Worst Songs Ever: Sap That Sells
Before I go over my own list of worst songs, a few things have to be clarified.
There are certain criteria you must take into consideration when making such a list:
- Novelty songs don't count. They are supposed to be bad. Thus, songs like The Streak and Disco Duck don't make the cut.
- Hating a band does not automatically make their songs suck. While you may think Nsync blows goat chunks, that does mean that Tearin' Up My Heart is bad. It's not. It's rather good.
- However, Backstreet Boys' Backstreet's Back gets a nod, not because of who they are, but due to the fact that they break one of the cardinal rules of good songwriting: They mention their own band name. See also Limp Bizkit on this one.
- Bad songs are generally regarded as such because of bad lyrics. Musicianship is secondary on this list.
I haven't seen Blender's list yet, on which this topic was based. But that doesn't matter much, as this is a very subjective subject and one person's list is another person's playlist.
Bad songs can be divided into groups or genres. For instance, we have Subjects That Should Not Be Approached in Song. Leading the pack in this group is Cher's Half Breed. My father married a pure Cherokee/My mother's people were ashamed of me/The indians said I was white by law/The White Man always called me "Indian Squaw. At the end of the songs, she blames her life of sleeping around on the fact that the White Man brought her down. Damn the man!
Also showing up in that category is Torn Between Two Lovers: There's been another man/That I've met and I love/But that doesn't mean I love you less/And he knows he can't posses me/And he knows he never will. And then she begs him to stay even though she's sleeping with another guy who fulfills some need that this guy can't. You want to have an affair, that's your choice. But don't tell the world about it in song.
And then there's Having My Baby.
Didn't have to keep it/Wouldn't put ya through it/You could have swept it from you life/But you wouldn't do it, no, you wouldn't do it. Jesus. A song about a girl who slept with a guy and then, to prove her love to him, didn't have an abortion.
Another genre is the What the Hell?? song. It's all about those tunes that approach subjects so obscure and random they leave you scratching your head and wondering what the songwriter was huffing when he penned this one. To wit: You see I've been through the desert on a horse with no name/
It felt good to be out of the rain/In the desert you can remember your name/
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain. This is the one category when music actually comes into play. There are millions of obscure, nonsensical, drug-induced lyrics out there (See, Strawberry Letter #22), but many of those songs make up for the psychedilia of their words with decent music. And then there are some songs that wouldn't be redeemable even if they were played by the greatest rock ensemble ever put together: Muskrat Susie, Muskrat Sam/Do the jitterbug out in muskrat land/And they shimmy/And Sammy's so skinny. That song makes me want to jam a Q-tip in my brain. In addition to Muskrat Love, this genre also includes Mr. Roboto and Stairway to Heaven (see, here).
Next, we have death songs. Tragedy occurs every day, I know. And it's sad when people die. But for the love of Death, keep the bereavement therapy in your journals. Some songs about death are ok, especially the ones where the singer is actually doing the killing - hey, I'm not condoning murder, I'm just saying that Murder Ballads are far better than funeral dirges cloaked as pop hits. As such, Used to Love Her is good: I used to love her/but I had to kill her/I had to put her/Six feet under/And I can still hear her complain. Come on, that's funny! Last Kiss is bad: Oh where, oh where can my baby be?/The Lord took her away from me/She's gone to heaven, so I've got to be good/So I can see my baby when I leave this world. Possum Kingdom is good: I'm not gonna lie/I'll not be a gentleman/Behind the boathouse/I'll show you my dark secret. Sorry, but songs about murder are sexy in a really odd way. Ok, maybe just for me. This, however, is bad: But as they pulled him from the twisted wreck/With his dying breath they heard him say/Tell Laura I love her tell Laura I need her.
Now we deal with treacle. The treacle department is where all the cheesy songs go to (I wish) die. Sappy lyrics written solely with the intention of making you cry all the way to the record store. I'm not having any of that. Just thinking about these songs make me cringe. I must counter the toxic affect of looking up these lyrics by listening to Bloodhound Gang's One Fierce Beer Coaster on repeat. It's the only antidote.
