Music Schmusic: Worst Decade Ever Pt. 10  

Monday, January 25, 2010

I’ll admit it, I started this project without any real list of which ten songs I thought were the worst of the decade, but I thought I had a pretty good idea. Turns out I underestimated my knowledge of truly awful music, because I had a lot of ideas. So many songs, like Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5,” Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses” and LFO’s “Summer Girls,” were necessarily excluded because they came just a few months too early. I had to make a concerted effort to avoid country songs, or I’d still be writing this in 2020. But even with those initial exemptions, I was left with a vast array of possibilities.

My goal, then, became to represent the widest possible selection of the worst music from this worst decade. Some songs, even ones I really hate like “Fireflies” by Owl City, were excluded to compensate for any bias toward new shit over old shit; if I ever put together a list of the worst Postal Service rip-offs, expect Owl City to be a strong contender for No. 1. Of course, Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas would be nowhere without Gwen Stefani, who gave us the impossibly awful “Wind it Up” and surpassed even Hall and Oats for the worst song called “Rich Girl.” Sorry, “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon; it’s not that you don’t make me want to vomit, you do, you really do – it’s just that you were released amid a real shitstorm of awful songs. Mariah Carey, I don’t think the world was ready for “Touch My Body,” a song about how you’ll fuck a stranger and rub your thighs around his face, for “just a little taste,” but if he’s secretly videotaping your sexcapades, you’ll kill him…Ok, so this one deserves an honorable mention for coming off as the creepiest fucking thing ever recorded, I just don’t want to think about it anymore.

Let’s not forget rappers, because they could have made a top 100 unto themselves. Ja Rule’s “Mesmerize,” Lil Kim’s “How Many Licks,” Chingy’s “Right Thurr,” Khia’s “My Neck, My Back,” Akon’s entire fucking catalogue all should have made the list. Somehow, I gave R. Kelly a pass, despite the fact that his 22-part, 84-minute opus “Trapped in the Closet” contained lyrics like “And she said please no don't stop/ And I said I caught a cramp/ And she said please keep on goin'/ I said my leg is about to crack/ Then she cries out/ Oh my goodness, I'm about to climax/ And I said cool/ Climax/ Just let go of my leg,” he released a remix of a song that had never had an original mix, oh and he pissed on some chick’s head a videotaped it.

I could go on and on, but I said I would cap it at ten (posts, not songs), and here we are. The previous nine installments were in no particular order; they are simply organized by the ever-changing standard I call “Which awful song could I stand listening to ten times in succession today?” That being said, today’s final song came to mind as soon as I started this project, and I’ve been saving this one – which truly is the worst song on the list – for last.

Crazy Town – Butterfly (2001)

This song sneaks up on you. You hear the guitar fade in and you think “Gimme Shelter” is about to start. But you correct yourself when you recognize the melody; wait a second, this is that Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song. Then the lyrics kick in, and before you can react, you feel like you’re being sodomized with a Garden Weasel.

I actually have a hard time listening to this entire song in one sitting. It’s the kind of thing where I have to get up and take a break, allow my ears to stop bleeding, and listen to the rest later. Why, you ask, is this song any more difficult than seven Nickelback songs? Well, simply put, this is a rap metal love song, and to do rap metal right, you have to really believe deep down that you’re better than the guys who do metal, and you’re way better than the guys who do rap. You don’t write songs about thongs or bathin’ apes; you write songs about concepts and…uh…stuff. Your songs have lines like “I thought that happy endings were only in the books I read,” because check yo’self, bitches, you’re literate. What this means for the listener is that, not only is “Butterfly” infectiously catchy to the point that I’ll wake up at least one day every other week with “hey sugar mama come and dance with me/the smartest thing you ever did was take a chance with me” stuck in my head, it also manages to come off as incredibly pretentious. And if your songs sound like Crazy Town, you’ve got nothing to be pretentious about.

On first listen, “Butterfly” could easily be a love song that is really about Jesus. Lyrics like “You lift me up,” “I knew a better life existed, but thought I missed it,” and “You showed me life is precious” are just the kind of dog whistle lines that make up covert Christian pop. Shit, “I was lost now I’m found” is taken directly from “Amazing Grace.” I’d be all set to brand Crazy Town another band that writes Christian songs, advertises to Christian teens, tours with Christian bands, but doesn’t want to be considered “Christian rock,” were it not the implication that god has got you sprung with his tongue ring.

The amount of weird sexuality in this song is unreal. Let’s see, the repetitive chorus is “come my lady, come, come my lady.” Believe me, in this situation begging rarely works. And let’s not overlook the line “Fierce nipple pierce,” either. The fact that they missed the obvious double entendre in the line about happy endings being only in books is really a testament to the quality of songwriting we’re dealing with here. (Or perhaps the more unsettling thought: Maybe they didn’t miss the double entendre; maybe I did.)

Overall, this song is supposed to sound like wooing, but it comes off more like sexual harassment. The video confirms that this song is basically a woman walking past a construction site set to music, as bandmates Shifty Shellshock, Epic Mazur, Trouble Valli, SQRL and Faydoedeelay keep jumping in front of each other to shout increasingly inane pick up lines at the camera. A bunch of shirtless guys with stupid nicknames in a fantastical garden; it’s kind of like the Bollywood production of Jersey Shore.

A lot of the songs on this list can make the listener wonder whether or not life is worth living anymore, but that usually takes multiple listens. Crazy Town manages to achieve this in half a verse, the lyrics of which are so irritating, ridiculous and mind-numbingly stupid that to hear them is to go through the Kübler-Ross stages of grief. First denial: No, there’s no way in hell they just said “whatever tickles your fancy.” No one spoke like that in 2001, with the possible exception of my grandmother, and I highly doubt she’s living a double life as Shifty Shellshock. Anger: Why the fuck am I still listening to this song? It’s like eating candy out of a dumpster. Sure, there’s probably something sweet underneath it all, but all I can taste is rancid mayonnaise. Bargaining: I was wrong to not believe in you, and I’ll take back every blasphemy I’ve ever spoken, written or thought about you if you’ll just save me, Underdog. Depression: This is the way the world ends; not with a bang, but with Crazy Town. And just as you’re coming upon acceptance – the realization that this song will be the death of you – they hit you with the mother of all abysmal pop lines: “Girl, it’s me and you like Sid and Nancy.”

Oh, Underdog, thou hast forsaken us.

