Simon Frith argues that, "'bad music' is a necessary concept for musical pleasure, for musical aesthetics." He distinguishes two common kinds of bad music: the Worst Records Ever Made type, which include "Tracks which are clearly incompetent musically; made by singers who can't sing, players who can't play, producers who can't produce," and "Tracks involving genre confusion. The most common examples are actors or TV stars recording in the latest style." Another type of "bad music" is "rock critical lists," such as "Tracks that feature sound gimmicks that have outlived their charm or novelty" and "Tracks that depend on false sentiment (...), that feature an excess of feeling molded into a radio-friendly pop song."
Frith gives three common qualities attributed to bad music: inauthentic, [in] bad taste (kitsch related), and stupid. He argues that "The marking off of some tracks and genres and artists as 'bad' is a necessary part of popular music pleasure; it is a way we establish our place in various music worlds. And 'bad' is a key word here because it suggests that aesthetic and ethical judgments are tied together here: not to like a record is not just a matter of taste; it is also a matter of argument, and argument that matters."
Frith's analysis of popular music is based in sociology.