nothing rhymes with “depth”

4/28/04

romantics.jpg

Yesterday’s entry spurred comments that eventually devolved into a debate about terrible lyrics, rather than the god-awfulness of pop songs themselves. I’ve talked about lyrics before (click here for a well-arranged laundry list on the subject) but this recent chatter has reminded me of another litany I wrote in 1989: My Least Favorite Song Lyrics.

Making a list like this was harder than you think, because most lyrics are supposed to be bad. I’d like to see Blender try it. Again, keep in mind that this is me, at age 21, writing 15 years ago:

Least-Favorite Song Lyrics

10. “All I Need”

0 thoughts on “nothing rhymes with “depth”

  1. Caroline

    Sgt. Barry Sadler.
    “Ballad of the Green Berets.”
    Worst. Song. EVAH.
    My apologies if your dad was a green beret, but even he probably puked when he heard this one.

    Reply
  2. CL

    War is stupid
    And people are stupid
    And love means nothing
    In some strange quarters
    War is stupid
    And people are stupid
    And I heard them banging
    On hearts and fingers
    -and-
    so hold on to the ones who really care,
    In the end they’ll be the only ones there.
    When you get old and start losing your hair,
    Can you tell me who will still care?
    Can you tell me who will still care? Oh care.
    MMMBop, ba duba dop ba do bop,
    Ba duba dop ba do bop,
    Ba duba dop ba do. Oh yeah,
    MMMBop ba duba dop ba do bop,
    Ba duba dop ba do bop,
    Ba duba dop ba do
    But since the latter may have been written by 14-year-olds, it might get a pass.

    Reply
  3. m

    “D.I.S.C.O.” by Ottowan.
    Maybe I was too young when this song came out, but I managed to live my whole life unaware by this musical crime until earlier this year when it turned up on some worst videos of all time countdown that I got sucked into watching when I was hungover one day. (Why it didn’t make #1 is still a mystery to me. Almost as big a mystery as why someone spent money, admittedly not much, making a video for this shlock-fest.)
    The lyrics are so appallingly dumb they defy description: it’s a woman describing another woman who is, apparently, “disco” (which I’d never heard used an adjective), and then she comes up with other words that start with the letters of disco while these baritones repeat “She is” at the beginning of each line. (Example: “She is S. Supersexy. She is C. Such a cutie.”) Except they can’t think of any good words that start with “O” apparently, so when they get to that letter, it’s just “oh, oh, oh.” Oh, oh, oh my, it’s just god-awful. Worst song, worst lyrics, worst video, yuck.
    Complete lyrics: http://www.seeklyrics.com/lyrics/Ottawan/D-I-S-C-O.html
    And just in case you’re interested in what it sounds like, apparently, you can visit this site where you can actually download it to be your cellphone ringtone. Why ANYONE would pay for this is another mystery…. http://www.advancedringtones.co.uk/ottowan_d.i.s.c.o_polyphonic-ringtone_n.htm

    Reply
  4. Wayne

    My personal favorite bad lyrics didn’t make the list. Here is my number 1:
    Roxette Joyride
    “She has a train going downtown
    She’s got a club on the moon
    And she’s telling all her secrets
    In a wonderful balloon
    She’s the heart of the funfair
    She’s got me whistling her private tune
    And it all begins where it ends
    And she’s all mine, my magic friend
    She says: Hello, you fool, I love you
    Come on join the joyride
    Join the joyride.”

    Reply
  5. scvecc

    Kelis’ Milkshake is fairly recent (2003) proof that bad lyrics aren’t all owned by the 80’s.
    My milk shake brings all the boys to the yard,
    and they’re like,
    its better than yours,
    damn right its better than yours,
    i can teach you,
    but i have to charge
    I know you want it,
    the thing that makes me,
    what the guys go crazy for.
    They lose their minds,
    the way i wind,
    i think its time

    Reply
  6. Sean

    fillet does sort of rhyme with minute if you’re from england. I know from watching the Naked Chef.
    If you get on board with Hip-Hop, bad lyrics start sounding awesome. Eminem is so amazing because he stretches words in to fitting that shouldn’t, technically these are bad lyrics:
    All the pain inside amplified by the fact that I can’t provide the right type of life for my family ’cause man, these goddam foodstamps don’t buy diapers, And it’s no movie, there’s no Mekhi Phiffer, this is my life. And these times are so hard, and it’s gettin’ even harder tryin’ to feed and water my family, plus caught up between bein’ a father and a prima donna…
    None of that rhymes on paper the way it does in the song. So awesome.

