Picking bad song lyrics is like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s too easy. Pop music, in and of itself, is supposed to be about the hook, the melody, the chord progressions – not the lyrics. We leave that to Bob Dylan and Springsteen.
I’m sure I’ll get lots of additions to this list. And I tried to keep it to two rap lyrics. Talk about shooting fish in a barrel. Maybe I’ll do a whole article on bad rap lyrics. Maybe a whole blog.
#1 – “Sometimes When We Touch” – Dan Hill
“I wanna hold you till I die / Till we both break down and cry / I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides”
So if you hold someone too long you’ll cry, or die, or the fear in you will subside. That’s like playing Russian roulette.
#2 – “The Reflex” – Duran Duran
“The reflex is an only child, he’s waiting in the park / The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark / And watching over lucky clover isn’t that bizarre / Every little thing the reflex does / Leaves you answered with a question mark”
There are lots of questions marks here. Why is a reflex a child? Who leaves a child in charge of finding treasure in the dark? And are they finding treasure while watching over this clover at the same time? Yes it is bizarre.
#3 – “Gettin’ It In” – Jadakiss ft. Kanye West
“My apologies are you into astrology ’cause, um, I’m trying to make it to Uranus”
But Uranus has nothing to do with astrology. Didn’t you mean astron—Oh, never mind. It’s Kanye.
#4 – “Bicycle Race” – Queen
“You say black, I say white / You say bark, I say bite / You say shark, I say hey man / Jaws was never my scene / And I don’t like Star Wars”
Excuse me, what? Start over, slowly.
#5 – “Discotheque” – U2
“You know you’re chewing bubblegum/You know what it is/But you still want some/’Cause you just can’t get enough/Of that lovie-dovie stuff”
Yeah, it’s bubblegum lyrics. But this is U2, writers of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “With or Without You?” This was definitely the nadir of their career. They should be ashamed.
#6 – “When it’s Love” – Van Halen
“How do I know when it’s love? / I can’t tell you but it lasts forever / How does it feel when it’s love? / It’s just something you feel together”
This sounds like a little kid asking his dad about love, but the dad is obviously busy and annoyed. “I don’t know, kid, I can’t tell you. It’s just something you feel together.” What a half-assed answer.
#7 – “The Union of the Snake” – Duran Duran
“Telegram force and ready / I knew this was a big mistake / There’s a fine line drawing my senses together / And I think it’s about to break… / The Union of the Snake is on the climb / Moving up it’s gonna race it’s gonna break through the borderline”
I give up. I have no clue about this one. It’s like they’re reaching into a hat and pulling out words, like that magnetic poetry.
#8 – “So Yesterday” – Hilary Duff
“If you’re movin’ on, I’m already gone / If the light is off, then it isn’t on”
God, Hilary, thanks for explaining.
#9 – “Love Plus One” – Haircut 100
“Where does it go from here? / Is it down to the lake I fear? //Ay ay ay ay ay ah / Ay ay ay ay ay ah”
Oh God! Not the lake! Please! Ay ay ay ay!
#10 – “MacArthur Park” – Donna Summer (and others)
“MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark / All the sweet green icing flowing down / Someone left the cake out in the rain / I don’t think that I can take it / ‘Cause it took so long to bake it / And I’ll never have that recipe again / Oh, no”
This has to rank as the worst of all time. So MacArthur’s Park is a cake? Why did you name a cake, and why did you name it that? Why did someone leave it out in the rain? And why didn’t you write down the damn recipe? Oh no!
#11 – “Lightning Crashes” – Live
“Lightning crashes, a new mother cries / Her placenta falls to the floor”
There’s an aphorism in writing that says, “Show, not tell.” Here, Live would have been much better off just saying a woman’s having a baby. Ewww.
#12 – “Bip Bop” – Paul McCartney
“Bip bop, bip bip bop / Bip bop, bip bip band / Dig your bottom dollar / put it in your hand / Try to hang out underneath the stand / Put your hands together / gonna see a band / Treat me like a good boy / Treat me like a man / Take me hair and curlers / But treat me like a man”
That’s it. That’s the whole thing. Nonsensical lyrics aside (You couldn’t come up with anything, like, “Hey you, hey hey man, we’re gonna see a band?”), what are you doing with curlers when you want to be treated like a man? No second verse? Third verse? Sigh.
#13 – “Love” – John Lennon
“Love is real, real is love / Love is feeling, feeling love…Love is touch, touch is love / Love is reaching, reaching love / Love is you / You and me / Love is knowing / we can be”
Lennon was known as the wordsmith of the Beatles, but this is astonishingly simple and elementary. Some might point to the simplicity as the genius behind the song. But all I see is repeating plays on words (Hey! He’s just reversing the words!) that mean nothing and sound abstruse.
#14 – “Yummy” – Justin Bieber
“Yeah, you got that yummy-yum / that yummy-yum, that yummy-yummy”
I know you need to have the title of the song in the lyrics, but this is like keyword stuffing to rank high in Google. Enough’s enough.
#15 – “Loser” – Beck
“With the plastic eyeballs / Spray paint the vegetables / Dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose”
Yeah. I got nothing here. He’s not even doing it to rhyme.
#16 – “Human” – The Killers
“I’m down on my knees, searching for the answer… Are we human or are we dancer?”
It wouldn’t be hard to make this better. Just say “answers” and “dancers.” But it still doesn’t explain why this question has him on his knees.
#17 – “What’s My Name” – Rihanna
“The square root of 69 is 8 something, right? / Cause I’ve been tryna work it out”
C’mon Rihanna. Couldn’t you try to solve the Riemann Hypothesis during this song? It would have been much more impressive.
#18 – “Abracadabra” – Steve Miller Band
“Abra, abracadabra / I wanna reach out and grab ya”
I’ve already posited that this may be the worst song ever. This line is one of the reasons.
#19 – “Margaritaville” – Jimmy Buffet
“I don’t know the reason / Stayed here all season / With nothing to show but that brand new tattoo / Hell yes, it hurts / But it’s a real beauty”
Well, Jimmy, we really didn’t ask if it hurt. You get a tattoo, you expect it to hurt.
#18 – “Love the Way You Lie” – Eminem
“Now you get to watch her leave out the window / Guess that’s why they call it window pane.”
Get it? Pane? Pain? It’s a play on words! Pain, because she left…Okay, nevermind.
#20 – “My Humps” – Black Eyed Peas
“What you gon’ do with all that junk? / All that junk inside your trunk? / I’ma get, get, get, get, you drunk / Get you love drunk off my hump / My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump / My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps.”
Ah yes, the original reason behind this blog. These are the worst lyrics ever created. The Black Eyed Peas should be brought up on charges for these lyrics.