Quick, change the station! Ten songs I can’t stand

“Hate” is a strong word, but that’s what this week’s Ten on Tuesday asked for – “10 Songs You Hate.” It was hard to narrow it down, to be honest. Tall Paul did some online searches for “worst songs,” and they reminded us both about a lot of songs that we couldn’t stand.

Since I’m in my mid-forties, I’ve been listening to pop music for long enough to have heard a lot of crap – and what makes it worse is that so much of it is memorable crap. Therefore, most of my list is made up of older songs that have been around for enough time to solidify my disdain for them. In no particular order, take these songs…please!

“Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks
This one shows up on a lot of people’s “worst songs of all time” lists, and if you’ve ever heard it, it’s not hard to understand why. If you’re not familiar with it, you probably weren’t around in 1974 – lucky you!

“Love the One You’re With” by Stephen Stills
My husband and I disagree about what this song is actually saying. I’ve always heard its message as “Hey, your girlfriend’s not around, go ahead and cheat,” which does NOT fly with me, and is why it’s on this list.

“MacArthur Park”
I’m not sure song this made sense even in the acid-soaked late 1960’s when it was originally recorded by Richard Harris (Dumbledore from the first two Harry Potter movies, to you youngsters). I can’t stand Donna Summer’s disco remake of it either, but at least the beat helps distract you from the lyrical insanity. This song actually has a long-standing reputation for its awfulness, as the winner(?) of Dave Barry’s Bad Song Survey in 1993.

“American Woman” by The Guess Who? (No, really, that was their name!)
Songwriter Burton Cummings has said that he really meant this song to praise the women of his home country, Canada, but somehow “Canadian woman, come closer” turned into “American woman, stay away.” I’ve tried to stay away from hearing this song at all, but especially from Lenny Kravitz’s cover of it, which did not improve on the original.

“Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray “Miley’s Dad” Cyrus
The perfect recipe for a song to despise – incredibly stupid, yet annoyingly catchy, and when it was popular, it was everywhere.

“A Horse With No Name” by America
“There were plants and birds and rocks and things…” Since I do tend to pay attention to lyrics, the bunch of non-sequiturs that comprise this song just make me crazy (or wish I was in a state of consciousness altered enough to make it comprehensible, which is tough to imagine).

“Miss Independent” by Kelly Clarkson
I’ve liked a lot of what the original American Idol has done since this record, but this is just a bunch of yelling to me, and doesn’t showcase her vocal talents at all.

“FM (No Static at All)” by Steely Dan
I actually like a lot of Steely Dan’s music, and maybe I should give them a pass because this was written for a (not particularly distinguished or memorable) movie, but I won’t. This song just makes me cringe, and it’s probably because I otherwise like Steely Dan.

“Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” by Rod Stewart
It’s going on thirty years of hating this song! And no, Rod, I don’t, I never have, and I’m pretty sure I never will. No offense.

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
Too bad the eclipse didn’t snuff out this song, which has literally given me nightmares. The song was written by Jim Steinman, who is also to be blamed for the overwrought musical soap operas “Making Love Out of Nothing at All,” by Air Supply, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” by Celine Dion, and “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf (but since Mr. Loaf and Steinman also are responsible for the ever-awesome “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” I’ll cut them a little bit of slack for that last song I mentioned. Celine Dion gets no slack whatsoever.).

One of the good things about being able to listen to your iPod in your car is that you’ve pre-selected all of your music, and therefore you’re much less likely to have to lunge for the radio when something hideous comes on.

Your turn – in the comments, tell me one song that you would be perfectly happy if you never heard again in this lifetime!

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  1. I actually really like Total Eclipse of the Heart and Bonnie Tyler in general.

    Can’t stand the Boot Scootin Boogie by Brooks and Dunn.

  2. “Mr. Roboto” is one song that makes me cringe. Another is Aha’s “Take On Me”.

    I like Total Eclipse of the Heart, but I was in junior high when that came out and played it to death. Different memories.

    Current songs I hate: “So What” by Pink. I used to like it but they played it to death. What about Rihanna’s “Umbrella-ella”? I could stick a pin in my eye when I hear that one and it would be more fun.

  3. This is one of those topics that proves the old adage “One person’s trash is another one’s treasure.” Please don’t take offense if I dissed one of your favorite songs, because I certainly meant none – and chances are that you intensely dislike some of my favorites too :-)!

    Here’s a bonus that I forgot to include in the original list. I don’t want to go back and edit the post since it’s already gone out on the feed, but if I did, I’d swap this one for the Steely Dan song because I REALLY can’t stand it:
    – “Physical,” by Olivia Newton-John. Physically ill is more like it.

    Lenore – I think a lot of dance-craze songs become unbearable pretty quickly. I almost put “Macarena” on this list.

    Arlene – I checked out your list; you took an interesting approach to the topic.

    Ti – Oy. I actually liked Styx a lot until they ruined everything with “Mr. Roboto.” My 14-year-old likes Rihanna, but can’t stand “Umbrella” – it is one heck of an earworm, though.

  4. Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and the Celine Dion song from Titanic. Anything from Phantom of the Opera.