Any woman who hears that line from a guy…fuck, any person who hears that line from anyone can’t run away fast enough. Sure, lines like this are pretty prevalent throughout pop music; The Reflections compared a relationship to Romeo and Juliet all the way back in 1962, although they forgot the line “Our love’s going to end when I drink poison, and you plunge a dagger into your heart, just like Romeo and Juliet.” But the specifics of Sid Vicious’ and Nancy Spungen’s story make its use as a simile a little more disturbing. Take Sid’s tragic drug addiction for example, or his battle with Hepatitis, or the fact that Sid fucking stabbed Nancy to death and left her to die in their hotel while he went out to buy drugs, and that after he realized what he had done he had his mother help him commit suicide.

I can only guess at how a line this bizarre made it into the song. Maybe Crazy Town wants to kill us. After listening to the entire song, I can attest that this is a distinct possibility. Or maybe they truly are warped enough to see Sid and Nancy as some sort of punk rock Romeo and Juliet, although I’m not quite sure how Nancy Spungen’s very much alive parents feel about that one. Does this mean that in 20 years we’ll have pop songs saying “Girl, it’s me and you like Nicole an OJ” and “Girl, it’s me and you like Jacko and Propofol?”

But however it got there, the line really solidifies the overall feel of the song. Because having your mother inject you with a massive dose of heroin, having Hepatitis or bleeding to death in a hotel bathroom all sound like a pleasant alternatives to having to hear “Come my lady/Come, come my lady/You’re my butterfly/Sugar/Baby” ever again.

Music Schmusic: Worst Decade Ever Pt. 9  

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I’ve been putting this one off. But I can’t keep quiet any longer. I’ve been listening to a lot of Nickelback recently, trying to get ready for this post. And I need to bring this to your attention, because I believe it is an urgent threat to our national and moral fabric:

Grown men, singing lyrics that sound like tween girls’ poetry. You can’t deny it’s out there, and you can’t deny that it’s growing. Take Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger for example; he looks like a man, and he sings like a belt sander, but the words that come sound like a middle school poetry slam.

It comes down to one of two possibilities: Either there are large men hunched over their computers in darkened rooms, trolling LiveJournal for suitably sappy poetry, or, perhaps more disturbingly, there are secret sweatshops packed full of tween girls, toiling away in a 2x2 workspace – their only possessions being a laptop computer and the complete collection of “One Tree Hill” DVDs – forced to churn out page after page of angst-ridden lyrics. The members of Nickelback oversee this factory of tears, offering a meager wage only to those who produce album-worthy material; a once-daily bathroom break is afforded only to the girls who provide singles.

I know, I know. This sounds crazy. And I sure don’t have a lot of hoitey toitey academic degrees or evidence of even facts. I’m just a guy asking questions.

You could say that listening to all this Nickelback has made me crazy. But what if I’m right? Sure it all seems like a coincidence, but what if it’s more than that? What if…I’m sorry I usually don’t get so emotional. I just love…pop music…(sob)… so…much.

Someday (2003)

Nickelback - Someday

Alan | MySpace Video

“Someday” has one of the worst videos of all time. We lay out scene in a couple’s kitchen. The woman is crying over something she read on the in the newspaper. Sometimes those “Cathy” strips hit a little too close to home for me, too. Her boyfriend is watching her, as she rushes to pack her suitcase and runs out to her car. He chases after, only to see her get into a terrible auto accident and die. As a crowd gathers to look at the mangled body, the boyfriend watches as his girlfriend materializes in spirit form, and is reunited with him. Turns out the story she was crying over earlier was her boyfriend’s obituary. He was a ghost the whole time, and now she is too thanks to suicide. What a touching no, heartwarming er, life-affirming , deeply troubling and morally questionable ending. That works. Hiring M. Night Shyamalan to direct your music video? That doesn’t.

The song is nothing to be proud of either, complete with lyrics like “Now the story’s played out like this/just like a paperback novel/Let’s rewrite an ending that fits/instead of a Hollywood horror.” Yeah, I learned about similes and metaphors in grade school, too.

Far Away (2006)

This, one of Nickelback’s most maudlin efforts, is a great opportunity to explain what I mean about Nickelback’s lyrics. The listener is faced with the same disconnect you get from Hinder, where a big, burly guy with a big, burly voice is singing really trite lyrics. I call them tween girl lyrics, not to denigrate female songwriters – because there’s no question that there have been many amazing female songwriters – but because the level of poetry is juvenile, and the syrupy romantic subject matter has been indigenous to young girls’ diaries for decades.

Listening to “Far Away” provides a moment of clarity: For as weird as it sounds to have these lyrics coming from the mouth of this man-bear, it’s really Nickeback’s saving grace, because no girl group could get away with singing these lyrics. If Liz Phair or Ann Wilson or Joni Mitchell wrote a song with lyrics like “I have loved you all along/And I miss you/Been far away for far too long/I keep dreaming you'll be with me/and you'll never go” none of them would be taken seriously. If they sang the line “Stop breathing if I don't see you anymore” they’d be accused of setting the female musicians back to the era of “He Hit Me (And it Felt Like a Kiss).”

But you can almost forget about the awful lyrics of “Far Away” by watching its awful video. Right off the bat, Kroeger makes the regrettable decision to park his donkey face right in front of the camera, as if to really drive home the grown man-tween girl disconnect. But it’s the cutaway sequences, which tell the story of a fire jumper and his lady friend that really win for me. The whole think kind of feels like they spun the Hero Wheel to write this video.

Chad Kroeger: So how about we make our video about a soldier being called up to fight in Iraq?
Whoever the fuck else is in Nickelback: Dude, isn’t that a little controversial? Besides, ever other band is going to have a solider in their video.
Chad Kroeger: Ok, how about the SWAT team guy who defuses bombs and shit?
Whoever the fuck else is in Nickelback: No, that’s played out.
Chad Kroeger: Well fuck, man, we need a hero for the video.
Whoever the fuck else is in Nickelback: How about an inner-city teacher; they’re the real heroes.
Chad Kroeger: Where’s the action? The video needs to be really EXTREME to distract people from the shitty lyrics.
Whoever the fuck else is in Nickelback: Ok, how about a letter carrier…
Chad Kroeger: Have you been popping pills from a Pez dispenser again?
Whoever the fuck else is in Nickelback: Hear me out, man. A letter carrier…in space.
Chad Kroeger: Huh?
Whoever the fuck else is in Nickelback: You know, the guy who has to deliver mail to the space station.
Chad Kroeger: Whatever, we’re doing it about a fire fighter. He’ll go try to put out a fire in an empty field or something, and some big ass tree will fall on him.

That’s more or less what happens. The fire fighter and his wife/girlfriend/concubine/sister/I don’t really know are looking at a photo album/yearbook/picture book/Kama Sutra in bed when he is called away (far away, presumably) by his fire jumper team. The woman watches on TV – aided by the helpful and realistic news captions like “Huge forest fire!”

