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Top 10 Pretentious Singers

VO: Matt Campbell
Script written by Q.V. Hough Ok, we get it. Your music transcends the human experience. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Pretentious Singers.For this list, we're taking a look at the musicians that are extremely infatuated with their pop culture persona and perhaps their own music as well. We certainly aren't saying any these musicians are bad, we just think they could tone down the attitude just a little bit. Special thanks to our user Contributor101 for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Q.V. Hough

Top 10 Pretentious Singers

Ok, we get it. Your music transcends the human experience. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Pretentious Singers.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the musicians that are extremely infatuated with their pop culture persona and perhaps their own music as well. We certainly aren’t saying any these musicians are bad, we just think they could tone down the attitude just a little bit.

#10: Win Butler

At the final performance by LCD Soundsystem in 2011, this man famously exclaimed, “Shut up and play the hits,” and well, sometimes we have the same feeling when it comes to his band Arcade Fire. Undeniably brilliant, Butler often tries a little too hard to be profound, taking some cues from Bono when it comes to preaching about world issues! We love you, Win, but you already won…let the music do the talking and cut back on showing us how exceptionally intellectual you are.

#9: John Mayer

He’s one of the most acclaimed singer-songwriters of his generation, and a grown-up version of the quintessential “college guy with a guitar.” Upon leaving the esteemed Berklee School of Music at age 19, Mayer hit the road and one can only imagine how impressionable young ladies must have reacted to his overly dramatic, yet strangely dreamy voice. With a reputation for dating Hollywood starlets and displaying arguably one of the greatest guitar faces of all time, Mayer seems to love the attention, even if it’s really none of our business. With that being said, any aspiring dormitory college player has much to learn from the ways of Mr. Mayer.

#8: Liam & Noel Gallagher

These two Oasis brothers have become known for their outlandish public behavior, and just as their music silences audiences, sometimes we just with they would shut their damn mouths. We get it, we get it…the Gallagher bros are “rock stars,” and we know this not because of the music, but how they obviously play into the rock star personas, as if Stone Roses didn’t offer up the same antics shortly before Oasis arrived on the scene. Whaddya gonna do, though, it sells records and fans love it. Oasis wouldn’t be who they are without their obnoxious antics.

#7: Madonna

Ok, pay attention, Mojoholics, because you’re about to learn a valuable lesson. Regardless or how famous you become or how much money you make, never EVER change your natural accent. Once an Italian girl from Detroit, Madonna Louise Ciccone worked her way to becoming one of the most influential pop stars of all time, and along the way, she’s inexplicably developed an evolving style of speech. Why? As much as Miley Cyrus wants to be “controversial” and “provocative” these days, Madonna has already been there and done that, and while some of that behavior reeks of pretention, it’s the older and sophisticated version of Madonna that has us shaking our heads.

#6: Prince

Born and raised in Minnesota, this man is yet another example of an 80s pop star that let fame slighter alter a sense of reality. Two words: the symbol. Sure, we can handle the stage bravado and raunchy lyrics – after all, that’s part of the pop star formula – but in 1993, Prince changed his stage name to the Love Symbol. Yes, that DID happen, and it forced the fan base to refer to him as “the artist formerly known as Prince,” because, well, he’s a supremely gifted “artiste.” How about this? We’re just going to call you Prince, in respect to the ancient Egyptians who more effectively utilized the use of symbols.

#5: Bono

U2 is one hell of a band. And Bono is one hell of a guy. But for crying out loud, the band isn’t an actual religion. Don’t say that to the U2 faithful, however, because along with their shade-wearing musical God, they will forever keep their palms to the sky at live performances, as if the holy-ghost has entered the room. To be fair, Bono is the closest thing to a Christ-like musician we’ve seen, and that’s because he poses himself as a Christ-like figure. Also his on-stage rants turn a two hour gig into what feels like a lifetime.

#4: Gene Simmons

Not to be upstaged by any living rock star, young or old, this man protects his brand like any aging rock star would. But perhaps it’s time for something new? As a founding member of KISS, Gene Simmons rocked out with his you know what out, and by that we mean his enormously long tongue. Here’s the deal: most people enjoy KISS and certainly respect Simmons’ accomplishments, but there’s only so much branding that the pubic can endure. His marriage to Shannon Tweed WAS interesting from an outside perspective, but once the intricacies of the relationship went public, well, let's just say that the tongue ran its course.

#3: Yoko Ono

Ya, ya…she’s the former wife of John Lennon, she broke up the Beatles. But ask yourself this: what exactly does Yoko Ono do? Well, she’s an artist and has always has been, along with being an incredibly pretentious singer. In fact, some of it must have rubbed off on Lennon when he wrote the song “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” which was, of course, about him and Yoko. It made sense, sure, as their message of love and peace could be easily spread given their star power, but even if Yoko Ono is and has always been an artist of the highest order, her live performances are just a tiny bit much, especially when covering Katy Perry’s “Firework.”

#2: Morrissey

Well, here ya go: another musician that goes by just one name, and we all know that such a persona requires a natural sense of pretention. Once a prominent name in the 80s music scene as the lead singer of The Smiths, Morrissey has earned a cult following for his insightful and sexualized lyrics, along with a propensity to go against the grain, so much so that we’ve all become familiar with “Morrissey being Morrissey.” He’s undoubtedly an icon of English music, and he’s got opinions…lots of them. Just ask him.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.


Ariana Grande

Tom DeLonge

Tyler, the Creator

#1: Kanye West

This guy. Kanye West – a hip-hop entrepreneur from the Windy City, and a brilliant mind that wants to be acknowledged as such. He married into one of the most pretentious families of modern times, and he’s been known to melt down on occasion in regard to his public persona. While Kanye West remains a best-selling and highly influential artist, and he IS an artist – an amazing one, in fact – the never-ending quest to remind us all of his genius continues to inadvertently detract from the art itself. And that’s a damn shame. That’s all there it to it. Shut up and keep making hits.

So, do you agree with our selections? Who is your favorite pretentious singer? For more mind-blowing Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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