The other day, I started thinking about all the fun I had while writing Do These Songs Deserve the Hate? Reminiscing about this article made me want to write another. After all, there are oh so many hated songs that article did not cover. Still, a new and fresh angle should be used whenever possible, So while choosing this new list of songs to possibly rip limb from limb, I decided to add the qualifier of “annoying song.”
I had a few songs that instantly came to mind. A couple were easy targets, and thus got deleted (a 13 year old singing about her favorite day of the week comes to mind). To fill in the gaps, I got help from this Spotify Playlist, udiscovermusic.com, and rewind943.com. The resulting list of annoying songs represents some of the most notorious earworms from the 90s, 00s, and 10s. Of course, we will ask the question….are these annoying songs really that annoying? So….stay tuned. The answers might surprise you.
Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye
First of all, I love this song. I’ve loved Somebody I Used to Know from the day I heard it….and I still love the song to this day. In the spirit of fairness though, I’ll look at the reasons people hate it.
One of the main reasons Somebody That I Used to Know might annoy a listener….it was overplayed. When Somebody That I Used to Know was at the height of its popularity, you couldn’t walk into a Starbucks, Forever 21, or Barnes and Nobles without hearing the song blasting every hour on the hour. For some….this song got old….fast.
There are also complaints that Somebody That I Used to Know sounds whiny. After all, Gotye spends half the time complaining that his ex girlfriend won’t even talk to him anymore.
But is Somebody That I Used to Know truly an annoying song?
Firstly, I’ll recognize that constant repetition of even the best song can and will ruin said song for the listener. With that said…I’d rather a song like Somebody That I Used to Know gets a ton of exposure, instead of say, the latest teeny bopper bubble gum anthem. Somebody That I Used to Know at least has some depth, but more on that later.
As far as those that complain about how much Gotye whines….did you listen to the entire song? Sure, he whines a ton in the first half. However, the second half basically scolds him for his whining! The second part comes from the point of view of his the ex (as vocalized by Kimbra). This second part rips him a new one for being a crazy ass bitch who can’t let his ex girlfriend live her life. Showing two sides of the argument in the same song? There’s some of that depth I was talking about.
Oh, but there’s more depth than that. Let’s look at the whining, and specifically the lyrics that don’t quite fit the melody. This mimics a person trying to contemplate their emotions….someone struggling with their feelings. It captures the voice. Gotye sounds whiny, and that’s a good thing….that’s what the listener should take away from the first half of the song!
Finally, I have to say….there’s a lot of interesting sounds in Somebody That I Used to Know. The instrumentation, though synthesized, really has us mesmerized.
All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
Before I say anything, I like the body positive message of All About That Bass. Oh, but damn….it’s such an earworm. And not the good kind either! This is the kind of earworm that I wrote about just yesterday on my personal blog (spoiler alert, it kills tens of thousands of people). You just want to bang your head to get the song out of your head!
Oh, and what the hell is up with the way she sings? Trainor sounds like a dead cat being raised from the dead. She intentionally sings too low. I think Trainor does this to emphasis the bass, but her voice just doesn’t work that way. Ewww.
But is All About That Bass truly an annoying song?
Like I said. good body positive message. I’m happy to see a pop song tackle this issue. With that said, the weaknesses of the song, surely outweigh the strengths. There’s way too many cringe worthy lyrics, there’s way too much repetition and again….dat voice needs at least a little treble!
Barbie Girl – Aqua
Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” features a high pitched vocalist singing about a fantastic “dressed in plastic” life. The instrumentals sound like something punched out on a synthesizer and put on repeat. The melody…well….it’s what….three or four notes? Yeah….Barbie Girl is one of the most boring songs you’ll ever hear.
While the song is only 3:22 long, it feels like it stretches on for about 9 minutes. Oh, and every second of the song is excruciating.
But is Barbie Girl truly an annoying song?
If you say yes…congratulations….you get the point of the song. Barbie Girl is about plastic consumerism, and mass produced mediocrity. Every single part of the song was exaggerated to show the shallowness of the so called “Barbie Girl.” Even singer Lene Nystrøm’s vocals are exaggerated. She sings a few octaves higher than she does on other Aqua songs – adding to the plastic, Barbie Girl, shallow affect.
Still….does shallow equal annoying? I say yes – especially in the case of Barbie Girl. The shallowness of the song grates on our ears so much, that we get tired of it really fast. I mean REALLY fast.
Of course…..intentionally annoying or not….Barbie Girl is still annoying.
