Sometimes a song will become popular and take over the airwaves for no discernible reason. In some cases, it seems to be popular despite the fact that there’s absolutely nothing special about it. These are the songs that sound exactly like every other song on the radio and don’t really offer anything special or new. Other times, though, the existence of the song and its ensuing popularity feels like a curse on the masses, created with the sole purpose of annoying the bajesus out of everyone unfortunate enough to get the usually catchy tune stuck in their head. They’re like an audio flu outbreak – they spread quickly, cause nausea and leave you hoping no one gets killed. This list is about those songs.
Popularity does not determine the worth of a song. Some of the greatest songs in history didn’t even break the top ten of the Billboard charts. That doesn’t mean all of the songs that top the charts are crap, despite what some more jaded music fans would have you believe. There is room in the music world for all genres of music. That doesn’t mean every chart topping single ever recorded earned its place there. Some songs (like number six and seven on this list) only became popular because of who recorded them. Other songs used some sort of gimmick or hook to gain popularity (most of the other songs on this list. Others still became popular for reasons I can’t even begin to understand. With all that said, let’s get to the list.
10: Friday – Rebecca Black
This YouTube monstrosity is a bit unusual in that it’s primarily a hit because it’s so damn bad. In all honesty, I’ve still never listened to it and as time passes, I’m hearing less and less about it. Is the epidemic over? Has a cure been discovered? I don’t know but “Glee” is planning to cover it. Let’s hope that doesn’t reignite the epidemic.
09: Wannabe – The Spice Girls (from the 1996 album “Spice”)
Love this song and I love The Spice Girls but I have absolutely no idea how this was the song that launched their career. Sure it’s fun, but really? There were some great songs on “Spice”. I think the reason this one did so well is that it was so different than anything else in the music scene at the time. Sure the singing, dancing and lyrics are horrible, but it launched the careers of the best selling girl group of all time. I can’t really hate on it all that much because I know this song is going to be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
08: Who Let the Dogs Out – The Baha Men (from the 2000 soundtrack “Rugrats In Paris: The Movie”)
The panting. The barking. This song is a trainwreck. Whoever let the dogs out needs to put them back in. Okay, okay. It’s not that bad. I mean, it’s bad but there are far worse out there. I think the biggest crime this song committed was being over played. Now that a little time has passed and it’s not being driven down my throat constantly, I actually kind of enjoyed hearing it again although I’m ready to not have to hear it again for another year or so.
07: Just Lose It – Eminem (from the 2004 album “Encore”)
Yes, even talented artists can release crap that makes you want to stab your ears out. This is Eminem’s. Eminem wanted to prove he could put out a terrible song and make it a hit and he succeeded. That doesn’t change the fact that this is possibly the worst thing to happen to rap since ‘hammer pants’. The Pee Wee Herman laugh? Dude, please. Just wrong.
06: Stand – R.E.M. (from the 1989 album “Green”)
It absolutely kills me to put on of my all time favorite bands on this list and truth be told, I actually like this song. I had to be objective though. I think my affection for this song comes from my affection for the band. Michael Stipe acknowledges the ridiculousness of the song saying, “I wrote the most inane lyrics that I could possibly write” while he and his bandmates were discussing songs by “The Archies”, “The Monkees” and “The Banana Splits”. While its unapologetic ludicrousness was intentional, I included “Just Lose It” on this list so I have to include this one too.
05: Rico Suave – Gerardo (from the 1992 album “Mo’ Ritmo”)
This heaping pile of pop-crap can likely link some of its success to the fact that Gerardo is really, really freaking hot. If this guy was ugly, the world never would’ve had to have suffered through this song. I’ve always heard beauty was a curse, but I didn’t realize it was also a curse on the world. Gerardo is now an executive at Interscope Records and can be credited with bringing the music of Enrique Iglesias to the United States. I like Enrique, so I guess there’s that.
04: I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred (from the 1992 album “Up”)
Good Lord love a duck – the question here is not how this song became popular but who allowed this song to happen in the first place. It’s just terrible in every conceivable way. The worst part is that, loathe the song as I do, I will now be singing every word for the remainder of the day.
03: You’re Having My Baby – Paul Anka (single released in 1974)
I like Paul Anka. I honestly do, but this song is so wrong on so many levels. It’s the sort of keep-her-in-her-place male chauvinist anthem that screams “if you love me, you’ll let me put a baby in your belly”. It’s supposed to be sweet and loving. It fails.
“The seed inside you, do you feel it growing?” Need I say more?
02: Safety Dance – Men Without Hats (from the 1982 album “Rhythm of Youth”)
This song was the inspiration for this list and almost landed at number one until I remembered an even worse song. Regardless, in researching this article I discovered Men Without Hats is, like Paul Anka, Canadian. I suddenly understand why Canadian music has such a bad reputation in the rest of the world. Not all Canadian bands are awful! I swear! Seriously though, this song is just terrible. I don’t understand how it came to be and, as a Canadian, I would like to apologize to the world for any role we had it making this happen.
01: Macarthur Park– Richard Harris (from the 1968 album “The Tramp Shining”)
The lyrics are metaphorical people! It’s not about cake. Does that even matter? No. Why? Let’s examine this for a moment:
“Macarthur Park is melting in the dark,
All the sweet, green icing flowing down.
Someone left the cake out in the rain.
I don’t think I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it,
And I’ll never have that recipe again… oh no!!!!!”
Good Lord. The song also includes the line, “pressed in love’s hot, fevered iron like a pair of striped pants”. I. Can’t. Even. The sad thing is, the song itself – the epic arrangement – is actually really good and it has been done well, but with lyrics like that, it’s a little hard to take it seriously.
It’s important to remember that this list, like all of the other top ten lists I do, are my opinion and my opinion only. I hope you agree, but if you don’t, feel free to comment and let me know. I always read the comments and I always respond. As with most of my music related articles, all of the song titles link to the video on YouTube. For some of these songs, the videos are better than the songs themselves. Enjoy the list, and if you love it or hate it, share it on Facebook and Twitter!