It’s actually pretty impressive that a video about fire fighting can seem so boring, but that’s mostly because instead of fighting the fire, the video is mainly focused on minutiae like making sure the hose is long enough, attaching various parts to allow the water to flow, et cetera. But the action really picks up when, for some reason, one of the fire fighters decides to run deeper into the fire, despite the fact that his teammates, and those of us with half a brain, realize that this is stupid, and really kind of pointless. Someone from the team retrieves the body of one of the other fire fighters and airlifts him to safety, but our protagonist is left behind. Then, sure enough, a tree falls on him.

Cut back home, where the woman somehow found out about the guy, and is crying uncontrollably. A quick change of sweaters and she’s ready to hear the bad news from the other members of the fire fighting team who have arrived outside her door. But suddenly, out of nowhere, the man walks out of the shadows and the couple is reunited.

Ok, if I did a subpar job of explaining that video, I apologize, but I can only work with what they give me. If you think about it for a minute (a few minutes longer than Nickelback likely did), the questions begin to pile up: How the fuck did he get out of the forest fire? If the helicopter came back for him, then his teammates would know he was alive, in which case why did they bother to all go to his wife’s house? Was the last minute of this video, from the phone call to the visit, just some elaborate scheme by the husband to punk his wife into thinking he died? Or did the wife just commit suicide in order to be reunited with her dead husband on the other side? I’m going with that answer, simply based on precedent.

If Everyone Cared (2006)

This song did the impossible: It somehow beat out “Waiting for the World to Change” as the dumbest socially-conscience pop song of the decade. “If Everyone Cared” sounds like a protest song written by people who don’t know what they’re protesting, and don’t really care. And I don’t mean that in the way that Rage Against the Machine’s songs are just sort of vague, generalized anger at “the man;” I mean that Nickelback not only wrote a song that is essentially about nothing, they don’t seem too upset about it. Kind of ironic given the song’s chorus:

If everyone cared and nobody cried
If everyone loved and nobody lied
If everyone shared and swallowed their pride
Then we'd see the day when nobody died

Given that logic, I can only guess how many deaths this song has caused. Listening to Nickelback is painful enough to make you want to cry; they clearly don’t care; oh, and the chorus is a big lie, because the rest of the song is actually about a couple looking at the stars.

I wish I were kidding. I wish they had actually wrote a full on protest song about how mad they are about…uh…death, and that if people just cared enough, nobody would die. Ever. But they didn’t; they wrote a clichéd love song, with a chorus that – despite the apparent belief of the band – never even enters into the same time zone as profound, and they bridge it all together with the flimsy assertion that “If they could love like you and me” then everyone would care and nobody would die.

So instead of any real message or meaning, we get a song that basically says “If George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein could have just loved each other as much as I love my new boyfriend/girlfriend there’d be no need for war.” Shit, I guess those tween girls are still hard at work.

Rockstar (2006)

Here, Nickelback proved they have some range. Tired of simply being the overly macho conduits of tween girl poetry, the guys set out to prove they could sing tween boys’ poetry, too. Of course, they maintained the complete lack of any self-awareness that is the band’s calling card, by making their 18th single all about what they would do if they were big rock stars. So what would Nickelback do if they were big rock stars? The sort of stuff that any tween boy would want to do: go to the Playboy mansion, hire a bodyguard to beat people up, drive 15 cars, and…uh…play baseball in the bathroom.

I don’t want to dwell on how much this song sounds like it was written for a 12-year-old boy’s poetry class, but it really, really does. Of course there’s the over-the-top braggadocio, but there’s also the really in-your-face sexuality. This is a song is determined that you know it likes chicks. That’s why it talks about centerfolds, joining the mile-high club and getting a star on Hollywood Boulevard somewhere between Cher and James Dean

Wait a minute, how did those two gay icons get into this tribute to man stuff? For that matter, why does the male narrator talk about cutting his hair to become famous? Male rock stars grow their hair, not cut it. And come to think of it, the song doesn’t actually talk about boning the centerfold; it talks about dating her so they can go shopping. Ok, moving on…

Savin’ Me (2006)

Nickelback - "Savin' Me" Video

NICKELBACK | MySpace Music Videos

Where the fuck did this come from? How did guys who sang “I like your pants around your feet” and “You look so much better with something in your mouth” turn out a Christian rock song? “Savin’ Me” carries all the hallmarks of a Christian rock song that is trying hard to keep its mainstream appeal: the imprisonment metaphor, the feeling of being lost and broken, and calling out for a savior to redeem you. These lyrics are too overt for Switchfoot. Even taking this as a religious song, the imagery is lazy.

But as usual, Nickelback manages to distract us from their tired sound and awful lyrics by making an even stupider video. What’s worse, they’ve moved from ripping off “The Sixth Sense” to ripping off a much worse movie, “Final Destination.” Both play off the same “when you cheat death, you can see death’s plan” crap, accept “Savin’ Me” takes it a step further and turns it into a game of tag. When someone pulls you out of the way of a speeding truck of falling industrial equipment, you gain the ability to see how long everyone has left to live.

I want to go on record here, in stating that this video is totally unrealistic. These people gain the ability to tell how long someone has left to live simply by looking at them? And they don’t try to parlay this into a new age money-making scheme? Fuck, if these assholes can get major TV deals, the people in this video should at least be able to get regular gigs at small-market casinos.

Anyway, as soon as you save someone, you pass off the ability to them, and leave them to wander the streets aimlessly until they can stop the next untimely (or is it timely?) death. If, like these people, you live in a city where three people on the same city block die every other minute, you can rid yourself of this power rather quickly.

By the way, if you can not laugh when the old lady’s high school drama club-worthy death coincides perfectly with the end of the guitar solo, you’re a better person than I.

If Today Was Your Last Day (2008)

A lot of singers have poor grammar. I’ve come to accept that, and most of the time I don’t complain. But when you base an entire song around that same misuse of the English language, I won’t let that go.

The line “If today was your last day” is speculation and speculation calls for the subjunctive tense of the verb “to be” which is “were.” Suppose in the in process of writing her latest album, someone asked the Beyonce, “Hey, what do you think it would be like to be a boy?” If, in fact, she had once been a boy, she could reply, “When I was a boy, I put myself first and made the rules as I went.” I would have no problem with this, because it is grammatically correct and I believe that transgendered people are deserving of the same respect as everyone else. But Beyonce isn’t a boy, she never has been, and given the success her feminine physique has given her, and the fact that she is well past the age of majority, she is never going to be a boy. So the sentence calls for the subjunctive, “If I were a boy…”

Here’s a simple way to remember the subjunctive: Chad Kroeger could say “If I were a good songwriter I wouldn’t suck so hard” and that would be grammatically correct, because he’s not a good songwriter and he’s never going to be a good songwriter. It’s purely hypothetical.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into this awful wannabe country song, “If Today Was Your Last Day.” Every line in this song is a different motivational quote. It’s one “carpe diem” away from the “Dead Poets Society” script. The whole song sort of feels like the football player in Logic 101 trying to philosophize. The writer was trying so hard to be profound, but ended up making Heidi Montag look thoughtful.

