June 30, 2004
Worst Song Ever +
Aimee Mann has helpfully brought a topic of passionate and ever-evolving debate to the public forum, during a recent show in Northampton, MA. What is the worst song ever? This might seem like a frivolous issue about which everyone will have a differing but equally valid take, like the issue of the best song ever. Let me make this clear: these two topics are completely dissimilar. The best song ever is determined by personal taste, experiences, associations, whether you think Genesis was better before or after Peter Gabriel left, and many other individual factors. The worst song ever, on the other hand, is a song that taps into our innate collective humanity, much in the same way that common phobias do. Nearly everybody will be able to identify the worst song ever as overwrought and full of unnecessary instrumentation and, often, lyrics that make overuse of "oooo" and "ohh-whoa-whoa."
Anyway, Aimee Mann and her band decided that the worst song ever is "Ebony and Ivory" by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. Other members of the band had proposed "Lady in Red" as the worst song ever. Both of those choices, while certainly representative of very bad and maudlin songs, are incorrect. I have long held that the worst song ever is in fact "If You Leave Me Now" by Chicago. Just reading the lyrics, particularly the "oo oo oo" part, explains my choice of this song. I stand by this selection, even though Emily once offered a compelling challenger in the form of the live version of "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton, though I contend that it is specifically the live video version of this song that is really exceptionally bad, particularly the part when Eric Clapton closes his eyes. The song itself is an abomination, but maybe not actually the very worst song ever.
I'll enable comments on this post, please feel free to offer your nominations. Serious candidates only, please. -Amy
One mitigating factor of "Wonderful Tonight" is that it is hilariously misinterpreted by drippy brides and prom committees across the nation; the lyrics are about a man getting wasted at a party, only to slur at his long-suffering lady while she's pouring him into bed that she sure looked terrific while he was making an ass of himself.
Hm. Maybe it is an appropriate wedding/prom song after all. - Emily