The blog last week about Debby Boone song prompted much discussion, comments and some great e-mails. Here’s are 10 of the worst songs ever. You can tell I’m still scarred by 70s AM radio.
1. Muskrat Love, Captain & Tennille. Never did figure out why he was called “Captain.” Tennille’s helmet-hair is awesomely bad. Gotta love the muskrat dolls on the Captain’s keyboard, too. Good grief … just thinking about the song makes me cringe.
2. Stay, Sugarland. Look, I really like Jennifer Nettles. But crying while you lip-synch to an already sappy song isn’t sincere, it’s … mystifying. The song is awful enough as it is. Reminds me of the great scene in Broadcast News when William Hurt’s character, TV reporter Tom Grunick, is doing a story and he cries on cue.
3. Coming To America, Neil Diamond. From the soundtrack of The Jazz Singer. Used in presidential elections, Statue of Liberty rededications, conservative radio talk show muzak. Saturday Night Live’s scathing rendition by Will Ferrell is hysterical …. especially when Ferrell explains the song as an expression of Diamond’s “massive” hatred of immigration.
4. My Heart Will Go On (Theme From Titanic), Celine Dion. Wow, there are a ton of really bad Celine Dion songs. The Power of Love almost edged out Titanic. In the great race for badness, this soaring and epic piece of smarthy smulch barely wins.
5. All For Love, Bryan Adams, Sting, Rod Stewart. Take three of the greatest pop performers of all time and what do you get? A kitschy and dismal love song that is so cheesy even Guy Lombardo wouldn’t touch it for a remake. I love all three of these guys, but All For Love is All For Bleeecchhhh.
6. Apache, Tommy Seebach. I must admit, the song itself is terrible. But the video might be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Seebach’s chemical-infused grin, the, uh, “dancers,” the guy who can’t drum in time to the tape …. yikes. Even disco purists will disavow they ever danced to this unless they were under duress.
7. Don’t Give Up On Us Baby, David Soul. Starsky & Hutch was a great 70s cop show, but this is a horrible, gut-twistingly nauseous song by one of the stars. In the remake, the scene where Hutch (Owen Wilson) plays the song while Starsky (Ben Stiller) is strung out on cocaine is priceless. “Oh c’mon you guys. It’s just a guy up here with a guitar, singing his heart out.” It’s almost enough to make you forget about the original version.
8. Don’t You Want Me Baby, The Human League. I include this early 80s robotic droning of a song because it was on the radio ALL THE TIME when I was in high school. This first time was OK. The 5 millionth time, I wanted to hurl myself into traffic. “Don’t you want me baby, don’t you want me oooohhhhhh ….” See what I mean? It’s giving you bird flu fever chills now just thinking about it, and guess what? You have no chance of getting this detached piece of pop dribble out of your mind for the next 24 hours. “Don’t you want me baby ….”
9. Torn Between Two Lovers, Mary MacGregor. “There are times when a woman has to say what’s on her mind.” Fine. Understood. But why did Mary have to sing it out loud? Sometimes you wonder why an artist only has one hit. This is not one of those times. This brings back memories of being sandwiched in my mother’s station wagon while we drove back and forth to school, a 10-mile ride through heavy traffic with a truly horrible AM station cranked up so my sisters in the very back could hear it. Where is my Ibuprofen when I really need it?
10. How Can We Be Lovers, Michael Bolton. I’m listening to this song and shedding a non-forced and non-scripted tear because Bolton, for as bad as he truly was in the 80s, didn’t start that way. He had some killer big-hair songs like Fool’s Game and Everybody’s Crazy. Then he graduated, or was demoted, to going after the chicks with a mutant mullet of doom approach to ballads. Fools Game is on my youtube page. How Can We Be Lovers? Don’t go there …
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Anything by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, DeBarge, Taylor Swift and Kanye (I Am Elvis) West.