We love reading recommendations for killer bands and their best songs and albums, and why wouldn’t we? But what about the music we should avoid this season? Here are three songs that, in my opinion, may be the worst of all time.
Number one: Practically any song by Nickelback
Oh, you didn’t think you were going to get through this list without reading about Nickelback, did you? Delusional fans love
to claim that people hate Nickelback for the sake of being trendy to which I reply, “No, Nickelback honestly sucks.” Putting aside the fact the lead singer Chad Kroeger has hair like uncooked ramen noodles and sings like he desperately needs a cough drop, the lyrics are so ludicrous that I would be kicked out of an Intro to Poetry and Fiction 1 workshop for even presenting them as “poetry.”
Let’s look at “Rockstar”: Admittedly, parts of it are mildly amusing. Popping pills from a Pez dispenser? Decently witty. A bathroom in which you can play baseball? Sounds nice and ties in rather nicely to the beginning in which he refers to his life as “the bottom of the ninth.”
It is not the lyrics or even the tune that I consider awful: it’s Kroeger’s random musings and pathetic fantasies. Most notable: “Sign a couple autographs so I can eat my meals for free / I’ll have the quesadilla (ha, ha)”, which he says in a creepily seductive baritone. Really, Chad? You’re dreaming about having enough money to gorge on what’s essentially a basic staple in college cuisine? Are that few people buying your albums?
I would love to hang out with the band members while they were writing this song, if only to understand the brainstorming process. I picture Chad sitting there on his tour bus surrounded by band mates, flip phone by his side, saying, “I’ll have the quesadilla (ha, ha).” The tour bus bursts into applause and commends him for his depth. One of them dabs at his eyes with a Carl’s Jr. napkin.
Even worse than the previous, “Photograph” begins with, “Look at this photograph. Every time I do, it makes me laugh.” Look at this song. Every time I do it makes me want to laugh until my eyeliner pours down my face and I look like a KISS member or hide beneath my covers with Chinese food while drinking wine from the bottle and crying.
The song has some real gems in it. My personal favorite is either “How did our eyes get so red? / And what the hell is on Joey’s head?” or “Kim’s the first girl I kissed / I was so nervous that I nearly missed.” The first lyric opens our minds to all kinds of horrible possibilities. What is on Joey’s head? A man bun? A KKK hood? A fedora (gasp!)? As for the second, why would you brag about your subpar make out sessions? Too real, Nickelback. Too real.
Number two: “Firework” by Katy Perry
It’s no secret that I am not exactly a die-hard Katy Perry fan. In fact, last year when I learned that she would be performing at the Super Bowl (especially when the previous year had featured Bruno Mars and my favorite band of all time, The Red Hot Chili Peppers) I considered making a petition on Change.org urging those in charge to find a new artist for the sake of the children.
Alas, “Firework” is offensive due to its stupidity. A previous song of Perry’s, “E.T.,” was far from brilliant — the song simply entertained the idea that there were super sexy aliens somewhere in space — but at least there was some element of creativity and there are a few songs that a verse from Kanye West can almost save.
“Firework” is problematic because it is an overly simplistic, idiotic song attempting to masquerade as “deep” and “profound.” (And I will not even touch the fact that “colors burst” and “what you’re worth” do not, in any universe, come close to rhyming with “firework”). The concept of being yourself and loving who you are isn’t exactly original, and while groups like TLC prove that they can be done well, they don’t bring anything new to the table unless they have some sort of unusual spin.
Perry begins the song with the query, “Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?” The song is a grammatical disaster (plastic bags have wants? I had no idea that they were capable of such complex emotional struggles) but more importantly, the entire thing is so vague that I can’t get anything valuable out of it. If she had, perhaps, written of her own experiences or insecurities in a more ballad-style song, we might remember it. Instead, the entire thing is laden with platitudes like “If you only knew what the future holds / After a hurricane comes a rainbow” (puke).
The song is indubitably well-meaning, but there is something all these artists who try to write empowering songs are missing (think One Direction with “What Makes You Beautiful” and Bruno Mars with “Just the Way You are”). Generic songs about how we should love ourselves are not going to make us do it, and in the case of “Firework”, make us out to be pathetic sad saps instead of the fascinating, sensitive individuals we are. Get rid of the flowery language and just be real with us. Then we’ll truly relate.
Number Three: “MMMbop” by Hanson
The chorus to this song is “Mmmbop, ba duba dop, ba du bop, ba du bop, ba duba dop, ba du, yeah.” Yeah, I rest my case.