Worst Songs Ever: Howard Jones’ ‘Things Can Only Get Better’

Howard Jones – “Things Can Only Get Better”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #5 in June 1985

If we learned that Howard Jones was a cyborg created by the Thatcher government to sell positivity to a depressed public, we wouldn’t blink, nor would we miss a step if we learned that he based the fluffed generosity of his dandelion thatch of hair on Binkley from Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County comic. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever: Chicago’s “Look Away”

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

Chicago – Look Away
PEAK CHART POSITION: #1 in December 1989

When Peter Cetera wore a Bauhaus shirt in the video for 1984’s “You’re the Inspiration,” he accepted how terrifying Chicago would become in the late eighties. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever: Daryl Hall and John Oates’ ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

Daryl Hall and John Oates – “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #12 in December 1980

When in doubt, record a vestigial cover. Continue reading

Worst Song Ever: Shawn Colvin’s ‘Sunny Came Home’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

Shawn Colvin -“Sunny Came Home”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #7 in July 1997

The 1997 Grammy Awards ceremony was so packed with batshitness that I should poll the highlights: Aretha Franklin subbing for Pavarotti and blasting “Nessun Dorma” to smithereens; performance artist Michael Portnoy joining Bob Dylan to treat the world to his nude chest smeared with the phrase SOY BOMB; Dylan looking as nonplussed as a dude watching a neighbor’s cat piss on his hedges. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever: Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin – ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin – “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #18 in December 1985

Magpies whose considerable technique allowed them to position themselves as genre generalists, Eurythmics experienced their greatest success when they replaced their austere synth pop with soul signifiers on 1985’s Be Yourself Tonight, in turn showing the limits of technique. Continue reading

Worst Song Ever: Dishwalla’s ‘Counting Blue Cars’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

Dishwalla – “Counting Blue Cars”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #15 in August 1996

Give Dishwalla this much credit — God might really be a pretty woman but at least she’s a woman. Then cringe at the thought of a pretty woman deserving worship like God, wonder why God didn’t hurl a lightning bolt at the Santa Barbarans for appropriating a Hindi term for their name, or say the hell with it and pour yourself a tall scotch. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever: Def Leppard’s ‘Make Love Like a Man’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

Def Leppard – “Make Love Like a Man”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #36 in July 1992

In 1992 the fumes from Hysteria‘s two-year-long residency in the American top thirty would have sent an album’s worth of Joe Elliott imitating a bullfrog to #1, and perhaps Adrenalize would’ve been better if Elliott had done so. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever: R.E.M.’s ‘Can’t Get There From Here’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

R.E.M. – “Can’t Get There From Here”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #14 in 1985 on Billboard Top Rock Tracks

Praised during their lifetime for pursuing Fame On Their Own Terms, R.E.M., it’s worth remembering, hired the horn sections that every band in pursuit of A Different Direction shoehorns into tunes — and often fucks up while doing so. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever: XTC’s ‘The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

XTC – “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #1 in May 1992

Nostalgists who like Kate Bush drew strength from an increasingly fussy studio craft but unlike Bush devolved into a miscellany of influences, XTC were at the peak of their American careers when they released 1992’s Nonsuch. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever – Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

Justin Bieber – “Love Yourself”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #1 in February 2016

He had every reason to love himself: in 2016 Justin Bieber ruled the pop world. To his credit, I suppose, he did it his way, not loving himself enough to be satisfied with mere masturbation — that’s a fate he decreed for the girlfriend in his song. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever: Glenn Frey’s ‘Sexy Girl’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

Glenn Frey – “Sexy Girl”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #20 in August 1984

When Glenn Frey wants to get venereal, metaphor is a waste of time. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever: Jet’s ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

Jet – “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #29 in April 2004

ROCK IS BACK! a Rolling Stone cover announced in 2002, pretending Creed, Lenny Kravitz, and 3 Doors Down weren’t still having hits and that cover stars the Vines looked like N Sync in Strokes drag Continue reading