I’m not much of a music critic, in that I do not derive great pleasure in denigrating the efforts of an artist. Any musician, after all, no matter how lowly I consider his talents, is still 100% more of a musician than I am. Any song is more of a song that I could ever write, no matter how poorly executed. But speaking of executed, that is how I feel when I hear certain songs. Like I am being executed. Through my ear drums.
And so before I run the risk of gracing these songs with an undeserved lengthy introduction, I will dive right in to my list. Here they are, from worst to worstest.
5. A Whiter Shade of Pale. Not the Procol Harum version – that version is a masterpiece. I’m on this planet 40 years, this song was recorded before I was born, and I have yet to hear the song that it didn’t move me. Those haunting lyrics and that sightly distorted vocal track, paired with the hypnotic organ work all come together to make this a stunning piece.
To the great misfortune of all humanity, Annie Lenox remade this song in the 90’s. Her use of tinkling bells, synthesizers and breathy vocals demoted this song to a pop-ish confection.
I never did like Annie Lennox. This remake validated those feelings.
4. That sucky song by Nickelback. You know, that one where the guy is hollering bland lyrics in a strained voice with a backdrop of elevator metal. Yeah, that one.
In other words, they all sound alike, which is actually fine if you don’t suck. But when you do suck, and your material all sounds alike, then you have achieved your own special level of suckdom. Period.
3. Fergalicious. By Fergie, whose very name pisses me off. When I was filling out my son’s baby book I had to look up the #1 song of the year 2006 and was terrified that it would be this song, as it had been all over the airwaves that year…and then, blessedly, just seemed to evaporate. This song, overtly and obnoxiously sexual, starts out bad, sinks to worse, and spirals to abysmal. And somewhere in the middle there is a little rap sequence that does not seem to go with the rest of the song. This one is bad…baaaaad.
That #1 song from 2006, by the way, was not this one but Promiscuous. Yeah, I had to write that in his baby book.
2. Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue. This was Toby Keith’s post 9/11 anthem, intended to rouse the troops. I find it just a little too celebratory of revenge and war. I thought that his declaring that putting “a boot in your ass, it’s the American way” was more than presumptuous. If I were going to choose one citizen to describe “the American way” to the rest of the world, my hope would be to find a more advanced specimen than Toby Keith.
1. We Built This City. This one consistently makes every worst song list. I recall first hearing this song on a “smash-it-or-trash-it” radio show when I was about 13 (and my musical taste was still in its infancy) and thought then that it was utter crap. Someone once said that this song sounded like it was penned by music execs wearing lab coats. That is the most appropriate characterization of the song I have ever seen. To go from Jefferson Airplane singing White Rabbit to Starship singing We Built This City…what an epic nosedive.
So that is my list – short and sweet. I know that there are so many more horrendous songs out there, but life is short and my time is very valuable. And with that in mind I would like to take this moment to apologize to every song that Yoko Ono ever recorded.
And I leave you, reader, with this departing gift – “This Is How You Remind Me of Someday”. Two Nickelback tracks, laid one over the other. They sound exactly alike.