist is also an entertainer (in the case of performing musicians and comedians), but by definition they are not one in the same.
    Fucking double posts.. Anyways, I wouldn't call Vincent Van Gogh an entertainer, but he was certainly an artist. Likewise someone like Beethoven was in some ways an entertainer, but much more of an artist than an entertainer. With that being said, I would say Rihanna is much more of an entertainer than an artist.
    Floyd Phoenix
    2 points: 1) Elvis could actually sing, and had a phenomenal voice, whilst also being able to actually play guitar and piano. 2) He did write a few songs, albeit they were co-written; _Presley I checked.
    I'm not even comparing his voice to Rihanna's voice or his talent overall, that would be just illogical. I just think the argument this band used to say she's not an artist is flawed, using for an example Elvis, who was basically a performer for most of his career, wrote only a few songs (thanks for the correction btw) but still was one of the greatest artists to walk on this planet.
    Yeah, and most educated people will tell you Elvis doesn't deserve any of the cred he gets whatsoever. What's your point?
    coz their big hit "post break up sex" is a milestone of modern music and art. rihanna and the vaccines suck equally
    Same with Beyonce - 6 writers, 4 producers, song samples, repetitive lyrics. Queen - 1 writer, 1 producer, original music, no I-V-C-V-C-B-C-O structure, just art.
    Wow, you guys are quite a bunch of *****s. Most of you would have written something like this in a comment somewhere (or have done so already), and nobody would give a flying f*ck. But here, an actual musician says it and everybody tries to act cool or something by bashing him... Oh right, this is UG after all.
    UG i'd rather read stories about Courtney Love or Mustaine than this. Wow Rhiana isn't a proper artist, big newsflash, most poeple here don't listen to her music. Just get us some serious musical news.
    "Rihanna is not an artist." In other news, the sky is blue. Do all obvious statements get articles?
    Carl Hungus
    Rihanna is product plain and simple. If and when that product fails to deliver the music industry will move to the next "product".
    "and the guitarist suggested the song lacked "artistic merit" - although he admitted he had never heard it ." lol, He's right though about Rihanna and Coldplay, but you can't judge a song without hearing it.
    All of these points are valid, and props to someone for finally calling out Coldplay.
    Sigh here we go again with the rap bashing... first off I am a guitarist and I listen to all froms of music I will not defend the crap that is out today. As a true hip hop fan I will tell you straight up that a lot of these artist are garbage. Maybe if the radio stations would play more Mos Def, Nas, Reflection Eternal, Outkast,etc.. ppl would have a change of heart. Truth is Rhianna is a manufactured Pop artist, she can't sing and doesn't write her own music, but hey some ppl like that stuff....just like some ppl like the garbage rap thats out.. or the some or the "noise" that is considered metal now a days. Sorry for the rant.
    I'd say this is probably taken out of context. In these articles people always look like they're just outright attacking them, but it's probably taken from a bigger piece of text, which was probably provoked by an interviewer.
    Every pop and rap "artist" is not really talented all. Rap take's about 20min to write perform. Pop is really shitty. They all sound the same. study's show.
    Well RATM is rap sorta, songs like theirs take a lot more than 20 minutes to write. While many rappers sound the same, what I think makes certain ones more distinguished is their charisma and reputation outside of music. I guess the latter isn't something you really want to judge an artist by, though.
    Vicryl 2.0
    Stage craft and performance are based on 'talent'. Its a different talent to writing and arranging songs, but it's impressive, nonetheless
    Try german rap, my friend, I'm not german, and I don't understand what the shit they say, but it really is awesome.
    It's got f*** all to do with how long it takes to write something. I'm sure 'Stairway' was written in about 20 mins or something. Unless I'm thinking of something else...
    "...I don't feel you can judge people..." yet, theres something that doesnt feel right on his comments. i wonder what it is...
    This was a very unnecessary statement to make. It's not fair to say Rihanna's songs lack artistic merit, because they were written by ARTISTS. They started off by attacking Rihanna, but ended up saying something kind of nasty about her writers. Totally unprovoked.
    I didn't read it that way. They weren't attacking the writers or the songs, they were saying Rihanna specifically has no merit as an artist herself because she doesn't create the songs. "Rihanna isn't an artist".
    "and the guitarist suggested the song lacked "artistic merit" - although he admitted he had never heard it." That strikes me as an attack on the song and thus the writer(s), which doesn't seem fair. I dunno. Maybe I'm reading too far into this.
    That sounds more like an attack on Coldplay to me.
    yet he said coldplay have not put out a bad album yet.. whjich is bullshit, so it's like half trashing and half ass kissing.
    I disagree with that; Coldplay writes cool, catchy songs and all the band members have musical talent. Their newest album is just OK to me - but not bad - while you look at Rihanna and no one even listens to her albums, just the singles and what's popular.
    People aren't going to like it, but I agree. Rihanna might not write her songs, but somebody does and where somebody is writing music, art is happening. It might be subjectively bad art, but it's art.
    Somebody does write her songs, the point being SHE does NOT. Art may be happening, but she does not deserve the credit or applause for making it happen. That is what these guys are saying.
    Very well said. It may or may not be a form of art that some readily identify with, but she is still a performing artist, and that in itself is no easy feat. Granted some artists may have much more input into the songs that they perform, but acknowledging the collaboration between coldplay and Rihanna as music allows for a wider scope of what can be appreciated. Music isn't meant to be fought about, it's meant to be enjoyed. Nothing that occurs is a waste of talent; rather it is a collective branch of different talents coming together to make, as you said, art.
    I'm not a Rhianna fan but, just who in the **** are the vaccines ? At least I've heard of Rhianna, but these clowns?
    As long As Coldplay produces good albums #IDGAF
    Battery Chicken
    That's the problem, they haven't been. Not since Rush of Blood to the Head. Viva la Vida was showing signs of good things to come, but then they backslid into the current swathe of crap they are peddling to the world.
    "I have nothing against it, but I don't want to be associated with it," he added. Well I didn't think they were associated with them in the first place.
    Elvis didn't write his own songs, yet he's THE KING OF ROCK'N'ROLL - dont hear people slamming him
    No, not in my eyes. Elvis was an entertainer and good at it but lesser known contemporaries are more deserving of the accolade "the king of rock and roll". Like Elvis/Rhianna, I always treat "artists" with suspicion when they start with music and then move into films/advertising just looks like they're going where the money is....
    Though I agree with what he said, i'd rather listen to rihannna than the vaccines
    Ok, I'm done with the elitists on this forum. I seriously am. Keep with your "huur duur artiztz muzt B writing the songz" mentality.
    wow, a pop artist that doesn't write her own songs? won't somebody please think of the children!? the Vaccines guy, would have to single out virtually every 'artist' on the radio to really make his fingerpointing fair. is this what it takes to make the news? a better name for this article would be 'Vaccines Get Front Page Article on UG' good on em.
    I agree with them but it doesn't seem fair to be criticize people who don't have much of a personality.
    Good contribution to the discussion, and tasteful name. Well done to you. It's big and it's clever...