Then there’s that line “Leave old pictures in the past.” God I wish they had...

Photograph (2005)

There’s not much worse in life than this song. Failure, the pain of rejection, scabies; they all pale in comparison. It probably helps that most of these themes are the subject of this losers’ anthem. Give Nickelback credit, however; there’s a lot of pain in these lyrics, and Kroeger really helps you feel it to the point where you worry he’s going to have a hemorrhoid by the end of the song.

Every now and then you have to stop and appreciate the fact that Chad Kroeger is actually a singer. Think about that for a second; Chad Kroeger, who sings like he’s trying to kick the song’s ass, could claim the same profession as Frank Sinatra. You’re reminded of just how bizarre this is early and often in “Photograph,” and Kroeger looks straight into the camera and melodically bellows: “Look at this photograph.” In case you didn’t get it, he holds up a photograph.

The fourth line really demonstrates Nickelback’s lyrical prowess: “What the hell is on Joey’s head.” That’s when you realize it’s going to be one of those songs, where the singer just narrates everything he sees, as he sees it. And the fact that it’s rhymed with “How did our eyes get so red” really makes you question how the first verse of your song could possibly contain two throwaway lines. Normally, Nickelback songs can at least hold it together until the second verse, or at least the chorus. Frankly, it’s pretty hard to get past this point. It’s like your ears have stumbled across a barren wasteland, and you realize that going any further is kind of a useless, because nothing ahead of you could possibly sustain life. But we push on, because this is Movies Schmovies damn it. I made it through Vampires vs. Zombies, I made it through Shatter Dead, I made it through Antichrist, I made it through something like 400 Black Eyed Peas videos, and I'll make it through this too.

Somewhere in the third verse we figure out that the narrator is a high school dropout. That might make me a prick for pointing out that this song, also, fails to grasp the subjunctive tense (“If I was them I wouldn’t let me in”), as well as the fact that the narrator assumes his criminal record would contain trespassing offenses committed as a minor (“Criminal record says I broke in twice”). His juvenile record would be closed, assuming the narrator is over 18 (god I hope so).

In spite of the narrator sounding like he’s reflecting on his third tour in ‘Nam, this song actually doesn’t tell us a lot about the character. What photograph is he looking for and why? Do his memories of high school make him happy or sad? With Kroeger’s voice it’s kind of hard to tell. And perhaps most importantly, how does a song about a 20-something loser’s reflections on his fairly mundane high school experience appeal to Nickelback’s teenage audience? I haven’t the slightest clue; all I know is that you can hear this song on Kidz Bop. I guess even in elementary school, kids look forward to the mawkish reflections they will someday be able to have as of yet to be had on their high school years, whereas all I can think while I’m listening to this song is the likelihood that I went to school with people like this, and they’re hanging around somewhere in the Chicaogland area looking at old pictures and muttering “What the hell is on Jon’s head?” This song is why I’m never going to a reunion.

* * *

So, by now you probably feeling like you’ve survived the trials of Hercules, but I haven’t told you the half of it yet. Nickelback will not be satisfied until it has unmade everything that is good and holy about our society. Just look at their name: Nickelback. And what’s on the back of the nickel? Monticello. Sounds awfully Italian to me. But what’s to fear about Italians, you ask? Oh, nothing. Except maybe for that guy Mussolini, and that socialist porn star in their government.

Now I know you’re all rushing to grab a nickel because I can’t possibly be right about all of this, so once you see that I’m not pulling your chain, flip that coin over and see what’s on the front: Thomas Jefferson, our god-fearing philosopher-president, without whom we’d still be sieg heiling George III. And Nickelback wants him facing down. So why are these Canadians asking us to cover up our founding fathers in favor of Italian Nazi socialism? I don’t claim to know all the answers; I’m just a guy asking questions.

Music Schmusic: Worst Decade Ever Pt. 8  

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I got a feeling that tonight’s gonna be a…grating and painful exercise in self-flagellation.

Tonight, we explore a band that is continually one-upping itself in a sadistic effort to suck harder. A band whose truly prolific output of jaw-droppingly awful solo and collaborative efforts goes beyond the bounds reason, human decency and even the English language to stupefy you with its inanity. I feel like I’m presenting them a lifetime achievement award, and they’ve been active for less than ten years. I’m talking, of course, about the Black Eyed Peas, and their pursuit to record the worst song of the 2000s. We’re going to look at seven strong contenders, but first let’s meet the Peas themselves:, the guy from “X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Fergie, the chick from “Grindhouse

Taboo, the guy who played Vega in the “Street Fighter” movie

And uh, Boba Fett.

Black Eyed Peas -- Let’s Get Retarded (2003)

Topping the list of the Peas’ musical crimes against humanity is this charming song about drinking so much that people mistake you for Michael Rapaport. It all starts with one of the best outlandish boasts in hip hop: “When I bust my rhyme, you break your necks.” Ok, so my necks are intact for now, but I’m still pretty sure one of these songs is going to give me meningitis.

The other lyrical joys of this song include lines like “Let’s get cuckoo,” “Let’s get ig’nt” and “Bob your head like epilepsy.” It should be noted that of these descriptions, each presented as an example of how to dance so people think you’re retarded, not one is synonymous with “retarded.” The lyrics may as well be “Let’s get sleepy/Let’s get Cotard syndrome/Let’s get manicures in here!”

Fergie, perhaps feeling underutilized on this track, shows off her mad spelling bee skills by teaching us how to spell “retarded” at the end of the song. At least she spelled it right. More on (pun intended) this later.

Black Eyed Peas -- My Humps (2005)

Inane, repetitive lyrics? Check.

Irritating musical hook? Check.

Warped view of sexuality? Check.

Overloaded with catchphrases? Check.

The last four minutes of “Layla” tacked onto the end? Pretty close.

My god, it’s the perfect storm of crap.

You may be thinking “Oh, come on; it’s no ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ but it’s fun.” Well, consider this: One day, a research scientist may suddenly be struck with a new method for curing all known disease. He’ll be scrambling to commit the thought to paper; he pauses for a moment to collect his thoughts, and is horrified to realize that he can’t recall what was potentially the greatest discovery in human history. His “eureka” moment has been completely replaced by a new thought: “What’cha gonna do with all that junk? All that junk inside that trunk?” Thanks, Black Eyed Peas; there goes the cure for lovely lady lump cancer.

