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It's like 10 000 spoons when all you need is a knife
July 21, 2006 3:55 AM   Subscribe


 
sometimes "inscrutable" is just a polite way of saying "not very good."

story of my life
posted by Meatbomb at 4:05 AM on July 21, 2006


they missed out duran duran: "it means so much to me Like a birthday or a pretty view" or even "You’re about as easy as a nuclear war"
posted by handee at 4:07 AM on July 21, 2006


"...plants and birds and rocks and things"

But it's a *great* album by the Loud Family.

"In this ever changing world in which we live in."
posted by parki at 4:09 AM on July 21, 2006




They forgot:

Hotblooded check it and see
I've got a fever burnin' inside of me
C'mon baby, do you do more than dance?
I'm hotblooded
I'm hotblooded

-Foreigner
posted by MrBaliHai at 4:35 AM on July 21, 2006


I'm sorta glad that when I listen to music I'm always focussed on the tune rather than the words. Some lyrics really are god-awful and ham fisted, but so is a lot of music criticism criticism.

Now I'm gonna go download me some Spice Girls. Excellent house-cleaning music, I think.
posted by persona non grata at 4:46 AM on July 21, 2006


Yyyyeeeaaaahhhhhhh! Oh~kaye!

Of course, one could argue, anything issued from Lil' Jon's mouth does not constitute something remotely lyrical and therefore, would be exempt from such a list.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 4:49 AM on July 21, 2006


I know you've gotta make allowances for the fact that the authors are trying to be fashionably indie-snarky and all that but while there ARE some classic examples in there, many are "bad" simply because they're taken out of context. That's an easy way to make almost any lyrics sound ridiculous.

Having said that, any lyricist who uses the phrase "like a knife" (following "life", "wife" etc.) deserves to be forced to write down all of the Spice Girls' lyrics 100 times.
posted by NeonSurge at 4:53 AM on July 21, 2006


Couldn't this have been written with at least some degree of wit and intelligence? I mean, if you're gonna take the piss out of a target as easy as Warrant's "Cherry Pie", then you ought to come up with something better than :

the reason most people don't swing? Because they're too busy bitching. Makes sense to us.

Must try harder.
posted by bunglin jones at 4:57 AM on July 21, 2006


Who is Relient K, and why does he think the sun rises in the west? Or does he just happen to be in that very small bend of Panama where the Pacific curls up to the east?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:07 AM on July 21, 2006


I believe that the worst lyrics of all time are, unfortunately, by my favourite artist of all time, Prince. From his song Girl:

Caress the flower
Warm, warm
Bring it to the garden
The garden
Be poetic
Tell me what it feels like...
A sea of electricity?


It's the 'be poetic' line and what follows that really tips this lyric from merely awful to so fucking awful you wish you didn't have ears, or at least didn't speak English. Hardly unique, either: Ronnie Talk To Russia is another contender.
posted by jack_mo at 5:07 AM on July 21, 2006


"He could throw that speed ball by you / make you look like a fool"

I had always wondered how a good ole All-American blue collar guy like the Boss could blow a basic baseball term. This is a good catch.

"Someone left the cake out in the rain/I don't think I could take it, `cause it took so long to bake it/And I'll never have that recipe again, oh no!"

They're all wet here. This is obviously a metaphor for how the Mideast peace process unravelled after the promise of the 1979 Camp David Accords.
posted by psmealey at 5:09 AM on July 21, 2006


How can they leave out my favorite, Lenny Kravitz?

I wish that I could fly
Into the sky
So very high
Just like a dragonfly
I'd fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please
Oh I want to get away
I want to fly away
Yeah yeah yeah
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 5:11 AM on July 21, 2006


The one that has gets under my skin more than anything else I can think of is from that blech song by Seven Mary Three from about ten years ago:

"No, no, no, no, no, no, yeah."
posted by deadcowdan at 5:15 AM on July 21, 2006


They chose an R. Kelly track and it wasn't the one about the midget? WTF?
posted by dobbs at 5:17 AM on July 21, 2006


What, no Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap?

I'm as serious as cancer
When I tell you rhythm is a dancer

posted by greycap at 5:20 AM on July 21, 2006


I think you can find "bad" lyrics in practically any song. I suspect thats because a word or phrase is occasionally needed to fit the melody.

It's hard to pick just one song from one artiste, so I have to say practically every song from Squeeze has bad lyrics, but they're fun.

ergo...

Hes not into miracles
Sees life all too cynical
The cat has got his tongue
Now she bangs on his drum
He says pull the other one
Bells ring, look what you have done
Emotions leaking out
Her paints all over town

posted by SteveInMaine at 5:21 AM on July 21, 2006


Nope. No good. Can't have a "Worst Lyrics" without the most unwieldy rap bridge of all time:

Too hot to handle, too cold to hold.
They call the Ghostbusters and they're in control.
Had them throwing a party for a bunch of children.
When all the while, the slime was under the building.
So they packed up, regrouped, got a grip, camera quick.
Grabbed their proton packs on their backs and they split.
Found out about Vigo, the master of evil.
Try to battle my boys, that's not legal.


-- "On Our Own," Bobby Brown
posted by grabbingsand at 5:21 AM on July 21, 2006


Oh and I second terspichoria - make myself a piece of toast, etc.... oh good grief, Desree.
posted by greycap at 5:21 AM on July 21, 2006


Excellent title.

That song should at least have made the top 5.
posted by beno at 5:24 AM on July 21, 2006


Hey, Lazlo, that sounds familiar...

Your sandy hair floats in the air... To me it's like a lullaby... I'm just flying by... Oh so high... like a kite... tied to a skate...

What always bugged me most about the Live & Let Die lyric was that it would have been so simple just so say, "but if this ever-changing world in which we're livin'/Makes you give in and cry..." Come on, man, you wrote For No One, She's Leaving Home, Eleanor Rigby, probably more of the Beatles songs with great lyrics than John. What happened there?
posted by ibmcginty at 5:25 AM on July 21, 2006


As an atheist who went to Church last Sunday to attend the dedication service of a friend's newborn baby I ask... dose this list of terrible lyrics take into account the songs they sing there? Because pardon the pun, the lyrics there were god-awful. Repetitive, boring and just plain dire.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:28 AM on July 21, 2006


Oh, no way, SteveInMaine, how can you not like Squeeze lyrics? I'm invited in for coffee and I give the dog a bone? Late evenings by the fire and little kicks inside her? Then they discovered my shipment of Maroccan, and said 'excuse me, sir, there's something you've forgotten'? We stayed in by the telly although the room was smelly?

I mean, they have some lousy ones-- Some Americans is cringe-inducing all the way through-- but on the whole they're lots of fun.

Oh, and what about Hot in Here by Nelly? "It's gettin hot in here/So take off all your clothes/It is gettin so hot/I'm gon' take my clothes off." It's an assault on the very idea of wit.
posted by ibmcginty at 5:29 AM on July 21, 2006


Great idea for a post. Makes me wish I had saved my old list of crappiest and awesomest lyrics from when I was 16.

Or, upon further reflection, not so much.
posted by grubi at 5:30 AM on July 21, 2006


What happened there?

Well, he didn't have John to tell him how lame his lyrics were anymore, and to help fix them. I have a very hard time believing that McCartney wrote the lyrics to "She's Leaving Home" and "Eleanor Rigby" all by himself. McCartney was a fantastic musician, performer (listen to "Oh! Darling" for proof) and composer, but anything that was lyrically complex and/or a little bit dark, that was all Lennon. It's true that they both sketched their songs out alone, but they did a fair amount of give and take (George Martin also had a huge influence) when they brought them into the studio.
posted by psmealey at 5:37 AM on July 21, 2006


THE SONG: Spice Girls, “Wannabe”
THE LYRIC: "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends”
THE VERDICT: Okay, no guy is going to say no to that (as long as Gerri turns the lights off).


Now, who in their right mind would ask her to do that?
posted by bradth27 at 5:38 AM on July 21, 2006


Someone's knocking at the door
Someone's ringing the bell
Someone's knocking at the door
Someone's ringing the bell
Do me a favor
Open the door and let 'em in



(Even the greats just phone it in, sometimes)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:39 AM on July 21, 2006


They forgot pretty much everything from Nickelback.

Look at this photograph
Everytime I do it makes me laugh
How did our eyes get so red
And what the hell is on Joey's head


::: screams in rage :::
posted by tastybrains at 5:43 AM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


I guess the authors couldn't figure out that the lyrics they quoted for Rush's Xanadu were taken more or less directly from one of the better-known poems of the Romantic era (Coleridge's "Kubla Khan").
posted by clevershark at 5:45 AM on July 21, 2006


ibmcginty -- what you're failing to understand about the chorus of "hot in Herre" is that Nelly is actually using the old Jedi mind trick on the lady.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:46 AM on July 21, 2006


I don't want to see a ghost, it's the sight that I fear most, I'd rather have a piece of toast and watch the evening news.
posted by randomination at 5:47 AM on July 21, 2006


It may be a better-known poem from the Romantic era, but that doesn't make them good lyrics. Bleargh!
posted by grubi at 5:48 AM on July 21, 2006


No, I'm guessing they knew the Rush lyrics were a reference to Coleridge and thought it was pretentious and wanky.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 5:50 AM on July 21, 2006


I was expecting every NIN song.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 5:54 AM on July 21, 2006


I'm happy they pointed out the Spice Girls' Wannabe weirdness. When it came out I kept trying to convince my parents and friends of what it really meant; they all assumed it was something more innocent. Nearly 10 years later: validation!
posted by kdar at 5:56 AM on July 21, 2006


"I am," I said
To no one there
An no one heard at all
Not even the chair


>> Neil Diamond, "I am . . . I said"

Those are the lyrics as published all over the 'net. But I always heard it as

"I am," I said
And no one seemed to care
Not even the chair

posted by swlabr at 5:58 AM on July 21, 2006


I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love


- "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning", Alan Jackson
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:58 AM on July 21, 2006


I hates me some unoriginal rhymes, but it's really about how you use the words, y'know?
Dylan uses done/Highway 61 three times, for example, and The Magnetic Fields' "Yeah Oh Yeah" does the life/knife/wife thing, but both are so goldarn great that they can get away with it.

On the other hand, what Lazlo Hollyfeld said. Lenny Kravitz could find a cure for cancer while rescuing me from an overturned SUV and I still wouldn't be able to forgive him for that song. I've always suspected that the "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" at the end is just an extra fuck-you-slap-in-the-face response to anyone who hears the song for the first time and is thinking, "Holy shit, he can't be friggin' serious!".


MacArthur Park? In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)?
Clearly these people don't appreciate brilliance.

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:02 AM on July 21, 2006


Niel Peart wrote what is, for my money, one of the funniest lyrics ever:

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas


Bad lyrics are fun when the song or band is fun (Ramones, Jonathan Richman), but when the artist is deathly serious bad lyrics can be painful.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:04 AM on July 21, 2006


Obviously you've never spent time in a tree nursery, Slack-a-gogo, otherwise you'd know that Oak trees (They insist that I capitalize it) are indeed a gang of assholes.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:07 AM on July 21, 2006


Seriously? They manage to include America's "Horse With No Name," but miss the all-time worst lyric ever written?

