Last time out, Alex, Chris and Paola gave out their personal top 5 songs. This time though, they looked deep into their murky musical tastes and came up with their personal worst 5 songs ever!
For this edition though, we added some criteria. 1) No Novelty Songs, meaning Bob the Builder, Joe Dolce and Ultravox were out of bounds, and 2) No Talent Show contestants, meaning we’ve probably deprived Steve Brookstein and
John Fashanu Alexandra Burke of a career peak. With those in mind then, let us plunge into the depths of musical despair!
The Corrs – So Young
I can’t get through a single chorus of this. It was played at a friend’s funeral who died far too early. The only saving grace is that I wasn’t a big fan of the track beforehand, one of my other buddies had Tonight Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins ruined in the same way, that’s way worse. Depressing start!
Beach Boys – Help Me Rhonda
It’s not the song itself per se, it’s Beach Boys fans that killed this for me. By the time I worked in record stores, people who liked the Beach Boys when they were kids had grown up to be suit-sporting impatient middle-aged fascists. “What do you mean you haven’t got Pet Sounds in stock?! I’ve come down here on my lunch break from bankrupting a third world country and I badly need some laid back good vibrations to play in my BMW! You people need to learn a thing or two about customer service…etc”. As Mr Bart Simpson once said: the ironing is delicious.
Notorious B.I.G. – Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
Just yuck. This record is just yuck. I can take most things in hip-hop pretty well, the misogynism, the puerile violence, the at times silly tuneless self indulgence, and then I’m hating on this? I mean it’s Biggie, right? How can I speak ill of the King of New York? This song is just not good. Not even Big could save it. Let that sink in for a moment: Not. Even. Big. Could. Save. It. It’s also amongst the best selling singles in hip-hop history. It’s shiny, it’s poppy and it sounds expensive. This for me is the flagship song for everything that is crass and boring in hip-hop. Sorry Big.
Coldplay – Yellow
A dude I used to work with had this theory that when beer companies make beer, the one that sells most is the one that tastes most like water. The thinking being not that everyone likes water, but that no-one doesn’t like water. So if you can produce something that isn’t strongly flavoured in any way, but is just unobjectionable, you will sell loads of it, because there’s no acquired taste, there’s nothing there to like or dislike. Thus is the story of John Smith’s Extra Smooth. Now I don’t know if this theory is totally sound or not, but I do know whenever we’d play Coldplay in the shop, instead of putting the CD case out on the little display stand we’d just put a cool refreshing cup of water.
Run DMC Vs. Jason Nevins – It’s Like That
Imagine the conversation:
“You know what this amazing track off Run DMC’s debut album really needs?” No, what’s that? “A housey remix.” Are you sure? That sounds like a pretty dreadful idea, especially given the sparseness of the original being a key part of its appeal, I mean the beat makes a huge impact out of comparatively few components. “Yeah, but imagine it like that right, but housier.” Sorry, what does that even mean? “Well, basically like the original, but with a simpler thumpier drum beat?” That just sounds awful, did you even listen to my original concerns a second ago? “Yeah, yeah. Like that, but housier” I don’t think I like you…
The fact this got to number one in the UK is upsetting. Do you know why the term “hip-house” didn’t stick around for too long? Because it’s unimaginably terrible, that’s why.
ABBA – Dancing Queen
Let me talk to you about my irrational aversion – okay, hatred – for ABBA. About how hearing the first notes on any of their songs makes me want to flee like a rat from a sinking ship. Oh, how their 70s sounding melodies trigger some obscure process inside my soul and make me want to reach for the nearest pharmaceutical to lessen the atrocious pain they induce. How their endless revival makes me doubt about the future of humanity and our so-called evolution from invertebrates into supposedly intelligent animals.
I cannot bear ABBA. Anything by ABBA makes me want to smoke crack (spot the citation if you’re clever enough) but if I really have to pick one song, it has to be this horrid manifestation of vapid, vacuous, meaningless drivel called Dancing Queen: a song that makes me want to re-enact ‘that’ scene in Carrie with the nearest Prom Queen to hand.
Sugababes – Here Comes The Girls
This song has been relentlessly used by U.K. store Boots for their TV adverts for years and I simply cannot take it anymore. Not only do I hate everything about the obscenity of Boots’ Christmas ‘3 for 2’ pre-packaged gifts (that in itself deserves a separate article) but this song incites such pure, unadulterated ‘girly’ idiocy – drinking Lambrini at the office party and then feeling liberated for getting attention from ‘The Guy From Accounts’ and thinking you’re hot stuff.
Peter Bjorn & John – Young Folks
Another advert song that has been torturing everybody for years. This time the perpetrator in question is Homebase and I can already tell you that I will never shop there because of their obnoxious adverts. To make matters worse, I once had to endure this song on a plane to Las Vegas – the flight was delayed and while waiting for take off, this form of acoustic torture was being played on loop inside the aircraft. And to make things even worse, several passengers whistled along.
Kill me now.
