By: Music Journalism Club
Sometimes songs simply belong in the trash. From highly commercial earworms to experimental pieces composed by provocateurs. WSUM’s Music Journalism Club fished some of these songs out of the cesspool of questionable song choices and is ready to provide you with the best of the worst:
Stereo Total – C’est la mort
What can I say, if you listen to a song enough times chances are it’ll start to grow on you. I first heard this track by the outlandish Franco/German electroclash duo in 7th grade French class, where we would listen to it daily for a month straight, filling out a sheet with the lyrics. Easy enough, since the lyrics reference stereotypically French things from Napoleon to how it always rains in Paris. Doesn’t sound annoying yet? The vocal delivery could be mistaken for a child’s voice. Still doesn’t sound annoying? It will when you throw in the ridiculous buzzing and siren sound effects that pepper the track, mixed way up so they’re impossible to ignore. I don’t care though- as the refrain goes, “c’est la vie/c’est la mort”, baby!
Fan 3 – Geek Love
There’s much about fan_3’s modest 2004 hit, “Geek Love,” that makes the song just as much nose-plugging as it is awe-struckking. The song revolves around rapper Allison Lurie’s anxieties about wanting to go to her high school dance with the “geek” from class and her simultaneous praises for him when she proclaims, “I got love for my geek I want everyone to know.” Further, the song takes us back to the high school days where trivial things matter, like packing a lunch and wearing Abercrombie and Fitch. Although much of the song makes dated and cliche judgments about what’s considered cool in the early 2000s high school world, or rather, what’s not, the overarching message that celebrates geeks is commendable. That said, I recommend you watch the “Geek Love” music video yourself–you just may find yourself “oh my goshing” along with the chorus.
The Living Tombstone – My Ordinary Life
From the addictive flute melody to the bass drop to the slightly agitating artificial gravel in the singer’s voice, My Ordinary Life by The Living Tombstone is the best example of a “I hope no one is looking over my shoulder while I play this” song to date. The Living Tombstone, a band that emerged in the early 2010s, was a band born out of the My Little Pony obsession, with songs slowly evolving to bring in more online culture references, such as Overwatch (a popular online shooter game) and Five Nights at Freddy’s (a horror game…that is not the best description available, but the most concise one). But My Ordinary Life, a song of a new criteria, has a sound of its own, a funk to groove to, and a beat to boogie down with. This song is an earworm, and doesn’t escape my head for days after listening, what more efficient songwriting can you have? Both this song and this band belong in the trash bin, but I may sneakily fish them back out from time to time.
Mr. Oizo – Lambs’ Garbage (Unfinished)
When you listen to a Mr. Oizo track for the first time, you never know what you are going to get. At the end of Uffie’s “MC’s Can Kiss,” a Mr. Oizo produced track, a normal sounding beat is completely derailed with an awful minute long midi saxophone solo. “Lars Von Sen” is just a minute of sirens with a text to speech voice ranting about synthesizers. “Bruce Willis is Dead” features a different text to speech voice, this type celebrating the death of Bruce Willis, even though he is still alive 15 years after the song’s release. One of my personal favorite Mr. Oizo songs is the final track of his 2008 album Lambs Anger, “Lambs’ Garbage (Unfinished)”. “Unfinished” is a summation of all of the musical stylings of Mr. Oizo. Within its brief four minute and 19 second runtime, the song contains 21 distinct segments, all of which are unfinished tracks of his, with stylings ranging from house to movie soundtrack music to noise and things I don’t even know what I would call them. One of my favorite moments of the track is close to the end, where a text to speech voice recites the lyrics of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” as if it was a poem. Objectively, this song is atrocious, but I find myself coming back for another listen time and time again.
Kesha – Cannibal
(Wa wa wa waooooh. Wa wa wa waoooooooohh)
Whenever I claim I’m not a fan of Kesha, the rhythmic drone of the opening of “Cannibal” stops me in my tracks. Kesha draws me in with a “rah” every time. The masterful rhymes in her verses, paired with the bouncy beat create a song that you can’t help but scream the lyrics to. At the end of the day, there’s nothing else to say but: whenever you tell me I’m pretty, that’s when the hunger really hits me. Quite frankly, shit goes hard.
CORPSE – Cat Girls are Ruining My Life
“Make a stack, PepeLaugh, got all of these b♥♥♥♥♥s mad”. Bars. Straight bars. Unironically, 9/10 times you find me in the gym, I will be blasting “Cat Girls are Ruining My Life” by Corpse in my headset. Corpse, with his gravely deep voice, never ceases to amaze me, and draws me closer to him with each syllable. I have a deep emotional connection with this song, as it is one of the many songs that got me through my senior year of high school. My days during the pandemic were stereotypically filled with hours upon hours of Among Us, Corpse streaming videos, and cloud bread, and although I’ve thankfully grown out of most of my pandemic habits, Corpse will have a place in my heart, and in my playlist.
Fergie – The Actual National Anthem
The reactions are what do it for me. At home, watching this live with my 80 year old great aunt was an unforgettable experience. The part where the camera moves off Draymond Green when he starts laughing, only to reveal his teammate is doing the same thing is the most viewed part for a reason. I cant help but lip sync “Dat er flagh wuz stul dere ahhhohahohaaoh” when I hear it. Fergie yelling “lets play basketball!” after the song is the cherry on top. I’d call the song bad but I’ve watched it at least a half-dozen times so what does that say about me.
