Staff Top 10
Top Ten Songs That Don’t Live Up To Their Titles

i'd like to note that this top ten covers a lot of different kinds of songs; those with titles so perfect no song could ever live up to them, those with better jokes contained in the title than anything Weird Al could write, those ideal in concept but lacking in execution, and even those that are superb songs but that are cursed by having titles that totally overshadow the music. I like most of these songs, but that fact remains: Once you've read the title, it's all downhill from there.

10. Belle & Sebastian, “Fuck This Shit”
It's not a bad little piece of incidental music for the Storytelling soundtrack, but the pleasant tune can't possibly be more entertaining than the existence of a Belle & Sebastian song called “Fuck This Shit.” It would be much better if it was actually profanity laden, naturally (see also: “Punk as Fuck” by the American Analog Set).

09. Mclusky, “Your Children are Waiting for You to Die”
I was extremely sad to see Mclusky go, and can only hope Andy Falkous keeps up the good work in the future. Still, that doesn't make their last album The Difference Between Me and You Is That I'm Not on Fire anything more than a slight disappointment, and “Your Children are Waiting for You to Die” is one of its most underwhelming moments, especially compared to great songs like “She Will Only Bring You Happiness” and “You Should Be Ashamed, Seamus.” As you can tell, Falkous has always had a good ear for titles, going back to their debut and “Rock vs. Single Parents.” “Your Children are Waiting for You to Die” is just the greatest distance between their titles and the actual music—they should have saved it for something more compelling.

08. Bright Eyes, “It's Cool, We Can Still Be Friends”
Great, great title, perfectly summing up the kind of buried passive-aggressive resentment you'd expect from Oberst. I think it's impossible for anyone in this day and age to read that title—even without the context of who wrote it—and now know Things Are Not Right. Unfortunately the song itself is the kind of quiet/loud melodrama Bright Eyes resorts to all too often; by the time he's bellowing “I'm pouring myself some whiskey, I'm going to get really fucking drunk,” you can't wait for him to pass out.

07. Black Sabbath, “Hand of Doom”
No disrespect to the original lineup of Sabbath, but I want and expect a song called “Hand of Doom” to be so crushingly heavy that after I hit play I have trouble getting off of the floor to hit stop before I am pulverised by THE ROCK. No matter how awesome they were (and from the debut until at least Sabbath Bloody Sabbath they were awesome), they simply can't match up to my expectations to a song called “Hand of Doom.” Because that song should actually hurt.

06. Electric Six, “Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother)”
I love the Electric Six, or at least Dick Valentine, more than most. And of all the songs on this list, “Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother)” comes the closest to living up to its title, something few bands aside from Electric Six could manage. But ultimately those perfectly placed parentheses in the title are too much for them—no matter how much gusto Valentine applies to the song, it's just as funny as reading the title is.

05. Mogwai, “You Don't Know Jesus”
I never would have thought that my problem with Mogwai would be that they're not angry enough, but that's my reaction to “You Don't Know Jesus.” The only other long song on Rock Action, “2 Rights Make 1 Wrong,” benefits from its slow, graceful dying fall, but “You Don't Know Jesus” just thrashes about. Truthfully, it's a damn good song, one that shows the band's increasing facility with compressing the fury of a song such as “Like Herod” into a smaller space. But the title always makes me think of religious fanaticism, and ultimately part of me wants the track to measure up to the rage I feel at those who claim to represent a certain religious figure as a man of hatred, intolerance and greed. No matter how loud Mogwai play, they can't match that fury, and I'm not sure they're even trying to.

04. V/VM, "Lady in Red (Is Dancing With Meat)"
Admittedly part of my veneration of the title of V/VM's evisceration of Chris de Burgh's, uh, “beloved” “classic” has to do with reading the title in a magazine years before actually hearing the song, but still; read the title, and you get it. Instantly. Truthfully, as good as the song is, it's not quite as... meaty as I'd dared hope it was, reading that title all those years ago. But what an image.

03. Out Hud, “Hair Dude, You're Stepping on My Mystique”
S.T.R.E.E.T.D.A.D. is a fine, fine album, much deserving of all the praise thrown its way, easily the best full length to come from the !!!/Out Hud axis. And “Hair Dude…” is a great song, an integral part of the flow of the album. But the title is just so hipster goofy, so whimsically surreal, that it's hard to reconcile with the smooth flow of the actual music. “Dad, There's a Little Thing Called Too Much Information” is too snide, “The L Train is a Swell Train and I Don't Want to Hear You Indies Complain” too defensive; only “Hair Dude, You're Stepping On My Mystique” seems to demand something more than what Out Hud are playing, some sort of crazy prog opera devoted to Hair Dude and his adventures. Maybe all of those titles mean something sensible to the band members; from the outside it certainly reads as an inside joke.

02. Anal Cunt, “I Went Back in Time and Voted for Hitler”
I admit I only heard about this one via Stylus' own Dom Passantino, although of course I am familiar with many of the works of Anal Cunt (“You've Got Goals” still brings the roffles, all these years later). “I Went Back in Time and Voted for Hitler” stands out for just how far over the top the band is willing to go to demonstrate their utter and complete hatred for the rest of humanity; the song itself, like most of Anal Cunt's oeuvre, quickly descends into unfunny, “shocking” lyrics, but that title—what a calling card. It's so much that Anal Cunt are Nazis (although they may be that too) as they jump at the chance to increase the amount of suffering in the world, any way they can (honorable mention goes to "I Sent Concentration Camp Footage in to America's Funniest Home Videos").

01. Country Leavers, “Please Stop Fucking Each Other”
On the one hand, the song comes kind of close to equaling the sheer glory of its title when Ben Wallers caterwauls out the lines “that bunny, he looks like you / I think he is your brother / Please, stop fucking each other.” For some reason, those lines and the way Wallers slurs them out makes me laugh hard enough to rocket milk out of my nose every time. But after that there's still several minutes of what V/VM would call “aural offle,” and not in a good way either. Sadly not a good song, but that title—so much misanthropy and contempt in such a small space! I always want to hum those three lines at all the Old Navy couples making out in front of the bar, blocking me from getting my beer. Finding out he's talking about bunnies is almost a letdown.

By: Ian Mathers
Published on: 2006-03-31
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