'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain

(Of course there's probably also Rick Springfield's Jessie's Girl:
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

Are you kidding?! 'cute' doesn't even rhyme with 'moot'.)
posted by Eldritch at 6:08 AM on July 21, 2006


.... and the trees were all kept equal by hatchet,... axe... and saw.

I was expecting every NIN song.

Head like a hole, black as your soul, I'd rather die than give you control...

Yeah, that's about right. I guess if you put some driving beats and grinding guitars behind even the most juvenile of lyrics, it can end up sounding dark, twisted and angry. Though the same can be said for Led Zeppelin, ACDC, and so on.

Let's face it though, other than who... Lou Reed? Arlo Guthrie? John Wesley Harding? Bob Dylan? Very few pop music lyrics can stand by itself as good poetry.
posted by psmealey at 6:15 AM on July 21, 2006


Ladies and Gentlemen I give you....Puff Daddy

Tell me lies, time flies
Close your eyes, come with me


Or

You said to trust you, you'd never hurt me
Now, I'm disgusted, since then adjusted
Certainly, you fooled me, ridiculed me
Left me hangin', now shit's boomerangin'


or

And I don't wanna let you leave
Can't say I didn't let you breathe
Gave you extra G's (c'mon), put you in the SUV
You wanted ice so I made you freeze
Made you hot like the West Indies (that's right)
Now it's time you invest in me
Cause if not then it's best you leave


...good grief!
posted by TwoWordReview at 6:16 AM on July 21, 2006


THE SONG: America, "A Horse With No Name"
THE LYRIC: "There were plants and birds and rocks and things"


Bad, admittedly. But surely not as bad as "the heat was hot".

Now I hate that group with a passion, but to give them some credit, they were at least trying. Lyrics are tough.

Among the other losers, I'm guessing, hoping, the composers were simply filling in space with nonsense that scanned. Scat singing, almost, and I do mean that to be taken both ways. Cf Yesterday, which began life as Scrambled Eggs.

Clearly, the truly bad never finished breakfast.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:16 AM on July 21, 2006


Lazlo Hollyfeld writes "No, I'm guessing they knew the Rush lyrics were a reference to Coleridge and thought it was pretentious and wanky.

You're giving them a lot of credit. Remember, they're music critics.
posted by clevershark at 6:20 AM on July 21, 2006


Actually any bad lyrics list that doesn't include "Fitty"'s "in da club" isn't worth jack.
posted by clevershark at 6:22 AM on July 21, 2006


That Drops of Jupiter song by Train is totally terrible.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:24 AM on July 21, 2006


I'm afraid of the dark,
especially when I'm in a park

Des'ree
posted by biffa at 6:24 AM on July 21, 2006


The Red Hot Chili Peppers have so many bad lyrics it would take a day to track them all down, but the absolute worst might by from Green Heaven, which appeared on one of their earlier albums: (emphasis added for the really bad parts)


Diviner than the dolphin, that there is none
'cause dolphins just-a like to have a lot of fun
No one tells 'em how their life is run
And no one points at them with a gun
They have a lot of love for every living creature
The smile of a dolphin is a built in feature
They be movin' in schools but everyone's the teacher
Someday mister dolphin, I know I'm go'n to meet you


The best part is that Anthony Kiedis rhymes "teacher" with "meet you" by pronouncing the second word as "meetcha."
posted by Mid at 6:26 AM on July 21, 2006


I listen to a lot of prog and they really blew it by just going after Peart and Gabriel. I'm not sure Genesis should be singled out for a few of Gabriel's excessive moments when you consider the lyrical abilities of Yes's Jon Anderson:

The muses dance and sing
They make the children really ring
I'll spend the day your way
Call it morning driving thru the sound and
In and out the valley.....

In and around the lake
Mountains come out of the sky
and they Stand there
One mile over we'll be there and we'll see you
Ten true summers we'll be there and
Laughing too
Twenty four before my love you'll see I'll be
There with you

posted by Ber at 6:28 AM on July 21, 2006


Why is that milkshake song not on the list?
posted by casarkos at 6:29 AM on July 21, 2006


Also, I'm always irritated when a songwriter simply repeats a word in order to make a rhyme, as in the Beastie Boys' Pass the Mic:

Everybody's rapping like it's a Commercial /
Actin' like life is a big commercial
posted by Mid at 6:29 AM on July 21, 2006


I don't like cities, but I like New York.
Other places make me feel like a dork.

--Madonna, "I Love New York"
posted by Prospero at 6:30 AM on July 21, 2006


The 2nd one on the list is overtly nonsense, so calling it out for being nonsense is pretty meta.
posted by cillit bang at 6:31 AM on July 21, 2006


And then there's this one:

We got two strong hearts
We stick together like the honey and the bee


Honey is bee vomit.

And if you want to go torture yourself, that was from "Two Strong Hearts" by John Farnham.
posted by orange swan at 6:35 AM on July 21, 2006


I have long since thought that George Harrison's "I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping"
is about as bad as it gets. I do agree though, that many, many songs mentioned above are terrible too.
posted by Richat at 6:35 AM on July 21, 2006


Anyone looking for lyrical cleverness shouldn't listen to AC/DC. Still, one of my favorite "bad" lyrics:

Cover you in oil
Cover you in oil
Let me cover you in oil
I wanna cover you in oil
I'm gonna cover you in oil
Cover you in oil
Let me cover you in oil
Cover you in oil
Cover you....in...oil

From the song "Cover You in Oil"
posted by Kronoss at 6:37 AM on July 21, 2006 [5 favorites]


parki, I thought you were wrong, beause I always hear it as, "In this ever changing world in which we're living," but it turns out I'm the one mishearing it.
I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden

Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
Twice on the pipe, if the answer is no
Knock three times if I'm the one you wanna see
Twice on the pipe, if you ain't gonna show
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:37 AM on July 21, 2006


Fly, robin, fly.
posted by Wolof at 6:42 AM on July 21, 2006


Oh man, I don't know. Khia's "My Neck, My Back" is a combination of mindnumbingly stupid and gross as hell.
posted by mckenney at 6:48 AM on July 21, 2006


Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
You don't have to go oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
You don't have to go oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
You don't have to go

Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, aye
All those tears I cry ay, ay, ay, ay, ay
Ooh those tears I cry ay, ay
Baby,
Please,
Don't go oh

posted by psmealey at 6:51 AM on July 21, 2006


First date story. After dinner we went bar hopping, ended up in a little place just off State. We snuggled into a little table. Then I noticed the music. "Horse With No Name."
"I hate America." I said "Worst lyrics ever."
She said: "I'll ask him to change it."
I said: "No, it'll be over soon."
The next song was "Ventura Highway."
They were playing the "Best Of..." CD.
She got up, flirted with the bartender for a moment, and came back to the table.
"I took care of that for you."
"Thanks."
That's when "Inna Gadda Da Vida" started....

I knew it then. She's a keeper.
posted by Floydd at 6:52 AM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


""It's gettin hot in here/So take off all your clothes/It is gettin so hot/I'm gon' take my clothes off.""

No, you've confused "stupid" with "stupid genius." Nelly makes this exhortation and then the girls actually do take off their clothes. I remember when this song came out and I was in a sweaty Nashville club and it was like some sort of group hypnosis.

Most lyrics are stupid. Even things like "Come Together," which I both really like and realize has an extra-textual explanation, are totally retarded if looked at on a page.

But the real problem with lists like this is that it's much easier to come up with shitty lyrics than it is to come up with great ones. Working as a local music critic has made me pretty much ignore any lyric unless it's brilliant and makes me notice, because I see such a goddamned raft of shitty lyrics.
(I just got sent a promo which started off with "If this van's a rockin', don't come a knockin'," and immediately pitched the album in the trash).
posted by klangklangston at 6:56 AM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Your least favorite band doesn't suck"?
posted by Herr Fahrstuhl at 6:57 AM on July 21, 2006


Ain't no reason to be hatin' on "Cherry Pie." I mean, if you've never seen the video and therefore don't have a Bobbie Brown happy-place to flake into whenever you hear it I'd understand, but geez...

(And if Van Halen's "Summer Nights" is the best example you can come up with then looking for the obligatory We're Trying To Score With Indie Chicks By Showing How Much We Care About The Plight of Women [Even Thought We're Really Just Hoping To Get Laid] then you're not trying very hard.) (Not that Hagar, of whom I am a huge fan, hasn't written a few lame-ass lyrics over the years. But I tend to treat the singer as just another instrument in most songs. I don't really care what he/she is saying, I just care how it sounds when they sing it.)

And did you know that Wikipedia has a entry for songs about body parts? I didn't.
posted by Cyrano at 6:57 AM on July 21, 2006


"Cuts like a knife". Anyone using that fatuous, lazy cliche should be publicly disembowelled. Slowly.
posted by Decani at 6:58 AM on July 21, 2006


But it feels so right!
posted by Cyrano at 7:02 AM on July 21, 2006


Here's a laughable sample from the Turtles' bubblegum pop hit, "Elenore":

Elenore, gee I think you're swell
And you really do me well
You're my pride and joy, et cet'ra
Elenore, can I take the time
To ask you to speak your mind
Tell me that you love me bettah


Yes, that's right. "Et cetera" and "better" rhyme now.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:03 AM on July 21, 2006


i've got a couple of lyrics that drive me up a wall every time i hear them, which is fairly often ... journey, "don't stop believing"

born and raised in south detroit

look, it's downriver or upriver, west or east, but south detroit would be windsor, which is in another country, guys

and sammy hagar, "your love is driving me crazy"

hot sweet cherries on the vine

no, sammy, cherries grow on trees ... if you'd drive 55 once in awhile, you might be able to talk about the scenery intelligently
posted by pyramid termite at 7:10 AM on July 21, 2006


faint of butt ... that turtles song was meant as parody ... not that it stopped them from having a hit with it
posted by pyramid termite at 7:11 AM on July 21, 2006


Klangklangston is exactly right (again). On a related topic, one of my all time favorite lyricists is Morrissey, because he's so bloody pretentious and his constructions are so awkward, yet somehow it all works.

Rush isn't pretentious; they are geeks. They quote and paraphrase the actual texts of Coleridge, Orwell and Rand. Morrissey is pretentious not because he quotes Keats, Yeats, Wilde and Byron, but because he talks about quoting them, and never gets around to it, because, we suspect, he's never really read them.
posted by psmealey at 7:14 AM on July 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


You know, it's a given that "My Humps" is the worst song of all time. However, yesterday, I had the misfortune to hear the second-worst, "Beep," by the Pussycat Dolls.

--Excerpt--
It's funny how a man only thinks about the... (beep)
You got a real big heart, but I'm looking your... (beep)
You got real big brains, but I'm looking at your... (beep)
Girl, there ain't no pain in me looking at your... (beep)

--Excerpt--

I later found out that this "song" features one of the members of the Black Eyed Peas, the "band" that purpetrated "My Humps."

The Black Eyed Peas are now, officially, the most detestable band in popular music.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:20 AM on July 21, 2006


My nomination from the musical theatre genre: from Sondheim's Company the duet 'Barcelona': (I consider this a blackhole in the show since the other songs are so tight and well-written)

Where ya goin?
Barcelona.
Oh.

...

Now you're angry?
No I'm not.
Yes you are.
No I'm not.