Now there are a lot of bad songs about tits and ass, but most of them have the decency to not discuss them in first grade playground code. The Peas even go further, and make up their own euphemisms (more on that later, too) like “mix your milk with my cocoa puff.” Yeah, I don’t think I want to know.

Then again, when they get literal, it’s no better. “They say I’m really sexy/the boys they want to sex me.” There is only one proper way to use ‘sex’ as a verb, and that is the method for determining whether a newborn chicken is a cockerel of a pullet, before you sell them at market (don’t ask me how I know this; I’m not sure myself). I’m just going to assume that’s what Fergie is talking about here, otherwise the combination of the Peas’ awkward, childish euphemisms combined with Fergie’s creepy childish singing voice just takes this song places that no one wants to go…too late; I’m there.

Fergie -- London Bridge (2006)

Why is there an air raid siren? Why are those really tough-sounding guys so frightened? Oh, no. Fergie made a solo album. But we’all ain’t ready for this; Fergie says so herself right at the beginning. It’s been four years, and apparently we’re still not ready, because no one has a god damned clue what the chorus means. What is “my London Bridge?” Why is it falling down? Can we still try to build it up with wood and clay?

When you coin your own euphemism, the meaning has to be obvious. In 2002, Missy Elliot became the first person to throw the term “badonk-a-donk-donk” into a song. Even though the term was foreign to most of her listeners, everyone knew she was describing her ass, because the rest of the verse was talking about her ass. That’s context. When the euphemism is all there is to the song, there is no context. You just assume it’s about fucking, because...well, most of Fergie’s songs are. But Fergie and company seem to have made up a euphemism just for the hell of it. They give no indication that they even know what “London Bridge” is supposed to mean; it’s simply there to make listeners think they are hearing some forbidden carnal knowledge.

It’s time we take the mystery out of it, and give “London Bridge” a definition consistent with the overall feel of the song: “London Bridge,” is a variation of contract bridge played primarily in England, in which the loser of each hand must remove an article of clothing. It has gain popularity as a long, boring way for old people to get each other naked.

I think that image captures it.

Fergie feat. – Fergalicious (2007)

If you haven’t noticed, and Fergie share a love of the written word. Ok, so actually it appears more likely that they have a grudge against the written word. In that case, they know their enemy well, as so many of their collaborations show the tell-tale signs of an uncredited co-writer in the form of an online thesaurus. How else do you explain their use of the word “hectic,” or the fact that parts of “Get Retarded” sound like Microsoft Word’s list of recommended synonyms?

Nowhere is this more apparent than in “Fergalicious,” the second single off Fergie’s debut album “The Dutchess.” (Note the misspelling of “duchess.”) The song opens with an attempt to write the dictionary definition of a word they just made up. “Fergalicious, definition: Make them boy go loco.” Ok, so I never said it was an accurate definition.

“They want my treasures, so they get their pleasures from my photo,” Fergie continues. “Treasures” is hardly a Black Eyed Peas’ euphemism. It’s gentle and understated; plus you can tell what it means. I suspect its inclusion is the end result of Googling “What’s a classy way to say pussy hole?”

But even in a song about how Fergie is so delicious that she needed her own adjective to describe it, she is overshadowed by who spells it out for us: “T to the A to the S-T-E-Y, girl you taste to the D to the E to the L-I-C-I-O-U-S.” Ok, for starters I really didn’t want to know how Fergie tastes. I already found what she smells like, and that was entirely too much information to begin with. But what the fuck is with the spelling of tasty? It’s not like you’re spelling onomatopoeia and just forgot where the a’s and o’s go. Tasty is a fucking first grade spelling word. I can’t write the name of Fergie or without a little red line popping up under it, so you don’t even need to be a really proficient speller. But when a song has countless technicians, producers and studio executives listening to before it ever became a major single, you’d think one of them would tell them, “hey retard, you put an e in tasty.” Same goes for the designers, editors, printers and the of course ht studio executives again who signed off on “The Dutchess.”

The spelling on this album suffers from a serious systemic problem, or widespread apathy. Huh. Kind of explains the music, too. – I Got It From My Mama (2007)

Baby, where’d you get your understanding of genetics from? Apparently has never seen a Punnett square, because “if a girl’s real sexy nine times out of ten she’s sexy like her mama” is not a sound genetic hypothesis. Even if we are very generous and assume that the traits lists – sexiness, prettiness, fineness, hotness, etc. – are heritable by genes in a simple dominance pattern, the math just doesn't work. If the mother is heterozygous for each of these traits, then the best you could hope for is five times out of ten, or fifty percent. If, for instance, "sexy" is a recessive trait, then the girl's mother would have to be homozygous recessive just to have the "sexy" phenotype; the girl's father would have to be heterozygous or homozygous if she has any hope of expressing those genes, and in that case the probabilities are either fifty percent or one hundred percent. If "sexy" is a dominant trait and the mother is homozygous dominant, then the girl would (statistically) be hot ten times out of ten, and is unnecessarily hedging his bets. Of course, this is all ignoring the complications that sex-linkage, incomplete dominance, codominance, polygenic traits, epigenetic factors, and environmental factors would introduce, but even in the simplest of situations, willi.iam is completely off-base with his calculations. Ok, so the guy doesn’t know how to fucking spell, I admit we’re not dealing with Gregor Mendel here. Maybe this will help:

You see will, you don’t get all your traits from just one ancestor. You, for instance, are a little bit like Flava Flav, and a little bit like Biz Markie. That’s what makes you so special! should probably have the opportunity to demonstrate that his findings could be duplicated, but I don’t really want to hear the song again.

Black Eyed Peas -- Boom Boom Pow (2008)

If you haven’t noticed yet, the Peas are drawn to really simple rhyme schemes the way the Beastie Boys are drawn to really simple rhyme schemes. But even the guys who gave us lines like “My name is Ad-Rock and I’m a Scorpio/Don’t ask me ‘cause I just don’t know,” stuck to the English language, which is really all it takes to earn more respect than the Black Eyed Pea’s “Boom Boom Pow.” Most of the words in this song aren’t words at all. The ones that are have been arranged with other words, in such a way so as to make them essentially meaningless. So you want to get the line “I’m on that HD flat” into the song (and trust me, you do) but it doesn’t rhyme with “This beat go boom boom pow?” Change that line to “Boom boom bap.” Simple as that.

Even LFO’s “Summer Girls” isn’t that lazy. Its lines are complete non sequiturs but “Fell deep in love but now we ain’t speakin’/Michael J. Fox was Alex P. Keaton” is made up of actual words, in an order that literate people can comprehend. Seriously, Black Eyed Peas; “y’all getting hit with the boom boom?” What the fuck?

