By now, most of you have seen the list of the 50 Worst Songs Ever list put out by Blender magazine, and several of my favorite blogs, like Stereogum and Betty Rocker, have amended these choices and put out their own.
At this time, however, I would like to say that I totally owned the Worst Song List back in the fall of 1988, when I was writing the Wednesday’s Child column for the DTH at the University of North Carolina, and it always got me in more fights than anything else.
Here’s my list of the Top 20 Worse Songs Ever, but keep in mind that it was written almost 16 years ago:
20. “Superman” – REM
19. “Wild Thing” – The Troggs
18. “Wild Thing” – Tone Loc
17. “Rock On” – Michael Damian
16. “Puppy Love” – Donny Osmond
15. “I Saw (Him) Standing There” – Tiffany
14. “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” – Great White
13. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler
12. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – Wham!
11. “Hangin’ Tough” – New Kids on the Block
10. “Makin’ Love Out of Nothing At All” – Air Supply
9. “In The Navy” – The Village People
8. “Wild Boys” – Duran Duran
7. “Shake Your Booty” – K.C. and the Sunshine Band
6. “All I Need” – Jack Wagner
5. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” – Whitney Houston
4. “Angel of the Morning” – Juice Newton
3. “Rock Me Amadeus” – Falco
2. “Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot
1. “Electric Avenue” – Eddy Grant
Now, having just retyped this list for the first time since Reagan was president, I have to say I stand by almost all of them. I’d take K.C. off the list, perhaps “In the Navy” and of course, I would certainly not disparage Falco anymore, may he rest in peace. And it could be said that Great White has suffered enough.
But top to bottom, “Superman” still sucks balls and “Electric Avenue” is ONE GODDAMN CHORD. What’s worse, my friends in LA live on Electric Avenue, and there’s no way to drive on it without that fucking song pounding through your head.
Eddy Grant, who I am sure is a nice enough guy
It’s interesting that Blender chose “Hangin’ Tough” and others have “Muskrat Love” in place of “Puppy Love” (I’d say they’re about equal), and Carla also chose “Rock On.” The blogosphere seems to despise both “Love Shack” and “Take on Me” (both of which remind me of happy times, but I guess those tunes can get pretty annoying over the years).
I realized that I had forgotten my least favorite “pop” artist ever: Bob Seger. That fucking guy has made me sick to my goddamn stomach since I was a toddler, and I’ve fucking had it. When Ford made “Like a Rock” its signature tune, I wretched into my 3-leaf binder. “Old Time Rock and Roll”? “Against the Wind”? “Turn the Page”? “Rock and Roll Never Forgets”? Is any man in music history – including Salieri and Stockhausen – more boring than this man?
Blender’s choice for worst song ever is “We Built This City,” but Starship actually had a worse hit: “It Ain’t Over (‘Til It’s Over),” which was the least-inspired hunk of burning catshit since… well, since “Electric Avenue.” I did like “Sara,” you know, “storms are brewin’ in your eyes.” Some songs get a pass because they put you back in a place you remember with exquisite fondness.
What would I add today? That’s really hard, because I think a lot of the hip-hop and full-ahead rap on the radio right now is hard to calibrate: if you hate one song, generally you’re going to hate them all. Hip-hop and sexually-charged R&B, which dominate the charts right now, marks an important shift for music lovers (and critics) currently in their 30s like me: either you got on the train around 1996, or else you haven’t been in a record store in years.
That said, I would like to add these songs to the list:
“If It Makes You Happy” – Sheryl Crow (nails on chalkboard)
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” – Deep Blue Something
“Somebody’s Watching Me” – Rockwell (lyric about the I.R.S. may be the worst ever)
“Just a Friend” – Biz Markie (no, I don’t think it’s funny)
…and I’d look up the various hits by Bush, Live and Matchbox 20, but seriously, who has the time to fight chicks in 9th grade?
Best Rap Interlude in a Song by White People:
Q-Tip in Deee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart”
Worst Rap Interlude in a Song by White People:
KRS-ONE in R.E.M.’s “Radio Song”
I suppose my feeling is this: almost all songs these days are kinda bad; focus-group-tested, uninspired, yet pleasing enough. In the ’80s, you had artists really trying, which gave us some flashes of brillliance (“Life in a Northern Town,” “Head Over Heels,” “How Soon is Now?”) and colossal failures (“Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive,” “Method of Modern Love,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Bad Medicine”).
I know which era I’d pick.