(full lyrics)
posted by ao4047 at 7:22 AM on July 21, 2006


no, sammy, cherries grow on trees ... if you'd drive 55 once in awhile, you might be able to talk about the scenery intelligently

Sheryl Crow needs to hear that speech as well, because of her "apples on the vine" line from "You Don't Bring Me Anything But Down".
posted by orange swan at 7:25 AM on July 21, 2006


ring-a-ding ding
my dick tastes better than Burger King


FTW, IMO.
posted by sourwookie at 7:26 AM on July 21, 2006


Well, I'll be darned. pyramid termite, I did not know that.

This manifested itself initially when Howard, in a fit of disgust, wrote the mocking "Elenore," that became a huge hit because record buyers responded to the sincerity of his voice rather than really reading into the tongue-in-cheek lyrics. [TheTurtles.com]
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:26 AM on July 21, 2006


I'm an Alanis Morissette fan, but I'm still surprised that she seems to have gotten off scott free here.

"Of All Time"? In general the people who made the list really didn't try very hard. I know everyone who reads one of these lists thinks, "I could have made a better one," but in this case it's obvious that anyone really could have.
posted by hermitosis at 7:28 AM on July 21, 2006


I'm an Alanis Morissette fan, but I'm still surprised that she seems to have gotten off scott free here.

Except in the title, I mean :) And that line barely scratches the surface.
posted by hermitosis at 7:29 AM on July 21, 2006


Even though I know
I don’t want to know
Yeah I guess I know
I just hate how it sounds


From "One Thing," by Finger Eleven. I wanted to drive my car off the road every time I heard those plodding humorless lyrics.
posted by Iridic at 7:30 AM on July 21, 2006


So "You Gots to Chill" cause I "Kill at Will"
like solid water dude; y'all n****** don't get it
"Kill at Will," solid water? Ice Cube
Ha ha, that's how hip-hop has evolved


To make the bad pun and then immediately point it out? Lay-z.
posted by Beefheart at 7:33 AM on July 21, 2006


Google Cache

I couldn't get the link to load.
posted by clubfoote at 7:38 AM on July 21, 2006


I tell myself,
"Hey! Only fools rush in" an' only
Time will tell
If we stand the test of time

posted by crumbly at 7:42 AM on July 21, 2006


Eldritch, I'm curious. In what way does "moot" not rhyme with "cute"? They rhyme in my dialect, and according to dictionary.com.

Which is not to disagree that that's an awful lyric.
posted by Turd Ferguson at 7:44 AM on July 21, 2006


I was hoping to see The Thong Song:

She had dumps like a truck truck truck/ Thighs like what what what/ Baby move your butt butt butt/ Uh/ I think to sing it again (repeat) Gah.
posted by wzcx at 7:44 AM on July 21, 2006


The apex of bad lyrics: Creed, What's This Life For
I see your soul, its kinda grey
You see my heart, you look away
You see my wrist, I know your pain
I know your purpose on your plane

Don't say a last prayer
Because you could never find

What's this life for
What's this life for
What's this life for
What's this life for
Bad grammar chorus and title, sung as seriously as Scott Stapp could muster, capped off with this pseudo-Christian band using "god damn" in their lyrics ("don't have to settle no god damn score").

Oh yeah...they'll take the Lord's name in vain. Just went ahead and did it. They're dangerous like that. They're serious.

Ugh.

btw...a vast proportion of bad lyrics are overly serious, unimaginative lyricists abusing the word "soul". If a lyric contains the word "soul", the song has an 85% or better chance of sucking. Using "soul" in the title of the song yields a 92% or better suckage rate. If a band name has "soul" in it and they're not signed to Motown, it has a 98% chance of sucking. I can produce charts if anyone's interested.
posted by edverb at 7:51 AM on July 21, 2006


Hope I am not alone when I think, disco = bad lyrics.
posted by winks007 at 7:58 AM on July 21, 2006


abra, abracadabra
I wanna reach out and grab ya.
posted by machaus at 8:01 AM on July 21, 2006


I keep holding out hope that "Horse With No Name" was some sort of allegorical reference to heroin withdrawal ("Horse," geddit?). Otherwise, whaaaa?

And what earthly purpose was served by "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"? "I had another look and I had a cup of tea and butter pie/(The butter wouldn't melt so I put it in the pie)"? What. The. CHRIST. PAUL?

Hope I am not alone when I think, disco = bad lyrics.

SACRILEGE. ("We're gonna boogie-oogie-oogie till we just can't boogie no more.")

<earworm>
Uh huh uh huh uh huh
Da da da
Da da da
Da da da
Da da da
.
.
.

posted by hangashore at 8:02 AM on July 21, 2006


Eldritch, I'm curious. In what way does "moot" not rhyme with "cute"? They rhyme in my dialect, and according to dictionary.com.

"Cute" rhymes better with "mute", but I wouldn't say that "cute" and "moot" don't rhyme.
posted by interrobang at 8:03 AM on July 21, 2006


This is a joy. I have to say that I agree with Klangklangston -most lyrics are shit. Oh yes and I'm also with afroblanco, I loathe and despise the Black Eyed Peas with equal measure, so much so that it might have to come to fisticuffs. They're the essence of shit. Still, having said that, discussing lyrical failings is truly mirthful.
posted by ob at 8:07 AM on July 21, 2006


This manifested itself initially when Howard, in a fit of disgust, wrote the mocking "Elenore," that became a huge hit because record buyers responded to the sincerity of his voice rather than really reading into the tongue-in-cheek lyrics

Noooooooo! I love that song! It's a perfect pop moment. I think the audience won that round, actually.

And this list is nothing without Rod Stewart, Tonight's the Night:

Let your inhibitions run wild.

Oh yeah. NOW she'll put out, you betcha.
posted by jokeefe at 8:08 AM on July 21, 2006


I doubt, however, that I'll ever meet the members of The Black Eyed Peas, so I'm sure that fisticuffs are really quite unlikely to ensue...
posted by ob at 8:09 AM on July 21, 2006


Yes, Springsteen's baseball gaffe is bad, but it's not as bad as Chuck Berry botching what could have been one of the all-time great stanzas:

2-3 the count, nobody on
he hit a high fly into the stands
rounding third and heading for home
it was the brown-eyed handsome man.
posted by argybarg at 8:09 AM on July 21, 2006


Rubber Bisuit!
posted by doctorschlock at 8:10 AM on July 21, 2006


ooops! Rubber Bisquit!
posted by doctorschlock at 8:10 AM on July 21, 2006


Hey, edverb, back in the day when I was in high school, we tried to keep the pre-emo crap out of the literary magazine by giving submissions a -50 if they used the word soul or dark in the first few lines.

My partner and I recently applied this to a HIM album and the entire record would have been thrown out, based on those qualifications.

I was also listening to System of a Down while driving today...I mean, I know some of them are supposed to be ironically bad, but some of them just suck.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:10 AM on July 21, 2006


Turd Ferguson- I suppose it's just a difference of opinion. But the U sound from cute is not the same one as in moot. Some googling turns up "partial rhyme" or "near-rhyme" or "off-rhyme" and several other terms for an awkward choice of words that don't quite match right. I was just going by the fact that the vowel sounds are different, and every time I hear that lyric, I think "That doesn't sound right."
posted by Eldritch at 8:15 AM on July 21, 2006


I was hoping to see The Thong Song:

She had dumps like a truck truck truck/ Thighs like what what what/ Baby move your butt butt butt/ Uh/ I think to sing it again (repeat) Gah.


I dunno, I haven't been nearly as offended by that particular bit of asshattery in lyrics ever since Will Ferrell did his Robert Goulet skit with it on SNL... now I just burst out laughing every time I hear the original.

I'm holding out hope that he'll come back to guest host or something, and reprise the role with that godforsaken Black Eyed Peas travesty.
posted by Mayor West at 8:16 AM on July 21, 2006


cobaltnine writes "I mean, I know some of them are supposed to be ironically bad, but some of them just suck."

I blame the hipster-influenced world we live in.
posted by clevershark at 8:17 AM on July 21, 2006


you mean "in which we live in"
posted by mr.marx at 8:21 AM on July 21, 2006


If a band name has "soul" in it and they're not signed to Motown, it has a 98% chance of sucking. I can produce charts if anyone's interested.

Do these guys fall in the 2%?
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:21 AM on July 21, 2006


If a band name has "soul" in it and they're not signed to Motown, it has a 98% chance of sucking. I can produce charts if anyone's interested.

Do these guys fall in the 2%?
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:22 AM on July 21, 2006


This is going at it from the wrong angle.

I love me my poetry. Because of this, it's really hard for me to like most lyric music that is released today. It is all shit poetry.

The the top lyricists today are mediocre poets, at best. The very, very best musical lyricists today are generally just OK poets. If they weren't musicians, even the very best would not generally be remembered for their poetry.

So the correct angle on this lyrical analysis thing is to identify the fleetingly small group of music from the last seven decades or so that does not have complete shit lyrics.

That's a much easier task.

But, this is fun, so what the hell. I hate that line from the Counting Crows (blech!) song,

"She says she's thinking of jumpin'
she must be tired of sumpin'..."

Indeed, having to constantly use a sump pump would drive me to suicide, too. Argh! I hate artists that make mangled fake rhyme like this.

And that non sequitur "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" refrain is damn annoying, too.
posted by teece at 8:24 AM on July 21, 2006


"I suppose it's just a difference of opinion. But the U sound from cute is not the same one as in moot. Some googling turns up "partial rhyme" or "near-rhyme" or "off-rhyme" and several other terms for an awkward choice of words that don't quite match right. I was just going by the fact that the vowel sounds are different, and every time I hear that lyric, I think "That doesn't sound right.""

/kjut/ does rhyme with /mut/. /ju/ is a dipthong, but that doesn't meant that it doesn't rhyme unless you pronounce it /kʊt/ or something.
posted by klangklangston at 8:27 AM on July 21, 2006


My nominations?
"Every rose has its thorn/ every cowboy sings a sad sad song/" (he clearly meant "every rose has its thong").

And nearly every "poetic" instance of Jim Morrison's, along with Stairway to Heaven (I'll bustle your hedgrow!)
posted by klangklangston at 8:29 AM on July 21, 2006


Is it a coinkydink that America is responsible for both Horse With No Name and Muskrat Love (attributed to the Captain and Tenille)? I seriously doubt it.

And I can't believe they forgot Steve Miller's rhyming "taxes" with "what the facts is".
posted by tommasz at 8:29 AM on July 21, 2006


"Moot" and "cute" don't rhyme in my dialect. "Moot" is a simple vowel. "Cute" is diphthong.

Contrast "mute" and "moot:" those are not pronounced the same to me, for the same reason. "Cute" and "mute" share the same diphthong for me, "moot" has a different, non-diphthong vowel in it. Such rhymes, that trick your mind into trying to mispronounce a word, are generally considered very bad form in poetry.

So, if "moot", "mute," and "cute" are the same to you (are they?), may I ask, what's your dialect, Turd Ferguson?
posted by teece at 8:31 AM on July 21, 2006


I'd like to cast my vote for Eve6's "Inside Out."

would swallow my pride
I would choke on the rinds
but the lack thereof would leave me empty inside,


"Lack thereof" just shouldn't ever find its way into a serious, broken-heart sort of song. Not that I take this song seriously, mind you. But I figure Eve6 wanted me to.

