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Callin' all trucks, this here's the Duck: Bad Songs That Aren't [Updated]

They say that one man's garbage is another man's treasure. So it stands to reason that one person's idea of an awful song is another's person's idea of what they want to dance to at their wedding.

Different songs do different things for different people. While I might be inclined to agree that Motley Crue's Home Sweet Home isn't the greatest tune out there, I'm attached to it in a way that only the memory of punching out your sister's best friend in a drunken rage while fighting over the music selection at a party can grab onto your brain and make you think you love the song when you really just love the memory of being so drunk that violence seemed like the most peaceful solution possible.

You know what I'm saying.

So what makes a song really bad? Is it cheesy lyrics? A too-simple bass line? A nasal voice? Or is it really not a case of a song being so bad as much as it is a case of your local DJ playing the song to death and thus making you despise it? Perhaps it's a bit of all of that.

Ok, I was going to try to do this in prose form, but I have too much real work to do today, so I'm just going to run down your song selections while I eat lunch at my desk. I'll update as I can, so keep checking back.

  • Ghostbusters: Sorry, dude, but this song rocks, if only for the reason that whenever anyone says "Who you gonna call," can retort back with - Ghostbusters. And then we can sing.
  • Jessie's Girl: No way. That song ROCKS. Dr. Noah Drake, pop star!
  • The Night Chicago Died: When the song came out, I originally thought they were talking about Mrs. O'Leary's cow and the whole fire thing. Hey, I was twelve. Then I thought they were talking about the Chicago riots. My father then had to sit me down and tell me the story of Al Capone. And you just have to love this part: And there was no sound at all, 'cept the clock upon the wall....which is where my sister and I would say tick, tick, tick. Hey, you take your memories where you can get them at my age.
  • Wanted, Dead or Alive: Bon Jovi rules and don't you forge that. I've seen a million face and I've ROCKED them all! Ok, maybe that steel horse line has to go.
  • Watching Scott Grow. Hon, without Watching Scotty Grow we have no Watching Scotty Die by the Dead Milkmen and that would just be a shame.
  • Billy Don't be a Hero: You people are really looking to piss me off. You're stomping on every one of my childhood memories. We used to act this song out in my aunt's basement. Complete with real tears and my cousin in a Halloween-type army costume and me screaming for Billy to come back and DON'T BE A HERO! I thought the woman was a selfish prig. No wonder Billy opted for going down a war hero instead of coming home and having to live with her. I mean, she threw the letter away! I bet she was fucking his best friend the whole time, anyhow. Bitch.
  • Stand - Yea, it's not the greatest song, lyrically speaking. But it makes me feel good. So, there.
  • Smoke on the Water: Dean, you are officially a communist for thinking this is a bad song.
  • Word Up: PromoGuy, I must smite you. Not only was this song great in its time, but I STILL quote it. If there’s music we can use it/We need to dance/We don’t have that time/For psychological romance - word UP motherfucker!
  • Just a Friend - Dude, I made the DJ play this at my wedding, that's how cool it is. And everyone sang along.
  • Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?: Ok, so am I the only one who put on her grandmother's house coat and her grandfather's fedora and sang this song into a fake microphone while the tears rolled down her eyes? I was twenty when I did that. And drunk.
  • Convoy: You know, some of us have ex boyfriends who were really into the trucker/CB thing. And some of us treasure those memories like....

Nevermind. The song sucked as much as the sex did.

more later

I just saw a comment from one Reggie and I must reply:


Melts on your burning flesh
You can see your reflection
In the luminescent dash

You are a sad, sad man, Reggie.


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Thank you for defending the honor of Jessie's Girl (yay Noah Drake, MD!) and Billy Don't Be A Hero. We used to act that one out too! ;)

Re Jessie's Girl. The song contains the word 'moot'. 'Moot' is a forbidden word in rock lyrics, along with words like 'evince' or 'forthwith.'

Oh, lordy. Billie don't be a hero is a positive childhood memory. And I thought it was a safe target.

You know what? There is someone who will like any song chosen by another as being bad. Heck, Convoy isn't all that bad. I thought it was a neat song when I was a little kid. I certainly don't hate it now. I have an mp3 of it around here somewhere...

I always thought the word "moot" in the tune was just a rhyming crisis.

If only Billy Ocean could have used the term "sampling".

Ah well, musical taste is as arbitrary as it is caprecious.

Maybe Jessie was a lawyer.

A Lawyer...in Love.

Okay, there's a good choice. Does anyone out there like "Lawyers in Love?"

I mean, come on...

There you go. Lawyers in Love is one of the worst songs ever.

Others that quickly come to mind:

Red, Red, Wine
anything by the Violent Femmes (although since you praised the Dead Milkmen earlier you'll probably disagree with this.)

I'm sure more will come to me over the next few hours.

rhymes with cute: toot. hoot. coot. beaut. loot. fruit. boot. in a pinch,

Only a love-struck lawyer playing a television doctor would've chosen "moot." Minus ten points.

Here's the offending verse:
You know, I feel so dirty when they start talking cute
I wanna tell her that I love her, but the point is probably moot.

How about:

You know I get so gassy when she starts talking cute
I try to hold it in but my butt starts to toot.

OK, I'm sorry.

Tubthumping by motherfucking Chumbawamba

Oh fine Bill. Now when we play the damn thing this weekend I'm going to bust out laughing in the middle of the song.

why is the bass player giggling?


The only reason I'm against the Paper Lace song is that the spoken part in the beginning of the song (Is there a musical term for that?) goes: "Daddy was a cop, on the East side of Chicago...".

