The most recent episode of the podcast “All Songs Considered” was dedicated to the theme “The Worst Songs of All Time.”
On the show hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton with Stephen Thompson and Carrie Brownstein made their picks for worst songs in several categories.
I agreed with some of their choices and disagreed with others (“No Rain” by Blind Melon is a damn fine song, Carrie Brownstein!) but either way, I was inspired to make my own contributions to the lists.
Category #1: Relentless Earworm
“Sussudio” by Phil Collins
No Jacket Required (1985)
I don’t mind most 80s music. In fact, I like it.
The drum machines and synthesizers that a lot of people complain about don’t bother me a bit, probably because they were cool back when I was trying to be. But this is a stupid, synth-ridden song with inane lyrics.
I read online (ok, on Wikipedia but I believe it) that the name of the song came about when Phil Collins was improvising lyrics to a drum machine. Guess that explains why they are so asinine.
Sussudio isn’t a word or a name, for crying out loud.
If you have a minute, check out the “good” reviews of the songs on its Wikipedia page. With praise like “catchy gibberish” who needs criticism?
Once I hear this awful song it is, unfortunately, stuck in my head for days.
Category #2: A Song That Takes Itself Too Seriously
“The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston (1985)
I guess 1985 was a bad year for music.
While I’ve never been a huge Whitney Houston fan, I can sit through most of her music. I even like a couple of songs.
But this has got to be one of the most self-important songs ever written.
Self-reliance is a good thing. And there’s nothing wrong with bringing proud of yourself, but do you have to sound so preachy about it?
Category #3: Death By Association (A song that you hate because it reminds you of a certain time or situation.)
I’ve got nothing.
Music has always been an important part of my life, but for some reason I can’t think of a single song that reminds me of a bad time or that has turned sour because of a particular association.
I’m sure there’s one out there and when I come up with it, I’ll post. But for now I’m going to have to pass on this category.
Category #4: Annoying Novelty Songs
“The Twelve Pains of Christmas by Bob Rivers”
Twisted Christmas (1988)
Who thought it was a good idea to make a parody of the longest, most annoying Christmas carol ever?
From the Archie Bunker sound alike to the sexist husband/wife dynamic to super annoying, super whiney kid, I hate everything about this song.
It may only list twelve pains but it causes me many, many more.
Category #5: Grab Bag (Any song for any reason)
Anything by Taylor Swift
Just the name Taylor Swift causes me to roll my eyes.
I do not understand the appeal of this chick. Her songs have no depth — bad pop-country filled with trivial teenage angst — and she comes across just as shallow.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’d take Miley Cyrus and her tongue any day. At least she’s interesting.
Category #6 Overplayed (this wasn’t on the show, I just think it deserves mention)
Big Black Horse & the Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall
Eye to the Telescope (2005)
This is a pretty good song and I liked it the first time I heard it. And the second. Even the third.
But the fiftieth and hundredth time it was on the radio, I was ready to throw something. Now every time it comes up, I turn the radio off.
I know that artists strive to have their songs heard, on the radio, on line, anywhere it can be played. But when you hear a song almost every hour, it tends to have the opposite of the desired effect.
A close runner up in this category was “Roar” by Katy Perry. I tend not to like most Katy Perry songs but all the well-intentioned viral videos made this my least favorite.