'Rihanna Is As Important As Radiohead'

The Vaccines' singer Justin Young made the bold claim about pop singer Rihanna to make a point about how people can "over-inellectualise music." Do you agree?

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The Vaccines' singer Justin Young has made the bold claim that pop singer Rihanna is as important as Radiohead.

He made the comment after being asked why The Vaccines decided to promote themselves as a rock band and dress in denim when they released their second album "Come Of Age" this year.

"I just feel bands can be misunderstood, and I think people can over-intellectualise music," he told NME. "I think an artist like Rihanna is as important as a band like Radiohead. They serve different purposes, neither is more important. As for us, people might think of us an indie band that got big, but I think of us as a small pop band."

It contrasts with a statement by his bandmate Freddie Cowan who had criticised Rihanna back in August:

"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."

Do you agree that a pop artist like Rihanna can be as influential as a renown act like Radiohead? Who the hell are The Vaccines anyway? Let us know in the comments.

152 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Pwnasaurus Rex
    At least Radiohead doesn't have Chris Brown helping with their next hit.
    Kriggs
    Whoever's left standing in 5 years will be declared the winner. I'm going with Radiohead.
    felixramsey
    I don't know about that. People still remember bands like Cream & they were only around for a couple years or so. I'm not quite sure it's necessarily about who's around longer, but who releases really meaningful & skillfully crafted music that stands the test of time. Now if we're thinking of it in those terms, I will still go with Radiohead.
    felixramsey
    Not that I'm a big fan of Cream either, but I cannot deny that they were/are phenomenal musicians & did make some good tunes.
    GhostPlayground
    Actually, considering that Radiohead hasn't released anything truly noteworthy since Kid A (and the quality of that album has been criticized many times as being more about the production than the music) and are only relevant because of a few hits in the nineties, and a unique promotion strategy to promote 'in rainbows', while Rihanna continues to make hit singles and has been recently been named the best-selling female singer of all time. I'm probably gonna go with Rihanna. Of course, I don't really like either of them that much. I hate pop music in general (as do many people) and I think that Radiohead is grotesquely overrated.
    bluesnd63
    I guess you never heard In Rainbows then, because that is arguably one of their top 3 albums...
    ToolCreedence
    In Rainbows is my favorite Radiohead album. Hail to the Thief was excellent as well. Not the biggest fan of King of Limbs
    gkex
    Right, the proverbial lord of the dung heap if you will.
    third(-)eye
    LOL, you think that people will remember Rihanna in 20 years' time just because she's currently the best-selling female singer? OBJECTION! Radiohead will win in this contest because they're about 1000x more influential on music as a whole. Anyone can do what Rihanna does (case in point, everyone has). If everyone could do what Radiohead did, why haven't they? Just cause you don't personally enjoy listening to them doesn't make them unworthy of attention. I guarantee you music today would be quite different if they had never existed. Can the same be said for Rihanna?
    PoorePlaysBass
    A few hits? How about three of the best rock albums that have been released in my lifetime? Granted, what they release today may not be up to par with such high standards, but it is certainly "noteworthy" nevertheless, especially compared to Rihanna of all people. She may make hits now, but pop trends come and go. Radiohead's true artistic talent will carry them much farther than pop culture's current attraction will carry Rihanna.
    rockfreak611
    The quality of Kid A has been criticized many times? yeah sure, that's why it's been listed as the best and most important album of the 2000s by multiple sources, INCLUDING rolling stone, which is a bold statement by them. GTFO troll bait, and go listen to In Rainbows, which to me is the pinnacle of their work as a band.
    GhostPlayground
    Rolling Stone is not a credible source at all. Case in point, this was on the same list that Kid A was on.
    qrEE
    Hates Radiohead AND Captain Beefheart? What next, The Residents? Buckethead? Cromagnon? THE BEATLES? Seriously, Avant-garde is a style, and tons of people do it. To deny credibility because they don't line up with your personal tastes is simply arrogant and wrong. Any list of greatest albums of all time that does not include Avant-garde albums is biased. The fact is, Rihanna isn't even CLOSE to the best pop artist or most influential or most interesting. Half of her hits are just "samples" of better songs, including freaking NUMA NUMA. And I'm no fan of Radiohead, but at least I get the fact that they DID SOMETHING. Rihanna did nothing and deserves no "importance" as a result. Michael Jackson was important. Rihanna? Not important.
    Crimson.King
