List 'em if ya got 'em
April 23, 2004 1:08 PM   Subscribe

Blender Magazine lists the 50 worst songs of all time. Wait. Before you click the link know the the geniuses over at Blender only post songs 50 (Celline Dion's "My Heart Will Go On") through 41 (Color Me Badd's “I Wanna Sex You Up.” Yeah, I'm going to go buy a copy just for this article, aren't you? Fortunately, MSN spares us the torment of not knowing what the worst song of all time might be. Ready? Starship's "We Built This City." Now recognizing that it's the job of critics to make choices, and this is an impossible one, surely we can do better than that, no? [via danieldrezner.com]
posted by mojohand (98 comments total)

 
Nope Starship's "We Built This City" nails it. I feel unclean just typing it in. I'm going to go shower...
posted by hipnerd at 1:19 PM on April 23, 2004


#1-50: Every song by Barenaked Ladies.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:20 PM on April 23, 2004


Blender isn't written by critics. It's written by dudes.
posted by mikeyb at 1:26 PM on April 23, 2004


Here's the entire list: NEWS.com.au
posted by RGD at 1:32 PM on April 23, 2004


And I'll hasten to add that there are a number of songs there that are really quite nice. The End by The Doors? C'mon!
posted by RGD at 1:36 PM on April 23, 2004


Any song by Barry Manilow.
Hmm, in looking at the list, I guess I'm dating myself. Still, hearing one brings up such painful childhood memories. Nausea even.
posted by MetalDog at 1:37 PM on April 23, 2004


My name is Joey Michaels and I've got something to say. (self-link, and not an especially insightful one at that)
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:37 PM on April 23, 2004


28. Your Body Is a Wonderland John Mayer ... 2001

Thank you. The only thing that pisses me off more than John Mayer's truly awful music is the fact that some chicks actually fall for that shit.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:39 PM on April 23, 2004


Doing the "worst" just seems more like "songs that inexplicably made the charts for reasons we can't fathom."

There is a lot of bad crap out there. My favorite worst is a track that REM included on an album of B-sides and outtakes. The story is almost as garbled as a song, but they might have been paid to do a jingle, and ended up too drunk to even remember laying down the track. The Beatles evidently have a few versions of "Why Don't We Do It in the Road" that were recently released that should have been shredded.

But in terms if inexplicably popular, the Princess Di remix of "Candle in the Wind" is amazingly wretched. I have an irrational hatred of Celine Dion after an incredibly banal cover of "I Drove all Night" became a staple of movie trailer advertising.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:45 PM on April 23, 2004


Blender? Oh, I thought you guys were talking about a relevant music publication. Oh well.

Looks like they took some obvious ones (Achy Breaky Heart/My Heart Will Go On/etc) and threw in some *gotchas* to stir the shit. Wow, you put a Beatles song in the top 50 worst ever, you are so puncrack.
posted by raygun21 at 1:47 PM on April 23, 2004


In terms of sheer unlistenability, not much beats Pink Floyd's Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict. Used to have problems with a loud neighbour...when I threw that on and blasted it, he shut right up. Heh.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:50 PM on April 23, 2004


Shouldn't this list be called "The 50 Least Hip, Least Postmodern Songs in Recent Memory" ?

The chief crime of the songs on this list because they lack sarcasm or irony. (which to me, is nothing to be ashamed of)
posted by 4easypayments at 1:51 PM on April 23, 2004


What about "Mmmm Bop" by Hanson?


<homer_simpson_impression>"Jimmy Crack corn, and I don't care, Jimmy Crack Corn, and I wasn't there, We built this city on rock and roooollll..... Something Something Day..."</homer_simpson_impression>
posted by Stoatfarm at 1:53 PM on April 23, 2004


Anything by Limp Bizkit qualifies as the worst of all time.

I'd be more interested in a 50 Worst Artists of All Time which could be subtitled something nice like The 50 Artists Least Deserving of Fame and Fortune.

Celine Dion is in the top ten, right next to Limp Bizkit and Oasis.
posted by fenriq at 1:53 PM on April 23, 2004