    Reply
  7. cl

    Eminem is brilliant.
    But not Salt-n-Pepa:
    You put up with my butt
    When I wouldn’t give it up
    Yeah, I know that really sucks
    But if you wait awhile, I’ll make it up

    Reply
  8. cullen

    I love myself
    I want you to love me
    When I’m feeling down
    I want you above me
    I search myself
    I want you to find me
    I forget myself
    I want you to remind me
    I don’t want anybody else
    When I think about you I touch myself
    I don’t want anybody else
    Oh no, oh no, oh no
    You’re the one who makes me come honey
    You’re the sun who makes me shine
    When you’re around I’m always laughing
    I want to make you mine
    I close my eyes
    And see you before me
    Think I would die
    If you were to ignore me
    A fool could see
    Just how much I adore you
    I get down on my knees
    I

    Reply
  9. Brent

    We don’t have to take our…clothes off
    To have a good time….ohhh no
    We can dance and party….all night
    And drink some cherry wine….ohh yeah

    Reply
  10. rhonda

    From the 70’s – “I honestly love you”, “Behind closed doors”, “you are so beautiful to me”… close the door and please make that music go away. I’ve got a love/hate thing with ONJ. I too think we remember lyrics/music because there is some connection. My parents listed to the above crap when I was young, but they also enjoyed the beatles and my daughter can sing “yellow submarine”. My father thought it was a riot that the lyrics to Mac Author park cracked me up. Whats not to love “oooh noo! I left the cake out in the rain, I don’t think I can take it cause it took so long to bake it..” I was thinking it was Ronstadt – was Donna Summers. “Jerimia was a bullfrog was a good friend of mine” and “so bye-bye, Miss American Pie…” great lyrics. But back to the bad… country truly gets a bad rap. I’ve been listening to my husbands summary of country for years…”my horse just died..twang, my wife left me, my kids hate me… i’m just gonna go kick the dog.” Yet Saturday night I was in a room with grown men and while they were drunk, they were still singing along to “we’ll put a boot up your ass” – song ends and they try to tell me it was not a country song. You’re either in or your out people. This was fun, but these list are work!

    Reply
  11. Alan

    “Beelzabub has a devil set aside for me” was for a long time the winner for dumb line before the resanctification of Queen by Wayne’s World.
    I hold “I Touch Myself”, which is shamed above, in the highest esteem. When was it? 1990? Along with “Turning Japanese” by the Vapours (around 1979) “Welcome to the Working Week” by Elvis Costello (from 1977), it is one of the great pop tunes about masterbation.

    Reply
  12. g

    “Lucky that my breasts are small and humble,
    So you don’t confuse them with mountains.”
    — Shakira, Wherever (or whatever that song is called — I had to listen to it several times before confirming that those are, in fact, the words)

    Reply
  13. Annie

    Don’t think…sorry’s easily said
    Don’t cry…turn the tables instead
    You’ve taken lots of chances before
    but I ain’t gonna give anymore, don’t ask me
    cause that’s how it goes,
    when part of me knows
    what you’re thinkin
    I am the eye in the sky, looking at yooooouuuu
    I can read your mind
    I am the maker of rules, dealing with foooools
    I can cheat you blind
    And I don’t need to see anymore
    to know that
    I can read your mind (looking at yooooouuuu)
    I can read your mind….
    The Allan Parsons Project
    (also should be on the worst songs ever list)

    Reply
  14. Just Andrew

    First comes the really freaky thing. I haven’t thought of the name Alan Parsons in probably 15 years and as I was reading Annie’s post, one of my employees started playing an mp3 that sounded familiar – Gold Bug by Alan Parsons – too freakin wierd, off to buy a lottery ticket now…
    As to lyrics – someone yesterday mentioned Bon Jovi, which made me think of one of their power ballads that starts with:
    “I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride”
    ugh, just typing that makes me want to wretch.
    For that matter most of those power ballads by any hair band qualifies – what was the one about a rose? Something by Poison maybe? Most of the lipstick and dipstick bands showed they had the emotional range of a 12 year old with those ballads.
    Aaaaand – I gotta stick by my hatred of Steely Dan – in fact one of the first things my wife and I bonded on 10 years ago was the fact that we both hate mushrooms and Steely Dan, she also thought Exile on Main Street and specifically ‘Sweet Virginia’ were the best things the Stones ever did, so I married her.

