Battle of the Bad: John Mayer vs. Phil Collins

Music Features John Mayer
Share Tweet Submit Pin

We don’t spend a lot of time at Paste randomly hating on bands—”Signs of Life” and all that. But I made the comment in the office yesterday that I thought John Mayer was the new Phil Collins.

I’ll admit both have their merits. Collins had Genesis, and Mayer has his mad guitar chops and the Trio (not to mention Decatur, Ga., roots and the good sense to take The Avett Brothers on tour).

But the debate that followed was intense and, sadly, involved much playing of Mayer and Collins songs. So I took the question to my Twitter and Facebook pages: “Who’s worse, John Mayer or Phil Collins?” Here are some of the responses.

You can continue the debate in the comments below or flame me for being a Mayer hater.

Current argument in the office: Who’s worse Phil Collins or John Mayer?

Eric: I would like to hear both sides of the argument before making a final decision in such a close race. In the case against PC, I present Sussudio.

Brian: Anything Phil is fine as long as it is No Jacket Required or earlier. John is a very underrated guitar player, but the songs put me to sleep.

Duncan: ...or to put it another way: would there have been a Phil Collins without the genius of Peter Gabriel? It’s like asking who’s the more talented keys player, that guy from Erasure or the dude from Pink Floyd – ultimately, probably, neither would have made it were it not for the talent around them. Yes, they’re Vince Clarke and Richard Wright, but I only know because I’m a geek. That is how I rest my case for the persecution of Phil Collins. No, I meant persecution.

Brian: Screw it. I Don’t Care Any More.

@chris_rank @joshjackson no contest. Phil Collins.

@DrewGneiser Def Phil Collins. Even if you don’t like it John kills the guitar.

@davidmschroeder Phil Collins is 80’s bad and John Mayer is 00’s bad

@unxpctdblessing Collins. Why? B/c his music is like a bad house guest. It won’t leave. You can at least shoo Mayer out the front door.

@veniceissinking Is that even a real argument? John Mayer is so clearly worse it’s not even a debate. We hate whoever says Phil Collins.

@stevenaverett I must admit, John Mayer is the reason I met my wife (way back in his @eddiesattic days), so gotta dis Phil.

@tobytoonwaves I’d say Phil. Mainly for that appalling reworking of Groovy Kind Of Love. And, well, he’s just shit isn’t he?

@collins’ participation in ANOTHER GREEN WORLD should end all debate, and let you get back to better jams.

@admanhouston I think it was Rainn Wilson that said Phil Collins songs sound like a burp tastes. I second that emotion.

@thegoodgroupie Re: John Mayer/Phil Collins debate – no contest, Phil Collins is def. worse.

Karen: John Mayer is definitely more irritating.

Wade: I think John Mayer, but only because he says really stupid stuff and, agreeing with Brian, though he’s a great musician, his songs usually bore me. Plus, that duet with the drummer from Earth, Wind & Fire was SO awesome!

Kevin: But,w/ PC, we do have the early catalouge of Genesis; while it is progressive and pompous, it still has merit musically and tunefully. JM, on the other hand has created NOTHING BUT drivel in his short career.

Josh: I’ve been arguing John Mayer, but Eric just made a better case against Phil than anyone here at Paste. I’ll grant John Mayer’s guitar chops, but his most over-played songs are like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Eric: Say what you mean to say, Josh.

Andy: JM. Phil has several redeeming moments with Genesis before he became a Munchkin Hit Machine. JM has no redeeming moments, in music or in life.

Jordan: I submit the insufferable message of the “Bigger Than My Body” video:
John Mayer is worried his legacy won’t be understood. Millions of people are enraptured by his SONGS, but they don’t know HIM. Well, except super hot chicks in tanktops and jeans, that is. Those are the people who GET John Mayer. The rest of people love his music so much … See Morethey ignore him. It’s sort of whimsically hard to be John Mayer, primarily because while it’s frustrating to have all those people ignore you in favor of your awesome music, you at least get to bang super hot chicks who recognize you for you, man. Also, his appearance on that Jay-Z “NY-Z” mini documentary. “I think Jay is just infinitely curious?” So, in conclusion, human being-wise, John Mayer is worse.

Josh: The downside of a John Mayer/Phil Collins “who sucks worse” debate? All the Mayer and Collins music playing in the office today.

