May 10, 2004
50 Worst Songs Ever: The Bocephus Edition
The series on VH1 premiers this Wednesday, so I figured it's high time we here at the BC dot C took a look at this list, compiled by the tools over at Blender magazine of the 50 worst songs ever. My opinion: It's a buncha bullshit. Not even in the way that most of these VH1 lists are bullshit. At least with, say the Rolling Stone 50 (or was it 100?) Greatest Pop Songs, they were kinda on to something and gave you something you could sit around with friends and bitch about (or sit alone in the dark and bitch at the TV). Who really gave a fuck about any of these songs in the first place?
50 CÉLINE DION
“My Heart Will Go On” 1998
And on and on and on…
Felix Says: "Never has a song about all-consuming love sounded so trivial and been so inescapable — it powered the Titanic soundtrack to a year-topping 10 million copies sold, and made millions more pray that an iceberg would somehow hit Dion."
Bol C Says: VH1 frontin' on Céline Dion is like Puerto Rican people frontin' on pointy red shoes. I know a lot of you only started watching VH1 when it became cute (Milli Vanilli Behind the Music), but this bitch was VH1 Artist of the Year two years straight once (AFAIK the only time that's ever happened).
The Verdict: It's the fucking soundtrack to Titanic. What was this supposed to be "Smells Like Teen Spirit?"
49 RIGHT SAID FRED
“I’m Too Sexy” 1992
The answer to Spinal Tap’s question “What’s wrong with being sexy?”
Felix Says: "Right Said Fred were horrible, bald novelty Brits whose one claim to fame was a song that announced that they were 'too sexy' for most things, from 'New York' to 'my cat.'"
Bol C Says: So many of the songs on this list were just dumb novelty songs to begin with. It's like a one hit wonders list crossed with a bad songs list.
The Verdict: OK, it's bad. And gay too.
48 THE BEATLES
“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” 1968
You can practically hear them gritting their teeth
Felix Says: "...this sounds less like reggae than the desperately chirpy songs Cockneys used to sing to keep their spirits up while the Luftwaffe rained death on them during the Blitz."
Bol C Says: And that makes it bad?
The Verdict: Obviously they put this on here to stir up controversy.
47 BRYAN ADAMS
“The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You” 1996
It’s Great-Uncle Disgusting — from Canada!
Felix Says: "When Adams chose to do sexy after 15 years of chaste, aw-shucks rockin’, even his fans were stunned — as if they’d just seen a stag film starring Richie Cunningham."
Bol C Says: "Good" Bryan Adams was already bad enough, but damn.
The Verdict: Good pick, actually.
46 NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
“Hangin’ Tough” 1989
Felix Says: "This 1988 hit was all crossed arms and scowls, but the tuff-guy routine didn’t gel: These nancy boys make the Sharks and Jets look like G-Unit."
Bol C Says: I don't know, as far as young white guys go, the New Kids were pretty tough. Except for the two fruity, religious ones.
The Verdict: I don't like the idea that this is on here and Backstreet/N'SYNC/98 Degrees isn't.
45 JA RULE FEAT. ASHANTI
The most hated man in hip-hop — for good reason!
Felix Says: "Many rappers sing poorly, but none as irritatingly as Jeffrey Atkins. In 2001, he went from a raise-da-roof club grunter who treated women like car doors to a tone-deaf warbler who swore he worshiped them — and cried in his videos to prove it."
Bol C Says: What's this shit about rappers singing poorly? I happen to like it when most rappers sing poorly.
The Verdict: I hate it when Ja Rule does though.
44 MEAT LOAF
“I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” 1993
Bitch-titted balladeer seeks dictionary
Felix Says: "...this epic chunk of histrionics’ worst offense is that it doesn’t make any sense. You wouldn’t do what, exactly? It’s OK for rock songs to be dumb. But not stupid."
Bol C Says: Yeah it's bad, but at least it's fucking epic in its badness.
The Verdict: OK, whatever.
43 UNCLE KRACKER
“Follow Me” 2000
Sleaze-rap DJ goes solo, blows like Hootie
Felix Says: "Breaking out on his own, the leading light of Kid Rock’s 'Detroit playas' reneges on his boss’s promise to 'cause chaos' and 'rock like Amadeus.'"