    Reply
  15. rhonda

    one of those days you really wished you had not much to accomplish… thinking that i’d really failed to name some loser 80-90’s music I took a peek at the cassettes. oh yeah.. now i remember. The Milli vanilli scandal – but if you were dancing in the late 80’s did anyone care? Vanilla ice and MC hammer were just wrong in the early 90’s again people that danced just did not care… not much of a dancer.

    Reply
  16. Granville Towers dude named Dave

    Every rose has its thorn,
    Just like every night has its dawn,
    Just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song,
    Every rose has its thorn (yeah it does)
    Like Poison, my intuitive vocal inflection actually rhymed these brilliant words; I’m the guy who knew this song only and wouldn’t stop playing it fall semester, 1990, Granville Towers West. That plus some incessant, screw -the-rules cigarette smoking got some music major named Cullen to move out.

    Reply
  17. Piglet

    Duh duh duh duh
    duh duh duh duh
    duh duh DUH duh duh duh duh duh
    Duh duh duh duh
    Duh duh duh duh
    Duh duh duh duh duh duh duh…
    (“Tom’s Diner”)

    Reply
  18. Bud

    For consistently bad lyrics, no one can top (bottom?) Guns N’ Roses.
    “Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place
    Where as a child I’d hide”
    -Sweet Child O’ Mine
    “Just an urchin livin’ under the street
    I’m a hard case that’s tough to beat
    I’m your charity case
    So buy me somethin’ to eat
    I’ll pay you at another time
    Take it to the end of the line”
    -Paradise City
    and worst of all-
    “Said sugar take the time
    ‘Cause the lights are shining bright
    You and I’ve got what it takes to make it
    We won’t fake it
    Oh! Never break it
    ‘Cause I can’t take it”
    -Patience
    The worst lyrics in a single pop song may well belong to Bon Jovi :
    “I walk these streets
    A loaded six string on my back
    I play for keeps

    Reply
  19. Annie

    Okay, this might be ultra-gauche, but since Bud strayed into the topic of “actual-best lyrics,” I must share those that have been floating around in my mind all day–and true-rhyme, no less.
    (Exclusive insider’s tip for NC rockers: the song is by is Winston-Salem’s own Peter Holsapple, formerly of the immortal db’s):
    Where do lonely people go?
    You’re asking me, you think I know–
    They sadly start rebuilding walls,
    then quickly quietly withdraw–
    But you, what of you,
    what do you propose to do?
    Live in the past,
    recall what was,
    and lonely is as lonely does…
    When I lost the human race,
    I ran home and ran in place,
    and when my race was finally run,
    the loneliness had just begun.
    Ah, living in the past is rough,
    living here today’s enough.
    The future’s much too far away,
    but lonely’s with us every day.

    Reply
  20. michelle

    Because I’m bad, I’m bad-come on
    (Bad bad-really, really bad)
    You know I’m bad, I’m bad-you know it
    (Bad bad-really, really bad)
    You know I’m bad, I’m bad-come on, you know
    (Bad bad-really, really bad)
    And the whole world has to
    Answer right now
    Just to tell you once again,
    Who’s bad…

    Reply
  21. michelle

    And Tom’s Diner actually has great lyrics if you know the original song:
    “It is always
    Nice to see you”
    Says the man
    Behind the counter
    To the woman
    Who has come in
    She is shaking
    Her umbrella
    And I look
    The other way
    As they are kissing
    Their hellos
    I’m pretending
    Not to see them
    Instead
    I pour the milk

    Reply
  22. Jennifer

    Two of my picks:
    Build Me Up Buttercup:
    (Hey, hey, hey!) Baby, baby, try to find
    (Hey, hey, hey!) A little time, and I’ll make you happy
    (Hey, hey, hey!) I’ll be home
    I’ll be beside the phone waiting for you
    Ooo-oo-ooo, ooo-oo-ooo
    Why do you build me up (Build me up) buttercup, baby
    Just to let me down (Let me down) and mess me around
    And then worst of all (Worst of all) you never call, baby
    When you say you will (Say you will) but I love you still
    I need you (I need you) more than anyone, darling
    You know that I have from the start
    So build me up (Build me up) buttercup, don’t break my heart
    The Impression That I Get:
    I’ve never had to knock on wood
    But I know someone who has
    Which makes me wonder if I could
    It makes me wonder if
    I’ve never had to knock on wood
    And I’m glad I haven’t yet
    Because I’m sure it isn’t good
    that’s the impression that I get
    But I won’t lie – if either come on while I’m alone in the car, yeah, I’ll nod my head and belt ’em out. I was listening to the UNC Clefhangers’ version of “Impression” today (college a cappella is my guilty pleasure), which was why it came to mind.