    I'd take Trout Mask Replica over 99% of the corporate commercial rubbish that's being made today. "A squid in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?"
    howyjr
    Not a chance that Radiohead are overrated. They are one of the tightest bands I've ever seen. And In Rainbows is on par with OK Computer for having talented well crafted gems. Not a bad song on them if you ask me.
    Abacus11
    GhostPlayground - Have you been living under a soundproof rock for the last 20 years? "A few hits in the nineties"??? You're embarrassing yourself. Go listen to some Rihanna, dude.
    Kueller917
    I think people need to realize this isn't an issue of whether you think Radiohead's albums are good or not. It's a more objective thing than that. Every album they release is met with critical acclaim and whether or not you like them doesn't change the fact they will be remembered over time.
    Kueller917
    I'd say Lady Gaga in a shorter time span has been more influential to the pop world than Rihanna ever was.
    spiff-corgi
    Like this dude's fellow bandmate said, Rihanna's music is a showcasing of the producing talent available in the 00's and 10's. The songwriting, shared between so many people, is mostly awful, and the talent from the artists is simply none-existent. In time she will become a great case study for the power of marketing and production. It is a music INDUSTRY now, after all.
    Alcofuel
    Pretty much, yeah. So many are trying to look and sound like her now. Who did that with Rihanna?
    thrill606
    Bullshit!
    Wininacan
    Music is just vibrations, because you enjoy one set of vibrations more doesn't change anything. You are just caught up in the image. All music, in all forms, has aspects to be appreciated.
    felixramsey
    Um, no. Calling what Rihanna does music is like throwing a pile of shit at a wall & calling it art. It's really not. She's actually a terrible vocalist, she looks weird, & her "music" is just beat-driven nonsense that makes women wanna "just lose control & dance!". It's quite infuriating to those out there that actually have musical talent &/or songwriting skills but can't be heard because nobody wants to think about stuff, they just wanna dance or test out their sweet new car stereo with a fat woofer in the trunk.
    qrEE
    Yes, when I think about what makes an artist/band sucks, the second thing I'd go to would also be "they look weird". I thought we were talking about MUSIC, not image...
    pinata89
    Thom Yorke looks weird too... But doesn't change the way I feel about his music.
    felixramsey
    That's what you took from what I said? You really think I'm focusing on image? I merely touched on that subject because image has a lot to do with what makes these people famous these days. And yes, there are instances in the past where actually talented musicians had an "image" that was part of their persona, KISS obviously being the biggest, but at very least these people had redeeming qualities. I'm not a big fan of KISS, but at least they could actually play instruments well & write some decent tunes. My biggest qualms with the music industry today is that the music is made with the word "commercial" in mind, it's based around image, very few of these people write any songs themselves, very few of them can actually sing, even fewer of them can play instruments, & they ***** themselves out in any way they can to make as much money as possible. I am in no way opposed to making money, but there's a point where it becomes a joke & you clearly have no respect for the art of music. Like when people have their music in commercials for things that have absolutely nothing to do with the song. I like Tom Waits' take on it. Basically that the song being used in whatever commercial was not written about that product or with that product in mind. Like if you used Bohemian Rhapsody in a commercial about couches. It's just ridiculous. Anyway, music is in a pretty sad state. But yes, I mentioned image once, so I guess you should focus on that.
    rebreh
    There are a lot of good musicians who make "dance" music for the record.
    Alcofuel
    Art is pretty subjective. Your comparison isn't that great, honestly. Her music, not in quotes because it is music so stop implying it isn't, has a point. It fulfills that point. That point is merely to entertain people. She's an entertainer. She entertains people. A lot of these pop stars that get judged for this have no intention to be artistic and deep.
    felixramsey
    Yeah, but it ain't THAT subjective. Jesus, where do you draw the line? Why is it okay to suck & just call it entertainment? "MUSIC"
    Alcofuel
    Because what's entertaining to you might not be entertaining to someone else, and vice versa. I think there are some things that actually are pretty bad or just not so great in some way or another no matter how you look at it, but I think for the most part it comes down to subjectivity and what someone is looking for.
    beineken
    What the eff is wrong with having music to dance to? Kid A is a masterpiece that no Rihanna album will ever even approach artistically, but I don't throw it on when I'm trying to get my groove on.
    felixramsey