  5. Ha! Before I got to the end of this, I already knew that I was going to say “anything by Celine Dion.”. But i’ll be specific and say I hate “Cause I’m your ladeeee…”. I also hate that time of your life song from Dirty Dancing.

  6. I haven’t done a Ten on Tuesday in a while, but I had to today. All good choices on you end. Achy breaky heart was a truly terrible song.

  7. Um. Do you live inside my head?

    I’d have come up with a VERY similar list.

    Very interesting.

    And don’t get my husband started on Celine Dion. Or America, for that matter.

  8. April – I don’t mind Dolly Parton’s version of her own song, but Whitney’s…no.

    Not a “Phantom” fan, are we? I just put a few songs from that show on my iPod – but I put on a LOT more from “Wicked” :-).

    Kate – Yikes! I can’t stand “The Time of My Life,” either, and if I had to pick a single worst Celine Dion song, it would be that one.

    Mike – I was wondering if you’d jump in on this ToT topic – too hard to resist! I’ll check out your list. I hope it’s not all Fine Young Cannibals :-).

    Beth – That’s a little scary, but I’m not sure it’s a bad thing :-). And to change the subject to GREAT music, I loved your ode to Bruce Springsteen today!

    Teena – Your list is great! You remembered a few horrors I forgot :-).

  9. I love this post! The list of songs is great (horribly great, or is that greatly horrible?!), and your annotations had me cracking up!

    I don’t have any to add to the list … I want to put on my iPod and get these so-called songs out of my head!

  10. Valley Girl, by Moon Unit Zappa. Which came out when I was home sick with the chicken pox…and I heard it over and over and over.

    And I am so with you on Rod Stewart…I have the same thoughts whenever I am unfortunate enough to hear that song.

  11. This was very entertaining – great list! I agree on almost all, though I like Love The One You’re With (and to the commenters… I like the Dirty Dancing song). I have to add “Mony Mony” by Billy Idol – yuck.

  12. That was a really good list! I haven’t thought of some of those songs in a long time. I’m 43 so I remember every single one of them. Some of them I did enjoy dancing to even though they had crappy lyrics but I don’t always pay attention to those anyway. And I use to like Seasons In The Sun – in middle school. I never liked If You Think I’m Sexy, ever. Another one I never liked was Take My Breath Away from the Top Gun movie. I hated the music for it.

    I love hearing different people’s versions of songs when they get the lyrics wrong. My husband is famous for this. This is one that comes up a lot “I want to dance all night, and part of every day” (it’s suppose to be “…and party every day”.) Sometimes the new lyrics are even better!

  13. Great list! I tried to read through it quickly, though, so I wouldn’t get any of those songs stuck in my head.

    I could do without “Rock On” by Michael Damien, “Macarena,” “Who Let the Dogs Out,” and “We Will Rock You” by Queen.

    Of course, now I have a mishmash of these songs in my head. UGH!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  14. Jill (Softdrink) – I get your issues with “Valley Girl,’ but I’m sure Moon Unit Zappa had issues of her own – starting with the fact she was named “Moon Unit Zappa.”

    Gayle – “Love the One You’re With” is one of my husband’s favorites. We just interpret it VERY differently (which is lucky for me, come to think of it). I actually enjoy “Mony Mony” – it’s a fun party song.

    Jennifer – “Seasons in the Sun” deserves to be on every list it landed on :-). Sorry to do that to you with “Total Eclipse…” but it’s an occupational hazard of this kind of thing.

    You took an interesting approach to the topic, I thought.

    Wrighty – Have you ever checked out kissthisguy.com? It’s all misheard song lyrics. Some of them are hilarious.

    Anna – “Who Let the Dogs Out” made my husband’s list. All of yours are very worthy additions :-).

    Magpie – Can’t say I’ve ever been a huge fan of theirs either.

  15. LOL..thanks for the list- it made me laugh (and groan!) Of course I can’t think of many songs that I can’t stand off of the top of my head, but there are many that make me lunge for the radio as soon as I hear them. One of those is “1-2-3-4” by Feist (from an old i-Pod commercial). My hubby loves this one and I can’t stand it. There are so many more that I’m sure that I could be here all day. I pretty much can’t stand anything that is overplayed, which is pretty much everything!

  16. Four of the ten songs you list are ones I really like. And then some of the ones you unofficially mention . . . LOL The others I can take or leave.

    I’m trying to think of songs that I prefer not to hear:
    Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire is the song that I turn off immediately if I am able and will leave the room if that’s not possible. It’ the one song I’ve ever heard that makes me sick to my stomach. Literally. And I like Bruce Springsteen. All except that song.

    Any song by Guns ‘N’ Roses. I’ve never seen the appeal of that group or their music.

    Two songs I grew to dislike because I heard them three times a day for an entire summer:
    Rush Rush by Paula Abdul
    Jungle Fever by Stevie Wonder

  17. Wendy (Literary Feline) – I love Springsteen, but I agree with you about that particular song – not one of my favorites at all.

    Overplaying can definitely get a song onto the hate list pretty quickly, and I remember when they were overplaying “Rush Rush.” I never thought Paula Abdul was that much of a singer, so I’ve always been a bit bemused that she judges singers on American Idol.