Ruined Music.
August 29, 2006 9:12 PM   Subscribe

We've all got one... Almost everyone's got a song with a story - a song that's been ruined by something awful associated with it. This site is the place to share your story...
posted by blaneyphoto (43 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Like Sade at a funeral.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:16 PM on August 29, 2006

Ah, yes, I too was soured by jilted love on Love Touch by Rod Stewart. My life has never been the same.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:23 PM on August 29, 2006

Y'know, I used to feel this way about Jingle Bell Rock, because I had to sing it in the school choir a week after my grandfather died.

However, after hearing pinkstainlesstail's Rock Bell Jingle, somehow the original isn't as bad anymore.

True story.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:32 PM on August 29, 2006

Oh my god this is awesome.

Boys of Summer by Don Henley will always be a terrible song I can't bear to hear. Half because I don't like Don Henley :), but the other half is that my brother suffered a terrible head injury when the song was being played nonstop on MTV. I just remember him being in the hospital in a coma while I sat at home watching MTV and seeing and hearing this awful song played every hour.
posted by mathowie at 9:40 PM on August 29, 2006

Fantastic! Now I have a creative writing goal to aim for.
posted by redsparkler at 9:42 PM on August 29, 2006

I was reading a National Geographic article about Love Canal and Times Beach, and I remember Philip Bailey and Phil Collins were singing "Easy Lover" on the radio, and in my young mind the lyrics were making all sorts of odd picture associations--"She'll get a hold on you, believe it" = image of man in a biohazard suit holding a lump of black sludge; "She's like no other, before you know it you'll be on your knees" = image of vacant, weed-covered playgrounds--now, whenever I hear "Easy Lover", I immediately think of people living next to chemical waste sites.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:44 PM on August 29, 2006

i actually liked "shannon" by henry gross, i believe it was ... then i found out shannon was a dog

that utterly ruined that song for me

more seriously, after i broke up with my girlfriend of 10 years, hootie and the blowfish's "let her go" became aural torture for me as it hit way too close to home ... what was even worse was that i KNEW it was dreck and it still got to me ... i had to change the station fast before i started blubbering

but i've never had a song i really liked become unlistenable because of something that happened in my life
posted by pyramid termite at 9:44 PM on August 29, 2006

Ugh. Terry Jacks' godawful "Seasons in the Sun." It was top o' the pops the week my older brother died. I remember hearing it on our little table radio while my family silently ate dinner, and having the epiphany, "So this is irony."
posted by maryh at 9:59 PM on August 29, 2006

Terry Jacks' godawful "Seasons in the Sun."

A co-worker and I once tried to decide on the least necessary song ever performed. In the end, we decided that "Seasons in the Sun" and "Cats in the Cradle" should share the title.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:04 PM on August 29, 2006

"The Bottom Line" by Big Audio Dynamite (yes, it is so very 1985, thank you) was playing when I was driving to college one morning, took the freeway on-ramp just a little too fast on a rare rainy SoCal morning, and s-l-o-w-l-y d-i-d a c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e 360 on the oily asphalt. By some miracle I ended up pointed back in the direction of travel and the only lasting effect was the probably 5 years it took off my heart.
posted by planetkyoto at 10:05 PM on August 29, 2006

On my first date ever the girl was playing Cat Stevens in the car on the way to a play. That date was one of my strongest and fondest memories as I grew older... until 4 years later when Stevens supported Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie.

I get ill now when I hear his music and I'm more than a little furious that my once wonderful memory of my first ever date has been soiled. Rot in hell, Yusuf Islam!

I know Stevens has since denied supporting the fatwa ("I am just a patsy!) but I remember clearly seeing him on television saying he agrees with Muslim law and the condemnation.
posted by dobbs at 10:05 PM on August 29, 2006

I've had a few songs ruined by personal circumstances, but many more ruined by what the artist did later. Post-Liz Phair and Somebody's Miracle I can no longer listen to Girlysound, for instance.
posted by aaronetc at 10:08 PM on August 29, 2006

it's worse for me - it's not just one song that's ruined, but a whole two distinct genres of music. I can never hear murder ballads or prison songs again, because they will doubtless remind me of that month back in the summer of 2006, when my brilliant metafilter posts about insect art & hi-res desktop wallpapers were passed over for "Best Of" honors. Fuck you, Mississippi John Hurt, and your lonesome ballads of revenge!!
posted by jonson at 10:09 PM on August 29, 2006

Commercials ruin songs for me. For example, I can't hear Lynard Skynard's "Simple Kind of Man" without thinking of Busch beer, which sucks, because it's always playing somewhere... "Revolution" wasn't supposed to be about fashionable footwear, etc.
posted by hypersloth at 10:14 PM on August 29, 2006

Mariah Carey's entire "Music Box" album was ruined for me when, a few years later, I realized that it was totally crappy.
posted by cortex at 10:23 PM on August 29, 2006

God, it's Seasons In The Sun for me too. When I was 7, an older girl (who I thought was my best friend) totally dissed me as part of a game we had involving that song.