Slade – ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’
Awwww. This takes me back to my youth – my first lead-up-to-Christmas in the U.K. and my introduction to ‘Christmas Music’. They played this song everywhere, especially in the low-budget catering outlets I used to haunt as a language student, namely McDonalds, Burger King et al. It was painful even back then and in stark contrast with my idealised, literature-derived perception of Christmas: a Dickensian affair with Christian Carols and the snow falling faintly through the universe, (spot the citation if you’re clever – II), when in actual fact, all I got was Slade blaring through the tinny speakers of a small town Burger King.
In Italian (and I believe, in French too) there’s an expression that roughly translates to ‘shooting at ambulances’. Let’s face it: Coldplay are an easy target. They don’t do it for me and never have done: maybe it’s a combination of meaningless lyrics, bland music and being married to Gwyneth Paltrow. But let’s stop for a moment and think of one of their very first hits: before they wrote things on their hands, before they wore charity wrist band and before they pretty much conquered the world with their corporate, Next -catalogue-coffeetable book-friendly-blandness. Let’s think of ‘Yellow’. A song whose lyrics were inspired by…..the Yellow Pages. Yes, ladies and gentlemen: The Yellow Friggin’ Pages. It’s on record: Chris Martin saw the Yellow book while he was writing the song and it ‘fit’. So, yeah, we’re listening to a song that references to a book advertising plumbers, electricians and mobile hairdressers.
I am ready for the Apocalypse.
Beyonce- Crazy in Love
Beyonce Knowles has a great singing voice, few would dispute that. However she, like so very many other singers doesn’t use it properly. Hell, she barely uses it well, ever. Instead, she BELLOWS the lyrics, with no regard for light and shade of tone, and that is even if she sings it at all, often leaving the actual words to the backing singers while showing off how well she can warble around her upper range over the top. There are so many of her songs that could have fit in here, but this is just the worst of the bunch. The chorus legitimately makes me angry. On top of it being monotonous, repetitive, meaningless bollocks, it’s LOUD, slightly tuneless, monotonous, repetitive, meaningless bollocks. After years of hearing the garbage that Mariah Carey was spewing out, I hoped that solo, the members of Destiny’s Child might produce some good Pop R&B, and instead, I was presented with this tripe. On top of that, it seems to be held up by many as some sort of all time classic. I suffer from hype aversion a lot of the time anyway, so this REALLY gets my goat. True story. In about 2004, I sported a large graze on my forehead for a few months. The reason? Because I was over the other side of the room when this came on the radio, and in my haste to switch channels immediately, I tripped over the edge of my sofa and went head first into the corner of my PS2. I hold Beyonce entirely responsible.
Candyflip- Strawberry Fields Forever
The early 90s gave us some great electronica, turning House and Dance music into a top 40 commodity. However, it also gave us this. I’m not even that big a fan of the original version, but this soulless, vapid, obnoxious cover is just awful. To release it as a piece of music should Candyflip penalised heavily under the Trade Descriptions Act. When I first wanted to put this in my bottom 5 I dismissed it as a novelty song, but upon reading a bit more, I came to realise that it was an irony free release as well. ‘Candyflipping’ is the term used to describe when someone takes Ecstasy and LSD at the same time. Clearly a large number of people were doing that in 1990 as it reached the top 10 in the UK and even charted in the US.
Jay Z & Alicia Keys- Empire State of Mind
The Jay Z rapping is inoffensive enough. However, Alicia Keys’ parts? Take EVERYTHING I said about Beyonce’s bellowing choruses, and multiply by a googol. THAT is how much I hate this bloody song.
Van Morrison- Brown Eyed Girl
Cheesy, chirpy, obnoxious rhythm. Van Morrison’s singing sounds like a cartoon frog. And whenever it plays, people react like a kitten having their first experience with catnip and tunelessly grunt said, obnoxious rhythm. Vomit inducing.
Coldplay- Viva La Vida
So close to a perfect hattrick of Coldplay songs. I’m not going to be as hard on the band as Alex and Paola as I quite like some of their earlier stuff (not Yellow, mind. The Scientist, Trouble, Clocks and Beautiful World I like). This though is because there was at least some variety in their songs. Viva La Vida though was the song that seemed to launch them from ‘big’ into ‘mega’ (I believe those are the scientific units of recognition for musical artists). My problem? It sounds EXACTLY the same as Clocks. The tune is identical. The piano hook is identical. And the song as a whole is inferior. It spawned at least another 4 songs from them that sounded identical too. And once they became mega, they became unbearably patronising, Bono-esque figures (Paola detailed this change better than I can). I resent a band becoming huge on the back of a song (that in turn started a run of songs) that showed they had no new ideas and were happy just to churn out the same old thing. It got vaunted as being inspirational in some way, which really bothered me. How can a total rip off of their own song be inspirational!? This song, like the others on this list, ANGERS me. However, the video for Paradise, featuring a man-sized plush elephant riding a bike, means I cannot tear into them with the same ferocity I would have previously.
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