Musical criticism and commentary

Do These Hated Songs Deserve the Hate?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – it’s ok to listen to bad music. Some bad songs serve as a source of comfort. Other bad songs serve as a source of nostalgia. Heck, some bad songs are just a lot of fun and get us off our high horses. I could probably list a hundred arguments for listening to bad songs. Still – there’s a difference between a bad song, and a song that just plain sucks. These songs that suck, aka “hated songs” may induce vomiting, fits of rage, and even a loss of IQ points.

While these hated songs make us want to do terrible things, maybe – just maybe – some of these hated songs might actually have some meaning we just don’t get. So in the name of musical science (ok, musical pseudo science) I picked ten hated songs from this list and others like it. These are songs that are generally described as some of the worse songs ever recorded. Mind you, some of these hated songs are songs that I actually love, but I will be objective in my analysis. So join me as I look at ten hated songs, and ask if these songs really deserve the hate.

Hated songs - Comic book guy.
Worst. Songs. Ever.

“Muskrat Love” by Captain and Tennille

I never really listened to this song before today. I may have heard it a couple times in passing, but I’ve never really examined “Muskrat Love” as a song. And that’s a damned good thing.

Seriously, “Muskrat Love” makes me want to do horrible things. The song itself is sweet mind you. “Muskrat Love” tells the story of two muskrats in love, living in the city, just trying to make it. Nothing wrong with the premise – though maybe a better premise for a kid’s song than a top 40 hit.

The instrumentation, however – ick. The music basically consists of “Captain” playing a mid 70s electric piano, while using the most boring tones possible. And yes – you music nerds out there will make it known this is actually a cover by “America.” This only makes the instrumentation on Captain and Tennille’s version even more vile as their instrumentation just does not work. And Tennille’s singing? Oh geez – gag me with a spoon, her voice just makes me want to commit rodent mass murder.

Hated Songs - dead mouse.
RIP, Mickey!

Does “Muskrat Love” deserve the hate?

In short – yes. Sure, “Muskrat Love” by Captain and Tennille might just be a silly song – but “Muskrat Love” is a still song that makes me want to buy as much muskrat poison as I can and spread it throughout the four corners of the earth.

THIS STILL WILL HAUNT YOUR NIGHTMARES FOREVER!!!

“We Didn’t Start the Fire” – Billy Joel

When “We Didn’t Start the Fire” came out, I was fascinated with the song. To be fair, I was in eighth grade – so my musical tastes were far from mature. Still, even now, I really enjoy “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

That being said – I still have no freaking idea what “We Didn’t Start the Fire” means. If I go by the chorus, the song seems like a list of bad, evil things

burning throughout history. However, when we listen to the verses, some of the things listed were not bad – but actually good. Woodstock? Heavy Metal? Doris Day? Hemingway? Yeah – these all fall in the “good” column as far as I’m concerned.

Ultimately, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” serves as a laundry list of historical events. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but again – why is it a fire? What’s burning? Whatever is burning is obviously something that needs to be stopped – after all “we’re trying to fight it.” This is not a controlled burn – this burn is destructive.

Hated songs - Fire.
Hey, don’t blame me! I didn’t start the fire!

Does “We Didn’t Start the Fire” deserve the hate?

Yes – but no…but yes. Ultimately, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” is nothing but a novelty song. The melody, if you can call it that, really lacks. Billy Joel tries to rap essentially. And again – that chorus really confuses the heck out of me. So – listen to this song if you want, but don’t try to take any deeper meaning from “We Didn’t Start the Fire” – you might get a headache.

Someone should probably call the fire department…

“Who Let the Dogs Out” – Baha Men

I hated “Who Let the Dogs Out” when I first heard it. Somehow, over probably hundreds of forced listenings on every commercial and movie of the era, I softened to the song. Overexposure sometimes has that effect, especially with a catchy chorus. Fast Forward to now – the first time I’ve heard “Who Let the Dogs Out” in its entirety in several years. And wow. Just wow.

The chorus still grabs my attention. With Baha Men shouting the title, it’s hard not to like this song. For about ten seconds at least. Then “Who Let’s the Dogs Out” gets really old, really fast. Gah – the repetitive screaming of the chorus makes me want to scream repetitive curse words!

Hated Songs - barking dog.
Woof! Woof! Woof!

Should I mention the verses? No – they’re full of nonsense and stupid lyrics. I’m going to pretend “Who Let the Dogs Out” has no verses – they just do not exist.

Does “Who Let the Dogs Out” deserve the hate?

