Mar 182011

A sadist in my office pointed me in the direction of Rebecca Black‘s Internet smash hit “Friday” today, proclaiming it the worst song he’s heard this year. I can’t say I disagree with him—but, having heard it once, I now can’t get the steaming pile out of my head.

So let’s all engage in a mass orgy of musical sado-masochism, shall we? I want to know what song you feel possesses the most insidious balance of catchiness/shittyness. Feel free to post web links to torment us. When this thread peters out, Mr. Mod will judge the “winner” by reporting on which of our songs got lodged in his head the longest. Pity the poor man—talk about taking one for the team!

I look forward—sort of—to your responses.



  84 Responses to “Shitty Songs You Can’t Get Out of Your Head”

  1. I will gladly UNhappily judge this contest, but a word of caution: your catchy crap entries must be real songs. This thing is obviously a joke. The giveaway is that the video does not tout the guest rapper’s name. If it were real the rapper would have to get “featuring” credit alongside the girl’s name.

  2. No. Remember, the Gold Standard – or Shit Standard, I guess I should call it – is Blood, Sweat & Tears’ version of “When I Die,” a shitty song I know intimately thanks to its brilliantly arranged and performed shittiness.

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    To be honest, I think this one is pretty hard to beat. It’s truly shitty, but every time I watch in in slack-jawed amazement, it gets stuck in my head for days.

  4. Taking the video into account, which may be part of this exercise, that’s going to be hard to be. I feel so bad for those kids that I want to intervene and get them back on the path their parents’ probably imagined for them.

  5. misterioso

    Sorry, I gotta reach back a bit:

  6. This one has bothered me for years. I couldn’t tell you when I last heard it, but nevertheless, there it is, repeatedly. Just skip to the chorus – it’s what sticks:

  7. That’s a CLASSIC of this genre. I’m putting this one in the lead for now. What I like about it is that it doesn’t need a video to catch on with its shittyness, but then the video raises their game even higher – or, you know what I mean.

  8. Terrible song, but the chorus is so bad I didn’t recall there being a verse.

  9. hrrundivbakshi

    I KNEW this was going to happen — one man’s turd is another man’s treasure. I love that song!

  10. My son (age 4) has started watching the original Scooby-Doo re-runs. That theme song and the other music is so bad. I hated as a kid and I hate in now.

  11. Here’s a recent one for me — replaced Owl City’s Fireflies in the crap-ola jukebox of my mind.

  12. pudman13

    This is a good song…I wouldn’t even call it a guilty pleasure.

  13. pudman13

    “Friday” is pretty bad, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the even more catchy “I Whip My Hair Back And Forth.”

  14. I don’t think this song has a strong enough hook to get stuck in my head. But on the outside chance that it does, HVB, I will hold you personally accountable and I will insist that you punch yourself in the face in order to save me the cost of an Amtrak ticket.

  15. cherguevara

    Oh come on, people. Pilot? Sarah Barelles? What makes the Rebecca Black thing so stunning is how completely inept it is. It’s on a whole different level than these other songs. Magic is a trifle of a song, but it’s got a melody, the phrasing works and they’re not wondering which seat to take or explaining that Sunday comes after Saturday.

    here is an old favorite: “Shine,” by “Final Placement.”

  16. “Magic,” by Pilot, remains in the lead. These completely crappy songs may be memorably bad, but they’re not memorable AND, on some level, if you can be honest, bad. I like “Magic” as much as the next rock nerd, but it’s a song that deserves a swirly. How cloying! What’s the difference between “Magic” and some showboating Dennis DeYoung song with Styx? I think it’s the fact that the former is by a faceless one-hit wonder, and we just enjoy the song for what it is.

    Come on, give me some truly well-done, undeniably catchy songs that are also, on some level, if you can be honest about it, “shitty.” I thought that’s what I’ve been called in to judge.