Just that I know the it was intended to
swallow my doubt
turn it inside out
find nothing but faith in nothing
want to put my tender heart in a blender


A junior high garage band lyricist would be severely beaten if he tried to get his friends/bandmades to sing the lyric "tender heart in a blender." Now if we could just send Eve6 back to junior high...
posted by Clay201 at 8:32 AM on July 21, 2006


Oh yes, how could I have forgotten Jim Morrison? I saw a great review of The Doors American Poet album once. This guy was talking about how the rest of the band 'set' Jim's poetry to music after his demise, and then he said "Jim Morrison. American Poet... Well one of those words is true. He was definitely American". Whenever I hear a Morrison lyric I always think of that quote.
posted by ob at 8:34 AM on July 21, 2006


Only about half of these critiques are amusing (and accurate). The rest are unimaginative filler.

And yes... Black Eyed Peas must die. Fergie dancing in a short skirt is hot and all, but that's about all they got going for 'em.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:34 AM on July 21, 2006


"What the facts is" and "people's taxes" (from Steve Miller's "Take the Money and Run") is merely amusing in a dunderheaded, druggy way. It's not a worst-lyric candidate.
posted by blucevalo at 8:37 AM on July 21, 2006


Do these guys fall in the 2%?

No...and neither do these guys. But for every one that's good, there are 50 or more that are just bad.
posted by edverb at 8:37 AM on July 21, 2006


Actually, Black Eyed Peas must die, but Pussycat Dolls must die first.
posted by blucevalo at 8:37 AM on July 21, 2006


Tomasz, it's TEXAS, not taxes on the Steve Miller song.
Not that it helps the lyric in any form whatsoever.
posted by winks007 at 8:38 AM on July 21, 2006


Retract my last comment. Sorry Tomasz. My bad.
posted by winks007 at 8:40 AM on July 21, 2006


"Moot" and "cute" don't rhyme in my dialect. "Moot" is a simple vowel. "Cute" is diphthong.

In my dialect, "cute" has a consonant blend (ky), and no diphthong. Both words end with the same sound: "oot". Well, actually, in every dialect, since the Y sound in 'cute', just as in 'yellow' or 'yahoo', is a voiced consonant sound and not a vowel sound.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:42 AM on July 21, 2006


Great, now I have to retract my retraction.
Billy Mac is a detective down in TEAXAS,
You know he know just exactly what the facts is,
He ain't gonna let them two excape justice,
he makes his living off of the peoples taxes.
posted by winks007 at 8:42 AM on July 21, 2006


I still remember how revolted I was the time I listened to Jim Morrison's version of "Gloria". (I had previously only heard the Van Morrison version.) At one point Jim asks "Gloria" what grade she's in. I switched the radio off immediately. Dude, if you have to ask....
posted by orange swan at 8:44 AM on July 21, 2006


(I'll bustle your hedgrow!)

I'll Gwyneth your Paltrow!
posted by jonp72 at 8:44 AM on July 21, 2006


Wait...uh, yes. De La Soul is good. They don't fall into the 98% that suck, and neither do those other guys. I got confused, deep down in my soul.
posted by edverb at 8:45 AM on July 21, 2006


"And I can't believe they forgot Steve Miller's rhyming "taxes" with "what the facts is"."

Except that's awesome. Pompetus of love is the Miller thing you're looking for, though that does have a pretty cool backstory.

"Such rhymes, that trick your mind into trying to mispronounce a word, are generally considered very bad form in poetry. "

Tell it to Shakespeare. Or do you freak out every time "eye" is rhymed with "rye"?

The Eve6 heart/blender thing works because it's catchy, though the "lack thereof" is bullshit.

Got nothing on Seven Mary Three though. "Cumbersome" ran like a three-year-old who's just learned his first swearword and doesn't know how to use it.
posted by klangklangston at 8:49 AM on July 21, 2006


Is it a coinkydink that America is responsible for both Horse With No Name and Muskrat Love (attributed to the Captain and Tenille)? I seriously doubt it.
No, tommasz, "Muskrat Love" was written by Willis Alan Ramsey as "Muskrat Candlelight." His version is actually listenable and not near as corny.
posted by Floydd at 8:52 AM on July 21, 2006


Let's face it though, other than who... Lou Reed? Arlo Guthrie? John Wesley Harding? Bob Dylan? Very few pop music lyrics can stand by itself as good poetry.

About 50% of Paul Simon songs. Not his recent stuff though. And not this:

Wish I was a Kelogg's cornflake
floatin' in my bowl, takin' movies


Of course, with more recent music that I actually listen to, I'm leaning towards Vast, which is pretentious tripe, but this (from "Evil Little Girl") wins:

Take my heart and throw it in a fire
Your mother must have run a school
You were trained
to make me cry

posted by hoborg at 8:52 AM on July 21, 2006


I have to give it to Live, in no small part because they were so above-it-all:

Let's go hang out in a bar
It's not too far
We'll take my car

posted by jewzilla at 8:55 AM on July 21, 2006


Let's go hang out in a bar
It's not too far
We'll take my car
posted by jewzilla


The cat
Sat
On the mat
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:02 AM on July 21, 2006


I will say the incredibly dumb lyrics was what made me abandon Stabbing Westward after being a fan in my teenage years. Pretty much anything thing they wrote is dumber than fucking coke bottles.
posted by klangklangston at 9:03 AM on July 21, 2006


I really do hate that Milkshake song.

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard
And they're like
It's better than yours
Damn right
It's better than yours
I can teach you
But I'll have to charge


When you say "And they're like, <something>" you're quoting them. Does that mean that the boys actually said "It's better than yours" to Kelis? Whose were they saying was better? Why would they go to the yard for her milkshake, if there's someone else whose milkshake is better? Doesn't that contradict the whole thrust of the song?
posted by wilberforce at 9:03 AM on July 21, 2006


Also, I'm always irritated when a songwriter simply repeats a word in order to make a rhyme

Back when everyone was hailing Eminem as the Great White Rhyming Hope, I pointedly recited the refrain to "Without Me":

This looks like a job for me
So everyone just follow me
'Cause we need a little controver-sy
And it feels so empty without me

Lame lame lame lame lame.
posted by kittyprecious at 9:09 AM on July 21, 2006


"Late Lament" is nowhere near as stoopid as a lot of these, but it's so freaking earnest I can't help myself:

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one
Lonely man cries for love and has none
New mother picks up and suckles her son
Senior citizens wish they were young

Cold hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colours from our sight
Red is grey and yellow, white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion

Thank you, Moody Blues. Sometimes I like to recite this in a booming voice, just for fun. Try it!
posted by maryh at 9:11 AM on July 21, 2006


Well, actually, in every dialect, since the Y sound in 'cute', just as in 'yellow' or 'yahoo', is a voiced consonant sound and not a vowel sound.

They do not end in the same sound in my dialect (American English, Colorado), and I'll prove it to you with an oscilloscope if you'd like (well, OK, I don't have one, but they are not ending in the same sound in my dialect, I guarantee it. I have a very good ear for this stuff). They are different vowels: one simple (IPA [u], [mut]), the other not (IPA [ju], [kjut]). I was calling that a diphthong because I think of that [j] as a vowel, but it's not, technically ([j] after a vowel is a diphthong, not necessarily before). But in any event, putting the IPA [j] before the IPA [u] completely changes the vowel, the way I say it. [j] is a palatal voiced glide, and [u] is a closed central vowel, and combining the two in close proximity will make a different vowel, in essence.

In any event, it's not the same sound, and they do not rhyme. I've never heard anyone say them so that they would rhyme, so I'm curious what dialect of English you speak if they rhyme to you. To rhyme, the have to share the same ending, both in vowel and consonant, and they don't. The [u] that is in "cute" is completely changed by the [j], so as to not rhyme with the simple [u] in "moot."

"Mute" [mjut] and "moot" [mut] are not homophones to me, which shows pretty conclusively that "moot" is not the same vowel sound as "cute." (unless you artificially slow way down, and pronounce the [j] and the [u] separately, but I don't do that, I don't know anyone that does). Anyway, sorry for the pedantry.
posted by teece at 9:13 AM on July 21, 2006


To rhyme, the have to share the same ending, both in vowel and consonant, and they don't.

Cute
moot

Yes, they do.

And I don't know where you learned what a diphthong is, but you should try to get your money back.
posted by solid-one-love at 9:19 AM on July 21, 2006


"Yes! Cetera, you've done it again!"
posted by redsparkler at 9:21 AM on July 21, 2006


"There's a bathroom on the rise" by Credence Clearwater Revival. I never did get that. I mean, who cares, right? Has been driving all night and he needs to pee? What's the deal?
posted by luriete at 9:24 AM on July 21, 2006


Tomasz, it's TEXAS, not taxes on the Steve Miller song.

"He makes his livin' off of other people's Texas"?
posted by lodurr at 9:25 AM on July 21, 2006


The Black Eyed Peas are now, officially, the most detestable band in popular music.

Remember folks, second-hand Black-Eyed-Peas kills. Western Civilization.
posted by weston at 9:29 AM on July 21, 2006


Two words here are under dispute
whether "moot" rhymes nicely with "cute"
In spite of what you all say
at the end of the day
my advice to you both is: stand mute.
posted by Floydd at 9:32 AM on July 21, 2006 [3 favorites]


When you say "And they're like, " you're quoting them. Does that mean that the boys actually said "It's better than yours" to Kelis? Whose were they saying was better? Why would they go to the yard for her milkshake, if there's someone else whose milkshake is better? Doesn't that contradict the whole thrust of the song?

There was a Matt Yglesias post about this along time ago that was very funny. I can't find it now because he's moved sites.
posted by Mid at 9:35 AM on July 21, 2006


I'll admit to having a soft spot a mile wide for LFO's Summer Girls and R Kelly's Ignition (Remix). And I'm not alone :)
posted by Kattullus at 9:40 AM on July 21, 2006


the refrain to "Without Me":...

This illustrates ScaryBlackDeath's point: Most of the critiques here are shallow wankery. Y'all mostly wouldn't know good lyrics if they bit you on the ass. "Without Me" is funny, dammit. (It's even funnier as ragtime.) The matching end rhymes are a JOKE.
  1. Good lyrics are seldom good poetry, and for damn good reason. As an old musicology prof used to point out, they aren't meant to be heard without the music.
  2. Good poetry hardly ever makes a good lyric.
  3. As Jimmy Webb would readily point out, sometimes really egregious mistakes make for great lyrics. Viz: "And I need you more than want you / And I want you for all time / And the Wichita lineman / Is still on the line."
  4. "I don't like it" is not the same as "it sucks."
  5. Finally: Yes, the Black Eyed Peas must be stopped from recording again....
All that having been said:
Don't
Don't you want me
You know I can't believe it when they say that you won't see me
Then again, that's from the same mind that produced "The Black Hit of Space / Sucking in the human race..."
posted by lodurr at 9:40 AM on July 21, 2006


Speaking of Horse With No Name, have we done "For there ain't no one for to give you no fame" yet?