There are a million songs that could fit into the treacle category, but I'll just deal with the ones I really hate:
- Butterfly Kisses
- You Light up my Life
- Seasons in the Sun
- Open Arms
- Every Rose Has Its Thorn
- We are the World (good intentions notwithstanding)
- When a Man Loves a Woman
- Christmas Shoes
- Your Body is Like a Wonderland (One mile to every inch of/Your skin like porcelain/One pair of candy lips/and your bubblegum tongue) That might be the worst song of 2004. Already.
Sure, there's more. That's just off the top of my head.
And now, I present to you my top three Worst Songs Ever Recorded:
- Run, Joey, Run.
Daddy please don't
It wasn't his fault
He means so much to me
Daddy please don't
We're gonna get married
Just you wait and see
See...she's pregnant, daddy's pissed and Joey and I guess he's pissed at Julie, too because Julie comes running out of her house with bruises on her face. And as she runs to Joey screaming that her Daddyy's got a gun, daddy fires away. And kills his precious, pregnant daughter. I swear I saw this movie on Lifetime last year. The best part is the end of the song, when Julie sings her dying words....
Daddy please don't...We're gon...na get... mar...ried...... She's all breathless from dying. So poignant. So sad. So bad.
- Many of you declare that Terry Jacks' Seasons in the Sun is the worst song ever. Apparently, you never listened to the flip side of that 45.
See, Seasons in the Sun had my name in it (Goodbye Michele, it's hard to die) and that made it not so much sad as annoying. The first few times my neighbor sang the song to me, it was funny. Then it got infuriating. Then I put a brick through his head. After that, he stuck to playing Michele, My Bell on the trumpet as I passed his house each day.
Anyhow, I had the Seasons in the Sun 45 because, if were cool like me, you had all the top ten 45s. Being the music aficianado I was (and still am), I actually listened to the flip sides of songs, unlike my peers who were concerned only with the Billboard hits.
The song was called Put the Bone in (later covered by Soul Asylum for some odd reason). Roll that around on your tongue a minute. Put the Bone in. And no, it wasn't a metaphor for "let me fuck you." It was about a doggie. A poor, dying doggie.
Put the bone in
She yelled at the store
'Cause my doggie's been hit by a car
And I do want to bring him home something
Put the bone in
She yelled out once more
Because the meat from the pork is so sweet
And the bone from the pork give to me
Put the bone in she begged him
As she paced across the floor
Put the bone in she yelled out once more
I swear on Homer Simpson's grave that those are the real lyrics. The meat from the pork is so sweet. Oh, I bet it is, baby. Give me that bone!
And the number one worst song is.....it's a tie!
- (1)Independence Day, by Martina McBride. Now, it isn't McBride's fault that I hate this song. It's Sean Hannity's fault. He uses part of this song as his intor music and it is the reason that, if I feel like listening to Hannity's show, I won't turn it on until after the show starts. I suppose the song is about a drunken husband, but Hannity takes only part of the tune and plays it (before the theme leads into some other pop song I can't think of right now).
Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today is a day of reckoning
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay
It's Independence Day
I'm pretty patriotic. I love my country. I hate terrorists. But this just drives me crazy. The day of the reckoning? Let the guilty play? Why doesn't he just open his show with war cries? Now, you know I'm a warmonger, as the pro-Iraq war people are called these days, but if your gonna mong a war, do it with just a bit of tact. I can't really put my finger on why this song, in the context of Hannity's show, bothers me so much, but it does enough for me to make it share the number one spot with..
- Have You Forgotten by Darryl Worely.
I wrote about this one already at Blogcritics, but I'll repeat what I said there.
Have you forgotten how it felt that day to see your homeland under fire
and her people blown away
have you forgotten when those towers fell
we had neighbors still inside
going through a living hell
and you say we shouldn't worry about bin laden
have you forgotten
Instead of bringing me to my knees in prayer or making me want to run out and hold my neighbor's hand as we get ready to fight the good fight, the lyrics make me want to crawl under a rock.In the same way I cringe whenever a musical artist uses his own name in a song, the use of the name bin Laden - rhymed with forgotten - makes me almost want to break out in a fit of giggles.
And there you have it. Not a complete list, by any means. Just the ones I thought of today.