    I don't mind having music to dance to, but there's definitely plenty of good music out there to dance to. You can dance to almost anything upbeat. Please keep in mind I said ALMOST. And if Rihanna's shit was only used to dance to in a club, it wouldn't be as bad. But all you really need is the beats. There's no need for her to sing. Basically, I don't think she should be as rich & famous & world-renowned for making glorified dance music. I wouldn't throw Kid A on to dance to, but I sure as shit wouldn't throw any Rihanna on at all, in any circumstance. I really don't understand how people can hear that & not instantly be overtaken with anger. I'm really an easy going fella. I know a lot of people that can't stand snow & winter & Christmas music, but I think it's so much easier to just enjoy, so I do. And there are very few things that make me this mad. But people like Rihanna & Lady Gaga really make me angry. I would love it if I didn't get this mad about it, but I can't help it. I grew up appreciating music & I find it extremely difficult to practice that appreciation when I hear what's on the radio these days. I apologize for typing so much. And I'm really not trying to be a dick to you guys, I just have a certain way of getting my point across & it make come off as douchey. So no hard feelings, I hope.
    kolgang
    IDC what the other guys say I reckon you're right thats definitely my approach to music
    Ottmeister
    "I think an artist like Rihanna is as important as a band like Radiohead. They serve different purposes, neither is more important." Makes sense yo.
    Voodoochile711
    To some people she is just as important, but a lot of us don't care about her. And a lot of us don't care about Radiohead. Their importance is on an individual basis.
    iommi600
    "I think an artist like Rihanna is as important as a band like Radiohead. They serve different purposes, neither is more important." I think people around here aren't even reading the articles anymore... it kind of makes sense.
    Alcofuel
    Most people just want to go off on a tirade about how music was better in the 80s just because their parents told them it was. So any time a pop star is mentioned they take the opportunity.
    My Last Words
    "im 15 and imm sho shorry for my generatshion my generation shucks at laest mi parnts teachd me g00d music" Kids nowadays..
    whywefight
    I know I didn't. I used to read half the crap UG puts out, but now I usually barely even read an article, comment on it, then leave. They're trying way too hard to stir the people up with articles like this.
    Cheesepuff
    this article is an ad for the vaccines still, rihanna is a pop star manufactured and designed to create revenue. radiohead does it for the music
    Crimson.King
    There have always been pop stars "manufactured and designed to create revenue" since people figured out how to make money selling music. It's a long tradition from Pat Boone to Frankie Avalon to Paul Anka culminating in today's vacuous pop stars like Rihanna. They're products to be sold like deodorant.
    Vinson
    It has NOTHING to do with skill or ability. Rihanna IS as importent as Radiohead....just not to the same people. There are likely Rihanna fans insulted that Radiohead thinks they are just as important as she is. Different strokes/ Different folks.
    Pedalboard
    Let's take a moment to realize that Thom Yorke is the ugliest mother ****er to ever walk the planet and was still able to become infinitely more popular than a girl who attracts most of her attention by dressing like a vietnamese hooker ever will.
    L2112Lif
    Dunno what you're talking about, his droopy eye gives me the weirdest boner.
    Alice2Mudgarden
    Rhianna and Coldplay are like prophets and the best artists out there! Chris Martin and her really speak about the atrocities and problems of are times! I mean, Para-para-paradise and Umbrella-ella-ella-ay-ay. Radiohead is like sooooo brainy there stupid.
    scrymusic
    Rhianna is manufactured pop tard shiit! Radiohead are real musicians.. Radiohead has been around for 20yrs and believe it or not... Its the same line up. Rhianna is like Agulira.. Just a voice and body... Nothing more and sounds like everyone else.. Radohead evolves with little to no airplay and are still a hot ticket.
    ?happy?
    Anyone willing to wear nothing but a piece of string on stage probably deserves to be seen as an artist and should therefore be compared to the likes of Radiohead.
    third(-)eye
    No she's not, and here's why: a band like Radiohead comes around once every... like, almost never. However, a million Rihannas pop out of the ground each decade.
    crissfoo06
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    TomWhaley
    Huh? The quality of "Kid A" wasn't criticized. It was the drastic change in style. "Kid A" is regarded pretty much everywhere as one of the most influential albums of all time, next to "OK Computer." Enter the 2000's: "Amnesiac" was great. "Hail to the Thief" was huge. "In Rainbows" is regarded as one of the best albums they've ever put out. In fact, to say Radiohead's relevance lies within their "few hits in the 90's" which are rarely even played in their set anymore is just flat-out wrong.
    third(-)eye