Timber – Pitbull (featuring Kesha)
Timber, featuring Kesha, is a song I’ve never listened to all the way through until today. Why? I just can’t get through it. I love the chorus. In fact, I listen to the chorus on repeat sometimes….but when we get into Pitbull’s rap….the song just falls apart and I go back to the chorus. There’s literally nothing memorable about Pitbull’s part of the song. What’s this song about? We don’t know, and we really don’t care.
But is Timber truly an annoying song?
Honestly…no. It’s just boring on the parts where Kesha isn’t singing. End of story.
MmmBop – Hanson
MMMBop….a song sang by three brothers, two of which still had yet to develop fully adult voices, made listening to the radio in 1997 a game of russian roulette. Sure, as far as pop songs, it wasn’t really that bad, but dang….those high pitched, puberty still hasn’t settled in, voices – complete with voice cracks….make it stop! Make it stop!
But is MmmBop truly an annoying song?
Sure, the chorus is gibberish, but it’s catchy gibberish. While catchy isn’t always a good thing, in this case….MmmBop actually kind of sort of stands the test of time. Sigh….I actually kind of like the song I mocked so much in the late 90s.
As far as the vocals….are they really any worse than the Jackson 5? Prepubescent Michael Jackson didn’t sound all that different than Taylor Hanson. In fact, now that the Hanson boys have grown up, they sound pretty good.
Tubthumping – Chumbawamba
Rated the 5th worst song of the 90s (sandwiched in between the aforementioned MmmBop and Ice Ice Baby), Tubthumping was played so much, my head wanted to explode. Once more, Tubthumping is still played at pretty much every single major sporting event. It’s played more than the national anthem!
It’s not that its a bad song mind you…..it’s just that Tubthumping makes no real sense. We hear verses about drinking, we hear a chorus about getting knocked down and getting up again……this song is all over the place! We had no freaking idea what the song meant then, and we still don’t know to this very day … we just keep hearing the bloody song.
But is Tubthumping truly an annoying song?
Yes and no. Tubthumping, despite the fact that it just makes no sense, has a decent beat.
Let’s talk about the meaning. As someone who actually listens to Chumbawamba, Tubthumping really confuses me because most of their songs are about anarchy and social justice. Yet this song….well….again, what the heck does it mean? Maybe you’re supposed to drink all the drinks mentioned? Maybe that’s how you decipher the meaning.
Meh – whatever. I’d rather listen to pretty much anything by Chumbawamba other than Tubthumping.
The Fox – Ylvis
Ok, we can just chalk this up to a weird novelty song…right? I almost couldn’t include this song….it’s such an easy target, but almost every list I saw listed this song. Besides….I’ve always wanted to know the noise the fox actually makes. We all do, that’s why this song became such a hit!
But is The Fox truly an annoying song?
If you avoid the chorus, The Fox really isn’t that bad of a dance song. Granted….I can name a thousand dance songs that sound better, but for simple entertainment novelty….The Fox is not all that bad.
Oh, but let’s talk about the chorus of The Fox. So. Many. Annoying. Sounds. All those theoretical fox noises… It makes me wonder… What hallucinatory drug were they on while writing the lyrics?
You’re Beautiful – James Blunt
Another song I keep seeing on my source lists that I don’t particularly see as “annoying.” Boring, overly sentimental, and so many other things. Annoying though? Eh…. not so much.
I am not the only one. From my research, it sounds like most people don’t find the song itself annoying. You’re Beautiful was just one of those songs that was played way too much. Even James Blunt himself admits “the song was force-fed down people’s throats.”
But is You’re Beautiful truly an annoying song?
Again… it was force fed to us so much, everyone was just tired of hearing it. Now that some time has passed, we can look at You’re Beautiful with fresh eyes. Sure, people will be permanently burned out on this song – that’s their taste. However….I say again, You’re Beautiful doesn’t annoy me.
Don’t get me wrong…. You’re Beautiful is still a boring, overly sentimental song. Yeah, Blunt has a pretty voice…. but yawn. Snooze. Zzzz. Pass the check please, I was done with this meal before it started.
Annoying, no, but a real snooze fest.
Which annoying song annoys you the most?
Did I miss any? Let me know. I’ve done two articles on this general topic before …I’ll probably do more! And what should my angle be? Let me know in the comments, and maybe your suggestion will transform into a new article. Until then, I hope to bring you more good music. Coming in a couple weeks is another cover vs original, featuring A-Ha’s “Take On Me.” I’ll also do a bunch of holiday content this year, and my favorite albums of the year. Come back every Friday for new articles, and every Monday for new playlists.