Top 5 Worst Songs in the History of the Universe by Popular Artists

As experienced by me.

And in no particular order.

  • “Mother” by The Police
  • “Revolution 9” by The Beatles
  • “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel
  • “Rock and Roll Music” by The Beach Boys (cover)
  • “Mr. Roboto” by Styx

Notes:

  • Fantastically annoying
  • Tedious and indulgent
  • Insipid and cloying
  • Far removed from actual rock and roll
  • So, so dumb. But admittedly kind of catchy.

Oh, iTunes, why are you so easy to hate?

I recently and foolishly updated iTunes to the latest version. This new version allegedly makes the Apple Music streaming service part better. I wouldn’t know because I don’t listen to streaming music because I am a dinosaur (that still buys all of his music digitally now, so I’m evolving, slowly).

The one new feature I noticed, other than gigantic cover art that consumes much of the interface, is the new Random Shuffle mode. What is Random Shuffle mode, you ask. It’s where you listen to an album and iTunes–with shuffle turned off–will jump to a random song from another album. If you do something–switch songs, click the shuffle button a few times, stand up and twirl while invoking the spirit of Steve Jobs, it sometimes plays the songs in order again. But then it starts shuffling them in short order.

It is somewhat maddening. I think about possible fixes–re-installing, rolling back to the previous version, rebooting, drawing a pentagram underneath my computer, but in the end I just switched to Groove Music. Yes, the bare bones and sometimes awful music player included in Windows 10.

It seems a little better than before, even if it’s ludicrous that you have to restart it to switch between the light and dark themes. But it plays my music in order, so it’s good enough for now.

I’ll try iTunes again after the next version comes out. For the superstitious types, it’s going to get even better, because the next major release will be version 13.

Best music/worst lyrics combo pick: “One Slip” by Pink Floyd

In 1987 Roger Waters and David Gilmour both released solo albums, though Gilmour’s was done under the name “Pink Floyd.”

Ho ho.

While I do actually enjoy the album A Momentary Lapse of Reason (for the most part), even as I listen to it now, nearly 30 years (!) later, I am struck by how much it sounds not like Pink Floyd but like another band trying very earnestly to sound like Pink Floyd (it should be noted that some of the material was in fact originally intended for what would have been Gilmour’s third solo album). You have the soaring guitar solos, the female backing vocals, the whispered/garbled voices, the moody atmospherics, the weighty topics, and all of these combined do indeed echo moments from PF’s classic catalogue. The effort, however, is undercut by being paradoxically too slick (all of the Floydian flourishes feel very calculated) and yet at times embarrassingly amateurish.

It’s the former that beings me to the subject of this post. “One Slip” is a track penned by Gilmour and Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music. It’s a song about falling in love. Or something. The tune is catchy, although to my ears it’s one of the songs on the album that doesn’t really sound like Pink Floyd. The lyrics consist of cliches and overripe metaphors. It’s cringeworthy stuff. Observe:

I will, I will she sighed to my request
And then she tossed her mane while my resolve was put to the test
Then drowned in desire, our souls on fire
I lead the way to the funeral pyre
And without a thought of the consequence
I gave in to my decadence

I’m not sure if the mixed metaphor of drowning in desire while your soul is on fire (wouldn’t the desire put out the soul’s fire?) is supposed to be clever, but the image of leading down to a funeral pyre is nonsensical. I suppose you might compare having sex to dying if it’s really good and you want to blurt out, “It was like Heaven!” but really. And the woman “tossed her mane,” which immediately makes me think of a horse. And what consequence? Sex is bad? I guess, since it can drown and burn you and kill you.

Was it love, or was it the idea of being in love?
Or was it the hand of fate, that seemed to fit just like a glove?
The moment slipped by and soon the seeds were sown
The year grew late and neither one wanted to remain alone

This verse starts out fine but then you have hands of fate, gloves, seeds being sown, late years and what is this even about? Is it a couple that reluctantly move to a farm together to save the crops? I like the idea of “neither one wanted to remain alone” but there’s no exploration of this. But perhaps the chorus pulls it all together:

One slip, and down the hole we fall
It seems to take no time at all
A momentary lapse of reason
That binds a life for life
A small regret, you won’t forget,
There’ll be no sleep in here tonight

This sounds like “…and then they had sex (which as we know, is bad.)” I really have no idea what’s going on here. The lustful pursuit of another is visualized as falling down a hole (how romantic), it “binds a life” (sounds important) and yet is also just “a small regret” (sounds trivial)  but don’t worry, in the end there’s some good old-fashioned snogging because “there’ll be no sleep in here tonight.” Unless it means you can’t sleep because of the drowning, fire, slipping and falling. There would be a good chance you’d be unconscious, which is different than sleeping.

I realize this is silly nitpicking on an ancient-in-pop-music-terms song, but it’s always been my go-to pick for a song that I enjoy listening to despite lyrics that make me want to curl up in a ball.

This in comparison to, say, “The Dogs of War” which musically is nothing special and also has lyrics that are a daisy chain of cliches. I leave off with some of the subtle phrasing from the track:

“our currency is flesh and bone”

“hell opened up and put on sale” ($6.66 and up)

“the web we weave” (scary ass spider-dogs of war)

“hollow laughter in marble halls”

“we all have a dark side, to say the least” (to say the least)

“and you must die so that they may live” (see? Totally dark side there, to say the least)

“things can get strained” (strained! Because of that dark side, probably)