    Reply
  23. greg

    Annie, if I weren’t already married I’d find you and kiss you.
    For some reason that I’ve never quite understood, the DBs resonate with me like no other band. I love the haunting beauty of songs like “Lonely is as lonely does”, but the DBs song whose lyrics I love the most is still Amplifier: (partial and possibly incorrect lyrics?)
    Dan went home and killed himself last night,
    She’d taken everything, she’d taken everything.
    She took his car, she took his bike,
    She took everything she thought he liked,
    And what she couldn’t take she found a way to break.
    She left his amplifier.
    an amplifier’s just wood and wire,
    and wire and wood won’t do any good
    when your heart is whupping like a wild fire
    and all you’ve got to show for it’s
    an
    amplifier
    Come to think of it, I think our common interest in the DBs was one of the first things my wife and I talked about when we met (at Players on a Friday night, but that’s another story altogether!)

    Reply
  24. Salem

    Don’t screw with Kiss! Kiss happened, don’t deny it. I’m pretty sure I tried to convince my step-mom that Ace Freley had a real laser in his guitar.
    Anyway, Salem’s Top Two Lyricists of all time:
    Keith Morris, The Circle Jerks
    “question authority,
    I’ll pay the price the future belongs to me
    this is the time
    this is the hour
    the worlds our dowery
    the glory and the power
    is this what you want to see?
    is this the way you want things to be?
    things to be,things to be
    question authority… ”
    Jello Biafra, The Dead Kennedy’s;
    “So you’ve been to school for a year or two
    And you know you’ve seen it all
    In daddy’s car thinkin’ you’ll go far
    Back East your type don’t crawl
    Play ethnicky jazz to parade your snazz
    On you five grand stereo
    Braggin’ that you know
    how the niggers feel the cold
    And the slum’s got so much soul
    It’s time to taste what you most fear
    Right Guard will not help you here
    Brace yourself, my dear
    Brace yourself, my dear
    It’s a holiday in Cambodia
    It’s tough kid, but it’s life
    It’s a holiday in Cambodia
    Don’t foget to pack a wife”
    That was nice. I enjoyed that.

    Reply
  25. Just Andrew

    so now we’re onto favorite lyics?
    Kiss gets a free pass – they had their own comic book, bad lyics were part of the sthick.
    Poison – Ever Rose and Bon Jovi -Wanted – thanks for the titles, sort of.
    Amplifier – one of the great great songs of our generation. If I’d met a girl who loved it, I’da married her too, good work.
    Camper Van Beethoven always had my favorite lyrics:
    (new Demo of the Unibomber song)
    Went to study at Berk-e-ley
    now I don’t like socitey
    got me shack way back in the woods
    gonna mail a package of explosive goods
    (we’re a bad trip)
    …somewhere along the line
    someone told you you were deep and sensitive
    but you’re not, no you’re not
    came to your party, drank all your beer
    we’re a bad trip
    parked the car upon the lawn,
    smoked your last cigarette,
    spilled beer on the carpet,
    answered the phone and said you don’t live here anymore,
    and it was your Mom, yeah, it was your Mom
    came to the party,
    ate all the ‘derves
    we’re a bad trip
    (or the Axe Murderer Song)
    Most days I feel softer than most
    some days like yougurt, some days like toast…
    why do axe murderers only attack
    when you’re partially nude
    or taking a bath
    I could go on and on.

    Reply
  26. noj

    oh what a feeling
    when you’re dancing on the ceiling
    Lionel also owns the most over the top, stupid-feeling-inducing video ever with his drippy, sappy video for ‘Hello’, in which the blind girl sculpts his ugly mug.

    Reply
  27. grib

    “While riding on a train goin’ west/I fell asleep for to take my rest” (Bob Dylan/”Bob Dylan’s Dream”) I love Dylan, but this ain’t his best.
    Another awful line from an otherwise great lyricist: “I need you to carry my children in” (Leonard Cohen/I forget the song)
    As for the earlier post about masturbation songs, no list is complete without Billy Joel’s “Captain Jack”

    Reply

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