Top Ten Songs I’d Be Happy To Never Hear Again
like to think I’m a woman of few musical prejudices: if I like it, I’ll listen to it, regardless of genre or ‘cool’ (with the exception of hard house). As such, it was actually surprisingly difficult to assemble a list of songs that I could do without hearing ever again. Sure, we all say “oh, I fucking hate that song” or “that song sucks so bad”, but as I scrolled through the iTunes library in my head, I kept handing out amnesties to songs I don’t really care for. Chris De Burgh’s “Lady In Red”? Admittedly kinda sweet, in a cheesy late-night-radio way. Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”? It’s a classic of modern Scandinavian pop. And then there are the artists (Phil Collins, Toto, Vengaboys) that I used to hate and now love. I can even abide Dido these days. Time does odd things to your critical resolve, let me tell you. Eventually, I managed to scrape in with ten songs I’d like to banish from the playlist of my life—which is, considering the number of songs out there, not a bad strike-rate, really.
At first I considered titling this Top Ten ‘songs they might play in hell’, but I’d like to think that the Devil has more discerning tastes—besides, it gives these songs (bland, boring, badly written or just plain bad) notoriety they don’t deserve. These are the songs that merely irk you, songs you’d leap up to turn off should they appear on the radio. Some of them have ended up on the shitlist because of omnipresence, some because of less-than-savoury lyrical content, some just because they’re plan crap. But not in a magnificent way like, say, Everybody’s Welcome At Mrs Mills’ Party or “Rockin’ All Over The World”, just boring, brown old run-of-the-mill crapola. Except without the verve that calling it ‘crapola’ offers… anyway, I think you get my message. As such, here’s one last hurrah for the songs that, following the writing of this Top Ten, I’d be perfectly happy to never hear again.
10. “Run For Your Life” - The Beatles
This is generally the Beatles track that cops a dissing—even Lennon admitted it was his least favourite!—so I can’t say I’m original in disliking it. But, having spent a good deal of my early teens listening to precious little other than Rubber Soul, I quickly worked out—for myself—what to think about “Run For Your Life”. It’s the nadir of John Lennon’s “fat period”, a glum, gloomy piece of third-rate misogynist pop with very little to offer and I’d be fine, thanks, if it magically disappeared from the tracklisting.
9. “Kryptonite” – 3 Doors Down
I don’t think I’ve ever heard this piece of macho-shit-head FM rock in its entirety; it’s always been little more than snatches blaring from cars loaded with jocks or moments caught whilst scanning the radio stations or the Saturday morning music-television shows for something to bide the time with. The fact that the slightly deformed-looking singer asks if his paramour will “still call me Superman” suggests a serious imbalance of relationship power and brings to mind horror images of jackhammer three-minute sex sessions in which he is most definitely on top. Or behind. And always with socks on.
8. “Canon In D Major” – Johann Pachelbel
Now, I’m not one of those bores who blithely declares that they hate “that classical shit”. I’d rate Vaughan Williams, Debussy and Bartok amongst my all time faves and I love a good film score, too (and by that I mean something actually scored for the movie, not “from and inspired by”). But if there’s one piece I never, ever want to hear again, it’s this fucking made-for-advertising piece of syrup. I wonder if good ol’ Johann didn’t hop into a time-machine and whip forward, assess the cultural landscape, fly back and then declare, “Good heavens, there are TAFEs, Universities, funeral directors and inspirationally bankrupt film preview producers who need my help!” and then sat down and vomited out this claptrap. Yes, you could say I’m not a fan.
7. “All Rise” – Blue
Is it just me, or were/are Blue the worst boy band ever to have blighted us with their presence? Neither in touch with the irony of their situation like 5ive nor deadly earnest (but frighteningly talented) like the Backstreet Boys, Blue were just a bunch of knobhead Poms with minimal talent and barely registerable personality (unless they were dissing 9/11 victims by whining “who gives a fuck about New York when elephants are being killed?”) and “All Rise”—a stilted piece of R&Boredom;—was their worst single (though that’s not saying a whole lot). I mean, come on! What genius came up with the idea of the courtroom as a metaphor for relationships? I suspect it might have been the same dweeb who thought 3 Doors Down’s munted dwarf of a frontman could actually convince people that his missus would, un-drugged and without a gun to her head, call him Superman.
6. “The Phantom Of The Opera” - Sarah Brightman
It’s true, I make no secret of my extreme distaste for “Sir” Andrew Lloyd Webber; I recently competed in a television trivia show where my special topic was ‘The Life And Works Of Stephen Sondheim’—when a panelist began a sentence with “so, as opposed to, say, Andrew Lloyd…” the glare I (inadvertently) shot him nearly melted the camera. But part of the reason I hate him so much is because he is a master manipulator; all of his songs begin at the pointy end of a crescendo and get bigger from there and, me being a human and all, often his dastardly tricks work. I can’t say I’ve ever cried at a Lloyd Webber moment—nor experienced any major shift in emotion, really—though I will agree that “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” and “The Music Of The Night” are half decent popular musical theatre ditties, and I did enjoy The Starlight Express when I was, oh, two (but you can roger Cats with a pitchfork for all I care)—but “The Phantom Of The Opera” is a vomitus lump of quasi operatic nonsense. Being the turtle-faced little git that he is, LW goes for Grand Guignol melodrama and gets instead everything-including-the-kitchen-sink-and-two-sets-of-free-steak-knives over the top screeching that is about as appealing as listening to an angle-grinder ‘sing’ the hits of Cilla. My hatred of the song is, I will admit it, probably heightened by the fact that I think Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd should have been far bigger than Craptom Of The Knobera. But that doesn’t make this song any less blah.
