Worst Songs Ever: Air Supply’s ‘The One That You Love’

Air Supply – “The One That You Love”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #1 in July 1981

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.

There was once a time when American pop music was dominated by men with long hair who sang with a fully committed sincerity about their gnarled sexual politics, which often meant, “I know I’m an asshole, girl, so why won’t you sleep with me again?” Album sales were down. The perception of an empire in decline obsessed the media and political class. A man who made his name on TV for decades with the attention span of a can opener sat in the Oval Office. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever: Tracy Chapman’s ‘Give Me One Reason’

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.

Tracy Chapman – Give Me One Reason
PEAK CHART POSITION: #3 in June 1996.

1996 was the year when pop radio practiced death by saturation. Thanks to the industry’s waning interest in the single, airplay made sure that a dozen songs were blasting in the car all the time. Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly,” Jann Arden’s “Insensitive,” Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby,” Goo Goo Dolls’ “Name,” Natalie Merchant’s “Carnival,” among others, blanketed airwaves that spring; only Carey’s perennial topped the chart, but top 40 radio acted as if the others had or would. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever: Weezer’s ‘Undone (The Sweater Song)’

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.

Weezer – “Undone (The Sweater Song)”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #57 on Billboard Hot 100; #6 on Modern Rock Chart, 1994.

In graduate school, upon coming out, I became attractive to a friend who had dated or had dalliances with several women in our circle. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever: Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions/We Will Rock You’



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.

Queen – “We Are the Champions/We Will Rock You”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #4 in February 1978

A bisexual man of Parsi descent shouting an triumphalist tub thumper? What, you hate fun?

As long as I’ve been alive, I’ve treated sports as the spectacle of sports, for how can one separate them? Spectacle requires a soundtrack. Mass enthusiasm — conscription by any other name — repels me, a guy who shrinks from parades, applause, whistling, and public means of demonstrating approval. Continue reading

Worst Songs Ever: Bee Gees’ ‘Love You Inside Out’

Bee Gees – “Love You Inside Out”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #1 in June 1979

Imagine a world where people got sick of disco — got sick of the word “disco.” White people. Imagine a world without white people. When Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb  unleashed their numinous, terrifying shrieks, like Nazgûl on fell-beasts, many white men in 1979 huddled in terror, hiding beneath their copies of Get the Knack, Van Halen, and Candy-O. Continue reading

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