I mean, even when I was 11, and dutifully cutting out the Top Twenty chart of the paper every week to glue in my scrapbook, I knew that was all kinds of wrong.
posted by jokeefe at 9:42 AM on July 21, 2006


luriete: on the off chance that you're serious and not making a joke about the (relatively) well-known mondegreen - the title of the song (and the lyric) you're thinking of is Bad Moon on the Rise
posted by yhbc at 9:45 AM on July 21, 2006


"Back when everyone was hailing Eminem as the Great White Rhyming Hope, I pointedly recited the refrain to "Without Me":

This looks like a job for me
So everyone just follow me
'Cause we need a little controver-sy
And it feels so empty without me"

Yeah, but the egoism is the point of that song. Ergo, it works.

(And teece— they do rhyme. Why? Because the [ut] is the stressed part for both. Just like "persecute" can rhyme with "poop shoot").
posted by klangklangston at 9:46 AM on July 21, 2006


Thank you, thank you all (especially weston) for sharing your hatred of The Black Eyed Peas. I was suffering in silence (well, apart from ranting to Mrs. ob) and I didn't realize that there were so many of us out there!
posted by ob at 9:48 AM on July 21, 2006


Actually, jokeefe, "For there ain't no one for to give you no fame" would have been a teensy bit less sucktacular than the ACTUAL verse, which is:
"cause there aint no one for to give you no pain"
posted by Floydd at 9:52 AM on July 21, 2006


I just wanted to say that this thread is making me very insecure about the lyrics I was going to write this weekend.
posted by InfidelZombie at 9:55 AM on July 21, 2006


Don't sweat it, Infidel, the audience will all be drunk.
posted by lodurr at 9:55 AM on July 21, 2006


What? No Spinal Tap?!
posted by drstein at 9:58 AM on July 21, 2006


We've already covered The Turtles, drstein.
posted by Floydd at 9:59 AM on July 21, 2006


I second the nomination of Live. This has haunted me for years:

Angel, don't you have some bagels in my oven?
Lady, don't you know a man when you see one?
Crazy lady with the shiny shoes, where are you?
Kick you feet and calm the space that makes
you hollow

little swami's got his bowl to eat
little swami always walks his beat, sweet feet
little swami's got his bowl to eat
and i sing the dirge song

it's amazing how they come to see
the little swami with his bowl to eat, sweet feet
the little swami only wears a sheet
and won't sing the dirge song

anal, tight-assed soldier with that dogged heart
put down your gun
we are ready to explode, we gotta take it smart
and take it slow

posted by Skot at 10:01 AM on July 21, 2006


Final thought: In isolation, just about any lyric can be presented as though it were crap, just as you can produce excerpts from any novel to make it seem like crap. One of my favorite songs for many years was "Astronauts Have Landed On The Moon" -- the lyrics, in part, are:
Staring at a photograph of me at sixteen years
I can still remember those feelings so new to me

Astronauts have landed on the moon
To-day there is nothing left to do
But it's a hauntingly pretty song, and the lyrics out of context tell you jack shit about that.

Many poems, for that matter, when taken in isolation, are mind-numbingly mundane. "I ate the two plumbs you were saving." "I will grow old / I will wear my trousers rolled." (Or, for that matter "Them women come and go / and talk of Michelangelo.")
posted by lodurr at 10:03 AM on July 21, 2006


They forgot Dio's immortal "Rainbow in the Dark." Both lyrically terrible and physically impossible!

There's no sign of the morning coming
You've been left on your own
Like a Rainbow in the dark

posted by Wavelet at 10:05 AM on July 21, 2006


drstein writes "What? No Spinal Tap?!"

It doesn't count if it's MEANT to be awful!
posted by clevershark at 10:08 AM on July 21, 2006


Count me in the school of thought where bad rhymes != bad lyrics. Hey, if you can get antichrist and anarchist to rhyme, more power to you. To call that bad, is empty pedantry.

Why makes lyrics bad is when they are trying too hard to be profound but fail, are unintentionally factually inaccurate (or dumb), or are they just fail to make any kind of point at all. NIN and ACDC's lyrics aren't necessarily bad; they're just infantile.

Given the criteria I have laid out above, practically Alanis Morrissette fits the bill. She basically sits down with her Kaplan SAT verbal review book and tries to cram as many words into those songs as she can, whether they work or not. They don't.

As for the Black Eyed Peas, yhey are just so egregiously abysmal on so many levels (taste, for one), bad lyrics seem the least of their offenses.
posted by psmealey at 10:10 AM on July 21, 2006


Sorry, but this thread wouldn't be complete without a shout-out to Bobby Goldsboro and everything he ever wrote, including:

See the tree, how big it's grown
But friend it hasn't been too long
It wasn't big
I laughed at her and she got mad
The first day that she planted it, was just a twig
Then the first snow came
And she ran out to brush the snow away
So it wouldn't die
Came runnin' in all excited
Slipped and almost hurt herself
And I laughed till I cried
She was always young at heart
Kinda dumb and kinda smart and I loved her so
And I surprised her with a puppy
Kept me up all Christmas Eve two years ago
And it would sure embarrass her
When I came in from workin' late
'Cause I would know
That she'd been sittin' there and cryin'
Over some sad and silly late, late show

And honey, I miss you
And I'm bein' good
And I'd love to be with you
If only I could

She wrecked the car and she was sad
And so afraid that I'd be mad
But what the heck
Though I pretended hard to be
Guess you could say she saw through me
And hugged my neck
I came home unexpectedly
And caught her cryin' needlessly
In the middle of the day
And it was in the early Spring
When flowers bloom and robins sing
She went away

And honey, I miss you
And I'm bein' good
And I'd love to be with you
If only I could

One day while I was not at home
While she was there and all alone
The angels came
Now all I have is memories of Honey
And I wake up nights and call her name
Now my life's an empty stage
Where Honey lived and Honey played
And love grew up
And a small cloud passes overhead
And cries down on the flower bed
That Honey loved

And see the tree how big it's grown
But friend it hasn't been too long
It wasn't big
And I laughed at her and she got mad
The first day that she planted it, was just a twig


Personally, I crack up at "hugged my neck."
posted by kozad at 10:10 AM on July 21, 2006


To wit: many lyrics suck, but it kinda doesn't matter. Discuss.
posted by grubi at 10:10 AM on July 21, 2006


Intentional bad lyrics - Deja Voodoo "Beers" from the album "Brown Sabbath"

Right Now! Yeah! Whoah!
I'm a great lyricist
I can write words like this

I would give you one of my beers
But I've only got six
I would but I don't like to share
And I've only got six

Yeah!
I like songs that always rhyme
That's why I made this one rhyme

I would give you one of my beers
But I've only got six
I would but I don't like to share
And I've only got six

I've only got five
Only got four
Three! Two! One!

Words this good don't write themselves
That's why I wrote them myself

I would give you one of my beers
But I've only got six
I would but I don't like to share
And I've only got six

Only got six!
Only got six!
etc.

posted by bruzie at 10:14 AM on July 21, 2006


I wish someone would write an article about good lyrics so everybody could post really analytical comments about why the lyrics they like are so good.

There is not an ounce of sarcasm. A deconstruction of a Magnetic Fields lyric would make me so happy and I'd probably forsake work all day just to keep adding posts.
posted by Brainy at 10:16 AM on July 21, 2006


Any song that rhymes "girl" and "world" should be erased from history.

And yes, I do know that this would obliterate the New Kids' entire catalog.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:21 AM on July 21, 2006


Floydd, I was careful not to say "written by". I knew their version was released before the C & T one, since I remember recognizing the song when no one else did. It doesn't excuse them just because it wasn't as popular, of course.
posted by tommasz at 10:31 AM on July 21, 2006


"Orphans" by Teenage Jesus and the Jerks is an awesome song, but the lyrics on their own are, well:

LITTLE ORPHANS RUNNING THRU THE BLOODY SNOW
LITTLE ORPHANS RUNNING THRU THE BLOODY SNOW
LITTLE ORPHANS RUNNING THRU THE BLOOD THRU THE BLOOD THRU THE BLOOD

NO MORE ANKLES AND NO MORE CLOTHES
LITTLE ORPHANS RUNNING THRU THE SNOW
LITTLE ORPHANS IN THE BLOOD IN THE BLOOD IN THE BLOOD


They really need to be shouted by a 16 year old Lydia Lunch to work.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:33 AM on July 21, 2006


kozad-- Dave Barry pointed out that Honey by Bobby Goldsboro is much more tolerable if you imagine that it's the Hell's Angels who came for her.

One day while I was not at home
While she was there and all alone
The angels came
Now all I have is memories of Honey


Dave Barry's column on worst songs ever.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:39 AM on July 21, 2006


kozad ... some of us are trying to forget that song ... now you leave me no choice but to wreak revenge ... ladies and gentlement, terry jacks' "seasons in the sun"

Goodbye to you my trusted friend
We've known each other since we were nine or ten
Together we climbed hills and trees
Learned of love and A B C's
Skinned our hearts and skinned our knees.

Goodbye my friend it's hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that the spring is in the air
Pretty girls are everywhere
Think of me and I'll be there

We had joy we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the hills that we climbed were just seasons
Out of time......

Goodbye Papa please pray for me
I was the black sheep of the family
You tried to teach me right from wrong
Too much wine and too much song
Wonder how I got along.

Goodbye Papa its hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that the spring is in the air
Little children everywhere
When you see them I'll be there.

We had joy we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song like the seasons
Have all gone.

We had joy we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song like the seasons
Have all gone.

Goodbye Michelle my little one
You gave me love and helped me find the sun
And every time that I was down
You would always come around
And get my feet back on the ground.

Goodbye Michelle it's hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that the spring is in the air
With the flowers everywhere
I wish that we could both be there

We had joy we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the stars we could reach
Were just starfish on the beach

We had joy we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the stars we could reach
Were just starfish on the beach

We had joy we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song like the seasons
Have all gone

All our lives we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the hills that we climbed were just seasons
Out of time......

We had joy we had fun
We had seasons in the sun


bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!
posted by pyramid termite at 10:39 AM on July 21, 2006


Also, I'm always irritated when a songwriter simply repeats a word in order to make a rhyme...

Bitch I'ma kill you! You don't wanna fuck with me.
Girls leave - you ain't nuttin but a slut to me
Bitch I'ma kill you! You ain't got the balls to beef.
We ain't gon' never stop beefin’ I don't squash the beef.

Beef thriceforth! Violent Misogyny! No, seriously, fuck eminem.
posted by prostyle at 10:40 AM on July 21, 2006


Cute rhymes with mute
And moot rhymes with coot
So if moot rhymes with cute
And coot rhymes with mute
Then moot rhymes with mute
And cute rhymes with coot.

Which it doesn't. It's a half rhyme.

And by the way, I can't believe we've missed Oasis out, perpertrators of some of the slackest lyrics in musical history.

Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball


what the fuck?
posted by unSane at 10:40 AM on July 21, 2006


Doors "Riders on the Storm"

"...like a dog without a bone, an actor out on lone..."

C'mon, Jim, it's starin' you right in the face. WTF does an actor out on lone mean? Maybe "Hector out alone..." would communicate loneliness and loss, rhyme, and even get in extra points for a classical allusion. But this is lame.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:41 AM on July 21, 2006


mental wimp, if your brain was squirming like a toad, you probably couldn't do any better
posted by pyramid termite at 10:43 AM on July 21, 2006


Bobby Goldsboro is genius. I won't hear a word said.

If every man occasionally surprised his wife with a puppy the world would be a much better place.
posted by unSane at 10:45 AM on July 21, 2006


They forgot Dio's immortal "Rainbow in the Dark." Both lyrically terrible and physically impossible!