"We Built this City" is a great song with a great hook by a band that had no right have such a terrific hit that late in its alcohol-sodden, drug-dulled career. "Corporate" (Blender's comment) my butt. How anyone could call "We Built this City" a bad song while there is the whole catalog of Wilco to draw from is beyond me -- not to mention every song by Tom Waite, Randy Newman, every rap and hip hop singer who ever lived, the entire "alternative" and grunge movement, Nine Inch Nails, Supergrass, "Peg O' My Heart," the theme songs from "Friends" and every other sitcom, the symphonic output of Anton Bruckner, fully three quarters of Bob Dylan's work, one-quarter of Bruce Springsteen's, every song on the Outkaast album except "Ai-Ya," "Wipe Out," every song by James Brown, two decades of jazz-rock fusion, everything by Joni Mitchell after and including the album "Blue," "Symphonie Fantastique," Sting, reggae, any song that's used in a car commercial, anything involving Brian Wilson after "Good Vibrations," anything on the Beatles "White Album" (except "Oh-Bla-Di" which the bozos at Blender are not hip enough to like), any song by John Lennon after meeting Yoko Ono, any song (it goes without saying) by Yoko Ono, anything by Paul McCartney or the Rolling Stones issued in the last 25 years (except for "My Brave Face"), fully three-quarters of Elvis Costello's recorded ouvre, all contemporary classical music since Stravinsky, anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber, anything by Fabian, anything by Philip Glass, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," everything by Prince except "Raspberry Beret," I could go on...
posted by Faze at 1:53 PM on April 23, 2004


I can't believe how much press this horrible list is getting.
posted by LouieLoco at 1:54 PM on April 23, 2004


Ain't proud of it, but I went to see the "We Built This City" tour in Baltimore. You see, a friend won tickets from the radio and....

It was horrible. They didn't advertise this in advance, but the show opened with a horrible comedian who did 15 minutes of wretched comedy, followed (I believe) by Glass Tiger.

When Starship finally hit the stage, they played half of WBTC, fumbled around for an hour or so, then played it again. Worst. concert. experience. ever.
posted by grateful at 1:55 PM on April 23, 2004


BTW, this is high on my list of worst lists ever.
posted by grateful at 1:56 PM on April 23, 2004


Is this just the worst songs that actually got airplay? 'Cause I'm pretty sure there's worse stuff out there...Yoko Ono comes to mind. This seems more like a "Why the fuck did anyone groove to this?" list, because I seem to recall that most of them were hits at one point or another. Or maybe the "50 tritest songs of all time" or something.

On preview: what KirkJobSluder said.
posted by sharpener at 1:56 PM on April 23, 2004


Faze - Friends theme is on the list
15. I'll Be There for You The Rembrandts ... 1995
posted by grateful at 2:00 PM on April 23, 2004


Worst song that also happens to be a list
posted by Stoatfarm at 2:01 PM on April 23, 2004


12. Kokomo The Beach Boys ... 1988 - I'd have put this higher, at any rate it sure belongs here.

19. Broken Wings Mr. Mister ... 1985 - LOVED this song.

Only thing missing off the top of my head is "Two of Hearts" by Stacey Q.
posted by vito90 at 2:06 PM on April 23, 2004


Shouldn't this list be called "The 50 Least Hip, Least Postmodern Songs in Recent Memory" ?

Pretty much. Besides, they omitted "Get Out of My Dreams, Get in to My Car". Bastids.
posted by Ufez Jones at 2:06 PM on April 23, 2004


I suppose we're all forgetting a little ditty entitled "TELEPHONE MAN"?

I got it in the bedroom, and I got it in the hall
And I got it in the bathroom, and he hung it on the wall
I got it with a buzz, and I got it with a ring
And when he told me what my number was I got a ding-a-ling


OK, maybe that was before most of you were born. Still, no excuse!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:08 PM on April 23, 2004


...anything by Philip Glass, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," everything by Prince except "Raspberry Beret," I could go on...

So, other than "We Built This City," you essentially don't like music, is the concept, right?

You must have heard a lot of Tom Waits' oeuvre to be able to dismiss the whole thing without even knowing what his name is.

I won't call you out on the Outkast one, because for all I know they may have a song that I haven't heard yet called "Ai-Ya."
posted by soyjoy at 2:09 PM on April 23, 2004


Faze, I'm curious as to what music you DO like?

Personally, I like Randy Newman and quite a few of the other bands you rattle off. And I like rap and hip hop too.

The list is pretty pathetic though. Kokomo by the Beach Boys is the 12th worst song of all time? Come on! The End by the Doors is brilliant. Barbie Girl may be an awful song but I like it.