    I agree, I think 2000's Radiohead is more influential than 90's Radiohead were, and I love both eras. To say that the 90's stuff is all they had in their catalogue is flat out bullshit.
    Abacus11
    That's the thing - Radiohead has made great music though out their 20+ year career and have evolved and taken a lot of risks. Young bands could learn a thing or two...
    archangels
    I'm going to say the same thing I said in the article about his bandmate's [SLAM] statement: Who the **** are the Vaccines and why do I care?
    tukk04
    So some nobody makes a boldly stupid claim just in time for his band's new album to be released? Hmm, nothing suspicious there...
    twiggy3634
    Even if you don't like either one, odds are is that Radiohead has influenced some bands you like. Has Rihanna?
    BwareDWare94
    As I don't like either artists (and have no clue who The Vaccines are, anyway), neither is very important to me. I do agree with his comment about over intellectualizing music, though. That's pretty much what a lot of Radiohead fans are guilty of. Some of the biggest music elitists in the planet, man. It's hard to have a music discussion with a Radiohead fan, much like it's hard to have a political discussion with a right or left wing nutjob.
    Alcofuel
    but music is required to be so deep it should never just be made for fun it has to be deep bands like radiohead and tool and pink floyd are so deep man real music 4ever xDDDDD
    powachord
    Another artist ive never heard of talking crap about an artist i dont like... how about keeping ur mouth shut and focusing on making music??
    Lord_Doku
    I agree with this statement. We need someone other than JB to hate, so yes, she's equally important as Radiohead. Key difference is that Radiohead actually makes decent music, depending on ones taste maybe even good music.
    Tommat
    Now I'm kinda happy I skipped the Vaccines for more pints when I went to see RHCP
    masterchief44
    Christ, this guy just revealed how ignorant so many people here are. He's absolutely right that they're just as important as each other.
    electricblue2
    I agree with you, shame you're about to be downvoted to hell by angsty "POP ISNT TRU MUSIK!111"kids.
    Alcofuel
    UG is pretty much a collective hivemind of those kids. Sadly. It makes it difficult to have an actual discussion on music.
    MrDo0m
    You say Justin Bieber! I say Disturbed! You say One Direction! I say Linkin Park! ThUmBs Up If U sTiLl LiStEn To ReEl MuZik LyKe Me!
    Kueller917
    I'm actually surprised no one's heard of The Vaccines. I've seen them around the festivals and stuff.
    MrDo0m
    Rihanna is just as important as Radiohead to Justin Young. To teenyboppers, Rihanna is more important. To me, however, Rihanna is nowhere near as important as Radiohead.
    Alcofuel
    We're talking about impact. Which is not subjective unless it's on the individual. She's nowhere near as important to you. That doesn't mean she isn't just as important in the sense that she might have made an impact on music. I'm not saying she did. I'm just saying that isn't really subjective.
    MrDo0m
    Well, given the context of importance in this case-- importance being equivalent to influence--you could say that it's objective. But even so, it's debatable as to which is more "important." Do we determine by album sales? Youtube views? Influence over other bands? Or standing the test of time? You make a good point, but I find that in any case, whatever is being discussed, importance is just a concept that's pretty much subjective.
    Alcofuel
    A good point on your part as well. That is honestly probably one of the best responses I've ever gotten on this website to be honest. Respect
    kill it
    Rihanna is an entertainer who needs to get attention with T n A due to her lack of abilities. She also lip synchs live. What kind of artist practices their whole life to pretend to sing live if they can truly deliver the goods.
    Welander
    I'd say just about the exact same thing if I really wanted to f*** Rihanna. But that doesn't make it right though.
    awesomething
    Hahahahahahahaha.....no. Riahna is an entertainer, not an artist. Music is an art, pop is an industry.
    davecooper
    Big difference, I could write a Rihanna song in a few minutes. It's throwaway pop with nothing much to commend it at all. Is it me or is current chart music devoid of any new ideas or creativity? I don't like all of Radioheads' stuff but some of it is brilliant. Still, we all like different things I suppose
    shreddguitarist
    There is no way in hell Rihanna is as important as Radiohead, I'm not a huge fan of Radiohead but they are undoubtedly pioneers of music. Rihanna does not right her own music. But mainstream artists like her get all the attention and glory because they sing to overproduced beats and bass drops composed by someone and produced using a computer. This makes me angry as it means real musical geniuses who write and compose and perform their own music entirely don't get noticed. AAAAARRRRHHHH!!!!!
    oivalfmusic
    The Mars Volta enter a hiatus and all UG can talk about is Rihanna being compared to Radiohead? THERE IS MORE RELEVANT ROCK MUSIC NEWS GOING ON IN THE WORLD!!!!