There's no sign of the morning coming
You've been left on your own
Like a Rainbow in the dark


Not quite...

(Actually, I saw one for myself back when I lived on Hawai'i. It was incredible.)
posted by Afroblanco at 10:46 AM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


loan, dammit, loan, not lone. Jeez!
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:48 AM on July 21, 2006


I'd also nominate pretty much the entire catalog of The Cult. Ian Astbury can suck with the worst of them, YEAH! SHAKE IT!

There may be no larger delta between great rock and roll music and dumb, dumb lyrics than the album "Sonic Temple" ...COME ON NOW! BABY!

Examples (from "Fire Woman"):
Well, shake it up, you're to blame, got me swayin' little honey
My heart's a ball of burnin' flame
Oh, yes it is
Trancing like a cat on a hot tin shack
Lord, have mercy
Come on little sister
Come on and shake it
He violates the "soul" rule with impunity (on consecutive song titles, no less ..."Sweet Soul Sister" and "Soul Asylum")...example:
So many times I call your name, ooh baby, baby, please
So many times I call your name, ooh yeah
Before the night is through
Grant me one last wish
Sweet soul asylum, yeah
An everlasting kiss
The hands down winner, though (thanks to "soul" lyric violations, bad poetry, incomplete sentences ended with "yeah", mixed metaphors, and a healthy dose of rock'n'roll gibberish..."New York City":
Oh, New York City
Oh, New York City, yeah, yeah
New York City, yeah
Oh, New York City, well, well

Hell's Kitchen is a DMZ
I'm never coming back, no
Disneyland, trash can baby, yeah
It'll give you a heart attack
The Times Square shuffle, Manhattan flip
Twenty four hour groove
Working up a frenzy baby
People push on through, yeah

Listen boy
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

I jumped across the ocean
Found a Big Apple
So I took a bite
She teased me with a taste
Laid my soul to waste
Stabbed me in the back

Hell's Kitchen is a crazy place
I'm never coming back, no no no
Hell's Kitchen is a DMZ
I ain't never, never, yeah

Oh, New York City
Wake up, yeah, in the New York City
Well, New York City, yeah, yeah
New York City
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Shake it up, do it now
Shake it up, bells ringing
I'm shooting on the hip now
I'm shooting on the hip now, baby
I'm shooting on the hip now
Oh, New York City
If it's bad lyrics you're looking for, it gets no better than that, folks.
posted by edverb at 10:51 AM on July 21, 2006


They missed "I know I got skillz" by Shaq:

You wanna fight? come fight me,
I'll hit ya with the "wa-psh-psh-psh", see, see
I get dirty after dark, I'll treat like Speilberg,
you get your ass kicked in the park,

posted by bob sarabia at 10:55 AM on July 21, 2006


[ahem]

"... like an actor out alone..."
posted by lodurr at 10:57 AM on July 21, 2006


"Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball "

Clearly preceeded by "Long and tall, shaped like a cannonball" in Mustang Sally.

(I always thought it was "an actor out on loan" which refers to the studio system of early Hollywood. Most of my beefs with Morrison have to do with ravens and lizards).
posted by klangklangston at 10:59 AM on July 21, 2006


Da do do do, Da da da da.
Is all I want to say to you.

Be good be good. Be good be good. Be good be good.
Johnny.
posted by reidfleming at 11:02 AM on July 21, 2006


Don't sweat it, Infidel, the audience will all be drunk.

So will the band lodurr, so will the band.
posted by InfidelZombie at 11:04 AM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Late addition - say what you will about "Stairway to Heaven", but it marks a lyrical improvement from:

'twas in the darkest depths of Mordor
I met a girl so fair
but Gollum and the Evil One
crept up and slipped away with her
and there ain't nothing I can do now

posted by yhbc at 11:07 AM on July 21, 2006


The time to hesitate is through
No time to wallow in the mire
Try now we can only lose
And our love become a funeral pyre


...although there's a bunch of Doors lyrics that could qualify.
posted by milnak at 11:07 AM on July 21, 2006


The snake is old / his skin is cold / ride the snake
posted by Mid at 11:09 AM on July 21, 2006


"Without Me" is funny, dammit. (It's even funnier as ragtime.) The matching end rhymes are a JOKE.

The matching end rhymes are annoying. Just claiming it's a joke doesn't make it funny. Or interesting. Or the best thing since wrestling.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:09 AM on July 21, 2006


Of course, I may be the only person here who thinks "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" is actually a fantastic lyric.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:12 AM on July 21, 2006


I have also always loved Guns 'n Roses "Rocket Queen," which has about four verses of mayhem, destruction, and general bad conduct and then, out of nowhere, becomes a Bette Midler song:

If you need a shoulder/
Or if you need a friend/
I'll be here standing/
Until the bitter end/ . . .
Don't ever leave me/
Say you'll always be there/
All I ever wanted/
Was for you/
To know that I care/

Um, Axl? WTF?!
posted by Mid at 11:16 AM on July 21, 2006


my humps > the whole catalogue of Sonic Youth lyrics
posted by dydecker at 11:19 AM on July 21, 2006


Or the best thing since wrestling.

I think there might possibly still be a couple of notches lower you could set the bar, eh?
posted by lodurr at 11:28 AM on July 21, 2006


Da da da
Da da da
Da da da
Da da da

Ich liebst du nicht
Du liebst mich nicht
Uh-huh
Ich liebst du nicht
Du liebst mich nicht
Uh-huh
Ich liebst du nicht
Du liebst mich nicht
Uh-huh
Ich liebst du nicht
Du liebst mich nicht
Uh-huh

Da da da
[etc....]

A friend of mine in college drove back from Long Island with four passengers in his 2 door '74 Duster, in the middle of a snowstorm. No stereo; they just played tunes on a boom box one of the passengers brought along. The driver (white-knuckled, even more tightly wound than usual) kept insisting that they play that over and over again the whole way...
posted by lodurr at 11:32 AM on July 21, 2006


Entschuldigen mir, bitte: "Ich lieb dir nicht..."
posted by lodurr at 11:33 AM on July 21, 2006


Can you pay my automo'bills?
posted by mullacc at 11:35 AM on July 21, 2006


I've always wanted to read this at poetry night at some coffeeshop or another:

I'm broke
I ain't no joke
So you should get a pen
And yourself a little note so you don't forget again
That when it comes to cash
I've been gettin smoked
Lendin' out my money
Now I'm broke
Somebody's gettin' choked
Cause now its time to pay the piper
Bums are the type of shit that's in a diaper
Don't make me have to call a sniper
And wipe your brains off my windshield wiper you dirty bug
As soon as I get paid they come in masses
There's someone givin' classes on kissin' peoples asses
Unless you're livin where the trash is
Don't even come around here askin' where my cash is
Me, I'm broke.

I aint no joke
I'll say it once again
And if I get provoked there'll be knuckles on your chin
Some people never learn
Borrowin from me you might regret it
For one I ain't no bank and you got shitty credit
As soon as I get paid they're comin' out the woodwork
Take your ass and get a job like you should jerk
Unless you're livin where the trash is
But you're not so find another spot where the cash is

Me, I'm broke

Gimme back my money, bum
You said you'd pay me back
I'm broke and for that
You deserve a smackin' for slackin'
Now people say I'm a slacker
If I'm a slacker
Then its through the eyes of the ones that ar
posted by CeruleanZero at 11:38 AM on July 21, 2006


Technically shouldn't it be "Ich liebe dir nicht"? And not one of those silent 'e's either!

Mind you my German's a bit rusty.
posted by clevershark at 11:38 AM on July 21, 2006


Spinal tap lyrics are so bad they've actually come around the spectrum and became good...

The bigger the cushion, the sweeter the pushin'
That's what I said
The looser the waistband, the deeper the quicksand
Or so I have read

My baby fits me like a flesh tuxedo
I'd like to sink her with my pink torpedo

posted by clevershark at 11:40 AM on July 21, 2006


[shakes head /]

I'm rusty, and I have a headache.

Ich lieb dich nicht.

Uh-huh.
posted by lodurr at 11:43 AM on July 21, 2006


clevershark: YOu're probably right. Probably the terminal 'e' gets dropped to make the meter.
posted by lodurr at 11:44 AM on July 21, 2006


Oh what a day to have this username.

For truly miserable lyrics, though, one must look to the Exploited.

Sex... and violence!
(repeat indefinitely)

posted by Captain_Tenille at 11:45 AM on July 21, 2006


The real oversight here is that they picked on poor Gwen Stefani and let that Grand Wizard of The Shitty Lyric she calls a husband off without a citation.

The cupboard is empty
We really need food
Summer is winter
And you always knew


- "Little Things," Bush

And that's without wading into the grammatically challenged pseudo-profundity jamboree that is "Everything Zen."

Gavin Rossdale, it's a lucky thing you married up, because you were only gonna last so long being the prettiest girl at the grunge bar.
posted by gompa at 11:46 AM on July 21, 2006


In ancient times, hundreds of years before the
dawn of history.
There lived a strange race of people...the Druids.
No one knows who they were, or what they were doing...
but their legacy remains...
hewn into the living rock of Stonehenge...

Stonehenge, where the demons dwell
Where the banshees live and they do live well
Stonehenge
Where a man is a man and the children dance to
the pipes of pan
Stonehenge
Tis a magic place where the moon doth rise
With a dragon's face
Stonehenge
Where the virgins lie
And the prayer of devils fill the midnight sky
And you my love, won't you take my hand
We'll go back in time to that mystic land
Where the dew drops cry and the cats meow
I will take you there
I will show you how

posted by lodurr at 11:47 AM on July 21, 2006


Wading into a jamboree? Damn, with mixed metaphors like that, I should be writing power ballads . . .
posted by gompa at 11:48 AM on July 21, 2006


yes, holy shit, Sonic Youth's lyrics suck hard. Thurston Moore is the worst but they're all bad.

Turquoise boy I must confess to you
sweet liberation has come
you are a legend in a lovely game
but now I feel I must run
turquoise boy the sky is calling me
sweet isolation in the sun
you are a soldier in a sad charade
how can you lose whats never found.


This is from a fortysomething man. And let's not even mention the fricken CHORUS of 'lights out'.

when eye contact is made
i suggest son you fix your grave

posted by unSane at 11:48 AM on July 21, 2006


And then there's more Rush, especially 2112.

We are the priests
Of the temples of syrinx
Our great computers
Fill the hallowed halls


and

What can this strange device be?
When I touch it, it gives forth a sound
Its got wires that vibrate and give music
What can this thing be that I found?


Burned into my memory after my friend Giles played it to me interminably when we were twelve.
posted by unSane at 11:52 AM on July 21, 2006


solid-one love:
On Cute
moot
rhyming.

Yes, they do.

No, they don't. You are engaging it what some linguists call sight-sound synaesthesia. Yes, your dictionary pronunciation guides (non-IPA, non-series guides to pronunciation, nothing more than the roughest of guide to pronunciation: you do know that, right?) have the long "oo" sound (IPA [u], or sometimes [uw]) at the end. So what? That's a typographical point that is throwing you off. The [j] in "cute" is damn near a vowel -- it is not articulated at a particularly precise point in the mouth. When immediately followed by a vowel like [u], the two sounds are going to merge into a different sound, slightly unique from either.