Bol C Says: Tight pants wearing, NYC dwelling metros whining about how bad this is is like Dick Cheney going on about how rough it was over in 'Nam.
The Verdict: It really is as bad out in the fly over zone as you think.
42 SIMON & GARFUNKEL
“The Sounds of Silence” 1965
If Frasier Crane were a song, he would sound like this
Felix Says: "While a rock band twangs aimlessly in the middle distance, Simon & Garfunkel thunder away in voices that suggest they’re scowling and wagging their fingers as they sing. The overall experience is like being lectured on the meaning of life by a jumped-up freshman."
Bol C Says: Like "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" before it, it's not necessarily my thing, but come on.
The Verdict: Ooh, controversy.
41 BILLY JOEL
“We Didn’t Start the Fire” 1989
Can you fit a cultural history of the twentieth century into four minutes? Uh, no
Felix Says: "Despite its bombastic production, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” resembles a term paper scribbled the night before it’s due."
Bol C Says: If the lyrics were any more accurate, it'd just be boring.
The Verdict: I don't wanna say it's good, but, you know.
40 COLOR ME BADD
“I Wanna Sex You Up” 1991
Felix Says: "These Oklahoma R&B smoothies looked like rejects from a Benetton ad and sounded like flunkies from the Keith Sweat School of Horny Jamz."
Bol C Says: I had no idea these guys were from Oklahoma. Like a lot of these songs, I can distinctly remember some people being really into this shit at the time.
The Verdict: Good pick.
39 RICKY MARTIN
“She Bangs” 2000
La vida proves not to be so loca after all
Felix Says: "The ingredients of its epic predecessor are all here — but it’s all wrong, and worse still, unintentionally hilarious."
Bol C Says: Its epic predecessor was pretty fucking rancid too. In fact, that whole Latin pop explosion was.
The Verdict: The good thing about this song though was that it brought Ol' Gay Ricky's career to a screeching halt.
“Cotton Eye Joe” 1995
Just what the world needed: a Swedish techno-bluegrass crossover
Felix Says: "Novelty European techno is not a genre noted for its multitude of artistic high points, but “Cotton Eye Joe” may well be its nadir."
Bol C Says: The fact that I can't even remember how this goes alone is proof that this wasn't that bad.
The Verdict: Whatever.
“Rico Suave” 1991
He was Vanilla Ice for the Telemundo set
Felix Says: "Long before Ricky Martin lived la vida loca, another fleet-footed, sexually ambiguous Latino star crossed over to pop-chart glory by turning an otherwise forgettable dance-pop tune into a ubiquitous and dreaded catchphrase."
Bol C Says: Not to sound all anti-Latin or anything, but their music fucking sucks. Or at least their pop music does.
The Verdict: Hells yeah.
36 MASTER P FEAT. SILKK, FIEND, MIA-X AND MYSTIKAL
“Make Em Say Uhh!” 1998
Cristal meets constipation!
Felix Says: "A lot of ideas occur to people in the shower, but the hook for this Dirty South smash sounds as though someone thought it up on the toilet during a strenuous bowel movement: Master P and a small army of cronies groan “Unnngghhh” no fewer than 25 (!) times here."
Bol C Says: Aw, come on. This was at least better than anything else No Limit put out.
The Verdict: Like I said there are plenty of rap songs worse than this.
“Shiny Happy People” 1991
What were they thinking?
Felix Says: "It’s difficult to imagine the circumstances that led R.E.M. — intelligent, literate, subtle even when rocking out — to record this. Not only is “Shiny Happy People” an annoying song, but you also get the distinct sense that it’s going out of its way to annoy you."
Bol C Says: Get the fuck outta here. It's a little bit gay, but you wouldn't discount, say a Teddy Pendegrass record for being a little bit black, now would you?
The Verdict: If they were gonna go with an R.E.M. song, it's not like there aren't plenty of bad ones they could've gone with.
34 DAN FOGELBERG
Dear Mr. Fogelberg: Why not consider a stage name?