Oh yes, yes it does. Don’t listen to this song ever again, under any circumstance. Seriously – whoever decided to plaster “Who Let the Dogs Out” should be tried in an international court for violation of the Geneva convention’s rules on torture.

What a dog of a song!

“What’s Up?” – 4 Non Blondes

I promised objectivity on this list. With “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes, I find said objectivity a bit difficult. I love this freaking song. I even put this song on my Depressing 90s mix. So – for the sake of objectivity, I turn to this article where Mickey (Deen) Melchiondo of Ween talks about his hate for “What’s up?’

Melchiondo (aka Deen Ween) pulls no punches on “What’s Up?” Deen Ween calls the vocals “over the top,” the guitars sound like something a beginner would play, and the song itself just seems whiny. Melchiondo states “What’s Up?” is “…as bad as music gets.”

So balance Melchiondo’s opinion against my own. My only real defense of “What’s Up?” is that the song shows so much raw emotion. I hurt, but in a good way, when I hear “What’s Up?” Hmm – maybe “What’s Up?’ just awakens the emo kid inside me.

Does “What’s Up?” deserve the hate?

Objectively, I kind of see Melchiondo’s point. Dammit Deener, you made me hate a song I used to love!

What’s Up? ….WITH THAT HAT?

“Chinese Food” by Alison Gold

I have never heard “Chinese Food” before today. I think that might be a good thing. Seriously – what the hell did I just listen to? Actual lyrics of the song include: “I Like the egg rolls and the wontons soup. This makes me feel so so good.” Uhhh….alrighty then.

Just as I think “Chinese Food” might finally wrap itself up, it breaks into a rap. This rap has such a hard time trying to rhyme things, it inserts words that just do not seem to fit with the oriental cuisine theme. For instance, the rap includes a line about Monopoly. Why? Because Monopoly is a near rhyme to broccoli. How ridiculous.

Hated Songs
“Monopoly”

Does “Chinese Food” deserve the hate?

Oh yes. Yes it does. What a stupid song. Although – now I kind of want some orange chicken and maybe some rice. Wait….was this song a clever marketing gimmick by a Chinese restaurant?

Oh yeah, I forgot the video features a furry.

“Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus

When “Achy Breaky Heart” first came out, I hated the song – but I think part of me thinks the overwhelming popularity of the song fueled my hate more than anything else. To be fair, the oversaturation of this song was so severe, Weird Al’s parody of the song expresses a similar feeling to my own.

Going past the oversaturation – “Achy Breaky Heart” actually gives us a fun little country song to dance to. Albeit a strange song, with strange and odd lyrics. Eh – whatever….maybe “Achy Breaky Heart” does not suck as much as I used to think. Let’s look at the some of the lyrics:

You can tell my arms go back to the farm
You can tell my feet to hit the floor
Or you can tell my lips to tell my fingertips
They won’t be reaching out for you no more

Yeah – I think my first impression of Achy Breaky Heart was right. “Achy Breaky Heart” sucks now and forevermore.

Hated Songs
I hope you know CPR, because this song might just give the listener a heart attack.

Does “Achy Breaky Heart” deserve the hate?

Yes. Yes, it does. No arguments needed…this is an irrefutable fact.

And thanks to this doofus, we got Miley Cyrus as well!

“Ice Ice Baby” – Vanilla Ice

Back when “Ice Ice Baby” came out, we knew the song sucked. We just didn’t care, because “Ice Ice Baby” was so ridiculous and fun. Seriously, even as a teenager, I could tell the lyrics were just….uh….something else. Vanilla Ice really liked to brag, and that was kind of annoying, but “Ice Ice Baby” was just so catchy! We couldn’t resist!

So let’s talk about some of those lyrics of “Ice Ice Baby.;” specifically the line “Ice is back with my brand new invention.” “Ice Ice Baby” was the first hit by Vanilla Ice, so Vanilla Ice really had nowhere to be “back” from. I guess we were supposed to know Vanilla Ice before we knew Vanilla Ice.

The first part of the second verse really makes me go…uhh…. “Bum rush the speaker that booms / I’m killin’ your brain like a poisonous mushroom / Deadly, when I play a dope melody / Anything less that the best is a felony.” Wait, what’s this about bum rushing? And….Vanilla Ice wants to kill us with his lyrics? Ok then.

Hated songs - groucho marx.
I’ve heard of killer lyrics, but this is ridiculous.