Black Eyed Peas -- Meet Me Halfway (2009)

Until this point, I actually believed that the Peas were trying to make each song worse than the last. They were sort of like a musical Roger Corman, and as bad as some of the songs listed above were, at least part of you could feel like they were laughing with you. That changed when “Meet Me Halfway” hit the airwaves (and by ‘hit the airwaves’ I mean ‘was in that DirecTV commercial’).

This song is bad, and I don’t mean that in “My Humps” sort of way. This one is really bad. For starters, it’s based around a metaphor taken so literally as to make it nonsensical. “Meet me halfway” is a pretty familiar metaphor, and sounds like a good title for a song about compromise in relationships. Until Fergie starts giving you fucking directions.

“Can you meet me halfway?/Right up the borderline that’s where I’m going to wait for you…I can’t go any further than this.”

It’s like she’s traveling to meet a guy but her car ran out of gas or something. This song brings us back to the Black Eyed Peas’ childish lyrics, because she’s like a kid who can’t cross the street. Bizarrely enough, there’s no real indication in the song that even recognizes “meet me halfway” as a metaphor. Fergie sings her piece about how if she crosses the invisible fence in the front yard her shock collar will go off, and sings some shit about space travel.

The problem with this song is that it’s the only Black Eyed Peas it’s not trying to be dumb, and it’s still a piece of shit. There’s no juvenile hook and some of the lyrics actually try to be heartfelt; they’re trying to record a good song. But they aren’t trying very hard, so we end up with a song that not contains a bridge acknowledging that it’s time to sing the bridge, they make the bridge a pun about crossing a bridge to the other side of the song. Are things better on the other side? No, it’s exactly the fucking same.

I could go on and on. I haven't even touched on "Pump It," "Shut Up," "Beep," "Clumsy," "I Got A Feeling'" or that music video Boba Fett made, but I should probably go see a doctor about some broken necks.


If you've been to movies recently, you've probably seen the trailers for the upcoming film "Book of Eli," where Denzel Washington plays a kung-fu monk walking across the post-apocalyptic wasteland with a copy of the Bible that Gary Oldman's character wants to use as a weapon...somehow.

I was actually optimistic about the movie when I saw trailers that played coy about what the book was. I mean, a plot that focuses on a book as some kind of all-important weapon-thing is totally primed to be a preachy "Bible is Awesome!" message, which also makes it a perfect twist to have the book be something--anything!--else. I suppose it's a better setup for a "Twilight Zone" episode than a movie, really, but all that focus on a book that some revere and others want to use for evil would be great fodder for a twist where the book turned out to be "Utopia" or "The Republic" or the U.S. Constitution or the Collected Works of Shakespeare or a book by Galen or Hippocrates or Pasteur or Salk or Gray's "Anatomy" or any number of books that would be worthy of such focus thanks to their utility--and would do what post-apocalyptic stories are meant to do: comment on modern society.

Instead, the filmmakers have apparently taken a route that makes almost no sense, by playing the whole thing straight with the Bible. I don't know about anyone else, but if I were struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, I'd be much more interested in "Survivalism for Dummies."

All this would be somewhat forgivable if the filmmakers were trying to present some sincere message on the nature of society or faith or religion or humanity or something, but apparently they haven't put that much thought into it. Seriously, take a look at this hilarious, enlightening interview with the directors. It's a thing of beauty. Some highlights:

Q: I'm just curious. For you, why was it more important to have a character carrying a book with a message of spirituality, versus a message of "This is how you purify water?"

Albert: I would say it's the same thing nowadays. Why is it important that people are holding that book in such high regard, or thinking that it should be spoken from, or told to others as opposed to building a church talking about irrigation? You can pose that question to anybody in any time period, post-apocalypse or now, about any religious text, or any text of any sort. "Oh, it's more important to survive. We need food. So why not build churches about survival and food?"

You shouldn't have to explain anything — poetry, art on the wall, a movie, whatever it is. You shouldn't have to explain yourself. But here I am, being a hypocrite.

Q: I read an interview with you guys in Maxim, where it mentioned that a lot of audience members might think that this is Mad Max meets The Passion of Christ, and that that is a wrong assumption to make. Why?

Allen: Yeah I don't think that [describes] the movie at all. I don't believe you can even make comparisons. First of all, Passion of the Christ is an anomaly, it's a one all. That will never happen again. That was a situation that no one ever would have foresaw. I don't think you can compare any movie to that movie. Whether you loved it or it wasn't your cup of tea. As far as Mad Max, I prefer Road Warrior. Our movie has a bit of Road Warrior in it.

And my personal favorite:
Q: If religion didn't help the people of Eli's fictional past, why do you guys as filmmakers think it will help their future?

Albert: You have some very deep, profound psychological questions there! You're applying logic to something that there is no logic in. That's part of my struggle. If you apply logic to a faith based religion — any of them — it will slowly start to fall apart. If you apply logic to Star Wars or Lord of The Rings, it will slowly start to fall apart. But if you go into it as a movie experience, as entertainment, [as] a mythology, and you don't look for the holes, and you go and believe then that's a different experience.

It's not often that you see a filmmaker outright stating that the movie falls apart if you examine the plot with logic. I have to hand it to interviewer Meredith Woerner for asking all the right questions--with follow-ups, even!--and getting the most laughably inept, inane, and incomprehensible answers from the directors. Go read the whole thing; it's a gold mine.

As to "Book of Eli," I'm actually looking forward to seeing it even more, but I'm now fully expecting it to be a Schmovie.

Music Schmusic: Worst Decade Ever Pt. 7  

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

If I had started this list two years ago, there’s no question that this post would be solely devoted to Paris Hilton’s “Stars are Blind.” Let that run through your mind for a minute: Paris Hilton’s reggae song got bumped. What the fuck happened? I mean, at one point Paris actually sings, “Now tell me who have you been dreaming of?/I and I alone.”

So why can’t a rich white girls’ saccharine tribute to her oneness with Jah make the list? Because in 2008, a great, whiter hope emerged.

Heidi Montag – Higher (2008)

Let’s get this out of the way right up front, because there’s a reason why you have to sift through countless parodies just to find the music video on YouTube. The actual video even looks like a parody video. Heidi moves like a Huntington’s choreia patient, she looks like she learned to dance from a strip aerobics video and when she sings…Ho. Lee. Shit. What started out looking like a coma-induced flashback sequence from someone’s student film takes on a distinct “I filmed my music video at the mall” feel as soon as soon as she starts lip synching.