That's what's happening here. It's an off rhyme, at best. It makes you want to mispronounce one or the other words: [mjut] or [cut]. That's shit poetry. It's not a good or insightful use of off-rhyme. The [j] in "cute" is most assuredly changing the vowel sound in "cute" enough to kill the rhyme in these one syllable words.

I also have a tendency to pronounce "moot" [mʌt], in which case it's way off from "cute," but [mut] is too.

And I don't know where you learned what a diphthong is, but you should try to get your money back.

Oh, you're so cute! Give this shit up. Like I said, I just got confused by the [j] being first. In IPA, a [j] after a vowel is used to represent a diphthong, which I understand just fine. I don't really know how linguists feel about [ju] being a diphthong, but it's behaving a hell of a lot like one here to me. It's two separate sounds combining to make a new sound, independent from each.

klangklangston
(And teece— they do rhyme. Why? Because the [ut] is the stressed part for both. Just like "persecute" can rhyme with "poop shoot").

No they don't, see above. The [ut] is stressed in one, the [jut] is stressed in the other. You really can't separate the [j] from the [u] unless you speak very carefully. If you think [ju] is acting like a diphthong, as I do (I think you said that up-thread), then you are agreeing with me. A diphthong is not two independent sounds -- it's one unique sound created from two independent sounds. Thus, in one-syllable words like this, [jut] and [ut] would not rhyme. [ju] is not simply [j] + [u], which would be required for rhyme. The two sounds are merging into one.

But your example above does rhyme, so now I'm really curious to hear you guys say these words, and which dialect you speak. Because there ain't a chance in hell that "cute" and "mute" would be rhymed in any respectable poem written in my dialect.

But Floydd is right, I really should just stand mute.
posted by teece at 12:01 PM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Can't believe nobody's mentioned Soul Asylum (the band)...

But now she knows those places blow
Or maybe it was her nose

posted by equalpants at 12:01 PM on July 21, 2006


A modern day warrior, mean mean stride
Today's Tom Sawyer, mean mean pride
posted by InfidelZombie at 12:02 PM on July 21, 2006


Ah, Metafilter, don't ever change. Leave it to you to suck all the fun out of poetry. Which, apparently, must always rhyme. Or not.
posted by Skot at 12:03 PM on July 21, 2006




... btw...
posted by lodurr at 12:15 PM on July 21, 2006


This would be a good place to post my favourite musical factoid ever:

# of times the phrase "Body Count" appears in the song "Body Count's In The House", by the band Body Count, from the album "Body Count": 71.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:19 PM on July 21, 2006


There was a similar thread on this not too long ago and I'll give the same example.

Even a genius like Warren Zevon can lay a lyrical turd on occasion:


Well, I met a girl in West Hollywood
I ain't naming names
She really worked me over good
She was just like Jesse James
She really worked me over good
She was a credit to her gender
She put me through some changes, Lord
Sort of like a Waring blender


Waring blender? WTF Warren? Product placement already in your career? Seeing this printed on a page or sung out loud is a blight on my eyes and ears.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:19 PM on July 21, 2006


ARTIST: The Doors
TITLE: Riders on the Storm
Lyrics and Chords


Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Into this house we're born
Into this world we're thrown
Like a dog without a bone, an actor out on loan
Riders on the storm

/ Em A Em7 A / / Am Bm C D / Em A Em7 A / D - C - / 1st /
Apparently there is some disagreement about the lyric. Is there an authoritative source?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:28 PM on July 21, 2006


Mental Wimp writes "Doors 'Riders on the Storm'"

Oh yes. Defintiely yes. I give you the two worst lyrical stanzas in the history of American music:

Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Into this house were born
Into this world were thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out alone (on loan?)
Riders on the storm

Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm


wilberforce writes "I really do hate that Milkshake song.

"
My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard
"And they're like
"It's better than yours
"Damn right
"It's better than yours
"I can teach you
"But I'll have to charge
"

C'mon. That's awesome. It definitely a very specific, specialized kind of awesome, but it's awesome.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:29 PM on July 21, 2006


And lest we forget the last verse:

I met a girl at the Rainbow Bar
She asks me if I'd beat her
She took me back to the Hyatt House
I don't want to talk about it


That doesn't even rhyme!!! Hey! Nevermind...

Warren will always be golden for using 'brucellosis' in a song, though...then again, he didn't make a rhyme for that one either.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:29 PM on July 21, 2006


Okay, everybody's picking on their choice of lines for Horse With No Name, but did anybody notice that they quoted We Built This City and left this out?

Who counts the money underneath the bar?
Who rides the wrecking ball into our guitars?


How "13 year olds will think this is SO COOL" is that?

But I still have a soft spot in my heart for The Beatles.

She loves you, and you know that can't be bad
She loves you, and you know you should be glad
Wooo!


---

Why don't we do it in the road?
Why don't we do it in the road?
No one will be watching us, why don't we do it in the road?


---

You know my name, look up the number
You know my name, look up the number
...


---

I'm sorry that I doubted you
I was so unfair
You were in a car crash
And you lost your hair


I could go on, but it's too easy. And I love the Beatles.
posted by darksasami at 12:30 PM on July 21, 2006


You Know My Name... is quite possibly my favoritest Beatles song ever.
Just sayin', is all.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:32 PM on July 21, 2006


Warren will always be golden for using 'brucellosis' in a song, though...then again, he didn't make a rhyme for that one either.

That reminds me of this Primus lyric:
They call me Mr. Knowitall
I am so eloquent.
Perfection is my middle name
and whatever rhymes with eloquent
posted by edverb at 12:43 PM on July 21, 2006


My fav band is TOOL. It is definitley not because of their lyrics. Check out: 46 and 2 and Hooker with a penis and

Now if this were for good lyrics, Tool's "learn to swim" would have to be on the top of the charts
posted by winks007 at 12:47 PM on July 21, 2006


My overwhelming love for Radiohead cannot blind me to the fact that the line "We get eaten by the worms and weird fishies" is laughably godawful. Sorry, Thom.
posted by jokeefe at 12:49 PM on July 21, 2006


Yeah, My Humps is pretty god awful. BUT c'mon! Don't Phunk With My Heart is good for some inebriated booty-shakin' and the chorus to Don't Lie kinda soars.

Besides, I doubt BEP thinks they're writing poetry -- they're writing pop songs and that line between clever and stupid is so fine, you know.*

*Okay, I don't think BEP is clever. I suppose the line between banal and aggressively stupid is even more fine as to be indistinguishable from some angles.
posted by papercake at 12:53 PM on July 21, 2006


I suppose if you're in Asia the sun rises over the Pacific. But I suspect Relient K's never been to Asia.
posted by ObeyScient at 12:58 PM on July 21, 2006


No Trend had the immortal:

Mass sterilization ... caused by ... venereal disease ... hah
Mass sterilization ... caused by ... venereal disease ... hah
Mass sterilization ... caused by ... venereal disease ... hah
Mass sterilization ... caused by ... venereal disease ... hah
Mass sterilization ... caused by ... venereal disease ... hah


etc.

sometimes, when home alone, I crank the song up and shout along

good for the psyche
posted by Kattullus at 1:04 PM on July 21, 2006


Do I have to be the one to pull the trigger on the obvious for Mr. Roboto?
posted by lodurr at 1:19 PM on July 21, 2006


"Eat sleep live die fucking record label
G Gordon Liddy under the table, table, table
Clarence Thomas organ grinder Frank Dileo's dong
Maybe if I'd let him Id've had a hit song"


- Sheryl Crow, "The Na Na Song"

I gather Crow had a problem with lascivious record execs before her first album came out. I like that she slipped the experience in on an oddball filler track, but that G. Gordon Liddy line has irked me forever.
posted by yellowbinder at 1:22 PM on July 21, 2006


Yellowbinder

What irks you about that line (as opposed to all the other lines)? Seems to me like a harmless little wordplay on the "Libby's, Libby's, Libby's on the label, label, label" jingle.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:26 PM on July 21, 2006


I had always wondered how a good ole All-American blue collar guy like the Boss could blow a basic baseball term.
Although the term is awkward, it's not something Springsteen made up. Here's an article about measuring pitch speeds in which the "speedball king" is to be crowned -- written in 1939. (I also like the term "salary wings" referring to pitching arms.)

If Springsteen grew up listening to his elders talk about baseball, he might have acquired "speedball" from them. I definitely remember my dad and uncles saying it. It may have fallen out of fashion because of the negative connotation (kind of like "broad jump" vs. "long jump").
posted by forrest at 1:36 PM on July 21, 2006


For your pleasure, may I present T-Pain's "I'm in Love With a Stripper":

U got them big ass hips god damn!
Got the body of a goddess
Got eyes with a peak of brown eyes see you girl
Droppin Low
She Comin Down from the ceiling
To tha floo
Yea She Know what she doin
Yea yea yea
She doin that right thang
Yea yea yea yea ea
I Need to get her over to my crib and do that night thang
Cause I'm N Luv wit a stripper
She poppin she rollin she rollin
She climbin that pole and
Im N Luv with a stripper
She trippin she playin she playin
Im not goin nowhere girl im stayin
Im N Luv with a stripper
Out of all the girls she be the hottest
Like n the way she break it down i see u girl
Spinnin wide
And She lookin at me
Right in my eyes
Yea She got my attention
yea yea yea
Enough to get me to mention
I Need to get her over to my crib and do that night thang
Cause Im N Luv Wit a Stripper
She can pop it she can lock it
Take the pinderas down im bout to see this sexy girl
In My bed
She don't know what she is doin
To my head
Yea She turnin tricks on me
Yea Yea Yea
She dont even know me
Yea yea yea ea
I'd have got her over to my crib to do that night thing
Cause I'm N Luv Wit a Stripper

posted by tristeza at 1:44 PM on July 21, 2006


I was unaware of the jingle, so I guess it stuck out to me. Also I was fairly young when I heard the song, so I had no clue who the people she mentioned were.

It seemed almost like nonsense at the time, although I get it more as time goes on (especially now you've revealed the jingle word play!

All right, maybe not worst lyrics ever, but they were what jumped to mind reading this post.

There's a Garbage B-side that's sole lyrics are:

"You're an alien sex fiend,
and you go la la la la la la la..."

posted by yellowbinder at 1:46 PM on July 21, 2006


Can't believe nobody's mentioned Soul Asylum (the band)...
They are set firmly in edverb's 98%. They're like Bon Jovi Lite.
posted by Dr-Baa at 2:02 PM on July 21, 2006


ooh, glad I checked... I was going to slag Sinead for "and their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and their guns" and it's Dolores Riordan/Cranberries. Still, though... and their bombs and their bombs? i could've squeezed grenades or mines in there for variety.
posted by FYKshun at 2:24 PM on July 21, 2006


Fine bitches if you listening you heard me I'm strong
If you going threw your cycle I ain't with It I'm gone
You must have heard about them hoes that I beat up in my home
They wasn't telling the truth baby you know they was wrong


Juvenile - Slow Motion
posted by beerbajay at 3:08 PM on July 21, 2006


The Eve6 heart/blender thing works because it's catchy

Yeah... kinda like bird flu.