It's a long story...

But seriously, isn't that song already fucked up enough as it is?
posted by Kloryne at 10:23 PM on August 29, 2006

By the way maryh, your story is heartbreaking.
posted by Kloryne at 10:25 PM on August 29, 2006

I always loved Talking Heads "Heaven." Great lyrics, and the version on "Stop Making Sense" is perfect.

Then I listen to the commentary track, and find out the song is about Richard Branson's bar in London. Argh!
posted by Marky at 10:41 PM on August 29, 2006

Shostakovich. Terrible date.
posted by The White Hat at 10:56 PM on August 29, 2006

"Feliz Navidad," a kiddie pool full of whiskey sours, and a Basset Hound named Otis. 'Nuff said.
posted by turducken at 11:10 PM on August 29, 2006

I was seventeen and my girlfriend was spending some time with her parents in a small country town, about three hours from where I lived. We wrote to each other every day. One day I asked her if she'd finished working out the words to a song called "Jack Shadow" by Nick Cave, and could she send me her transcription to compare with my own (no lyric sheet on the LP, no internet to search for "official" lyrics). She did send the words to "Jack's Shadow"- as the postscript to a four-page letter explaining why she didn't want to see me anymore.
I don't really remember how much I liked that song before the letter, and it wasn't RUINED exactly - but I know that I always hear it burning with a peculiar, adolescent-flavoured anger.
posted by bunglin jones at 11:17 PM on August 29, 2006

Among others, the incredibly funky "E.V.A." by Jean Jacques Perrey has been used recently in an ad for some kind of women's indigestion medication. My ears perked up at hearing this old gem on TV (wow, is someone playing good music on tv?!), but my hopes were dashed upon seeing a group of women rubbing their bellies. You see, "E.V.A." features some bubbling sounds, which I now associate with gastric distress. Thank you, pharmaceutical company!
posted by pantufla at 11:42 PM on August 29, 2006

David Gates' band Bread did this song, "Everything I Own," that I heard on my car radio after 9/11, which also wasn't long after both of my parents and a beloved dog had all passed on. I had to pull off the road so I could bawl my eyes out. I still avoid oldies stations for fear I'll hear that song again.
posted by pax digita at 4:47 AM on August 30, 2006

I don't know the title or artist, but it was on the radio in late 2000 or early 2001, shortly after my friend Lydia had committed suicide, which I was taking very hard at the time. I was riding in a friend's car when the radio started playing lyrics along the lines of "Lydia, oh, Lydia / I can't wait to get rid o' ya." I had to start babbling just so I wouldn't hear the song: "Please, change the radio station. Change it right now to anything, I don't care what, just please change it and I'll explain later." That was rough.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:05 AM on August 30, 2006

Not a song, but a ringtone. The Nokia default ringtone played way too often while my Dad took a long time to die. So I switched phones. Let's just hope no one dies while I have Tull for a ringtone.
posted by Gungho at 6:12 AM on August 30, 2006

I don't think I have any ruined songs. But whenever I hear any song off of Automatic for the People (especially Drive), I think of The Stand by Stephen King. That was the first real album I listened to, and I listened to it mercilessly during all 1,000+ pages of King's tome. Drive has a line about burying your mother and your father, and I always think of Frannie sewing her dad up in the bedsheets.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:04 AM on August 30, 2006

Oh yeah - entire genres. Ani Difrano certainly helped me out back when I was a miserable, angry young woman, but now she just reminds me of being miserable and angry.
posted by catesbie at 7:32 AM on August 30, 2006

Terminal Verbosity:

I am the same way with Radiohead's The Bends and William Gibson's Neuromancer, and Smashing Pumpkins - "Siamese Dream" with Anne Rice's vampire novels, for the exact same reason. Back in the days before napster and an endlessly interesting interweb, I listened to the same CD's over and over again, and generally while reading a book, so they're indelibly associated together in my mind.
posted by empath at 7:56 AM on August 30, 2006

To this day I can't hear "Beautiful Day" by U2 without being reminded of 9/11, and particularly that second plane hitting the South Tower (when the guitar and drums pick up).
posted by clevershark at 8:11 AM on August 30, 2006

clevershark, I've been connecting All That You Can't Leave Behind with the horrible cultural after-effects of the attacks for the last few years, but now I suspect I'm going to have to jettison "Beautiful Day" entirely, which is actually no big loss.