Maybe it’s the inevitable consequence of having a 90-pound blonde in a bikini miming Luciano Pavarotti, or maybe it’s the continual feel that at any minute this could turn into a celebrity sex tape; but for whatever reason this video is hysterical, and totally deserving of every critical word ever spoken, written, thought or made up out of a random jumble of sounds.

But much of the criticism stops at the video. That’s a shame because the song itself is a real shitshow too. The song begins, inexplicably, with some heavy duty electric noise like Heidi is trying to resurrect the Frankenstein monster. Then we head a synthesizer solo, performed either by Heidi herself, by her husband Spencer, or a blind chicken.

Then we get the first lyrics of the song:

“Here I go now/I’m keeping my eyes open/don't you let me down. /Nothing can stop me now/I know you hear this sound./ Go ahead and let it out/don’t be afraid to fly, fly high/reaches past the sky.”
What the fuck is she trying to say here? This isn’t a coherent thought; it’s a clusterfuck of platitudes. It’s like someone wrote a song based on Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric. The word salad continues:
“Feel the wind on your face/we can frolic or race/we can go at your pace (pace)/the power lifted me/so it set me free.”
Yes, she used the word frolic in a pop song. You can also see the reoccurring theme of liberation, which according to Heidi is about not listening to what other people think, and freeing yourself to do what you want to do. That’s a fine message – and a shitty pop song is a fairly ironic medium for it – but I can’t help but wonder if she takes it a little too far.
“It's like I've been released/there's no chains holdin' me/cause now I finally found the key/let me open the door for you.”
What? You didn't know "Higher" was a black spiritual? Just wait until her next single, "Swing Low, Sweet Escalade." Suddenly Paris Hilton as a Rastafarian seems less of a stretch.

But none of that can top the chorus. Amid reminders that she's only going higher, Heidi drops the deep thought "I dream and that's a fact." No, let me correct that. She drops that deep thought four times. This begs the question: Was her ability to dream ever in doubt? Is she calling out someone who claimed that she lacked the ability to dream? Or perhaps this is a diss track against people without the capacity for long-term planning. Actually, the far more likely scenario is that she stole all her lyrics off inspirational posters of hot air balloons and children of different races holding hands.

Come to think of it, Heidi, if this is where your dreams have got us, maybe you'd best quit that, too.

Music Schmusic: Worst Decade Ever Pt. 6  

Monday, January 11, 2010


Every now and then, you’ll hear a song you recognize, only to be interrupted by that unfamiliar voice. It sounds like a civil alert siren, because it is. The bombings intensified during the 2000s. Lives were lost. Will we ever learn?

Fergie -- Big Girls Don't Cry (Sean Kingston remix)

Why the original sucks: Any song that starts with Fergie crooning “the smell of your skin lingers on me” goes from zero to vomit awfully damn quickly. The reoccurring childish imagery scattered in a song about breaking up with a fuck buddy is pretty disturbing throughout, but nowhere is it worse than when Fergie compares herself to “a little school maid in the school yard.” Suddenly I’m picturing an aging meth addict in a little bo peep costume from Fredericks of Hollywood. Ewwww.

How it got worse: Is it possible to remix a song without actually hearing the original? Sean Kingston sure tried. Because Fergie’s appeals about moving on and growing up are met with stock R&B love song lines like “I’m feeling blue/let’s work things out.” But the worst part of the remix comes when Kingston follows up some of Fergie’s really serious, emotional lines by repeating in his Rasta Muppet voice, because it doesn’t really sound like he’s singing with her. It sounds like he’s making fun of her. Actually, scratch that. That’s a great thing, because it makes me feel like someone hates this awful song as much as I do, and made a horrible remix of it simply to shame her.

Linkin Park -- Enth E Nd (End the End remix, featuring Kutmasta Kurt and Motion Man)

Why the original sucks: The recipe for Linkin Park’s “In the End” is as follows:

1) One part the worst All American Reject song you could ever imagine

2) Mix in one part Moby

3) Water down heavily

4) Bake for three and a half minutes in an angry white boy bowl

5) Add the rapper from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ “Cowabunga” to taste

How it got worse: In 2002, Linkin Park's "Reanimation" introduced some new versions of the same old shit, mixing their Nu Metal with electronica. (That feeling you're experiencing right now is in all likelihood that of your spinal cord dissolving.) Kutmasta Kurt and Motion Man can be commended for making this song sound less like it comes off an early 90s demo tape, but it’s all a cruel joke building up to the realization that once you strip away a lot of the background noise, you can actually hear Mike Shinoda rap.

Avril Lavine -- Girlfriend (Li'l Mama remix)

Why the original sucks: Let’s keep this one simple. This song sucks because the refrain is “Hey, hey, you, you, I don’t like your girlfriend. Hey, hey, you, you, I think you need a new one. Hey, hey, you, you, I can be your girlfriend.” That’s even worse than the awful 1970s Beach Boys knock off she stole it from.

How it got worse: The inane hook is driven home by adding “nope,” “yup” and “Li’l Mama be your girlfriend” after each line, but at least most of Avril’s other lyrics are gone. And somewhere after her line “I’ve been doing this since ‘Hop on Pop,’” I’m pretty sure she compares herself to The Notorious B.I.G. So to avoid any confusion:

“Sometimes your words just hypnotize me.”

“My lip gloss be poppin’”

Rihanna -- Umbrella (Chris Brown remix)

Why the original sucks: McCartney’s Law: Nonsense syllables make for the catchiest lyrics. “Umbrella” is exhibit A. It’s probably the catchiest hook of the decade, but only because 80 percent of the song consists simply of “ella” and “eh.” The words that are in English are little better. Two people are shielded from the tempests of life by their love, represented by an umbrella. Sound familiar? Could someone just once write a catchy pop chorus that actually says something of substance? How about this:

The disruptive powers of excessive national fecundity

May have played a greater part in bursting the bonds of convention

Than either the power of ideas

Or the errors of autocracy.

Throw some synthesizers over that; kick in a drum machine. You can even add some “do do dos” at the end to help the radio play. Top 40 potential, perhaps?

But a lousy chorus may be forgivable if Rihanna didn’t sound like a fucking harpy singing it. It’s like she’s trying to give me a migraine.

How it got worse: Ironically, it’s Chris Brown’s attempt to inject some originality into the chorus only makes things worse. When it was just “Umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh” the monotony became almost hypnotic, but when Brown changes “Umbrella” to “Cinderella” your minds is suddenly free to explore millions of other awful ideas.

“I would like my cheeseburger with mozzarella, ella, ella, eh, eh.”

“Ray Liotta rocks the shit in ‘Goodfellas’ ella, ella, eh, eh.”

“‘Twilight’ is a novel about Ed and Bella, ella, ella, eh, eh.”

