1. We Built This City – Starship
A quick google search of this 80s jam will tell you all you need to know how people feel about this song — there are quite a handful of people who staunchly believe that Jefferson Starship’s We Built This City is in fact the worst song ever made.VH1, the undisputed king of this stuff, ranked We Built This City #1 on their list of “The 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs…Ever.” Also appearing on this list was Achy Breaky Heart (#2), JC Chasez’ Some Girls (#41) and a song that has no business being on a “terrible” song list, Limp Bizkit’s Rollin (#4). Clearly, the producers of this countdown never played NHL Hitz 2002.
At this point, it’s tough to admit that We Built This City isn’t a “bad song” — it’s been crowd sourced as such, thus representing the view of the collective populous; if enough people think something is bad, it probably is. That said, it’s not like the entire room groans when this song comes on. In fact, my experiences have generally been positive. People laugh, and are generally enthused in an “I’m not a hipster but I’m gonna be ironic for just this one song so I can mask my legitimate like of it” sort of way.
2. Barbie Girl – Aqua
I’m no musician, but I have a hard time believing that “real” musicians (see: The Lumineers) consider Barbie Girl a legitimate piece of music. There’s no doubting, however, that the song has a quite few things going for it — it was made in the 90s (huge), and it’s in that rare-but-respected hit-driven “dance music before EDM” category; and while it may not be in the same immediate family as Darude’s Sandstorm, it’s definitely close enough to merit an obligatory wedding invite.
I’m interested to see if Barbie Girl will withstand the test of time — in other words, is it possible enjoy Barbie Girl if you’re not born between 1986-1994? Probably not.
3. Breakfast At Tiffanys – Deep Blue Something
Breakfast at Tiffany’s was the inspiration for this article. I was back home two weeks ago, driving with one my good friends from high school — I popped in one of the CDs I made back in high school (which generally consisted exclusively of songs like My Own Worst Enemy by Lit and Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World), and on came this gem by Deep Blue Something.
My friend proceeded to tell me that this was voted the worst song of the 90s in some countdown he once watched. We both agreed that Right Said Fred was robbed.
I like Breakfast At Tiffanys, as does my friend. We both kinda like it.
4. It’s Thanksgiving – Nicole Westbrook
You could really pick any song from the Patrice Wilson School of Internet Outrage, and it’ll probably fit the mold.
It’s Thanksgiving is probably my favorite though, given that it fits many of Patrice’s hit song requirements. It’s temporally minded (while Friday focuses on days of the week, It’s Thanksgiving focuses on months of the year), the beat is undeniably catchy, and the video is all sorts of incredible. Plus, it comes with a catch phrase that could serv unnecessarily mean internet commenters should take to heart — “can’t be hateful, gotta be grateful.”
5. How You Remind Me – Nickelback
I think it’s high time for society to pick a new band to hate. Nickelback may be easy to despise (in the words of Chuck Klosterman, “ Sometimes it’s fun to hate things arbitrarily, and Nickelback has become an acceptable thing to hate.”), but their success, consistency, and influence on music is, at this point, stuff of legend. In the 2000s, they were America’s second best-selling foreign act behind a little band called the Beatles, and they’ve sold over 50 million albums worldwide. They also aren’t aggressively pushing their soundcloud page on Facebook.
While I think Photograph is Nickelback’s best song (love it), I would like to share the following anecdote, which I think places Nickelback in a more proper pop culture context:
Senior year in college (2 years ago), bar trivia was pretty huge at my school. A good chunk of seniors would always show up on Tuesday nights, briefly abandoning cover letter writing and job interview braggarting to collectively bond over random knowledge. The final portion of the trivia was a thing where they played a few seconds of a song, and each group had to guess that song. There were 5 songs in the round, so usually they’d have at least one “gimme” track.
One time, they played How You Remind Me. It was somewhat common for people to sing along to a song, but the singing usually stopped soon after the song ended — and in the event that it continued, it was generally only done by a drunk table or two. How You Remind Me, though, was the only time the entire year in which the entire bar continuously sang along — loudly and ecstatically — for about 20-30 seconds after the 5 second sample. Every single person in the bar knew the words, and never have a seen an entire room bond in that fashion. Chalk it up to the power of Nickelback. [
Over the course of the next hour or so, I totally get it if you put your spotify on private.