Dave Soldier – The Most Unwanted Song
For something which was specifically designed to be hated, this 22 minute long collage of sounds sure manages to get stuck in my head often. To create this song Dave Soldier meticulously researched and sampled the most universally annoying noises, combining children’s choir performances, bagpipes, shouts through a megaphone and Walmart promotional material. While some may call it grating and unnecessary, I call it avant-garde. It’s comically infuriating and by the end I find myself strangely transfixed.
Me! -Taylor Swift
I always have so much hope for Taylor Swift, but this song was outrageous for her seventh studio album, Lover. It sounds like a song that was definitely made for kids to learn how to spell to, especially the bridge because you know there is a me in team. The chorus just does it for me every single time. I still don’t agree with Brendon Urie being featured on it, something about it is so off putting. I honestly think her featuring him is worse than if she featured Panic! At The Disco as a whole. I stay digging through the trash for this song.
Beck – Tropicalia
An outtake from Beck’s 1998 release Mutations- this song is frequently seen as a bastardization of tropicália, and for good reason. Yet it’s undeniably catchy and fun as the sounds get progressively sillier throughout the track. The lyrics are captivating as they depict a cynical tale about depressing tourist traps but in a very humorous way. By the time the cat starts meowing towards the end, you can tell that this song was crafted for amusement and for that I have to treat the song as such, simply for amusement; and I’ll have a wonderful time doing so!
One Direction – Same Mistakes
Maybe it just reminds me of a simpler time, but I will always dig through the trash bin to find old One Direction music. Say what you want about the quality of Up All Night, but you can’t deny it: this song is addicting. Despite the questionable lyrics, it’s surprisingly emotional for a group of five English boys. And honestly, hearing teenage Zayn Malik belt out that final chorus still makes me shed a tear or two.
Big Time Rush – Big Time Rush
You’ve just got back from school, have made a bowl of cereal and sat yourself in front of the TV. You hear your mum talking behind you about homework, but you don’t care, because this absolute banger of a theme tune is blaring from the television. It’s time ‘to make it count, play it straight’, it’s time for Big Time Rush. While just about every show on Nickelodeon, and probably on TV in general, beats Big Time Rush in every possible way, it’s no doubt got one of the best theme songs of all time.
1 Trait Danger – Oh Actually
This song captures a niche flavor of high school awkwardness and revels in it through the perspective of a senior in high school blowing off his responsibilities to write the song in question. I think this song is a very playful take on dealing with teenage angst, but its timing and use of dialogue creates a fittingly awkward song to listen to. It is equal parts hilarious and uncomfortable, and I simultaneously love it and cringe while listening.
Black Eyed Peas – Imma Be
The Black Eyed Peas had a death grip on 2000’s pop music and for better or worse, this song definitely has a sound distinct to the band and that era, boasting its own swagger in a very dated way. Maybe it’s nostalgia, or the confident energy of its lyrics, but even if the style is a little out of touch and something I might be a little embarrassed to blast in public, this song is contagiously energetic and somehow still a bop.
Zack Fox – Jesus Is The One (I Got Depression)
Kenny Beats production makes this song such a bop with its vivacious beat and rhythm, and of course the silly adlibs. I am pretty sure this song is a free style but “R.I.P. Betty White, she ain’t dead but for when she die ‘cause I know it’s coming up (Woah, Kenny!)” is an incredibly genius bar. The song is so absurd you’re entertained by the music itself and the hysterical lyrics. This is a song I probably wouldn’t admit to listening to by myself but every time I hear it I can’t help but bop my head.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Raw Hide
Perhaps one of the most grotesque listening experiences I have ever experienced, ODB makes you feel filthy on this track. His choppy flow over a stripped down beat makes this song quite painful to listen to. His references to the menstrual cycle and his mothers…uhhh…parts prevent me from playing this song for any other human person. That being said, I can’t stay away.
Froggy Fresh – Dunked On
Being in middle school in the 2010’s made avoiding a Froggy Fresh YouTube video extremely difficult. Froggy Fresh brings out some of the most intense bars about a backyard basketball game, with a voice that maybe doesn’t exactly belong on a rap song. The beat is generic as well, but there is something within the delivery and energy this track that just reinvigorates me. Hearing this song for me is like snorting a line.
Far East Movement, The Cataracs & Dev – Like a G6
Like a G6 can truly make any function turn up. Objectively it’s a bad song but has the power to curate the perfect vibe at any time of day, which explains why it is my alarm in the morning. No better way to start my morning than “gettin’ slizzard” at 9 am. I will admit it is somewhat of a painful listening experience, though it is an addicting song that will surely be stuck in your head for hours at a time. This song is a perfect example of a 2010 anthem that belongs in the trash, but will forever be a bop.
Werner Thomas- The Chicken Dance (Originally ‘The Duck Song’)
Did you know this song was originally supposed to be ‘The Duck Song’? Apparently a German band was playing it at an Oktoberfest celebration in Ohklahoma in the 80’s and was hoping to put someone in a duck suit to dance with them for their TV appearance, but they were only able to get their hands on a chicken suit, and the rest was history.
I am certainly not a regular listener of polka, but at the next family wedding when the cheap spinning disco lights are glowing, the shiny floor of a local event hall has a few new kitty cocktail and soda puddles drying onto it, and the DJ starts bumping this bubbly classic, I will be busting out my best chicken arms with my vaguely tipsy aunts and uncles and there is nothing my pride could do to stop me.