  17. tonyola

    I was going to go for the obvious, like:

    Nilsson – Coconut
    Three Dog Night – Joy To the World
    Taco – Puttin’ On the Ritz
    Starland Vocal Band – Afternoon Delight

    But then I thought “No, this is no time to be kind. Pull out the heavy ammo.” Therefore, I present to you Journey at their rocking gooiest. You’re gonna need a lobotomy to get the “naa naa naaa”s out of your head.

  18. tonyola

    “Magic” isn’t truly horrible. Why, it’s almost charming in a sub-sub-sub-10cc “vaguely eccentric” way.

  19. It’s kind of amazing how totally this Rebecca Black song has permeated the culture. You know it’s big when even us Townspeople can’t ignore it. And yet, I have yet to listen to this song. I’m just not that curious. And yes, I am an indie snob of sorts, but not really. I mean, Beyonce has songs I like a lot.

    Anyway, the lyrics are bad, or so I’ve heard. But all this “Saturday comes after Friday” or whatever? Sounds like a New Order song to me. Who I like!

  20. pudman13

    I feel so stupid—it took me 30 years to realize that the “na na na” chorus in this song is supposed to be “nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah,” which was done in a more direct way in the Waitresses’ “I Know What Boys Like.” When it dawned on me a few months ago, suddenly the entire 80s made sense.

  21. Sure, but your need to place it 3 levels beneath a 2nd-rate novelty band like 10cc gets at the honesty that’s necessary here, no?

  22. I HATE Journey and rarely think they’re remotely “good” on any level, but this one, tonyola, is a rare cross-section of quality craftsmanship and absolute SHIT. Your entry may be in the lead.

  23. tonyola

    I despise Journey too but there’s no denying that this awful song is beautifully played and produced. Sort of like Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” – great art put in the service of evil. Another example:

  24. pudman13

    P.S. What he said.

    I’m curious–to all of the other Journey haters out there: what’s their most tolerable song for you? (from the Steve Perry era. I find the first three albums rather mediocre examples of 70s prog, but they’re a lot less offensive than the later stuff.)

    I suppose I find “Wheel In The Sky” catchy enough without feeling to me that it has the shite-ness of some of the others, and “Lights” isn’t that bad as AOR ballads go. “Open Arms” is easily my choice for *worst* Journey song.

  25. shawnkilroy

    they played this nonstop at my gym last year.
    i fuckin HATE it!
    but…i kinda love it.

  26. tonyola

    10cc? Second rate? Bite your tongue, or fingers as the case may be. Their first few albums (while they still had Godley and Creme) were good and sometimes brilliant.

  27. “Lights” and “Wheel in the Sky” at least have elements in them that seem like they’re going to deliver.

  28. Perfectly put, tonyola!

  29. BigSteve

    This song has totally permeated whose culture? I’ve never heard it, and if Oats has never heard it, what does this permeation consist of, and how does he know about it without having heard the song?

  30. The internet!

  31. misterioso

    Right, I agree: completely inept. So much so that it went in one ear and out the other. To get lodged in your brain it seems to me there’s got to be a basic level of craftsmanship. “Magic” certainly has that, yet it is basically annoying. It has all the elements of love/hate that I think is necessary for this sort of song: You know it’s not good, but yet you know it must have some qualities you (subconsciously?) like, ’cause there it is.

  32. I think they only Journey song that fits “tolerable” for me would be the faux-rock of Separate Ways (World’s Apart) — sort of like Toto’s “Hold the Line” in its fake rockiness — and even has the (subtitle).

  33. misterioso

    For me, personally, the level of repugnance conjured up by Journey is too high. It can’t get stuck in my head because those barriers cannot be breached.

  34. misterioso

    Yeah, it was unknown to me before today, too. In fact, it’s still unknown to me, and I just listened to it.

  35. pudman13

    By the way, I think Alanis Morrissette’s “You Oughta Know” is one of the worst songs in the history of music…but it’s unbelievably catchy. The entire “Jagged Little Pill” album is an amazing lesson in how to arrange songs for maximum stick-in-the-headness at the expense of any quality whatsoever. It uses every trick in the book, including an amazing knack for knowing just how to employ repetition, to make something stick.

