Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why do I like many of the worst songs of all time?

I had occasion to mention the Doctor Orange song "Taco Taco Taco" on Facebook, which led me to a very long message board thread in which people named the worst songs of all time.

The thread is a VERY long thread - I've only read through a small portion of it - but as I looked at the suggestions, it became very apparent that the definition of "worst song" is in the eye of the beholder. For example, I love "Taco Taco Taco," the third song mentioned in the thread.

Here are some other "worst songs" that were mentioned that I actually like - or at least do not dislike:

  • "Muskrat Love" by the Captain & Tennille - I think the synth effects are cute, not atrocious.
  • "Fly" by Sugar Ray - I think it's a fun song.
  • "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge - although even I will admit it was overplayed at sporting events for a while.
  • "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees - if you subtract everything you know about Dees, and if you listen to the song in the context of the times in which it was recorded, it's not bad. But then again, I liked "Peanut Prance" (Dees' impersonation of Jimmy Carter).
  • "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies - my favorite song at the age of 7, and the soul stylings at the end stand up today. Soul stylings?
  • "Blue" by Eiffel 65 - but then again (again), I like "Europop."
  • Staying on the European continent, "Waterloo" by Abba - some songs were better than others, but their Eurovision hit was one of their better ones.
  • "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Guns 'n' Roses - no, it's definitely not Dylan, but I think it's a great reworking.
  • "Emotional Rescue" by the Rolling Stones - I can see why some would hate it, but just think of it as a comedy track and you'll be fine. That's what I do with anything recorded by Pet Shop Boys.
  • "Sex" by Berlin - but I do likes me some synthetica, especially when live guitar is mixed in.

I'm sure that at least one of those songs completely offended and horrified you. You're welcome.

I do, however, agree with the commenters on one thing - Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" is far inferior to the original. I like much of Houston's work, but her cover version has none of the subtlety of Parton's version. Houston's take is as subtle as Spinal Tap's famous amplifier that goes to 11.

I cannot judge one particular entry, because I have never heard it - and, most likely, you've never heard it either.

A few months back [in 2005], I heard a singer perform one of her own compositions at an open mic event in Camden in north London. A composition she'd written on the bus to the pub. About writing a song on the bus to the pub where she would sing it. Opinion was strongly divided amongst the listeners as to whether she was merely a spoof act or whether she was blithely unaware of how bad she was. I've since heard that the management took the latter view and has banned her from ever appearing again, even on similar occasions, on the grounds that she was so terrible.

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