Felix Says: "The singer sounds like he could be your patchouli-scented sixth-grade history teacher, whispering politely about being in love with you longer than there have been fish in the ocean, higher than any bird ever flew."
Bol C Says: This seems like an odd pick considering it's the only song on here from that whole muzak genre.
The Verdict: It is bad though.
“Barbie Girl” 1997
Scandi-wegian pedo-pop alert! Erk!
Felix Says: "Brilliant idea: Take a child’s toy, turn it into a twisted sexual fantasy (“Kiss me here, touch me there”), set it to teeth-rotting synth-pop like a robot pony kicking children to death and hawk it like Happy Meals to the under-13s."
Bol C Says: Like I said, so many of these songs were just dumb ass novelty songs to begin with. Why not, say something from that whole late '90s Women in Rock movement? There was lots of garbage in that.
The Verdict: Europe is gay.
32 WILL SMITH
“Will 2K” 1999
On New Year’s Eve, the Fresh Prince drops the ball
Felix Says: "In 1999, the incoming millennium sent most rappers into doomsday mode, but not Will Smith. He was writing a celebration jam so wildly dorky it makes your local bar mitzvah DJ look like a member of the Strokes."
Bol C Says: I actually might've gone with the one with him and his kid, but I guess as long as he's on here.
The Verdict: Agreed.
31 CRASH TEST DUMMIES
“Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” 1994
The worst hum in music ever
Felix Says: "You know that jerk at your office who can burp the alphabet? That’s the way Brad Roberts sings."
Bol C Says: It's been ages since I've heard this, but back in the day, I thought this was really serious, harrowing shit.
The Verdict: This is not even a bad song.
30 WHITNEY HOUSTON
“Greatest Love Of All” 1986
Felix Says: "Immortalized by Eddie Murphy’s lascivious funk band in Coming to America, this heartrending über-ballad is still best known as Whitney Houston’s career zenith, before the marriage and the drugs took hold."
Bol C Says: Get the fuck outta here. Pre coke habit Whitney could fucking sang.
The Verdict: Not that I'm into that sorta thing or anything.
29 DEEP BLUE SOMETHING
“Breakfast At Tiffany’s” 1995
So bland, you can actually forget you’re listening to music while it’s playing
Felix Says: "Less a song than an experiment to see how mundane college rock can become before it ceases to exist altogether."
Bol C Says: I might be in college myself, but come on. It's so dippy you can't help but like it.
The Verdict: This selection reeks of cracka self hatred.
28 JOHN MAYER
“Your Body is a Wonderland” 2001
Get this man a cold shower
Felix Says: "Drool never sounded as sweet as it does on this slow-stirred ode to daytime sex — but even from the otherwise charming Mayer, it’s still drool."
Bol C Says: When people tell me this guy is really talented, I just want to kick them in their balls/cunt.
The Verdict: I agree, this is the most horrible shit ever.
“The Final Countdown” 1987
The worst thing to come from both the band and the continent itself
Felix Says: "Tempest’s nonsensical caterwauling was backed by music that somehow managed to be fascist in its bombast yet also coma-inducingly dull."
Bol C Says: This wasn't a hit, was it? Blender needs to hire more American writers, or at least bring in ringers when they're trying to make something that's relevant.
The Verdict: Again, whatever.
26 THE DOORS
“The End” 1967
The most pretentious rock star’s most pretentious song
Felix Says: "Over anemic jazz noodling, Jim Morrison intones lyrics that would make the kid wearing the pentagram T-shirt in the back row of homeroom blush with shame."
Bol C Says: I don't know if I can make much of a case for it other than to say come on, it's The Doors. I don't think you can like one of their songs and then front like you don't like another.
The Verdict: ?
25 PUFF DADDY FEAT. FAITH EVANS AND 112
“I’ll Be Missing You” 1997
…and your platinum-selling albums. Sob!
Felix Says: "A little over three months after the tragic shooting of his best friend, the Notorious B.I.G., a distraught Puffy Combs channeled his grief into “I’ll Be Missing You,” a nauseating brew of gloopy sentimentality and strategic-marketing mawkishness."
Bol C Says: Yeah this was pretty egregious bullshit. Puff didn't even write this shit.