Blender was unimportant before this list, it'll remain unimportant after this list.
posted by fenriq at 2:10 PM on April 23, 2004


These songs were almost all from the last twenty years. They reached back in the Sixties for just two songs...two overindulgent songs, to be sure, but worse than "Macarthur Park" ("someone left the cake out in the rain") and "Honey"?
posted by kozad at 2:11 PM on April 23, 2004


And what about "Bess You is My Woman Now," everything by Captain Beefheart after "Safe as Milk," everything by Frank Zappa after "Hot Rats," anything by the Jayhawks... Dave Matthews!... "Red Roses for a Blue Lady," "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," the Mister Softee truck theme, all Hispanic-American music that does not have an accordian in it, anything by Van Morrison after he left Bang Records, the operas of Gounod, everything by Stephen Sondheim since "Lost in the Woods," Korn, everything by the sad, mediocre Wallflowers, I'll think of more...
posted by Faze at 2:15 PM on April 23, 2004


"Achy breaky heart" is definitely "underrated" simply by virtue of not being #1.
posted by clevershark at 2:19 PM on April 23, 2004


Kozad: Or one of the worst earworms of all time, "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, (I've Got Love in my Tummy)" <ducks>

My spousal unit hates "Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" for the bad sentence structure, and it occurs to me that there are a huge number of really bad songs from before this list. A local resturaunt has, I kid you not, a framed copy of "Alexander's Ragtime Band Goes to War" or something like that.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:30 PM on April 23, 2004


I used to loathe "She Bangs" until I heard William Hung's superior version.
I also think "Kokomo" shouldn't be on that list.
I also think any song disgraced by Britney Spears' insufferable squeaky voice should be on that list.
posted by 111 at 2:35 PM on April 23, 2004


'End of the Innocence' by Don Henley is literally nauseating, and for me the worst song ever recorded.
posted by the fire you left me at 2:41 PM on April 23, 2004


I can only assume that the reason anything (everything) by Journey is not on this list is that next month they'll name Journey the worst band ever and everything they've ever done will automatically be the worst.
posted by m@ at 2:48 PM on April 23, 2004


Doesn't anyone remember "Reunited" by Peaches & Herb??

Also, what grateful, soyjoy and fenriq said.
posted by coelecanth at 2:49 PM on April 23, 2004


is literally nauseating

[looking for MIDI to embed]
posted by yerfatma at 2:50 PM on April 23, 2004


Is it bad that I like 20% of the songs on this list? And that my favorite song from when I was 13 and still adore in a weird nostalgic way is on it?
posted by eilatan at 2:51 PM on April 23, 2004


<Nelson>Haha! Faze doesn't like music!<Nelson>
posted by me3dia at 2:57 PM on April 23, 2004


Your Body Is A Wonderland by John Mayer? Breakfast At Tiffany's by Deep Blue Something? Kokomo by The Beach Boys?

Credibility: out the window.
posted by tomorama at 3:01 PM on April 23, 2004


The End by the Doors is brilliant

The End by the Doors is overblown bombast for stoned 15 years olds who think it's like deeep maaan.

"We Built This City" is a horrible song which desrves extra hatred for soiling the name of the Jefferson Airplane. Paul Kantner even asked them to remove the "Jefferson" from their name because of it.

Journey is redeemed by Steve Perry's pipes and the ability to construct a decent song. But I'm a guitar rock partisan, so even mediocre guitar rock is OK to me.

I'd nominate the collective works of Duran Duran, 90% of Motley Crue, Madonna's cover of "American Pie," "Good" by Better Than Ezra, the Powerstation's cover of "Get It On," everything by Dashboard Confessional, Britney Spears, Erasure, Kajagoogoo, Great White, Wham!, Depeche Mode and of course the Cure and the Smiths.

But you all probably figured I'd say that.
posted by jonmc at 3:21 PM on April 23, 2004


and I'd have to second that Wang Chung song too. It makes me want to kill people.
posted by jonmc at 3:22 PM on April 23, 2004


Heh. Starship was my first rock concert, but it may still have been called Jefferson..it was the "Jane" tour, and Kantner and Slick were in the band for the last time.

Where are they now? Craig Chaquico makes New Age albums, which seems somehow right.
posted by crunchburger at 3:24 PM on April 23, 2004


Gah! Reunited - you bastard. If that sticks in my head I'm coming after you.
posted by crunchburger at 3:27 PM on April 23, 2004


Wow, Faze is an enormous asshole. Remind me not to invite him anywhere.

I still believe that any "worst song" list that forgets The Spice Girls is a failure as a list.
posted by Down10 at 3:30 PM on April 23, 2004


crunch, they were only sans Jefferson for that last record. Jefferson Starship was erratic but they had their moments--"Ride The Tiger," "Miracles" "Stranger" etc. but to end on such a low note was saddening.
posted by jonmc at 3:32 PM on April 23, 2004


So, a magazine that seems like the hideous offspring of a beer-binge tryst between Spin and Maxim comes out with a list, and...

