There was an article that appeared on Friday on MSN.COM, which tried to poke fun at some of “the worst lyrics of all time” by artists who presumably should have known better. I had a problem with the article, just like the lyrics, the smart-aleck comments from the author of the MSN article were not well-thought-out and thus almost as poorly written as the song lyrics the author criticizes.
Whether I do a better job with my smart-aleck comments is anyone’s opinion, but then I’m not working for MSN.
|“Swingin’ in there
Cause she wanted me to feed her,
So I mixed up the batter
And she licked the beater”
–Warrant, “Cherry Pie”
|I agree that this is a food metaphor gone wrong. It works better if you see the video. But I think the lyrics were never meant for adult minds who naturally would be bothered by the overdone food metaphors, but for adolescents with raging hormones who probably don’t care if this is from an overrated 90s metal band as long as the video has lots of jiggle.
|“It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay,
It’s a death row pardon two minutes late;
And isn’t it ironic… don’t you think?”
–Alanis Morrisette, “Ironic”
|It is obvious that Alanis Morrisette never bothered to look up ‘Ironic’ in a dictionary, and as much has been said since the song came out in 1996. It wasn’t just the quoted lyrics that were bad, the whole song suffered from the same problem. Most abuses of the word seemed to suggest that she really meant ‘bad luck’ or something similar. Proof that famous musicians never lost a dollar by being inarticulate.
|“I drew a line,
I drew a line for you.
Oh, what a thing to do.
And it was all yellow.”
|This was picked out as being the worst lyric snippet from Coldplay’s first American hit, ‘Yellow’, released in 2000. It’s the kind of thing that means more to the writer than the listener. The song went gold for some other reason than the lyrics. The song seems to end up being about not much at all, but purportedly is about devotion.
|“If the light is off
Then it isn’t on.”
–Hilary Duff, “So Yesterday”
|I can’t argue with these lyrics. Reminds me of Me and Bobby McGee. Remember? “Nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’, but it’s free”. Nobody can say the obvious better than Kris Kristofferson. But Duff, even with all of her overly-marketed million-selling albums, can’t come close to this. She just comes off like an under-aged bimbo with nothing useful to say. (Yeah, I know she’s not underage anymore).
|“These other guys, they wanna take me for a ride,
But when I walk their talk is suicide”
–Paris Hilton, “Stars Are Blind”
|Lots of 60s musicians sang the obvious. But it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Kristofferson said it in a way that it became a rallying cry for those who rejected materialism, and embraced simplicity. You were convinced that Kristofferson had “been there”, and knew your pain. You would easily forget that he was a Rhodes Scholar at Merton in Oxford, with a Bachelor’s in English Lit. Being able to achieve that is not the mark of phoniness, it is the mark of a true artist, deserving of our respect and admiration.
Sorry, I can’t find any information on Paris Hilton except for a bunch of videos of what appears to be her performing fellatio on a record company exec in a fleabag hotel with the curtains drawn. Maybe next time.
|“You know you love me, I know you care,
Just shout whenever, And I’ll be there.
You are my love, You are my heart,
And we will never ever-ever be apart.”
–Justin Bieber, “Baby”
|News flash!!!!! 16 year-old Stratford, Ontario native Justin Bieber has the writing talent of a 16 year-old.
The only reason this kind of drek sells is that there is nothing better for the buying public, that they are aware of. The market is flooded with under-aged, under-talented kids, surrounded by marketers who want to bring back the days of The Jackson 5, and Donny Osmond. The video stations and other media organs are flooded with this stuff, while really good music is out there, waiting to be listened to.
|“Lucky that my breasts
Are small and humble
So you don’t confuse
Them with mountains”
–Shakira, ‘Whenever, Wherever’
|It’s like saying we’ll get along fine as long as you don’t stare at my boobs. It NEVER works, ladies. It just makes the problem worse.
|“I ain’t never seen
An a**like that
The way you move it
You make my pee-pee go
–Eminem, “A** Like That”
|News Flash!!!!! 38 year-old Marshall Bruce Mathers III, known by his stage name Eminem, has the writing talents of an 8 year-old. Sometimes his mother helps him.
|“I’m as serious as cancer
When I say rhythm is a dancer”
–Snap, “Rhythm is a Dancer”
|Besides a German-to-English dictionary, the German dance group Snap! should have also used a rhyming dictionary to see what else might rhyme with “dancer” that might work better than “cancer”.
–James Blunt, “You’re Beautiful”
|I have always seen this song as “just another love song”. One that is not very inspired with tired lyrics and a new musical sound behind it to make it palatable.
|“We built this city on rock and roll.”
–Starship, “We Built This City”
|I have to go beyond what the MSN author has said and further state that these are also the most phony lyrics in rock history. The particular lineup of Starship which sang that hit had none of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane in it. Grace Slick doesn’t count, since she was not a founding member. So, no, they don’t earn the bragging rights they seem to claim.
|“Against the grain should be a way of life
What’s worth the price is always worth the fight
Every second counts ’cause there’s no second try
So live like you’re never living twice
Don’t take the free ride in your own life”
— Nickelback, “If Today Was Your Last Day”
|Another winner for the most cliches per square inch. A close contender could be Harlan Howard’s 1958 song “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down” (played by every imaginible country musician — the one I heard was from Buck Owens). At least Harlan was just trying to be clever, but Nickleback just looks like they’ve been reading too many motivational posters.
|“I would do anything for love
But I won’t do that.”
–Meat Loaf, “I’d Do Anything for Love”
|Mr. Loaf has been with us for three decades or more, bringing us lyrics ranging from mundane to just plain sucking out loud. I would call this one mundane. At least it’s vague, and that means he left something up to my imagination for once.
There were more in the article, but I have had little more time to explore them. Just thought I would cover the worst cases.