When it comes to enjoying and appreciating music, lyrics are very important to me. There are some songs where lyrics are everything. Many Bob Dylan songs, for example, are nothing without the lyrics. They don’t have to be particularly deep either – some have vague messages or lyrical hooks which serve to enhance a great melody and add to the success of the composition. Most Michael Jackson hits from the 80’s are good examples of where it doesn’t have to be particularly deep to be a great lyric. However, there are moments in songs which make you stop and wince. Some even ruin the songs forever. I’d like to give you a few examples of the truly awful lyrics which cause me near physical pain when I hear them…
1. Complete and utter mind-numbing banality in Life by Des’ree;
“I don’t want to see a ghost
That’s a sight that I fear most
I’d rather have a piece of toast
Watch the evening news”
2. Horse With No Name by America;
“There were plants
…and a whole bunch of crap that we couldn’t be bothered to describe. What shall we do for the chorus lads? How about “la, la, la, la, la, la, la?” Brilliant.
3. Noel finally relents and lets Liam write a song for the Oasis album that nobody plays any more. Thankfully. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Little James by Oasis;
“Live for your toys
Even though they make noise”
4. Sade shows her complete ignorance when it comes to U.S. geography in Smooth Operator;
“Coast to coast
L.A. to Chicago”
The coast of Lake Michigan, perhaps?
5. Queen’s Freddie Mercury demonstrates how to be both pretentious, twee and vulgar in one line of Delilah, a complete monstrosity written about his pet cat;
Oh my, oh my, oh my, you’re unpredictable
You make me so very happy
When you cuddle up and go to sleep beside me
And then you make me slightly mad
When you pee all over my Chippendale suite”
Sometimes I miss Freddie. Then I remember this song.
6. Razorlight were always shit, however they reached their nadir on these three lines from Someplace Else;
“I met a girl
She asked me my name
I told her what it was.”
It’s not difficult to see why they were so popular at the time.
7. Possibly the worst lyric of all time? You decide. Here’s ABC with That Was Then But This Is Now;
“More sacrifices than an Aztec priest,
Standing here straining at that leash,
All fall down,
Can’t complain, mustn’t grumble,
Help yourself to another piece of apple crumble”
8. Or is it this one? Duran Duran’s Is There Something I Should Know? is a definite contender for making light of the annihilation of the human race to augment a catchy little pop song;
“And firey demons all dance when you walk through that door
Don’t say you’re easy on me
You’re about as easy as a nuclear war.”
9. OK, it was inspired by a comment by Hunter S. Thompson, therefore it’s all highbrow and arty. Actually, no it isn’t. The Killers’ Human is nothing but nonsensical wank, which grates for attempting to be deep and failing miserably;
“Are we human or are we dancer?
My sign is vital, my hands are cold
And I’m on my knees looking for the answer
Are we human or are we dancer?”
10. Kate Nash’s Foundations was just annoying for her awfentik Landan patta, innit, but specifically for the following dreadful lines;
“You said I must eat so many lemons,
’cause I am so bitter.
I said “I’d rather be with your friends mate,
’cause they are much fitter”
Lemons are sour, Kate. Not bitter. Also, you’re a horrible, horrible person. Truly awful. Just thought I’d say.
11. I quite like this song as a whole, but the lyrics definitely make me shake my head in disbelief. Feast your eyes on Travis’ Turn;
“If we turn, turn, turn, turn, turn
Then we might learn
So where’s the stars?
Up in the sky
And what’s the moon?
A big balloon“
Still, David Niven probably approved.
12. A song that makes me want to vomit every time I hear it is John Mayer’s Your Body Is A Wonderland. This is pure sleaze in pop song form – and not a very well written one, either;
“We got the afternoon
You got this room for two
One thing I’ve left to do
Bleugh. As if that wasn’t bad enough…
“One mile to every inch of
Your skin like porcelain
One pair of candy lips and
Your bubblegum tongue”
Bubblegum tongue? Does it stick to everything it touches? That could be tricky.
13. Guns ‘n’ Roses’ One In A Million earns it’s place on this list for being so offensive and noxious;
“Immigrants and faggots
They make no sense to me
They come to our country
And think they’ll do as they please
Like start some mini Iran
Or spread some fucking disease
They talk so many goddamn ways
It’s all Greek to me”
Nasty. Just nasty.
14. Cringeworthy lyrics from Bryan Adams in one of the worst songs ever written – Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?;
“When you can see your unborn children in her eyes,
You know you really love a woman.”
When you get arrested for killing a cat and then mailing the twitching corpse to her. That’s when you know you really love a woman. Really, really, really love a woman.*
15. Almost as touching as The Cheeky Girls’ Cheeky Song;
“Touch my bum
This is life”
Who said that romance is dead?
16-20. As much as I love the guy as a songwriter and musician, Paul McCartney is responsible for some of the worst lyrics I have ever heard in my life. To be fair, he’s also written some corkers too, but that’s another ‘blog entry entirely. Lay your eyes on these stinkers;
“You and me together, nothing feels so good
Even if I get a medal from my local neighborhood”
“I know I was a crazy fool for treating you the way I did
But something took hold of me and I acted like a dustbin lid”
(The Other Me)
“There was a girl who loved a biker
She used to follow him across America
But the biker didn’t like her”
(Biker Like An Icon)
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
Let’s go for a drive
6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
Let’s go there and back again”
“Crawling down the pavement on a Sunday afternoon
I was arrested by a rozzer wearing a pink balloon
About his foot – toot toot toot toot”
So, there you have it. Although Paul McCartney is one of my favourite songwriters of all time, he is more than capable of writing utterly dreadful lyrics. It doesn’t stop there, either, but the above examples are, in my eyes, his worst lyrical crimes.
I’m sure there are more lyrics which really hurt when I hear them, but that’s all I can think of for now – please feel free to comment with your own pet hates… I’m off to play some decent music.
*This, of course, was a joke. No cats were harmed in the making of this ‘blog. An iguana got a slight headache and an antelope became confused, but that’s it.