Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Five Worst Songs of All Time?

What are the five worst top 40 American songs?

By "worst", I mean maddeningly annoying, trite, clichéd, songs that get in your head uninvited and make you want to reach for an ice pick. To make this list, songs had to have a perfect storm mixture of an exceedingly lame melody and embarrassing lyrics.

Such is the quantity of bad songs that have become hits that if you ask me next week about it, I'll give you a slightly different list. One thing's clear, though: the '80s were by far the worst decade for bad top forty music.

In no particular order:

The Heat Is On, by Glenn Frey

Set against obnoxious saxophone accompaniment, Frey sings over and over about "the heat", but never tells us what the heat is. It must be something that brings out cliches - here's four cliches in two lines:

You can make a break, you can win or lose
That's a chance you take, when the heat's on you

Other sample lyrics:

Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho
Caught up in the action I've been looking out for you
Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho
(Tell me can you feel it)
(Tell me can you feel it)
(Tell me can you feel it)
The heat is on, the heat is on, the heat is on

It's on the street
The heat is on, the heat is on, the heat is on
Yeah it's on the street
The heat is on

Sometimes When We Touch, by Dan Hill

Is this the dorkiest, wimpiest song in history?

Sample lyrics:

You ask me if I love you
And I choke on my reply
And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide

I wanna hold you till I die
Till we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides


And what's up with this sudden flare-up of violence?

At times I'd like to break you
And drive you to your knees
At times I'd like to break through
And hold you endlessly

Wimpiness mixed with misogyny: that's kind of creepy.

Sometimes When We Touch gets extra points for being covered by Donny Osmond on his album, Love Songs of the '70s.

Footloose, by Kenny Loggins

Kenny Loggins could make up this entire list. Footloose, though, masterfully sums up everything woefully wrong with '80s top forty music: dumb lyrics, a nearly non-existent melody, cheesy synthesizer...and it gets extra points for being created for Kevin Bacon to dance to.

Sample lyrics:

I'll hit the ceiling
Or else I'll tear up this town
Now I gotta cut

Loose, footloose
Kick off your Sunday shoes
Please, Louise
Pull me offa my knees
Jack, get back
C'mon before we crack

Walk Of Life, by Dire Straits

Featuring an incessantly moronic riff, Walk Of Life has been torturing unsuspecting souls for decades.

Sample lyrics:

Down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay
He got the action, he got the motion

He do the song about the sweet lovin' woman
He do the song about the knife
He do the walk, he do the walk of life, yeah he do the walk of life

Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, by Starship

This song for the movie Mannequin is possibly the one top forty hit worse than Starship's "We Built This City"

Sample lyrics:

Standing here beside you, I want so much to give you this love in my heart that im feeling for you.

Let the world around us just fall apart.
Maybe we can make it if we're heart to heart.
And we can build this thing together, stand in stone forever, nothing's gonna stop us now.

Special mention needs to go to Bob Seger for three of the most annoying songs ever written by anyone, We've Got Tonight, Like a Rock and Old Time Rock and Roll.

I also have to mention Foreigner's I Want To Know What Love Is, Air Supply's All Out of Love and Hello by Lionel Richie.

Black Eyed Peas' My Humps certainly meets the criteria listed above. I'm guessing it'll be on someone's similar list twenty years from now.
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Ray "!!" Tomczak said...

How could you not even give "Jesse's Girl" by singer/soap opera star Rick Springfield a dishonorable mention? This is surely one of the worst songs ever.
Sample Lyrics:
"I feel so dirty when they start talking cute; I want to tell her that I love her but the point is probably moot."
Oh, and thanks for getting "Sometimes When We Touch" stuck in my head.

Michael N. said...

Good (bad) suggestion, Ray!

The truth is, the dishonorable mentions could fill a book. "Don't Worry, Be Happy" needs to be on someone's list. Stepping back to the '70s, there's "Disco Duck", "Seasons in the Sun" and "Horse With No Name", which contains some of the worst (not to mention nonsensical) lyrics of all time ("In the desert you can remember your name, 'cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain").

nathansmart said...

I think you could take almost any 80s Eddie Murphy movie soundtrack and you'll find that those songs have way too many plays in my iTunes.