  36. I think Morrissette’s “You Oughta Know” has jumped into the lead. For me it has the added allure of making me listen to it all the way through in hopes of ever identifying the late-period Supremes (or Supremes knock-off) song that I think is being referenced. I HATE listening to that song all the way through, but I can’t help myself.

  37. ladymisskirroyale

    You guys must have grown up with much more musical culture than I did in am radio AZ in the 70’s. Whereas Mr. Royale grew up with a lot of the soul and pop hits that were broadcast out of NYC, I had only white, very white popular music to listen to.

    Much of the 70’s pop nuggets are HORRIBLE and offer catchy hooks that will insidiously burrough their way into your brain for hours. The first that came to mind for me is Paper Lace’s “The Night Chicago Died.” Paper Lace’s “Billy, Don’t be a Hero” is a close second. Take your pick.

  38. machinery

    TOTALLY AGREE with my brother HVB. That song is awesome. (it’s the basis of the machinery reel, btw.)

  39. machinery

    This might as well be Rebecca girl, if she had a beard.

  40. machinery

    The difference is that when Magic comes on a philly oldie station I will listen to it. Same with the Archies. Same with the Monkees. These are carefully made pieces for bubblegum goodness. And Magic goes one step further by having a bit of Sweet-like glam thrown in. Gotta disagree.

  41. tonyola

    Alanis? Catchy? Can those words exist in the same sentence without a negative qualifier like “isn’t”?

  42. that’s funny and dead-on accurate.

  43. I agree. Annoying? Certainly.

    But catchy? Mercifully, no.

  44. Yikes! You have to stop going to the gym dude. It can’t be healthy to be exposed to that kind of shit.

  45. I guess some of you people have bad taste in bad taste.

  46. 2000 Man

    Chew on this:

    Nothing like a little shitty Alan Parsons Project to get stuck in your head and suck the desire to live out of your brain.

  47. As for the “Friday” song our wacky morning Djs played it this week. Just more instant internet-craze-of-the-week shit. Didn’t we cover this is Ladymisskir’s thread last week?

    For a song that holds up as a well crafted song but wedges in your ear like glue try the Association’s (Everyone Knows its) Windy.

  48. ladymisskirroyale

    People, people, people. You’ve been avoiding commenting on this because it is such a horrible song. So I’ve made it easier to detest:

  49. ladymisskirroyale

    Sigh. I feel I have let you all down. I have been holding out on the TRULY shittiest, most stick-in-your-brain-and-in-your-craw tune!

    Please, I dare you. Now with “new” bach-pad animation:

  50. tonyola

    What? My bad taste isn’t bad enough? I really didn’t want to do this but now it’s personal…

  51. Now THAT’S a good (bad) one. Very catchy and memorable – and very annoying.

  52. THAT takes the lead with the help of that creepy video!

  53. How bizarre (now that’s a shitty song in and of itself, but…), I just now heard this song for the first time thanks to the Tosh.0 blog featuring this live version of it performed on Good Morning America “live and unplugged.” So that’s my entry into this…the same song by the same chick in an even shittier version:

  54. tonyola

    You’re *daring* me? Oh,my. Better have a double-dose of insulin handy for this sugar-shock. Just keep your eyes fixed on that hair…

  55. cherguevara

    I like girls that (sic) wear Abercrombie and Fitch.
    (And you drove me to post this, so it’s all your own damn faults)

  56. ladymisskirroyale

    Make it stop!

  57. Oh my god, how do you know this stuff even exists?!?! That’s too funny – and too bad.

  58. On the strength of her Mark Ruffalo-like manager conducting/dancing off to the left side of that scene, this unplugged version is the definitive version of this turd.

  59. misterioso

    NOW, you’re cooking with gas, lady.

  60. misterioso

    I think the balance between simply loathsome and catchy is far too tilted towards loathsome here…

  61. hrrundivbakshi

    Another good song! What on Earth is wrong with you people?!

  62. hrrundivbakshi

    Chinese food makes me sick indeed. That may actually be the dumbest song I’ve ever heard.