The Verdict: Be sure to vote in the informal poll.
24 FIVE FOR FIGHTING
Felix Says: "In the chaotic days following 9/11, people were grasping at whatever they could find for comfort. But perhaps nothing shows how out of sorts America was than the ascendance of this turgid ballad by once-and-future-unknown John Ondrasik as this grieving nation’s unofficial anthem."
Bol C Says: While it has since been surpassed by the awesome "100 Years," this was, for its time, the greatest 40-year-old white guy song since "Walking in Memphis." Yep, it was that good.
The Verdict: No way this should be on here.
23 COREY HART
“Sunglasses At Night” 1984
If you look up one-hit wonder in the dictionary, this is what you’ll find
Felix Says: "Over a keyboard riff that sounds more than a little like that of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” the brooding Quebecois Hart mugged worse than Derek Zoolander as he extolled the virtues of going incognito."
Bol C Says: That wasn't mugging, this kid was fucking tough. Quebecois white guys are fucking tough unlike these fucking mayonnaise sandwich eating white boys here in the states.
The Verdict: Switch a blade on the guy in shades and see what happens.
22 TOBY KEITH
“Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” 2002
Oklahoma redneck runs for office on Hate ticket
Felix Says: "Outraged by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Toby Keith enlisted in the Air Force — no, sorry, he wrote a fight anthem so vengeful, it makes 'The Star-Spangled Banner' sound like 'Give Peace a Chance.'”
Bol C Says: It's country.
The Verdict: Why dignify it by putting it on the list?
21 SPIN DOCTORS
“Two Princes” 1992
This is what happens when jam bands go pop
Felix Says: "It’s obviously unfair to dislike a song because of the appearance of the band that recorded it. Yet the very sound of “Two Princes” evokes the way the Spin Doctors looked."
Bol C Says: This one probably gets my pick as the best song on the whole list. This was like the "Hey Ya" of 1992.
The Verdict: No way this belongs on here.
20 LIONEL RICHIE
“Dancing On The Ceiling” 1986
The world’s least convincing party song
Felix Says: "Sounding suspiciously as if it was written in order to fit a video treatment rather than the other way around, this dispiritingly unfunky celebration appears literally to be about dancing on a ceiling — 'People starting to climb the walls.…The only thing we want to do tonight is go round and round and turn upside down.'”
Bol C Says: No argument from Ol' Bocephus. This was some pretty gay shit.
The Verdict: I guess if you count the video along with the song though, it's not as bad.
19 MR. MISTER
“Broken Wings” 1985
The thoroughly nasty sound of yuppie angst
Felix Says: "'Broken Wings' is primarily annoying not for its anodyne mid-’80s production, nor for its lyrics, which make its central protagonist sound like someone you would seek a restraining order against ('You’re half of the flesh, and blood makes me whole,' he sings, reaching for the duct tape and the nail gun). It’s primarily annoying because it’s a four-minute intro with no song attached."
Bol C Says: This is not even a bad song. If they had some kind of '80s quota they had to fill, they could've picked a Richard Marx record. Any Richard Marx record.
The Verdict: I call bullshit.
“You’re the Inspiration” 1984
And you thought the Cubs were the biggest losers in this town? Wrong!
Felix Says: "It’s hard to believe, but at one point Chicago were a fairly well-respected rock band. Then Peter Cetera joined, and they jettisoned any remaining street cred in favor of soft-rock ballads your grandmother would deem harmless."
Bol C Says: That's just plain not true. Old Chicago was good, but new Chicago was just better. Don't even get me started about Cetera's solo work.
The Verdict: Up there with "Two Princes" as one of the best songs on the whole list.
“Pumps and a Bump” 1994
Next stop: bankruptcy court!
Felix Says: "It takes a special kind of awful to destroy a career. This song is that kind of awful. Four years after winning our hearts with his Rick James samples, deft footwork and baggy pants, Hammer (né MC Hammer) took an ill-advised stab at gangsta rap."
Bol C Says: I can think of worse rap songs, but the video for this shit was enough to warrant its inclusion.
The Verdict: Sure. But it's not like he had any good songs before this either.
16 4 NON BLONDES
“What’s Up?” 1993
Felix Says: "To grunge what “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” was to the Woodstock Generation Whenever a new genre comes along, one thing is guaranteed: Sooner or later someone will reduce its values to platitudes, then set them to music so trite you could use it to sell soft drinks."
Bol C Says: Yeah, but it's not that much worse than the vast majority of so-called good grunge.
The Verdict: I don't know. I kinda like it. It's got a bit of a '90s nostalgia thing to it now.
15 THE REMBRANDTS
“I’ll Be There For You” 1995
With friends like these…
Felix Says: "The only way it could be more irritating is if they repeated “Turn that frown upside down” for three minutes and 10 seconds."
Bol C Says: Yeah, fuck this song.
The Verdict: Yeah, fuck this song.
14 BETTE MIDLER
“From a Distance” 1990
Satanic ballad depicts the Lord as neglectful oaf
Felix Says: "Ignoring an entire century of existentialism and science that declared God dead, bawdy bathhouse babe Bette Midler keeps a straight face throughout liberal homilies, stiff rhymes and more sound F/X than a Mel Gibson movie."
Bol C Says: It's a Bette Midler song. 'Fuck was it supposed to be?
The Verdict: Of course it's bad, but it seems like a pretty cheap pick to me.
“Illegal Alien” 1983
Did nobody ever suggest that this song might be considered a teensy bit…offensive?
Felix Says: "Perhaps fearing that the song’s subtle ethnic humor might be missed by some listeners, Phil Collins sported a Zapata mustache and a sombrero in the video."
Bol C Says: OMG (no homo), I have to see that!
The Verdict: I'll take Felix's word for it.
12 THE BEACH BOYS
They might as well have just pissed in Brian’s sandbox
Felix Says: "It’s all anodyne harmonizing and forced rhymes (“To Martinique, that Montserrat mystique!”) that would have driven Brian totally nuts had he not been totally nuts already."
Bol C Says: Yeah, this shit fucking sucked.
The Verdict: But I'm sure there's a lot worse things than piss in that sandbox already.
11 CLAY AIKEN
Bad haircut. Worse song!
Felix Says: "What lurks in the hearts of lonely geeks? Clay Aiken knows, and it’s not pretty."
Bol C Says: Proof (as if we needed any) that a lot of these religious freaks are actually big time pervs.
The Verdict: That this was such a big hit is fucking scary.
10 PAUL McCARTNEY AND STEVIE WONDER
“Ebony and Ivory” 1982
Felix Says: "McCartney and Wonder want the races to get along as peacefully as the white and black keys on a piano — which seems unlikely, since the white keys didn’t enslave the black keys for hundreds of years."
Bol C Says: Yeah the two of them, at that point in their careers, weren't exactly known for their good ideas.
The Verdict: A pretty solid argument against all of this racial harmony bullshit.
“American Life” 2003
Desperately seeking…contemporary relevance
Felix Says: "On which Madonna updates the “Material Girl”–era satire of commercialism and spiritual emptiness — but this time, she does it with what is hands-down the most embarrassing rap ever recorded."
Bol C Says: It's already pretty bad before the rap even begins. The video was fucking scary too.
The Verdict: Probably a bit high on the list, but this might be Madonna's worst.
8 EDDIE MURPHY
“Party All the Time” 1985
Beverly Hills Cop commits felony pop
Felix Says: "Now, it might seem like a cruel satire: Leather-suited comedian teams up with Jheri-curled Superfreak to craft hit record. But no — in 1985, Eddie Murphy and Rick James really did get to number 2 with this catatonic checklist of funk clichés."
Bol C Says: Oh come on. Rick James' presence alone is reason enough that this shouldn't be on here.
The Verdict: Eddie Murphy's weird falsetto though should've been our first clue he was a big time closet case.
7 BOBBY McFERRIN
“Don’t Worry Be Happy” 1988
Oh, great — a bumper sticker set to music
Felix Says: "Just as there are few things more depressing than being told to cheer up, it’s difficult to think of a song more likely to plunge you into suicidal despondency than this."
Bol C Says: This song was the shit back in 1988.