“Don’t eat that raw chicken you’ll get salmonella, ella, ella, eh, eh.”

“Where is Crete? It’s near the Gulf of Mirabella, ella, ella, eh, eh.”

“Carmen Sandiego’s band was Rockapella, ella, ella, eh, eh.”

It’s hard to believe that Chris Brown actually thought he had anything to add to this song. He isn’t really remaining the song like Li’l Mama is trying to do; he isn’t really trying to turn the song into a two-sided conversation like Sean Kingston tries to do (and fails miserably). Judging by the output, I can only guess that Chris Brown is deeply competitive, and he once overheard someone saying how whiney and annoying Rihanna sounds, and he went to work, singing for hours into his vocoder until he could finally top her, and, just to prove it to the world, he released this remix.

This is, without a doubt, the worst thing Chris Brown has ever done to Rihanna.

Music Schmusic: Worst Decade Ever Pt. 5  

Saturday, January 09, 2010

You can't run from it. It will find you.

I was going to take this weekend off, I had tickets to the Bulls game and everything; I was going to ignore shitty music. But the shit just follows me. Five minutes into the game, the couple with the seats in front of me wanders in. Going to the game was clearly her idea, because while she snapped pictures of the players and halftime entertainment, he read -- I am not making this up -- "The Catcher in the Rye." He continued to indulge his rather ironic choice in literature until sometime in the third quarter when his cell phone rang. I recognized the song; I had been waffling as to whether or not to include it on the list. Guess what, it made it.

Simple Plan -- Perfect (2002)

The album was called "No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls." Now that's a title that prepares you for some pure punk rock badassery. Move over, "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols." And the cover art? It's like they boiled down "The Hangover" into one image of freebased awesome. Sure, they all have the same expression, but look at that one in the red; he's going to probably going to bang the bride right in the middle of the bachelorette party. And is he even going to think twice about her groom's feelings? Only if laughing out loud when he thinks he notices a slightly queasy look on his face when the happy couple shares their first kiss as husband and wife counts. These guys are going to rock!

Can you say "bait and switch?" Instead of the tour de force of force of punk rock forecast by the album cover, we get the cutter's anthem "Perfect." Songwriters take note, it may be impossible to squeeze more angst into a four and a half minute song without drawing little frowny faces on the drums. Listening to lyrics like "I just want to make you proud/I'm never gonna be good enough for you" over three chords played really loud makes you feel like you're stuck at the world's worst family dinner while the garage band next door rehearses for that weekend's battle of the bands.

This is the kind of song that should have never even made it to rehearsal. No grown man needs to be whining about a father who is somehow both absentee and overbearing, and they certainly shouldn't be trying to pass it off as punk rock.

Like I said, I waffled about putting this song on the list. Lead singer Pierre Bouvier (I shit you not) manages to make DeadJournal-worthy lyrics sound even more pathetic than they would sound at your local poetry slam, but is being remarkably whiney enough? So I put it to a test. As it would so happen, "Perfect" is more or less a musical carbon copy of Creed's "Higher." I listened to "Higher;" then I listened to it again. And again. And a fourth time. If you make Creed sound good, you belong here.

Music Schmusic: Worst Decade Ever Pt. 4  

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hear that? That’s the sound of hip hop dying.
Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em – Crank That (Soulja Boy) (2007)

There are lyrics, and then there are lyrics. Take Sean Kingston’s 2007 hit “Beautiful Girls,” for example. (By the way, Kingston, I loved your collaboration with Sisqo) There’s a line in the chorus that sounds for all the world like “All these beautiful girls/they only want to do the durb.” It sounds incredibly dirty and hilarious, but eventually you come across the real lyrics and see that he’s actually saying “do you dirt” which unfortunately can’t measure up to the awesome line you hoped it was.

Then you listen to a song like “Crank That” which would succeed “Beautiful Girls” at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 later that same year. There’s this line in “Crank That” that is totally incomprehensible, and all you can make from it, even after listening to it again and again and again, is “I got me some bathin’ apes.” How did anyone come up with a phrase like that? What, if anything, does it mean? Is it ok for white people to repeat in front of black people? Who the fuck knows? Part of you doesn’t even want to think about it too much, for fear that it will drive you insane, and you’ll be reduced to a Dickenson hobo, staggering around town with a three-foot beard and pigeons nesting in it, dressed only in an overcoat covered in five different kinds of shit, grabbing young women at random and shouting at them “I got me some bathin’ apes.” But the part of your mind that demands reason and consistency keeps pushing you to figure out some meaning, until the inside of your head starts to look like John Nash’s tool shed.

Then you finally hear Soulja Boy’s full album – – and you realize, not only is the line actually “I got me some bathin’ apes,” but Soulja Boy has recorded another song, entirely built around that line. Both sides of your mind start going crazy in their own special way, but they can agree on one thing: It’s time to kill yourself.

Understand, “Crank That” isn’t just one of the worst songs ever. It’s one of the worst songs ever, which directly inspired at least three other songs on Soulja Boy’s appalling debut album. And lest you think it’s just the album that is bad, you can listen to his follow up – iSouljaboytellem – and realize that Soulja Boy is, in fact, the worst thing to happen to music. Ever.

As “Crank That” was the debut of the Soulja Boy dance, there of course had to be a sequel song, “Soulja Girl.” Then, because Soulja Boy thought he was such a clever wordsmith, he added the song “Bapes” where he simply shouts “I got me some bathin’ apes” over and over. He must have also felt that the “Crank That” line “I pass it to Arab” deserved its own four minute loop, because the album also includes a song answering to that description, aptly titled “Pass it to Arab.”

Imagine you sit down at a blackjack table, next to a person who is clearly mentally retarded. I’m not being facetious; we’re talking helmet and all. The deal comes, and the retarded person gets two kings against the dealer’s ten. The player splits his kings. “That will never work,” you might be heard to remark. “Everyone knows you don’t split your tens, especially when the dealer has a ten up.” But the cards come; two more tens. What does he do? He splits those too. “Now he’s going to get it,” you say. And he sure does, four aces come down, and he lands blackjack on all four hands. The retarded player looks at you and asks, “Whose retarded now?” That’s just about the best way I can describe Soulja Boy. Everything about the asshole screams “failure;” his songs strive to be irritating, his lyrics are at best meaningless and at worst completely incoherent, the quality of his sound and video production is so poor that it must be intentional, and he looks like he just stepped out of fucking Kris Kross. All this, and yet he’s remarkably popular.

How popular is he? So popular that old ladies are doing his dance on YouTube. Do they know what “Superman that hoe” means? How about “Super Soak that bitch?” I’ve got one good guess... Ok, time to kill myself.

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