(TBH, that plane in the video doesn't help either.)
posted by aaronetc at 8:30 AM on August 30, 2006

Yeah, the video didn't help, or the fact that the song was constantly on the radio around that time, and is still regularly on playlists everywhere!
posted by clevershark at 8:42 AM on August 30, 2006

Back in the days before napster and an endlessly interesting interweb, I listened to the same CD's over and over again

Hell, I still do this.
posted by cortex at 8:44 AM on August 30, 2006

I also get these sorts of connections with movies — whenever I watch a movie for the second time I always am hit by a wave of memories about the first time I saw it — place, time, company, mood, conversation during.
posted by orange swan at 8:52 AM on August 30, 2006

I worked in a grocery store for 6 years, and through that time I had a fair share of breakups. As if working in a grocery store isn't depressing enough, when you're bombarded by the loudspeakers playing either saccharine love songs or "I miss you like crazy" type pop crap for 8 hours, it makes you want to use your standard issue box-cutter in non-work conducive ways.

Fortunately about 90% of those songs are forgettable crap anyhow, so I guess they aren't ruined, but man to they sucker punch you when you're down.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:51 AM on August 30, 2006

Also, due to last year's Wrestlemania promotion, I can't hear Peter Gabriel's "Big Time" without thinking of professional wrestling.

Whether that can be considered ruined is up to you.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:53 AM on August 30, 2006

The last relationship meltdown I had was with a girl who had horrible taste in music. This gave me the opportunity to finally purge my collection of all the crap I've bought over the years. I only realized this recently, and I felt that much better. So these things can have good sides too...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:17 AM on August 30, 2006

I never liked it to begin with, but now I despise Paul Simon's song "Graceland"-- ooh, I can barely bring myself to type that. It got stuck in my head a few years ago when I was in the depths of postpartum depression. Really stuck. Grafted. Like, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Over and over, hearing it in my mind, for days. I had some insight into why people kill celebrities -- Paul Simon would have been in danger had he come near me.

(Um, I'm sane now, and he's safe. HTH. HAND.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:21 AM on August 30, 2006

Not much of a loss, as far as ruined songs go - I had just made an irretrievable decision to extend a two-week stay out west indefinitely, leaving behind an amazing someone in Appalachia for an even more amazing someone in CA. In the middle of the meanest part of the long heartbreak & regret phase this pops up on the car radio:

Heads Carolina, Tails California.
Somewhere greener, somewhere warmer.
Up in the mountains, down by the ocean.
Where- it don't matter, as long as we're goin'
Somewhere together. I've got a quarter.
Heads Carolina, Tails California.

Sobs & shakes were so bad I had to pull over for nearly 10 minutes.
posted by squalor at 10:34 AM on August 30, 2006

Johnny Mathis's "Wonderful, Wonderful," thanks to The X-Files.

It's my "Stuck In The Middle With You"8212;I will forever hear "Wonderful, Wonderful" intermingled with the screams of pain of a middle-aged couple, brutally bludgeoned to death by three inbred, genetically deformed serial killers. Hurray.
posted by chrominance at 10:35 AM on August 30, 2006

My friend lent me a Tool CD one week ten years ago. I listened to it and liked it enough to leave it in my CD player. A few days later, I got the stomach flu. My CD player was also my alarm clock, so it snapped on the next morning at 6.30, and started running down "Stinkfist" and then "Eulogy". Too weak to get out of bed or call for help, I sat through it's insanity-inducing intro (probably helped along by the fever) for far too long.

I wasn't able to listen to that CD for 5 years after that.
posted by jon_kill at 11:04 AM on August 30, 2006

At the funeral of a friend, we stood, on a miserable winter afternoon, outside a packed suburban crematorium listening to his girlfriend articulate all our thoughts about what an incredible man he was and everything he meant to her and to his family and to us - and then, over tinny speakers, they played the Beach Boys "God Only Knows". That's a moment I'll never forget.
posted by patricio at 12:17 PM on August 30, 2006

My father, a man so tough he shaves dry and never wears a coat because "cold is a state of mind," cannot listen to Bridge Over Troubled Water. Growing up, we all knew to change the channel the second it came on. I was a teenager before it finally occured to me to ask why. Turns out they played it at the funeral for one of his friends who died in Vietnam. Ever since, that song makes me think of my dad, barely out of his teens, weeping over a coffin. Now I can't listen to it either.
posted by jrossi4r at 1:23 PM on August 30, 2006

Channel [V] International used Weezer's "Island In The Sun" as backing music for their news clip on September 11th. Now I can't hear that song without thinking of the devastation.

And I'm utterly traumatized by the 1812 Overture. I remember watching a Muppets show when I was very young that had the Muppets EATING each other, with that song in the background. Now hearing that song gives me nightmares.
posted by divabat at 3:58 PM on August 30, 2006

« Older Eleven miles of scrolling...   |   Google Books offers PDFs of public domain books Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments