We all have those select few songs we can't stand. Songs that, when they come on your car stereo, make you seriously consider jerking the car into a ditch just to make the pain stop. Songs that a wily FBI profiler could blast at us to stop a hostage situation.
Not that anyone is planning to take hostages. Ahem.
Perhaps its the mega popular song from the 90s which made up for its blatant lack of lyrical content with its mindless, catchy chorus? Or it could be that doozy from the 80s, when space exploration could inspire the lamest of songs and former members of a once respectable band could form a new, fantastically shitty one just to fit in with the changing times?
Yeah, that one. Man that song's awful. It makes me want to... do something awful.
Music has the power to inspire or afflict in a unique way. These are the songs that I believe to be the ten worst songs ever written. They're all embedded, too. Enjoy.
10. "Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T's (2007)
One of the more recent songs on this list, "Hey There Delilah" falls prey to being exhaustively played once it hit big back in 2007. It's a ham-handed cornball of a song that relies on a sing-a-long chorus and a simple acoustic guitar chord. Not to mention it's a whiny little ditty about a girl going to school in exotic, far away New York City -- a tired concept that is as trite as it is uninspired.
9. "Like a Rock" - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band (1986)
The first offender from the 1980s, "Like a Rock" is the best candidate out of all of Seger's songs to make this list. It's a plain and simple simile, complete with Seger's too-earnest vocals and subsequent bastardization by Chevrolet. The fact this song sold countless trucks has nothing to do with its self-serving, bombastic lyrics about how awesome Seger was as a teenager.
8. "Reelin In The Years" - Steely Dan (1972)
Creating an masterful guitar solo is no excuse for writing shoddy, confusing lyrics. "Reelin In The Years" would have made a fine instrumental track, but Donald Fagen felt otherwise -- gracing the song with his bland, petty and vindictive lyrics. The things that pass for 1970s jazz rock I can't understand.
7. "You're Beautiful" - James Blunt (2004)
The third single from James' Back to Bedlam, "You're Beautiful" has to be the most painfully simple song on this list. Just thinking about Blunt singing the chorus makes me cringe. Perhaps its the cocky way he sings, perhaps its the overall irritating nature of the song itself. Whatever the case may be, this song is, without a doubt, universally loathed.
6. "Mony Mony" - Billy Idol (1987)
Those who give even the slightest shit about this song know that it was originally written and performed in 1968 by Tommy James and the Shondells. Idol, with a little help from the National Basketball Association, catapulted "Mony Mony" into the stratosphere of annoyance with its rowdy, fist-pumping beat. What's lost in all that, however, is just how awful the song really is. It would have been okay by late 1960s standards, where grammatical misappropriations were widespread in popular music. By 1987, the song just sounded stupid.
5. "Out of My Head" - Fastball (1998)
Perhaps as annoying as "You're Beautiful," "Out of My Head" is another song rife with grating self-importance. The song's structure is just baffling, with one verse and three different versions of the whiny chorus. It baffles me as to why "Out of My Head" -- as well as the band Fastball -- was so popular in the late 1990s, but trying to figure this out will probably lead me down a dark, nonsensical path.
4. "American Pie" - Don McLean (1971)
This song is so dense and over-contextualized that there is actually a website
where each verse of the almost 9 minute song is broken down. Who the hell wants to actually understand this crap? Anytime I even think of the chorus of the song, it sends anger-shivers down my spine. When faced with the least ambitious part of her multifaceted career, Madonna chose to cover this song, and she sure as shit didn't do it any favors.
3. "Butterfly" - Crazy Town (2000)
Fuck this song and fuck Shifty Shellshock. That opening guitar riff strikes a primal, turn-it-off-right-fucking-NOW fear in me. In all honesty, though -- fuck this fucking song.
1b. "The Final Countdown" - Europe (1986)
This song, coupled with the final song on the list, are the two worst songs ever written. It's hard to pick between the two, since they are both so awful, but I will start with hair metal rockers Europe. Yes, we all know that infernal keyboard solo to start the song. Yes, we all know the lame, literally unwritten chorus. But do you know that "The Final Countdown" is a song about space exploration? Written by a Swedish band who calls themselves Europe? Why was this song ever popular? Oh, that's right -- it was released in 1986, when seemingly anything was possible, especially on the music charts.
1a. "We Built This City" - Starship (1985)
What do you get when you take an influential 60s/70s rock band, strip it of all dignity and "update" it for the 1980s, complete with science-fiction concept albums? Starship, unfortunately. The former members of Jefferson Airplane magically changed into Starship once the 80s rolled around, effectively ditching any respect that band had achieved. With Starship came their most polarizing hit "We Built This City." Equal parts awful, simple lyrics and unabashed cheesiness, "We Built This City" was a #1 hit for Starship -- something Jefferson Airplane could never achieve. What pains me the most is that Starship also recorded the song "Sara," which is actually very good and more representative of the band. How they could vary from warm and thoughtful to completely mindless drivel on the same album is beyond me, but someone has to be #1 on this list.
A big thanks goes out to the 1980s. Without that you, we wouldn't have half of some of the worst songs ever wirtten.