Saturday, July 25, 2009

Five Songs Whose Popularity Helped Destroy My Faith in Humanity

When I say or write something deeply cynical and bitter, people will often ask "what made you this way?" or "why are you so negative?" So much so, that I began to wonder myself. So I traced back to my roots, before I was fully who I am now, to see what events could have caused me to become like this.

After researching, I think I've found at least a large reason. It's no secret that popular music is often incredibly bad -- I can live with that most of the time. However, the following songs are so bad, so irredeemably awful and devoid of any artistic value, that I began to see the world in a different light. Hearing these songs and seeing their videos on MTV is when I finally realized that something was just not right here.

5. The Baja Men - "Who Let the Dogs Out"

What started as stupid fun soon turned into a national nightmare, as "Who Let the Dogs Out" went from joke song to a full blown fad. The first couple times hearing someone say the lyrics in public was almost humorous. Unfortunately the following nine billion times weren't as tolerable.

4. Uncle Kracker - "Follow Me"

While this song isn't ear-bleedingly offensive to the senses like others that will appear on the list, it still manages to be one of the most annoying songs ever. Sometimes a song is so inoffensive that it becomes more offensive than anything you could ever imagine -- this song is a textbook example of that. With its 2nd grade valentine lyrics and one note chorus, this song is appealing to the lowest common denominator at its finest -- and it worked, as it inexplicably soared through the charts.

Possibly the biggest problem with this song and songs similar to it is that the people who enjoy the song always feel some kind of personal connection to it. "Follow me man, things are gonna be alright." That's like, so deep. The fact that these people seem to be taking relationship and life advice from a guy going by the name "Uncle Kracker" is something that severely disturbed me, and still does to this day. While the artist has mercifully disappeared off the face of the earth, this song still can be found tainting the airwaves on various light rock stations.

3. Lou Bega - "Mambo No. 5"

Like a bad rash, Lou Bega came out of nowhere to sweep America and disappeared just as quickly -- thank God. With a combination of jazz, hip hop, and mambo, Bega was admirably able to desecrate several musical genres at once with this gag inducing trainwreck of a song. Dumb pop songs have their place in culture and I respect that, but do they really need to be this dumb?

2. Limp Bizkit - "Nookie"

A fairly large number of Limp Bizkit songs could have made this list -- the band's success in general seems to be a strange abstract argument against evolution. While all of their songs are an insult to music, this one in particular was bad. Featuring Fred Durst's lame-even-for-a-white-guy rapping and crude incoherent lyrics backed by abrasive guitars, this song inexplicably became a huge hit and got heavy rotation on MTV. As a result, we as a nation were subjected to Fred Durst and people wearing their hat backwards. It's safe to say, "you can take that cookie and shove it up your (yeah)" isn't exactly the high point of American civilization.

1. Smash Mouth - "All Star"

This is it folks. The song that officially destroyed my faith in the American public. The most annoying song by possibly the worst band of all time. "All Star" swept the nation like a case of ebola virus, only slightly less painful. When I went to summer camp everyone was singing this song, and all I could think of was "for the love of god, please shut up." When hearing the song, I could actually feel the soul be sucked out of my body.

It's not just the rancid sound of the track or the kindergarden lyrics that make this so bad -- it's the prolonged exposure I've had to suffer from it since. This song simply would not go away. For nearly two years after it came out we were exposed to hearing these clowns perform at every major sport's all star game (obviously a ploy by the band to get more publicity, which makes the song even worse) and every three seconds on the radio. Shrek, a movie that until that point had been pretty good, was almost singlehandedly ruined by this song. Nothing was safe from its contaminating force.

This song singlehandedly turned me from a wide eyed young boy with hope and joy into a cynical critic. I was all set on the path to mindless conformity until I saw people singing this song in public and said "I will not become that." While the song makes me want to commit violent crimes and actually causes cancer with too much exposure, in a way I have to thank it. Without this terrible song, I would have just been a normal optimist like everyone else. And that's not really much fun.

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