Most will argue that music is subjective. Fine. Fair enough. That’s a squabble that could eat up several years or half the band-with of the Internet. We won’t go there.
But, where there are disagreements, there is also space for harmony, a neutral ground, a common enemy. You can spend time arguing over whether or not Ke$ha is all that’s wrong with society, but in the end there are songs we can all bond over with a common distaste.
Let’s focus on what we have in common. There are songs so awful most people can honestly say they would be better off if they never had to hear it again. Here are five songs as a starter, but heavens know there are more than five. And I mean, let’s be honest: bad music kind of warms the heart in a weird way, you know?
1) Billy Ray Cyrus – Achy Breaky Heart
Achy Breaky Heart is a peculiar breed of song: Everyone knows it, but no one likes it; it was a one-hit wonder, even though no one will fess up to its fame; he refers to his heart in the third person and says that it is capable of blowing up and killing him. So, how did this tale of spontaneous combustion, bad hair and elementary songwriting rocket to a high enough level of fame that his daughter can come back and produce songs like Party in The USA some twenty years later and he can nag a role with his sub-par acting skills in Hannah Montana. Nobody knows. But, given that we have to hear Miley wail “Yeeaaahhh, it’s a party in the USA” while trying to enjoy dinner at Applebee’s and look at Billy Ray Cyrus’s (still bad) hair, I think it’s enough to ask that we never hear Achy Breaky Heart again.
2) Baha Men – Who Let the Dogs Out
A song that spends 70% of its time barking at the listener should never have to be endured. This song was huge circa 2001 among 12 year olds without any reference for good music and thus, its fame was born. Between mystifying lines like ‘get back you flea infested mongrel’ or ‘you fetch a woman in front of her man’s behind’ and ‘when they see me they doah-oooo (howl)’ it’s no wonder this song was a hit. It was played to death but there are still a few unfortunate circumstances of mal-informed wedding DJ’s or pro sports stadiums playing this archaic nightmare of a song. Please, for the love of all things good, stop.
3) The Black Eed Peas – My Humps
For anyone who never wants to hear the phrases “junk in the trunk” or “lovely lady lumps” again, we understand. Not to mention Fergie’s whiny voice repeating “my humps my humps my humps my humps my humps my humps my humps my humps my humps my humps my humps my humps” on an infinite loop. This unfathomable chart-topping hit has done enough damage and we kindly ask the bad music gods to retire it.
4) Avril Lavigne – Sk8er Boi
First things first, songs with intentional grammatical errors are fundamentally flawed. We’re not sure what Avril was going for with the spelling, but she missed whatever mark her brain encouraged her towards. Secondly, Avril Lavigne is to rock music as chicken nuggets are to chicken. Lastly, this song seems like the type of diary entry you write in anger at 14 years of age, read 6 months later and shredded immediately in protection of your own dignity. But, instead Avril published it and made us listen to it under the guise of ‘punk rock’. Her later hit, Girlfriend, is equally lamentable.
5) Ashlee Simpson – Pieces of Me
Here is a pop music worst-case scenario: A budding so-so quality pop star produces regrettable music and we have to hear it all the time. Then, just when we think it can’t get any worse, said pop star’s younger sister comes out of the woodwork and makes music that’s at least 2.5 times as bad.
Just when Jessica Simpson was starting to get under everyone’s skin, her sister Ashlee popped up. We hoped she had genuine talent, but we were quickly proven wrong. She screeched just as much as her sister, and made us listen to a song about pieces of her. We don’t want to hear a song about pieces of anyone, much less a fading pop star’s little sister. Then she made songs like “La la” and “Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)” and married Pete Wentz we all lost hope.
Honorable Mention: Anything by T-Pain, Peaches and Cream by 112, Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em (though the cartoon spinoffs are wonderful), Fergalicious by Fergie and Baby by Justin Bieber.