Let’s also not forget the shenanigans where Vanilla Ice runs away from a fight. According to “Ice Ice Baby,” Vanilla Ice pisses off the wrong people and yeah….he somehow outruns their bullets and miraculously makes it to his car. The police show up, and “confronts” the “dope fiends.” And yet Vanilla Ice claims “If there was a problem, yo I’ll solve it.” Uhh….I don’t think you solved any problems there, Vanilla. I think you let the cops come in and clean up your mess. Maybe next time, don’t talk big to people willing to open fire in the middle of a traffic jam.

Does “Ice Ice Baby” deserve the hate?

Oh, so much hate. So much hate! “Ice Ice Baby” might be the worst song ever recorded….and yet its still so much fun to listen to. The insufferable bragging in “Ice Ice Baby” makes us both hate and love the song at the same time.

Turn out the lights and he glows….except for when the lights are off on this video.

“My Humps” – Black Eyed Peas

Just as I could not be objectionable about “What’s Up?,” I don’t think I can be objectionable on “My Humps.” I just cannot imagine any scenario where I actually find something positive about “My Humps.” So…again, I turn to someone else’s opinion.

Well – here’s the thing. I’ve searched the internet far and wide, and the consensus says that “My Humps” might just be the worst song ever. I cannot find any positive reviews of “My Humps.” Even the Black Eyed Peas themselves call the song “rubbish” and refuse to play the song ever again. So, there you have it…”My Humps” sucks.

Hated songs
The original album artwork for My Humps.

Does “My Humps” deserve the Hate?

When the people who wrote the song hates the song, that tells you something. “My Humps” deserves more hate than it gets.

My lunch….my lunch….this song makes me lose my lunch.

“We Built This City” – Starship

Jefferson Starship lost the “Jefferson” and a member or two. For the newly named Starship’s first single, they worked with Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s musical partner and probably one of the greatest lyricists of the 70s and 80s. So, a great songwriter teams up with a great band (not to mention Grace Slick’s freaking amazing voice) – what could go wrong?

Simply put – the “We Built This City” really sucks. The lyrics are cheesy, and the instrumentation sounds horribly dated. Grace Slick’s vocals sound processed and almost phoned in. Seriously, go listen to White Rabbit, and then listen to “We Built This City” – what the actual hell Grace?

Some other problems – firstly I doubt that Marconi played the Mamba (a group of venomous snakes). Perhaps Starship and Taupin meant Mombo? Oh, and when writing a song about rock and roll, use more guitars! Sheesh – all these synths and electronic drums make “We Built This City” sound like a dance song – not a rock song!

Momma loves mambo.
Seriously, don’t play this snake!

Does “We Built This City” deserve the hate?

NO! Those that mock “We Built This City” actually miss the entire point of the song. Grace Sick tells Bestclassicbands.com that…” It’s talking about the clubs closing, or being closed down, in Los Angeles.” Essentially, We Built This City is about gentrification. All those cheesy lyrics (even the line about the snake), all those cheesy 80s synths, even Grace Slick’s phoned in vocals – these all serve the song’s purpose. “We Built This City” is not a song about Rock and Roll, “We Built This City” is a dirge about the dying rock club scene. The cheesy and nonsensical lyrics, the phoned in vocals, these all represent the homogenizing of rock and roll into a marketable product.

To be fair – “We Built This City” suffers from overexposure. So, if you’re the type of person who hates that – well, I guess you have a valid reason to hate this song.

We Built this city on gentrification.

Which Hated Song did I miss?

I originally included twelve songs on this list. I omitted MacArthur Park by Richard Harris, and Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band. Both these hated songs just don’t seem relevant or remembered as much as the rest of the songs on this list. Having said that, I can probably think of a dozen more songs that summon deep hatred across society. I might just need to write a part two to this hated songs list. I could also make a playlist! Or not….no one, but no one should EVER put Wildfire by Michael Martin Murphey on a playlist. I feel wrong even linking to the song – but I digress.

Hated Songs - Not included in this list is Wildfire - a terrible song that makes me want to do terrible things to terrible people. One of the most hated songs ever.This image used under fair use copyright laws. The album cover is believed to be owned by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management.
Break a leg, Wildfire!

With that said, what songs did I miss from this list? Which songs should be included in the next incarnation of hated songs? While you’re at it, tell me your reasons why these songs should or should not be hated. Comment below, email me, or reach me on Facebook and Twitter.

Finally, if you listened to any of these songs, you might just need a palate cleanser. Might I suggest one of my playlists? Perhaps the Captivating Sounds playlist? Or Maybe the newly remastered Are We There Yet? playlist? Get those evil earworms out of your brain!