So apparently people really, really hate “We Built This City”, to the point where it wins a lot of “Worst Song Ever” votes.
As someone who finds it the fun, cheesy kind of bad, I find this offensive. I can name a lot worse. So I’m going to go through my own memory box and Billboard’s Top 100 lists (thank you Mr. In The Shadows), and find five songs from each year that are worse for every year from 1986 to 2010, for a nice round 25 years of godawful music that you can use to remind yourself that no, cheesy 80s sellout songs are not as bad as it can get.
Today, I’m going to go with 2005, which was not a good year for music. Let’s put it this way: I can think of exactly one song on the Billboard Top 100 that I would willingly listen to. Hollaback Girl is at #2. HOLLABACK. GIRL.
Yeah. This may not be much fun.
This song, appropriately enough for a discussion inspired by We Built This City, comes from 1985. It’s Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F”, and is #61 on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 for that year. It is awesome.
So how could you possibly ruin it? What ingredient could you add to make it horrible?
(Image taken from http://www.music.com)
If you managed to miss most of the noughties, and frankly I wouldn’t blame you if you did, this genital-waving frog mutant is known as the Crazy Frog or the Annoying Thing. Even its owners and creators are well aware that it is the single most obnoxious thing in existence, and worse, they are proud of it. Its bizarre stream of nonsense was funny once and then rapidly became infuriating, and yet it just. Kept. Happening.
After making a fortune with annoying ringtones, the company controlling the Speaker of the Vast Joke decided it merited its own musical hit. Out came their cover of Axel F.
I would like to point out that despite being a stupid novelty hit that makes you want to stick a screwdriver in your ear, this was not some joke that never went anywhere. It went to #1 in eleven countries. ELEVEN.
However, despite the presence of this batrachian abomination, the song has two saving graces. One: the music video is awesome. It makes sure to give us someone to root for by introducing a hulking robot bounty hunter seeking the $50,000 reward for killing the Great Detestation. Two, that awesome synth riff. For the few seconds it lasts, it makes you forget the godawful noise that ensues whenever Bilious Squick there opens his mouth.
If I had already known about Axel F before this song came out, this would probably be #3. However, I didn’t, so I’m choosing to show it mercy for letting me know the original existed.
I will show this mercy in the form of a quick and painless death.
This song is Land of Confusion, by Genesis. Again, it is excellent.
So what do you get when the basic concept of Land of Confusion is handled ineptly by a group who, despite apparently having the best of intentions, almost never managed to make anything that wasn’t utterly awful and whiny and terrible in every way?
Well, you would probably get something like Crazy.
This apparently comes from the Simple Plan album “Still Not Getting Any”, and believe me, if you can perform something like Crazy with a straight face, you clearly are not getting any.
What do I hate about this song?
Well, let’s compare it to Land of Confusion, for all that this is like comparing a dog crap to filet mignon. Land of Confusion has emotions in it. You get mistrust, fear, frustration, bitterness, regret, grief, culminating in anger and determination.
Crazy is just one long whine.
Land of Confusion also has a determination to actually do something – the singer isn’t just satisfied with telling people things suck, they vow to “put it right”. In Crazy, the determination peaks at “open your eyes and see that something is wrong” – the song isn’t interested in doing anything, they want you to do something while they sit there and sulk.
Apparently Simple Plan do a lot of charity work, so I’m willing to concede that this isn’t what they wanted, but that doesn’t stop it from being what they got.
Do I even need to explain further?
For Green Day, 2005 was a good year financially but a terrible one musically. Their biggest hit, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, had a Simple Plan level of whiny self-importance, but I’ll grant that at least some of the imagery is cool and the music isn’t bad. (A state it shares with “21 Guns”.)
But I have no idea how they justified this one. It commits the very worst of musical sins by being tedious. Hollaback Girl, Axel Frog, even My Humps – those are bad, certainly, but at least it’s an animated kind of bad.
Wake Me Up When September Ends is very appropriately named, because if you listen to it more than once, you could very easily sleep for several months in a row. The rock bit in the second half somehow does not manage to defuse the monotonous bagpipe of the lead singer’s voice, nor the drawn-out and repetitive lyrics. When I mentioned this song to a friend online, the response was “Yes, wake me up when September ends, because this song will be over and my life will be that much better.” (I wouldn’t bet on it, actually – this song is long, but the droning vocals make it feel longer than the Triassic period with none of the interesting dinosaurs.)
I get that it was written as a way of coming to terms with a parent’s death. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make me feel sad for him. It makes me feel sad for me because I’m listening to this crap. But worse, it makes me feel bored.
Congratulations, Green Day. You apparently set out to write the most boring song you could and you succeeded admiraa78hhhhh
Sorry, I had it playing in the background and I just fell asleep on my keyboard.
The worst song of 2005 has to go to something terrible. Something horrible. Something absolutely godawful.
Boring, banal, self-important, whiny, generally awful and obnoxious in every way.
And with that, there is only one thing it could be.
It’s dull, it’s annoying, it’s entirely delivered at a whine, the lyrics are like something taken from their Livejournal, and as with most of Simple Plan’s songs during this time period, its head is so far up its own backside that it is about to turn inside out.
Congratulations, Simple Plan! Your song was so awful it didn’t even make it to the Top 100 in a year when Akon taking the sound of Chip and Dale being castrated and autotuning it was in the top fifty. That’s quite an accomplishment.
The next one, in a week or two, will focus on [rolls on random.org] 1996! Which puts it around the time I was learning that there were songs other than Hakuna Matata. This will be interesting.
– OSM out