Ah, to hell with it. Snark isn't dead. It's just turned into a zombie of the old school, George Romero type. That means you can outrun it, outgun it, and, if you want, throw cream pies in its face and it'll still keep shambling along. It'll also keep hunting for brains, and, even if it consumes 'em, it won't get any smarter. Blender and VH1's "Best Weekend Ever" crew and the rest of the acmes of Snark can go take a long walk off a short pier into a pit of crocodiles. Zombie crocodiles. With lasers. Nuclear lasers. From Mars.

Jebus, I'm glad it's Friday...
posted by RakDaddy at 3:38 PM on April 23, 2004


Holy Moly, someone actually likes Journey still? Holy Crap! As far as Jazz Fusion goes, Miles Davis and Weather Report were pretty brilliant. Passport was pretty good too. Frank Zappa post Hot Rats? Ever listen to Civilization Phaze 3? "Several Species....and Grooving With a Pict" was a brilliant piece of electronic music that NO popular band would ever take such a chance on today. Popular music today is all about marketing and packaging. No one is EVER going to take a chance or push any limits if it hurts their ability to make a buck. Popular music sucks worse and worse every year, and we deserve it.
posted by Eekacat at 3:42 PM on April 23, 2004


Hmm, in looking at the list, I guess I'm dating myself.

Well, at least you don't have to get dressed up, pay for drinks, dinner and a movie to score.

On topic: I always wondered why Victoria's Secret or such never hopped on the concept of the Life Goes On Bra®--it seems so obvious.
posted by y2karl at 3:44 PM on April 23, 2004


eekacat: that era of experimentation and jazz-rock fusion also produced a lot of self-indulgent wanking, too. As much as I dig Bitches Brew and Birds Of Fire I could've done without Spyro Gyra and the rest of the fuzak brigade. It was a neccesary step in rock (and jazz)'s developement but it had some nasty byproducts.

But then again I've admitted to liking Journey, so what the hell do I know?

And also, I got tired of the Beatles version of Obladi Oblada pretty quick, but soul man Arthur Conley's ska-ish rendition was pretty neat.
posted by jonmc at 3:50 PM on April 23, 2004


Journey is extremely listenable because of Perry's amazing voice. Just don't look too deeply and it's good for a long drive through the hills. OTOH, run as far from Steve Perry's solo efforts as you possibly can.

"Oh! Sherry, our love, HOLDS ON..... it HOLDS ON!"
posted by bargle at 3:54 PM on April 23, 2004


jonmc, are you calling me a stoned 15 year old for like The End? Actually, I like quite alot of the Doors songs.

And then you say you like Journey?

As I say quite often, there really is no accounting for personal taste.

And Down10, were those links supposed to lead somewhere?
posted by fenriq at 4:03 PM on April 23, 2004


Faze is funny
posted by muckster at 4:07 PM on April 23, 2004


jonmc, are you calling me a stoned 15 year old for like The End? Actually, I like quite alot of the Doors songs.

The Doors had their moments ("Light My Fire" "My Eyes Have Seen You" "Roadhouse Blues') but they could also be overweeningly pretentious and "The End" is a perfect example of that. And that pretentiousness did ensare a lot of stoned fifteen-year-old stoners in my experience. I simultaneously knew 2 guys who were convinced they were Jim Morrison's reincarnation and insisted on being called "Jim."

As for Journey, they're not my favorites, but they created some enjoyable bar jukebox/car stereo music ("Don't Stop Believin'" "Lights") and they didn't have pretensions to more than that, so on that level they succeeded.
posted by jonmc at 4:13 PM on April 23, 2004


I like Blender Magazine, mostly for the section where stars list their favorite albums and the discography section. I don't know, it is better than SPIN or Rolling Stone, as far as mainstream rock magazines go.

That said, they have these types of overblown articles every month - it sells magazines, and gets people talking.

The End! When I first heard that song, I thought it was supposed to be a joke, some kind of satire or something. Oops. The Doors suck.
posted by Quartermass at 4:27 PM on April 23, 2004


Also, remember - your favorite band sucks!
posted by Quartermass at 4:27 PM on April 23, 2004


So little hip-hop here, and me with my encyclopedic knowledge of horrible songs from the golden age of rap, 1988-1991 (or so). Beat this:

2 Live Crew, Banned in the USA.

Much worse than Ice Ice Baby.
posted by furiousthought at 4:28 PM on April 23, 2004


Someone's an "asshole" because they don't like music that you like?

Metaldog: Barry Manilow has transcended into kitsch; it's no longer per se bad music. Same thing with guys like Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, and all the rest of the lounge-singer types.
posted by PrinceValium at 4:49 PM on April 23, 2004


"My Heart Will Go On" needs to be much higher. "We Built This City" isn't the best song on earth but I can think of many that are worse.
posted by SisterHavana at 4:58 PM on April 23, 2004


Same thing with guys like Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, and all the rest of the lounge-singer types.