  63. misterioso

    Surely this is a knowing parody. Of something truly reprehensible.

  64. machinery

    Agreed. Great, great song. Great band, too.

  65. BigSteve

    Seriously, is this for real?

  66. BigSteve

    I agree.

  67. BigSteve

    I like this one too. Granted it’s kind of weird that Bobby Sherman is doing a Sammy Davis Jr. type number, but I like the song. And listen to it, this track has totally slammin’ drums.

  68. BigSteve

    That video is totally creepy, but I think this is a brilliant record. It’s not cool, it’s totally manufactured, but it’s great pop music.

  69. ladymisskirroyale

    I actually LIKE this song and recall watching the Tony Orlando and Dawn Variety show on tv. One of the Dawn ladies was really sassy and I looked up to her. I like that TO looks a bit like Keanu Reeves in this video, esp. when he’s mumbling the words.

    For me, “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” is the very worst of the worst, but because it means so many other things to other people (in our audience?), I didn’t post it.

  70. ladymisskirroyale

    Aw, but he’s so cute.

  71. This is the song that destroyed music:

  72. Maybe I got off course with the instant internet fame thing but I think for a song to really stick it needs some minimum level of quality. I said this song holds up, i.e. is not shitty. Noone will remember “Friday” 2 Fridays from now. “Windy” will be distracting your mind forever.

  73. “Windy” is a song that I basically like but wish could be just a little better, or what I consider a Song That Deserves to Be Scapped and Used for Parts.

  74. Holy Crap! This isn’t one of those Andy Samberg SNL things!?! They name check Willie Whistle, fer chrissakes! That was just insanely bad in every conceivable AND inconceivable way….it’s truly a classic of bad pop music, & I mean that seriously, as a comic. Wow.

  75. If Rebecca had a little more talent, she could be a Kardashian.

    She also has a lot of Fran Dresher in her. Both looks, and the pleasing tone of her voice.

  76. plasticsun

    I have listened to the first 15 seconds of most of the candidates and they are certainly shitty. Nothing however can compare to the horror of listening to my 4 year old son singing this song over and over again- I have failed as a father.

    There’s also a horrifying gummy bear song that several of my high school students have tormented me with.

  77. hrrundivbakshi

    I have a serious question about this song, and others like it: do artists like this have “fans”? And if so, what exactly are their fans supporting? They’re not really singing. They usually don’t write the music they’re “performing.” They’re, what, a face in a video? How long will it be before even casual music consumers turn their back on these charlatans?

  78. bostonhistorian

    I’ve always made the argument that every band has at least one song with a good to great idea if not one good to great entire song. I’ll stop making that argument.

  79. trigmogigmo

    That is godawful. I recall seeing that on TV once and it was being called a big “summer hit” or something. I would say it does not qualify as winner here because shitty though it may be, it doesn’t stick in one’s head at all. It is worse than Rebecca Black though, in that it is highly polished crap, while hers is simply amateurish and untalented in every aspect.

    Do they share the same general chord structure?

  80. cherguevara

    Here’s another one that always really, really annoyed me:

    Deep Blue Something with their song, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Mostly it’s the pointless conversational nature of the chorus lyrics that makes it for me. The verse is just unmemorable filler,though.

    I’m actually starting to feel bad for Rebecca Black. So she’s a spoiled 14 year old girl whose mother was willing to drop two-grand for a vanity service that specializes in letting kids sing a song and star in a video. She never expected it to go mega in the way that it did and apparently she is getting some pretty hateful messages. It doesn’t make her song any better, of course. But really, her song is less in the tradition of “Yummy yummy yummy” and more like “A blind man’s penis” or some other “Song-Poem” thing, if you consider how it came to exist in the first place.

  81. cherguevara

    See, for me, I heard that one day while driving in my car with the radio on “scan” and I busted out laughing – kind of like the first time I heard that Biz Markie song, “just a friend.” But upon one hearing, it was lodged in my mind – largely because of the lyrics, rather than the melody. But the acoustic guitar lick is so basic, anybody can play it, so have at it, folks!

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