Most of the time when we listen to music, we’re the ones who call the tune. But if not, a special kind of hell can be unleashed. It could happen anywhere and at any time, but once an unwelcome song gets in your head, it can take days to replace it with something you actually like. Even years later, watching the wrong commercial or making the wrong trip to the grocery store can bring the nightmare rushing back. We’re still trying to block out the terror that grips us the following songs infiltrate our ear canals…what about you?
"BOOM BOOM POW," BLACK EYED PEAS
Black Eyed Peas absolutely ruled 2009, but “Boom Boom Pow” has always felt like a train wreck to me. The group has always been known to satirize both in their image and music, but this song just felt like a misguided attempt to characterize the group as “cool” and “futuristic,” a theme that actually does work on pop masterpieces “I Gotta Feeling” and “Meet Me Halfway.” But frankly, it’s hard to get through “Boom Boom Pow” without feeling like you’re in a never-ending cycle of robotic vocal effects and arbitrary rap lyrics. (IVAN GUZMAN)
"CLINT EASTWOOD," GORILLAZ
For a good decade, Gorillaz were absolutely one of the biggest bands in the world. Anchored by a silly marketing gimmick that was oh so timely as anime finally blew up in America, and bolstered by the supposed genius of Blur front man Damon Albarn's host of trans-genre musical collaborators, Gorillaz captured the public's imagination like few bands have in this millennium. All that never resonated with me, but I found a particular loathing for this hit. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien's verses aren't bad, but the incessant, repetitive chorus just rubbed me completely the wrong way. I think it had a lot to do with Albarn's delivery, which was like a drunken impression of Joe Strummer's snide sneering. In any case, as soon as his awfully sung "I'm not happy, I'm feeling glad" came on the radio, it was an automatic response to flip the dial. If only I could have done the same at any number of the parties I attended where it turned into an even worse singalong. (COREY DEITERMAN)
"DECEMBER," COLLECTIVE SOUL
Never liked the song. Never liked the band. Never liked anything else they put out either. It only reached No. 20 on the Billboard charts…20 years ago. Is it considered a classic hit? Why is it still being played in constant rotation on several of our radio stations? I can only gather that one of the band members is a blood relative to one of Clear Channel/I Heart Media’s vice-presidents. A more likely explanation is that the pseudo-Christian band made a deal with the devil. (JACK GORMAN)
"FIREFLIES," OWL CITY
This song is a cheesy pile of garbage. Hey, Owl City, I liked you better when you were called The Postal Service and made smarter music. "Fireflies" is a blatant ripoff and should have never made it to widespread public consumption. Full of disturbingly cute, elementary lyrics, the song sounds like it was originally a project for the local music-production college. (SELENA DIERINGER)
"GRENADE," BRUNO MARS
Catchin’ grenades, gettin’ stabbed, jumpin’ in front of locomotives, takin’ headshots…what kind of environment does Bruno’s girl live in that he would have to prove his “undying” love for ya? These whiny lyrics turned me off, but helped it become nominated for three Grammy awards. I understand that songs about spurned lovers have used all kinds of analogies and metaphors since the beginning of music, but this one may go down as the one with most violent imagery. (JACK GORMAN)
"JACK AND DIANE," JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP
I've always found John Cougar's "Jack and Diane" incredibly annoying. For one, no one "dribbles off" apparel, Mellencamp. Also, that "Jacky say" stuff is irritating and sounds silly. This song was beloved by a former high school girlfriend of mine. Pandering to her, I compromised my own taste and told her it wasn't a bad song. It's always irked me that I did that — especially after she dumped me. Listening today, I dislike it even more. Why would a 17-year-old find the lyrics appealing? According to its singer, you've peaked a year earlier! There's nothing but the agony of adulthood ahead. Quit now, before the "thrill of living is gone." As a geezer in probably the best part of his life, I say fuck this bleak, depressing nonsense. (JESSE SENDEJAS JR.)
"OMG" is just plain awful. Usher's music tends to be very hit or miss, and this one is the bottom of his crap barrel. Only two things about "OMG" really need to be said: 1) will.i.am is the best part of the song. Yikes. 2) The song actually says "boobies" in it, and isn't meant for toddlers. Boobies? Seriously? If you really want to turn a girl off, call her breasts "boobies." Or kick it up a notch and tell her that she's got boobies like "wow, oh wow." I mean who gave this the okay? Lambchop and friends? (SELENA DIERINGER)
“PARTY ROCK ANTHEM,” LMFAO
Just thinking about “Party Rock Anthem” makes me feel extremely obnoxious, like I could go out to Rich’s Teen Nights wearing my favorite plastic aviator sunglasses and that one knockoff Ed Hardy shirt with a tiger on it. I get that this crazy, nonsensical party song fit the changing music landscape of the early 2010’s. However, when you think about that guy with an afro and over-the-top accessories flaunting around stage and getting little pre-teens to go into Hot Topic and buy an “Everyday I’m Shufflin’” shirt of their very own, you have to ask yourself.. why? (IVAN GUZMAN)
If this guy thinks that his girl’s dad is rude, he doesn’t want to know what goes on in so many minds when it comes on the radio. This song totally stopped me from buying Now That’s What I Call Music 51. It would be great if it would MAGIC!ally disappear forever. (JACK GORMAN)
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“SWEET HOME ALABAMA,” LYNYRD SKYNYRD
Is “Sweet Home Alabama” the musical equivalent of the confederate flag? I don’t know. Maybe. What I do know is whenever I hear the first notes of this wretched and overplayed song, it’s a safe bet some “Yeahhhh!!” or “Yeeehaw!” or other barnyard yowl is soon to follow. These inarticulate eruptions are only slightly less grating than the person yelling “Turn it up!” like it’s never been shouted before in 40 years of the song’s existence. Also, unless we are in Alabama, listening with Alabamans, why the enthusiasm, people? I don’t think people in Birmingham have an inexplicable fondness for “Deep in the Heart of Texas.” Just sayin’. (JESSE SENDEJAS JR.)
"YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL," JAMES BLUNT
"You're Beautiful" dominated radio play back in the mid-2000s, and sadly can now still be heard at most grocery stores at least once a day. If you can stomach wading through Blunt's sad-sack, injured-bird vocals, the lyrics are even worse than the sound of his voice. Essentially, Blunt rides the subway and sees an attractive woman who just so happens to be with another guy. The remainder of the song reflects some seriously deep-seeded insecurity in the singer, whose preferred type of fantasy involves him being rejected by the woman who, he believes, would never want to be with him even if she were single. What the hell?? Not only does it sound like a pile of shit, but it's just effing pathetic. (SELENA DIERINGER)