I submit to you that neither of those two were all that bad to begin with. Neil is something of a wooden singer but a talented songwriter, and Tom Jones had the suave self assurace of a Velvet Elvis and "What's New Pussycat" is classic performance.

Plus lounge bands can surprise you. When rock and roll caught on, many of the lounge bands (who leaned toward the raucous and crude anyway) took a whack at it, with some wonderfully wild results: Check out the Las Vegas Grind series to see what I'm talking about.
posted by jonmc at 5:02 PM on April 23, 2004


Feh. You want bad? I humbly submit Remembering Laci.
posted by stonerose at 5:09 PM on April 23, 2004


Faze's vitriol is the high point of this thread, definitely. I disagree with about 60% of his choices, but I can't argue with his sheer breadth and depth of his hatred. Soldier on, asshole!
posted by speicus at 5:11 PM on April 23, 2004


Oops, replace first "his" with "the"

(Also: If someone truly loves music, chances are they will hate a lot of music. All that means is that they're willing to be an asshole to protect what they love. I like Faze's choices because they're interesting and informed [though often misspelled]; they aren't boring, obligatory scapegoats like Blender's choices. Or like when people say "country music sucks" or "rap music sucks" or "accordion music sucks" just because through some inexplicable lottery it's become the common wisdom in our culture that these types of music suck.)
posted by speicus at 5:21 PM on April 23, 2004


randy newman and elvis costello for sure.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:29 PM on April 23, 2004


Well, speicus, that cause most people, even those who consider themselves "alternative" or whatever are depressingly predictable people who are generally afraid to deviate from the "norms" of their peers by either liking something forbidden or hating something sacred. One bunch is a slave to the top 40, the other to critics and arbiters of "cool." Fuck 'em both.

*cranks up Bearfoot's "Molly" followed by Heavy Pettin.*

Oh, and a tip: never buy records for irony, that's an awful long way to go to feel superior to something.
posted by jonmc at 5:31 PM on April 23, 2004


I disagree with many of Faze's choices (which I think is kind of the point on some level), but I love how he expressed them. De gustabus non est muthafuckin' disputandum.

(Anything by "Sir" Michael Tippett)
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 5:32 PM on April 23, 2004


However, I don't know how Faze can stand Joan Morris! Her terrifyingly shrill voice, with that awful warbly vibrato, makes me want to stab my ears out with a pen knife. My god, it's worse than amateur violin playing.

Also, isn't it about time someone said something bad about the Pixies?
posted by speicus at 5:35 PM on April 23, 2004


Everything by the Pixies that was worth listening to was done better decades earlier by The Red Crayola in one short song called "Jewels of the Madonna".

How's that?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 5:45 PM on April 23, 2004


I can't argue with his sheer breadth and depth of his hatred. Soldier on, asshole!

Yeah, that's what this site needs more of. Pontificating asshats.

The real "tell" was that Faze even knows Captain Beefheart, yet insists on qualifying it, ("everything by Captain Beefheart after "Safe as Milk"). Sounds like a youngish alt-type with too much angst for his own good.

Faze, I think you're running low on black clothing with pithy, obscure vintage iron-on's. Better get to the record store, quick.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:48 PM on April 23, 2004


I like the Pixies, although I will blaspheme by saying that if I had to choose between my copy of Doolittle and my copy of Houses Of The Holy or even Machine Head the Pixies would be getting the heave-ho.

I'll also commit the sin of saying that while Wilco is a good band, the Bottle Rockets and Jayhawks do the same thing much, much better and Jeff Tweedy has a long way to go before he's fit to lick Levon Helm's or Brian Wilson's boots.

And Bryan Adams is far superior to Ryan Adams.

Ah, that felt good.


Yeah, that's what this site needs more of. Pontificating asshats.


You rang?
posted by jonmc at 5:51 PM on April 23, 2004


I actually didn't like country music until I started listening to a cooperative radio station that was willing to dig into the some of the better Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash tracks. This same radio station also got me turned on other genres that I formerly dispised like electronica and hip hop.

What I basically decided was that it wasn't that I hate country, rap, or electronica, but that I hate music that is carefully selected to accompany the most profitable advertising directed to the most people. Listening to music selected by people who love music is great. Listening to music selected by people who want to sell 30 second blurbs for pepsi, laser eye surgery, and injury law practice is an exercise in frustration for me.