As my father would always yell (raised in Chicago in the 40s), "THERE IS NO EAST SIDE OF CHICAGO, THE EAST SIDE OF CHICAGO IS LAKE MICHIGAN!"

After the 20th time hearing my father say this, the family made sure we changed the station as soon as we heard the words "Daddy".

(Note to people who will dispute this statement, don't forget my father was saying this in '75 talking about a song of a '29 event)

Well, if "Watching Scotty Grow" is out, how about "A Butterfly for Bucky"? Can we say that's bad?

What about "Elvira"? My whole family loved that song. They thought it was funny. It tried to eat my brain.

And what's the deal with "The Pina Colada Song"?

IB Bill,

What's really ironic is that "cute" rhymes better with "mute", which is what many otherwise (you'd think, anyway) intelligent people substitute for "moot".

Of course, the best substitute was Joey's on Friends : "It's a moo point." When he got The Look, he explained, "It's like a cow's opinion. It just doesn't matter. It's moo."

Hot Blooded
Head Games
Waiting For a Girl Like You
Double Vision
Cold As Ice
Juke Box Hero
Dirty White Boy
Blue Morning, Blue Day
Feels Like The First Time
That Was Yesterday
I Wanna Know What Love Is

Pick any song from their discography, really. Foreigner is apocalyptic in their complete lack of worth. It's like listening to someone drag flaming kittens across a tin roof by their hind legs. They do, however, share this special cubicle in Musical Hell with Jethro Tull. I'd never wanted to beat someone about the face and neck with a flute before...and then I heard Jethro Tull.

"You know, some of us have ex boyfriends who were really into the trucker/CB thing. And some of us treasure those memories like...."

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at that one.

And that's coming from an outed New Edition fan!

Aside to Trish:

What I always liked about that comment of Joey's was the fact that, if you substitute the word 'mu' for 'moo', it's actually a rather profound Zen statement...


I love it.

anything by the Violent Femmes (although since you praised the Dead Milkmen earlier you'll probably disagree with this.)

Never mind her, I'll disagree with that one. "Blister in the Sun" is another good "ladies, shake your asses" song. If you cannot pick up a girl while that song's playing, you cannot pick up a girl period.

On the Dead Milkmen thing, someone in the last thread nominated Michael Jackson's "I'm Bad." Sure it's terrible, but you have to consider that its existence afforded Weird Al Yankovic the opportunity to make "I'm Fat."

Ham on / Ham on / Ham on whole wheat . . . .

And when will you guys figure out that no one is listening to the goddamn lyrics to Jesse's Girl? We're just waiting for that moment when he returns from the cheesy beginning guitar student-level solo to holler, "Tell me!" Yes indeed, Dr. Drake. TELL ME.

anything by the Violent Femmes (although since you praised the Dead Milkmen earlier you'll probably disagree with this.)

You've surely got to be kidding?!? Who else is going to give you masterful lyrics like:

Words to memorize...
Words hypnotized...
Words make my mouth exercise...
Words all fail the magic prize...
Nothin' I can say when I'm in your thighs!

And Re: the "Juke Box Hero" nomination...you clearly never wanted to be a rock star when you were a kid.

"Lawyers in Love"...that's a great song! You really have no idea how hot tort law can get.

Blessings upon IB Bill. I would add that the word "tiramisu" should never be used in a rock song.

Disclaimer: I am the founding member of Humans to Ban the use of the word "Baby" in ANY SONG, EVER AGAIN. More popularly known as HTBTUOTWBIASEA.

Hey! I like Lawyers in Love. Granted, I'm also totally insane but that's completely unrelated to my fine taste in music. Hmph.

(Goes back to listening to Japanese Hip-Hop.)

ilyka, you have got to come to one of our gigs..

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang by Specimen?

My "top" 25 bad song list:

1) Convoy, C.W. McCall, 1976

2) Mickey, Toni Basil, 1982

3) You Light Up My Life, Debby Boone, 1977

4) Batdance, Prince, 1989

5) Dominique, The Singing Nun, 1963

6) I Think I Love You, The Partridge Family, 1970

7) You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, Leo Sayer, 1977

8) I Think We’re Alone Now, Tiffany, 1987

9) Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice, 1990

10) The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia, Vicki Lawrence, 1973

11) Unbelievable, EMF, 1991

12) These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, Nancy Sinatra, 1966

13) Baby Don’t Forget My Number, Milli Vanilli, 1989

14) Jessie’s Girl, Rick Springfield, 1981

15) Come On Eileen, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, 1983

16) Reunited, Peaches & Herb, 1979

17) Billy Don’t Be A Hero, Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods, 1974

18) Never Gonna Give You Up, Rick Astley, 1988

19) Upside Down, Diana Ross, 1980

20) Kiss On My List, Daryl Hall & John Oates, 1981

21) I Don't Want To Be A Hero, Johnny Hates Jazz, 1988

22) Muskrat Love, Captain & Tennille, 1976

23) Tubthumper, Chumbawamba, 1997

24) Far From Over, Frank Stalone, 1983

25) Afternoon Delight, Starland Vocal Band, 1976

Communist? Communist? Shit, I'm not the one who likes Midnight Oil...

Michele said that she had "Just a Friend" played at her wedding.

I hope it was during the reception and not the service. ;)

Oh blessed be this day! I've found someone else who likes "The Night Chicago Died." Usually when I mention it (which is not often) I am met with embarrassed silence.