Eric: I went to a John Mayer concert once (not my idea) and fight broke out over spilled red wine. Not sure what was worse, me being there, a fight breaking out at a JM concert, or it being over spilled red wine.

Brian: I liked him better when he was still wide-eyed and opening for Glen Phillips…

Wade: On the other hand, Mayer was dead-funny years ago when he was on Chappelle’s show. Having said that, I still think PC is better. If nothing else, his music conjures up moments of my youth that I like to remember, while all I can think of with Mayer is that image of him in a thong on a cruise ship. Ugh.

Amy: it makes me sad that anyone thinks phil collins is bad. he rules.

Duncan: I think that Mayer’s “Waiting for the World to Change” is a sad reflection Gen Y/Millenium Gen attitudes. Back in the late 60s there were songs like “Blowing in the Wind” and “For What It’s Worth” and “Revolution” that inspired a generation to rise up and change the world. Mayer’s message of “it’s not that we don’t care/But we know that the fight ain’t fair/So we’re waiting on the world to change” speaks volumes.
On the other hand, John Mayer wasn’t in the movie Buster, so we can call it a tie.

Liz: Aw, I kinda like “Take Me Home”. Bob and I sang it when we saw the Sidney Opera House. Is the dork alert going off?

Chris: I give JM some points for his Chappelle skit.

Andy: Gotta give it to Mayer – at least Collins had the Gabriel-era Genesis stuff…

Stephanie: John Mayer by far. Since you asked.

@SeanGandert It’s a question of bland music v. actively terrible music. It’s like comparing Tyler Perry and Michael Bay. Mayer is far and away the worse songwriter. I don’t even see how there could be an argument.

@thigpensrevenge Mayer. Phil at least had In the Air Tonight.

@festivalradio Phil Collins’ work w/Genesis doesn’t end the Collins/Mayer who sucks more debate w/summary judgment in favor of Mayer?

@scalgaro I think they both make good pop analogues of artists frm otr genres, particularly I’m thinking Harry Connick, Jr & Neil Young.

@elizflorio @joshjackson But “You’ll Be In My Heart” was my wedding song! JKJKJKJKJK At least Phil has pipes.

@Kimber_Regator That’s not even a fair fight. Of course Mayer sucks worse than Collins. Those drums in “In the Air Tonight” alone…

@chasedaway @joshjackson Collins. If Mayer hadn’t revealed his ungodly guitar skills, I’d say him. But the guy can play, and that puts him up a notch.

@ChezCei JOHN MAYER!!!!!!

@timpaste Oh, the humanity. Make it stop! RT @joshjackson: ...all the Mayer and Collins music playing in the office today.

@stableford John Mayer. Collins has decades of not sucking on him. RT @joshjackson: Argument in the office: Who’s worse: Phil Collins or John Mayer?

@noahrienks Mayer. Hands. Down.

@TylerLClark There is nothing “worse” about Phi Collins. He is the Once and Future King of Soft Rock. All shall bow before his sussudio.

@chris_rank Based on what? At least Meyer can write! You are comparing apples and oranges. Phil Collins= Barry Manilow 

@deneyterrio John Mayer. Collins has the Genesis street cred

@AestheticsGirl John Mayer.

@VPace Are you arguing music or worst PERSON? Mayer wins for the latter for sure.

@robvgr Tough call. I’d go with Mayer only because of Collins’ redemptive appearance on This American Life:

@lainshakespeare Really? Mayer has done some great stuff and some (really) awful, obnoxious stuff. Collins: consistent blech.

@nick_perreault Are you serious? Phil Collins is infinitely preferable to John Mayer.

@StephonJohnson8 John Mayer. I actually like a good amount of Phil Collins’ stuff.

@austinlouisray John Mayer times a million. Phil Collins FTW!

@followneal John Mayer wins for me if only because of the image of him in that banana hammock thing that I can’t get out of my head

@Teamclermont – Absolutely no contest in our mind, John Mayer. Phil Collins has some great songs, was in Genesis, and drummed for Eno!

@ryanburleson Mayer by far, musically, though he does have a great sense of humor. But we’ll give the final words to @xtremetoaster:
Collins? Mayer? Aren’t they both invaluable legends compared to Bieber? Let’s have some perspective here. ;)

Looks like John Mayer generates more ill will out there, at least in my universe. What do you think?

Recently in Music
More from John Mayer