I learned a long time ago that religious wars about music were just not worth the trouble. Basically, when it comes down to justifying what we listen to, it's all bullshit anyway.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:59 PM on April 23, 2004


Everything by the Pixies that was worth listening to was done better decades earlier by The Red Crayola in one short song called "Jewels of the Madonna".

And I am so punk that I don't even hafta post to this thread.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:35 PM on April 23, 2004


Sounds like a youngish alt-type with too much angst for his own good.

Faze is in his 50's, at least, and rather bitter in his assessments in general. He once referred to Yoko Ono as a prostitute here. Don't call him names. And don't get him going on street musicians.
posted by y2karl at 6:50 PM on April 23, 2004


Oh, and a tip: never buy records for irony, that's an awful long way to go to feel superior to something.

Agreed, one can feel so much more superior by claiming
most people only like music that makes them "cool".
They're either slaves or snobs. See how much simpler that is.
posted by milovoo at 6:59 PM on April 23, 2004


milovoo: I feel absolutely no sense of superiority to anyone. But just try and tell me that it isn't true that most people's taste isn't depressingly predictable. Generally speaking, people pick a subculture or genre and follow it's dictates to the letter. I wish it wasn't so, but most of the time it is.
posted by jonmc at 7:03 PM on April 23, 2004


I just got home from shopping, turned on the "70s Jukebox" channel of digital music on Dish Network, and what was playing?

That's right, Reunited.

And the wife, bless her heart, loves it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:22 PM on April 23, 2004


Generally speaking, people pick a subculture or genre and follow it's dictates to the letter.

People, or young people? I agree that this may be true of kids and may last as long as early college, but this rule generally doesn't apply to adults. And it hardly seems fair to fault young people for being naive to media influence or choosing idols to follow for a while.

Adults can usually manage to appreciate some of the "cool kids" music and culture without becoming a clique or starting a fan club. Also, I have found that adults who like top 40 are usually just people who want some pleasant noise and don't have the time to cruise the used record stores or the internet to fine tune their tastes, they're not "slaves", they just don't care about music that much.
posted by milovoo at 7:34 PM on April 23, 2004


Also, I have found that adults who like top 40 are usually just people who want some pleasant noise and don't have the time to cruise the used record stores or the internet to fine tune their tastes, they're not "slaves", they just don't care about music that much.

Fair enough, but in the context of this thread (since it's about a list of the worst ever) let's assume it's for people who take music at least somewhat seriously. And I assure you I have no grudge with the idea of top 40 music as a concept. I've said numerous times on MeFi and elsewhere that it's actually a lot harder and more artful to write a great 3-minute pop/rock single than some experimental jam-out; "Louie Louie" or "Midnight Confessions" is a greater artistic success than say "Dark Star," or "Blaise Bailey Finnegan III." My main gripe with today's top 40 is that it for a variety of reasons has erased all the nuance involved in great popular music.

But back to the subject at hand. I work in the music industry (marginally) and meet a lot of people who consider themselves music fans at work and elsewhere and I'm just sick and tired of hearing people rattle off the same list of bands when they're asked what they like. It's always either the latest MTV faves or the latest ones approved by Spin/Pitchfork Media or some other source. And we're talking people well out of college (as am I, I'm 33).There's good music in both camps and elsewhere, but plenty of people reject great stuff out of hand because of what I can only describe as the "uncoolness" factor. How often have you heard people say, "I listen to everything except rap/country/heavy metal, etc." It's frustrating and it's stunting progress and Balkanizing the music world even further.
posted by jonmc at 7:48 PM on April 23, 2004


OK, but how is being an aficionado of "uncool" music and trashing what the "cool" people appreciate, any different?

People like various music for weird and oblique reasons: does it make them feel like shaking their booty? is the lead singer hot? does it remind them of a certain moment or movie? can they drive fast to it?

People who follow the trends may simply be seeking novelty and fashion, which seem at least as valid as any other reason. The fact that it's "cool" adds to the appeal, in the same way music snobs like to find the rare and overlooked gems.

I like "the end" because it reminds me of that scene from apocalypse now, one of my favorite films, not because I think it's deep in any way.

I worked in a record store and had a radio show for a long time, and all I've found is that it's hard to make generalities about people's musical tastes no matter how cool or uncool they are.
posted by milovoo at 8:36 PM on April 23, 2004


OK, but how is being an aficionado of "uncool" music and trashing what the "cool" people appreciate, any different?

It isn't which is why I include the "alternative" crowd in the same camp of trend followers. The key is to never reject stuff out of hand and to actively look in the really abandoned, neglected corners of the music world.

I like "the end" because it reminds me of that scene from apocalypse now, one of my favorite films, not because I think it's deep in any way.