Sorry, but that line causes me physical pain every time I hear it. I feel deep and profound embarassment for the guy singing it.
posted by Clay201 at 4:15 PM on July 21, 2006


"say a little prayer for I"
posted by Foosnark at 5:14 PM on July 21, 2006


Journey, "Na na na na na na, na na na na na, na na na na na na na na na na na."
posted by youlikeme at 5:35 PM on July 21, 2006


Ahem.

Tell my cousin Jerry, wear his condom
If you dont wear condom, you'll see a red lump
Woh oh oh oh


Wyclef Jean, 'Gone Til November'. Wretched.
posted by flashboy at 5:49 PM on July 21, 2006


Ah, phew! I had to click to page three, but Starship was in there. I was starting to panic, but my faith in humanity has been restored.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:07 PM on July 21, 2006


Technically shouldn't it be "Ich liebe dir nicht"? And not one of those silent 'e's either!

In my experience (which amounts to about a month in Germany near Stuttgart in highschool - so not all that much), native speakers would often drop the final syllable on verbs. I think it's similar to "gonna" vs "going to". "Going to" often sounds rather stilted.

They also liked to give definite articles to proper names, which I thought was really cute for some reason. I liked being "the erik".
posted by flaterik at 6:22 PM on July 21, 2006


"Talk talk, all you do to me is Talk Talk"

By the band Talk Talk, in the song "Talk Talk", originally on the album or EP Talk Talk. When they were first on MTV the credit block for that video was kind of funny.

Really, though, a lot of these lyrics aren't that bad when you combine them with the music. And just making "na na" noises or whatever isn't necessarily a bad lyric. Sometimes it's just what the song needs.
posted by litlnemo at 6:23 PM on July 21, 2006


There's been a lot of Doors hate in this thread, and while I have to admit that my Doors fandom peaked some time before I entered college, I must give them their due. They were the perfect music for a teenager who was first becoming aware of sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. Although it seems cheesy to us now, I think that it's important to preserve this music for the sake of future generations of clueless, coming-of-age teens. Won't somebody please think of the children?!

Besides, I'm surprised that you guys chose to pick on "Riders on the Storm" - one of their more credible songs from one of their more credible albums. I mean, it's like you never heard "Touch me" or something. Sheesh.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:41 PM on July 21, 2006


Really, people. I've been through, or skimmed at least, 233 posts, and none of you had the wherewithal to note that no list of horrid songs worth its salt could possibly omit the Master of Mediocrity himself, Sammy Hagar, and his Opus of Odiousness, Three Lock Box: (which I will now post in its entirety, for the sake of your tired, bleeding eyes)

Ladies and genitalmen, the worst lyric ever in the history of foreverness:

Suckers walk, money talks!
But it can't touch my three lock box!
Uh! Oh, yeah!
Mysteries of the days of old.
You find the key, you got the gold.
One, two, three lock box.
One, two, three lock box.
One, two, three lock box.
One, two, three lock box.
Treasure's here, sunken there.
Buried treasure's everywhere.
One, two, three lock box.
One, two, three lock box.
Don't go far, circle close.
The father, son, the holy ghost.
To the trinity, I raise a toast!
Ahh, yea!
One, two, three lock box.
One, two, three lock box.
One, two, three lock box.
One, two, three lock box.
-solo-
Secrets of the trinity lie within the number three.
Uh! Hey!
One, two, three lock box.
One, two, three lock box.
One, two, three lock box.
One, two, three lock box.
(Three Lock Box)
One, two, three lock box.
One, two, three lock box.
(Three Lock Box)
One, two, three lock box.
One, two, three lock box.
(Three Lock Box)
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:12 PM on July 21, 2006


I felt pretty confident going into this thread that a list of 32 worst lyrics of all time couldn't possibly hit their mark. That being said, there's some baaaad lyrics on that list.

Missed Crash Test Dummies, though:

I'm walking funny and it's not by chance
I've got some shit stuck in my pants...

posted by dreamsign at 7:24 PM on July 21, 2006


"Brainy"...you have a point. And I own "69" and like it.

But, then, I bought Nellie McKay's "double" album. And could only listen to it twice, It was too clever.

"Too clever." Hmm. Meaning, among other things, that lyrics that call attention to themselves are not usually great songs.

This deserves another post that is not about to move into Ozymandian dust...but poetry is one thing, song lyrics another.
posted by kozad at 8:05 PM on July 21, 2006


Muskrat Love.
posted by BillsR100 at 8:06 PM on July 21, 2006


devils rancher, i did quote a sammy hagar song as an example of bad lyrics ... not to mention bad music

of course, there are other offenders

yummy, yummy, yummy, i got love in my tummy

that was the ohio sperm swallowers ... or something like that

but i have a contemporary song, that in my humble opinion, makes the black eyed peas sound like bob dylan

miss jessica simpson ...

You set my soul at ease
Chased darkness out of view
Left your desperate spell on me
Say you feel it to
I know you do
I've got so much more to give
This can't die, I yearn to live
Pour yourself all over me
And I'll cherish every drop here on my knees

[CHORUS]
I wanna love you forever
And this is all I'm asking of you
10,000 lifetimes together
Is that so much for you to do?
Cuz from the moment that I saw your face
And felt the fire in your sweet embrace
I swear I knew.
I'm gonna love you forever

My mind fails to understand
What my heart tells me to do
And I'd give up all I have just to be with you
and that would do
I've always been taught to win
And I never thought I'd fall
Be at the mercy of a man
I've never been
Now I only want to be right where you are.

[CHORUS]

In my life I've learned that heaven never waits no
Lets take this now before it's gone like yesterday
Cuz when I'm with you there's nowhere else
That I would ever wanna be no
I'm breathing for the next second I can feel you
Loving me ... I'm gonna love


of course, to get the full effect, you've got to hear her singing it ... but you so don't want to do that
posted by pyramid termite at 8:38 PM on July 21, 2006


I also imagine that Springsteen chose "speedball" over "fastball" because he liked how it sounded better in the song.

Also, I agree that a "speedball" -- being an out of use term -- might better recall the glory days.
posted by flarbuse at 8:50 PM on July 21, 2006


237 comments, and nobody's dissed this? WTF?
"...And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died. ..."
I smashed hundreds of dollars worth of radios all through 1973 on account of that piece of, uh, Americana.

And y'all think you're haters...
posted by paulsc at 8:55 PM on July 21, 2006


Right there with you, paulsc. I had hoped that song was dead and buried, but then Madonna decided to cover it. Oh joy.

Pour yourself all over me
And I'll cherish every drop here on my knees


Whoah, so wholesome, that Jessica. It sounds like an invitation to bukkake.
posted by jokeefe at 9:39 PM on July 21, 2006


Skot: I second the nomination of Live. This has haunted me for years

I gotta say, aside from that one awful song on Secret Samadhi (about beer or something)... I find those lyrics, and their delivery, so bizarrely and compellingly sincere that I can't help but be deeply affected by them.
posted by fake at 1:58 AM on July 22, 2006


Let us not forget:
Belinda Carlisle
When the night falls down
I wait for you
And you come around
And the world's alive
With the sound of kids
On the street outside

When you walk into the room
You pull me close and we start to move
And we're spinning with the stars above
And you lift me up in a wave of love...

Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth ?
Ooh heaven is a place on earth
They say in heaven love comes first
We'll make heaven a place on earth
Ooh heaven is a place on earth


Young Dro
Let me see ya bounce right to left
n let ya shoulder lean (let cha shoulder lean, jus let ya shoulder lean)
ay get it right 2 step, and let ya shoulder lean
(let ya shoulder lean, jus let ya shoulder lean)
Let me see ya bounce right to left
n let ya shoulder lean (let cha shoulder lean, ay letcha shoulder lean)
ay get it right 2 step, and let ya shoulder lean
(jus let ya shoulder lean, let ya shoulder lean)


What, no musical theatre yet? Let's fix that with a little Pippin
Everything has its season
Everything has its time
Show me a reason and I'll soon show you a rhyme
Cats fit on the windowsill
Children fit in the snow
Why do I feel I don't fit in anywhere I go?

posted by nenequesadilla at 2:24 AM on July 22, 2006


Like a dry tree seeking water.... or a daughter
Stranglers - Nice 'n' Sleazy
posted by Joeforking at 3:41 AM on July 22, 2006


Common and Canibus "Making A Name For Ourselves"

You stay scared, I'm still your worst nightmare squared
That's double for niggaz who ain't mathematically aware
posted by donth at 8:38 AM on July 22, 2006


Stunned that no one has mentioned Kites are Fun by Free Design:

I like flying, flying kites.
Flying kites, flying kites.
Kites are fun.

See my kite it’s fun,
See my kite, it’s green and white
Laughing in its distant flight
All that’s between us is a little yellow string,
But we like each other more than anything
And we run along together through the field behind my house
And the little drops of rain caress her face and wash my blouse
And we’d like to be a zillion miles away from everyone
‘Cause Mom and Dad and Uncle Bill don’t realize:
Kites are fun.

I like flying, flying kites.
Flying kites, flying kites.
Kites are fun.


The second verse comes before the second chorus and is a repetition of verse one. I guess they couldn't come up with much more to say about kites.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 11:31 AM on July 22, 2006


Surveying the cultural devastation represented by this thread, I reminded how well little songs like last year's JCB Song hold up...
/derail
posted by paulsc at 12:45 PM on July 22, 2006


Dio is SO awesome, but he's really good at terrible lyrics. I mean, I'm not surprised to see "Rainbow In The Dark" called out, but what about the first bit? Huh? "Oh, when there's lightning!/You know, it always brings me down"

And, well, the whole of "Holy Diver", but that song doesn't make a lick of sense in a really awesome way. You TOTALLY know that tiger's clean, man. Stripes be damned.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 12:58 PM on July 22, 2006


"What do you get when you kiss a guy? You get enough germs to catch pneumonia - if you do, he'll never phone ya..." that's genius, that is!
posted by tabbycat at 2:41 PM on July 22, 2006


My nomination from the musical theatre genre: from Sondheim's Company the duet 'Barcelona'

It's not written for its lyric. It's written specifically to further action on the stage - specifically sexual/comedic action. It's filler, not a blackhole, but not really meant to stand on its own apart from the show the way "Being Alive" or even "Side By Side" can.

My own band of choice has some serious clinkers in their history, worse than the examples from handee way upthread. My personal favorite is an album track called "I Take the Dice" which proves the efficacy of cocaine in the 80s with these gems:

Don't wanna be in public
My head is full of chopstick
I don't like it


and

Now I'm saying this in private
If I had a car I'd
Drive it insane


As for "Milkshake" I think we're meant to imagine a scene: one girl, Kelis (the singer) addressing another girl with a group of admirers standing by. "My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard and they're like" (gesture toward boys) "it's better than yours" (gesture to rival girl) "damn right it's better than yours, I could teach you but I'd have to charge." It's crap but it's not particularly grammatically incorrect crap.
posted by Dreama at 3:00 PM on July 22, 2006


Excellent title, by the way, mr.marx.
posted by dreamsign at 6:55 PM on July 22, 2006


You leave Belinda Carlisle the fuck out of this.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:40 PM on July 22, 2006


... the fuck out of this.

Wrong thread, man.
posted by lodurr at 4:44 AM on July 23, 2006


I almost forgot to mention Nelly Furtado's new single Promiscuous. Listening to the lyrics make me realize that neither she nor Timbaland know what the word "promiscuous" means.
posted by tastybrains at 7:58 PM on July 24, 2006


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