Between the social spasms brought on by President Trump’s travel ban and Houston's going Super Bowl crazy, this week has been off to a fairly surreal start. Add to that an inbox inundated with emails trolling for media attention in the superheated pond of parties and other events going on in town up until “The Big Game,” and it was only a matter of time before something truly bizarre floated to the surface.
Our favorite, so far, has been the message from a Toronto firm promising to reveal the “Worst Song In Texas History.” Hard not to bite on that one. It was sent by Pointman! Public Relations on behalf of the Super Bash, a multi-night party that is positioning itself as a real heavyweight within this crowded field. This seems appropriate, considering Floyd “Money” Mayweather is scheduled to preside over the “Ultra VIP Red Carpet Mega Bash” on Saturday.
Held at Mathew Knowles’s luxurious Music World Entertainment compound in Midtown, Super Bash is promising Future’s only live performance of the weekend, as well as big-time names like Flo Rida, Pitbull and Bun B, plus the requisite NFL players and models milling about. Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton are supposed to DJ on Saturday; the throwback-themed “Super Sunday Tailgate Bash,” featuring Sheila E and Bell Biv DeVoe, looks pretty fun too. There’s also a “Power of Influence” brunch Friday hosted by Knowles (catch it streamed live on BET’s Facebook page), or a behind-the-scenes tour of the studios where Destiny’s Child and Lil Wayne, among others, have recorded. Tickets are available through thesuperbash.com.
Anyhow, back to this supposed worst song in Texas history. Seems the organizers of Super Bash, hoping to ward off any duds that might make their way into the party’s mix of tunes, commissioned a Google survey of 1,000 Texans, seeking feedback about the worst song either about Texas or performed by a native Texan. In the press release, Super Bash co-founder Joe Paonessa explained his reasoning: “Most festivals try to guess what your favorite songs are,” he said. “We went the extra mile to find out what songs and artists you really hate, and guarantee you won’t hear them at the Super Bash.”
For comparison’s sake, we asked Patrick McCaully, Pointman! founder and Super Bash spokesman, what kind of songs the folks behind this shindig would add to their playlist. He came back with Duran Duran’s “Rio” (as in, “dance across the Rio Grande”), Marty Robbins’s “El Paso,” ZZ Top’s “La Grange” and the Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice.” Worthy candidates all, although how much of a party-starter that Chicks tune is might be up for debate. The point, though, was not to determine the best songs, he said; rather, quite the opposite.
“The objective of the survey was to prompt conversation among Texans to debate the quality (or lack thereof) of the most successful Texas pop songs,” McCaully says via email. “Moreover, we wanted to create a stir in the state’s music news ahead of this Friday’s Super Bash.”
We’ll see about that. Without further ado, in reverse order of awfulness, the Super Bash's worst Texas songs are…
LeAnn Rimes, “Can’t Fight the Moonlight”
Written by the empress of emotional button-pushing pop songs, Diane Warren, “Moonlight” can’t quite shake its Britney-esque aura. Still, here it feels like it’s being unjustly penalized because of its promotional tie-in with the dreadful 2000 flick Coyote Ugly more than for any egregious musical flaws. (Score: 7.2 percent)
Sir Mix-a-Lot, “Jump On It”
By his 1996 album Return of the Bumpasaurus, Mix’s career was a long way from “Baby Got Back,” and here he rapidly recounts nationwide encounters of the sort often enjoyed by virile rap stars; the first third is devoted to the Lone Star State, and includes a shoutout to Pappadeaux and an especially memorable rendezvous in San Antone. Still, the best part is probably the Ventures-like sample from the Shadows’ 1960 instrumental hit “Apache,” which the Sugar Hill Gang later revived for their 1982 single of the same name. (9.7 percent)
George Strait, “All My Exes Live In Texas”
Of the hundreds of songs King George has recorded, most fans would probably rank “Exes” in his Top 50, if not 25 or ten. In fact, his standing as one of the all-time greats might have been sealed the moment he sang “and Dimples who now lives in Temple’s got the law lookin’ for me.” All-Texan data pool or not, at this point the survey's credibility is starting to be called into serious question. (12 percent)
Vanilla Ice, “Ice Ice Baby”
Yes, we went over this a couple of days ago, but that misappropriated Queen/Bowie bassline sure is still catchy. And Mr. Van Winkle did know how to drop some real science — as in “killin’ your brain like a poisonous mushroom” — so it’s hard to be too mad at him. (21.9 percent)
RiFF RaFF, “Dolce and Gabbana”
The ultimate wigger or a postmodern prankster of the highest order who has chosen the drank-soaked world of H-Town rap as his milieu, RiFF RaFF’s 2013 single suggests it doesn’t make a difference either way. Love him or loathe him, the joke’s on you. (23 percent)
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Ashlee Simpson, “La La”
Fish in a barrel time, apparently. Yes, Simpson sang this pop-punk-inspired song during her infamous Orange Bowl halftime performance in 2005, but even that hot mess was a mere shadow of her ill-fated Saturday Night Live appearance a few months prior; neither of the songs she did there are anywhere near this list. We figure the worst song in Texas history has to have left a bigger footprint than scraping to No. 86 on Billboard’s Hot 100. (25 percent)
As a footnote, Billy Ray Cyrus’s “Achy Breaky Heart” rated an Honorable Mention in the Super Bash survey, despite having nothing at all to do with Texas that we know of outside the line that mentions neighboring Arkansas. McCaully explained that one of the survey-takers had listed the 1992 line-dancing anthem under “other,” so the Super Bash officials decided to count it. Over our objection, he said, “I think it’s associated with Texas (whether you like it or not).”
Well...okay then. But why? George Strait on a list of "Worst Texas Songs" we can almost abide, mostly because any true Texan should know just how ridiculous that sounds, but attempting to blame this great state for “Achy Breaky Heart” is simply a bridge too far.