But that's contextual pleasure. The song itself is basically an overlong mish-mash of sitary drone and half-assed Oedipalism. But again just my opinion.
posted by jonmc at 8:41 PM on April 23, 2004


And let me add, I've gotten it from both sides, mainstream listeners stunned that I'd listen to the "weirdo music" coming from the college station, and scenesters who look stunned when I profess admiration for say Rainbow, Sammy Hagar, Faith Hill, Blackfoot or like here, Journey.

I dunno if tht makes my frustration any clearer but that's as good an illustration as I can come up with.
posted by jonmc at 8:58 PM on April 23, 2004


The key is to never reject stuff out of hand and to actively look in the really abandoned, neglected corners of the music world.

That works fine for music snobs, but it means that you will have to get used to blank stares from pretty much everyone who isn't a music snob. I'm sure you have met someone who rambles on about their corner of the music world that you just don't care about, even if it's abandoned and neglected, right?

For me it's jazz, I was forced to listen to the way-out-there stuff before I heard any basics and it ruined the genre for me (except for the very basics - the "top 40" of jazz ) People just like to find stuff on their own, you can't lead them to your stuff without knowing them really well. It's universal and you shouldn't be frustrated by it.

The song itself is basically an overlong mish-mash of sitary drone and half-assed Oedipalism. But again just my opinion.

Well, I'm guessing he was pretty stoned. I'm sure it made sense at the time.
The rambling lyrics are a feature not a bug.
posted by milovoo at 9:07 PM on April 23, 2004


jonmc: And let me add, I've gotten it from both sides, mainstream listeners stunned that I'd listen to the "weirdo music" coming from the college station, and scenesters who look stunned when I profess admiration for say Rainbow, Sammy Hagar, Faith Hill, Blackfoot or like here, Journey.

The other side of the coin is that as an eclectic, I've met very few people with whom I've not been able to find common ground musically.

Of course, my problem is that I'm a radio fan. The good news is that as a teenager I was lucky to have a great independent radio station. But still, depending on the radia meant that half the time, I never knew what I liked. But lately, stations that do more than play the same 100 standards of the genre that I've heard over and over again seem to be few and far between.

But that's contextual pleasure. The song itself is basically an overlong mish-mash of sitary drone and half-assed Oedipalism. But again just my opinion.

Well, true. On the other hand, as an example of psychedelia it stands a bit better than "In a gadda da vida." It's not a favorite of mine but I would not throw it in the "worst" category.

But back to bad songs that seem to get too much attention. Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk." I've never been fond of Buckingham's tendency to write his libido into songs but the only thing that seems to carry this one is the novelty of a brass band repeating the same line over and over again. Whoo hoo, take the same three half-dozen measures and repeat about a dozen too many times.

I was showing this list to my partner who suggested that every rock & roll song that involves a band member on road tour obsessing over barely legal local groupie should be placed on the list. (With the possible exception of Zappa's "Jazz Discharge Party Hats" which goes into wonderful comical detail about how pathetic musicians can be on tour.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:59 PM on April 23, 2004



I was showing this list to my partner who suggested that every rock & roll song that involves a band member on road tour obsessing over barely legal local groupie should be placed on the list. (With the possible exception of Zappa's "Jazz Discharge Party Hats" which goes into wonderful comical detail about how pathetic musicians can be on tour.)


*Sends out plea for King Crimson's "Ladies of the Road" to be taken into consideration as well*
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:13 PM on April 23, 2004


Cotton Eyed Joe Rednex ... 1995

Oh, I just noticed this one. I love that song, but only because I saw a great skating routine performed to it. Really, it was that good. Another example of "contextual pleasure" I guess.

If I were making the list I would put all the versions (that I have ever heard) of "spirit in the sky" on it. I just can't stand that song for some random reason.
posted by milovoo at 10:36 PM on April 23, 2004


jonmc -- THANK YOU for that link which led me to the Ultra-Lounge series.
posted by davidmsc at 10:57 PM on April 23, 2004


JonMC,

The End is still a song I dig on, it reminds me a certain time of my life, like a good portion of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Grateful Dead and Bob Marley.

Sure, my tastes have changed and expanded over the years. The best thing about downloadable music is that you can find amazing rare tracks. What I listen to now wouldn't make anyone else's top 100 list but I like it and really, when you get right down to it, that's what's important about music. Finding what you like.