5. “Layla” (MTV Unplugged version) - Eric Clapton
I’ll come out and say it (though I know my dad’s with me): I think Eric Clapton is a massively overrated talent. Oh sure, “White Room” was cool, and that joint he did with Babyface was a half-decent piece of conspicuous compassion (oh hang on, that was Babyface and Stevie Wonder—sentiment retracted!), but generally I find his work… underwhelming. And nowhere was that more apparent than when he played his Big Song on MTV Unplugged in ’92; as a tribute to Duane Allman (who actually wrote the “dana-nana-nana-naaaah” riff), Clapton refused to play the hook—which, though a touching gesture, just showed up the song for the boring riffer that it actually is/was. Truth be told, I don’t hate the original version, provided it’s the 7.10-minute re-release, which features the ‘crying bird’ solo at the end and the gratuitous piano—at least there it’s unashamed in its Meat Loaf-esque tendencies—but when it comes to the distinctly AOR Unplugged take, I’d rather listen to Chris De Burgh.
4. “Crush” - Jennifer Paige
Memo to Jennifer Paige: you are NOT Mandy Moore. Feels good to get that out of the way! Now, on with the show: this piece of tosh was the bane of my life for the three years solid that I worked in a suburban fruit suppliers in my teens from 1998 to 2000; the radio was literally stuck (with Blu-Tak) on Mix-FM (for those of you who’ve been fortunate enough not to hear it, think ‘the best songs of the ‘80s, ‘90s and today’ and then for ‘best’, substitute ‘droopiest’, ‘blandest’, ‘most non-offensive’, ‘twee’ or ‘beloved by people with incontinence issues’) and they were right into playing “Crush” about twenty times a day. And what a load of tosh this freaking song is; “It’s just (AH!)/A little crush/It’s not like I faint/Every time we touch”—who says something like that? A crush is precisely what makes you faint every time you touch someone, dummy! Did she write this with an isolationist or something? This song sucks ASS. Kthx.
3. “Rollover DJ” - Jet
It’s true, Jet trade in classic rock facsimiles and FM radio rip offs, but at least at the best of times they can deliver them with a modicum of verve: “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” is, if only because of its iPod ubiquity and Iggy/Bangles-aping jangle, pretty infectious, while “Cold Hard Bitch” (bogan battle-of-the-sexes themes aside) is pretty ace. “Rollover DJ”, however, is the absolute nadir of the N*w R**k R********n. It’s turgid, belligerent and, worst, absolutely shameless in its pilfering of Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care Of Business”, Primal Scream’s “Rocks” and—albeit super-briefly—The Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman”, though without any of the joie de vivre of any of those songs, nor their personality, nor their… Hey, where are you going? I’ve got more complaining to do!
2. “Figured You Out” - Nickelback
Does anyone ever want to hear this song again? Now, I know that two of my favourite genres—hair metal and hip hop—are riddled with what could be described as misogyny, so taking “Figured You Out” down for that reason might seem weak. But was there ever a line as gross as “I love your lack of self respect / While you're passed out on the deck / I love my hands around your neck”? I mean, seriously, even if Chad “The Ugly” Kroeger wrote “Figured You Out” as some kind of knowing critique of tough guy culture, it doesn’t excuse the song’s existence. It’s like the old debate about whether movies really need to show rape in order to prove that it’s a bad thing. Having said that, I suspect that Kroeger just wrote it because it made him feel big in a moment of shriveled-member inadequacy.
1. “Children” - Robert Miles
Right, I know I dismissed the phrase ‘I fucking hate that song’ as overused and under-meant in my intro, so let me say this once (though most likely not for the last time in my life): I. Fucking. Hate. This. Song. If I was in a room with just a radio playing this on repeat and a .38 police special, I think I’d put my ear to the speaker and pull the trigger so that it took both of us out at the same time. I couldn’t kill myself knowing this tripe would be my swansong and I know I couldn’t keep living having heard this song ad nauseum. This is, hands down, the only song that will cause me to stand up and vacate a room upon its arrival on the stereo. The other day I was in the middle of a deadline at work; it came on, I went to the bathrooms for five minutes. Simple as that. I don’t even know exactly what I dislike about this song quite so much, I just know I hate it with a fiery passion. Actually, no, there’s nothing ‘passionate’ about it—make that a cold, calculated and murderous deepness. Forever and ever. Amen.