The Verdict: Notice that every other song on here is some kind of novelty tune rather than something that was supposed to be good in the first place.
6 HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS
“The Heart Of Rock & Roll” 1984
A celebration of rock music …by a band seemingly intent on destroying it
Felix Says: "Less a song than a craven attempt to curry favor from drunken arena crowds trained to roar on cue when they hear their city’s name mentioned."
Bol C Says: I heard Houston likes to party.
The Verdict: This was probably a pretty good song if you were a 45-year-old guy in a bar trying to pick up some young trim.
5 VANILLA ICE
“Ice Ice Baby” 1990
When hip-hop stopped being the “black CNN”
Felix Says: "Making fellow early-’90s pop-rap pioneer MC Hammer look cutting-edge by comparison, the chart-topping “Ice Ice Baby” was mindless white rap for mindless white people, set to the plodding bass line from Queen’s 'Under Pressure' for easy move-busting."
Bol C Says: No, that bass line was entirely different.
The Verdict: Everything else he ever made was worse, but I guess he had to be on here one way or the other.
In which nü-metal veers from disaffected rage to “Will this do?”
Felix Says: "Sounding like a middle-aged man trying to fight his way out of his son’s frat party using only random words of youth slang and an unconvincingly gruff tone of voice, Fred Durst dictates a light aerobic workout ('Hands up, now hands down.…Breathe in, now breathe out') against a background of histrionic metal noise."
Bol C Says: I don't like this or anything, but I can think of a lot worse songs. Maybe they were just looking for an excuse to have Fred Durst on here.
The Verdict: But why this and not "Nookie?"
3 WANG CHUNG
“Everybody Have Fun Tonight” 1986
If this song was a party, you’d lock yourself in the bathroom and cry
Felix Says: "Initially called Huang Chung, but in no way Chinese, London-based funk tools Wang Chung changed their name to make it easier for whitey to pronounce, thus patronizing Asia and Europe in one stroke."
Bol C Says: Another one of the best songs on here.
The Verdict: Seriously, go listen to this and tell me it's a bad song.
2 BILLY RAY CYRUS
“Achy Breaky Heart” 1992
At least the haircut never caught on. Oh, wait…
Felix Says: "Written by Vietnam vet Don “Pickle Puss” Von Tress in the style of a brain-dead “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Achy Breaky Heart” represented every prejudice non-believers have about country: It was trite, it was inane, it was big in trailer parks and it was thoroughly enjoyed by the obese."
Bol C Says: It was already bad because it was country, but then it was huge too. 1992 was a scary time for the ol' U S of A.
The Verdict: Billy Ray should've been shot for this.
“We Built This City” 1985
The truly horrible sound of a band taking the corporate dollar while sneering at those who take the corporate dollar
Felix Says: "The result was so awful that years afterward, it seems to bring on a personality disorder in the woman who sang it. 'This is not me,' Slick remarks when reminded of the 1985 chart-topper. 'Now you’re an actor. It’s the same as Meryl Streep playing Joan of Arc.'"
Bol C Says: While not the height of Starship (see "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" from the Mannequin soundtrack), this is far from the worst song ever.
The Verdict: This whole list was a buncha bullshit.
I think there might've been a tendency in making this list to pick a buncha songs that would be easy for whoever they're going to have on here clown (Limp Bizkit, Eddie Murphy, Billy Ray Cyrus). Because these definitely aren't the 50 worst songs of all time if you're going to judge solely on the basis of the music. Some of them aren't even that bad. I could probably think of 50 songs this year that are worse than half the shit on here. As far as the worst song ever, again based solely on the quality of the music, it would pretty much be impossible to come up with the definitive Worst Song Ever, but I went ahead and put together this list of what I think are the worst songs ever by decade:
'00s: "Hey Mama" Black Eyed Peas
'90s: "To Be With You" Mr. Big (?)
'80s: "Freeze Frame" J. Geils Band
'70s and before: I'm not familiar with enough to know or care.
As you can see, it's hard to really compare the three, but if I just had to pick one, I'd probably go with the Black Eyed Peas. That song fucking sucks.
What does everybody else think about the list?
Posted by Bol at 06:00 AM | Permalink
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