Right now its Cheb Mami & Aswad singing The Best Times of Our Lives but I've also really been into Mint Royale's Show Me.
posted by fenriq at 11:12 PM on April 23, 2004


Rapping boy band LFO's "(I wanna) Sex You Up" is surely worse than Color Me Badd's, not because I've even heard the latter, but because I can't cope with the idea of anything much worse than the former.
posted by abcde at 11:26 PM on April 23, 2004


You know, I don't hate I'm too Sexy at all. I'm not a camp fan at all, but it's, y'know, it's campy, in an unoffensive way. It's short, very distinct, and doesn't at all pretend to be profound (it was by some accounts written in resentment from Fairbrass' former girlfriend, who was a model).
posted by abcde at 11:35 PM on April 23, 2004


"We Built This City" is the most memorable contemporary rock song of my childhood. I was only 8 years old when it came out...
posted by Onanist at 1:02 AM on April 24, 2004


50 terrible songs and no one mentions Wind of change by the Scorpions? What's wrong with you people?

The wind of change
Blows straight into the face of time
Like a stormwind that
will ring the freedom bell
For peace of mind
Let your balalaika sing
What my guitar wants to say


Well take your guitar and stick it where yr mullet don't shine. Or something.

And what's wrong with the sound of silence, especially the original version?
posted by ciderwoman at 3:05 AM on April 24, 2004


david, trust me, the Las Vegas Grind series is even better.

To whoever brought up LFO: I'd have to say that "Summer Girls" and "Girl On TV" would definitely rank with the worst ever. They actually make me violently ill.

and I actually like both "Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida" (which was really more proto-metal than psychedelia) and "Winds Of Change" since I can appreciate that the song was heartfelt (it was a German band singing about the Berlin Wall.
posted by jonmc at 9:18 AM on April 24, 2004


Startrekking had to be the worst No. 1 song ever.
posted by seanyboy at 10:25 AM on April 24, 2004


And what's wrong with the sound of silence, especially the original version?

According to the article, pretentious overwrought lyrics.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:33 AM on April 24, 2004


Faze is in his 50's, at least, and rather bitter in his assessments in general. He once referred to Yoko Ono as a prostitute here.

Thanks for the head's up, y2k. After an astute comment like that, I must humbly offer my most sincere apologies.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:51 PM on April 24, 2004


All right, all right, I'll play. *hands outstretched, quiets the clamoring throng* The absolute worst song of all time is:

Supertramp - Logical Song

Can't really explain it in terms of group - I enjoyed just about all of Supertramp's other hits - but this song is just so fucking godawful it must be called out.

OK, so I was 17 or so when it came out. Thing is, the main message behind the song was one I was at that moment perfectly primed to get behind - that we kill the essence of great unexplainable things by trying to put them in conventional, "logical" terms - but I simply cannot abide that whiny, look-at-me-pity-me delivery of the vocal in this song. It turned me against everything spontaneous and miraculous and in favor of the clinically logical just to spite it. It should have been banned early and often.

Oh yeah, and anything other than "I Don't Wanna Know" by REO Speedwagon.
posted by soyjoy at 8:41 PM on April 24, 2004


Songs suck when they are overplayed. That is all these songs have in common. I used to like a of them, when they first came out.
posted by Recockulous at 9:23 PM on April 24, 2004


I like "The End", and yes, it's contextual. I think the song is crap for the same reasons that jonmc does, but it so perfectly fits in the beginning of "Apocalypse Now" that I have to give it a pass.

never buy records for irony

Oh, so Jon, does that mean you don't want to listen to my newly burned copy of this?

Your loss, I'm tellin' ya...
posted by Vidiot at 6:58 PM on April 25, 2004


I've got the issue of Blender -- (I didn't pay for it; it's too braindead.)

I stopped reading when they listed S&G's "Sounds of Silence" as #42. "From the terrible opening line in which darkness is addressed as 'my old friend'..."

Well kiddies, you may find the song irrelevent, but *in it's time* it was highly relevent and highly respected and prophetically meaningful. I mean gosh, try listening to the Ohio Players? "Yummy yummy yummy I've got love in my tummy" is better ???? And too, 40 years of lyrics have passed by since then. *Consider the times.*

True that Simon tended to be preachy in more than a few of his lyrics. But the overall ambience of the song was chilling then and still is. I mean the song deserves respect just for the single line "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls...."

Clue for ya more: There are at least several hundred thousand people who'd rate Zager and Evans "In The Year 2525" as *much much much much much much much* worse.

If you *do* buy the magazine, be sure to enjoy the picture of Gerardo on page 90. Ojala.
posted by Twang at 12:41 AM on April 26, 2004


Anyone want to start a thread on the 10 Worst Music Magazines of All Time?

As Horshack said "Oooo ooo ooo ooo ooo !!!!!!!"

Ooops. Anyone remember Horshack?
posted by Twang at 12:49 AM on April 26, 2004


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