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Top 10 Soul-Destroying No. 1 Hits

Do you have the moves that Jagger used on Bowie?
Do you have the moves that Jagger used on Bowie?
Wikipedia Commons

I don't like these songs. I feel it's ridiculous that hundreds of thousands of people actually paid out money and drove them to the top of the Billboard charts. While they might not necessarily be the absolute worst examples of the lowest common denominator's purchasing power, they quickly came to mind as times when a large group of people decided to reward inauthenticity and inanity or indulged in the lowest of lows.

I'd say "it's fine if you don't agree with me, you can't force me to listen to them," but I am being forced to listen these songs. They're in commercials, they're playing as I'm stuck in line at CVS, they're pitch-shifted to come out of the Chipmunks' mouths.

My only recourse is to grow angry at their general acceptance, resent the smugness with which they are revered, and complain about them here.

10. Will Smith, "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" In and of itself, this is harmless. Its racial-empowerment themes are actually quite noble. But the implications of this sitting atop the charts for three weeks and earning a Grammy just as the dream of '90s was dying and reality television was stretching the proverbial "15 minutes" into eternity? They were devastating.

Smith, the Wikipedia jpeg of "triple threat," proved that to truly dominate you must conquer television, music and film (sigh, it used to be the stage). Multicamera small-screen stars were brushed aside for nude survivors and spoiled heiresses, but the quest for superstardom remained.

Now we can have Paris Hilton, Kevin Federline and Kim Kardashian in our playlist. It goes to show that the bigger and brighter your star burns, the hotter and steamier the turds you can force people down people's throats while they have actual shit-eating grins.

9. Plain White T's, "Hey There Delilah" On the surface there's not really much offensive going on here. In fact, you might even call it the little song that could, lifting a middling pop-punk outfit from the ranks of semi-obscurity and consecrating "Delilah" as an "indie" anthem.

And that's the problem. Just like the following entry, this is song is an imposter from every angle. There are so many hardworking indie bands happy just to make one addition to the pantheon of meaningful music, but here's this choad promising to secure the future with his guitar.

The truth behind the song belies its false authenticity: "Delilah" was merely an acquaintance whom the singer was trying to bone.

8. Avril Lavigne, "Complicated" Sixteen weeks. Two Grammy nominations.This song is basically that $5,000 Burberry "punk" vest. It's a song about a boy pretending to be somebody he's not sung by a girl pretending to be somebody she's not.

Now we have frat daddies in slip-on Vans, and preteen girls are walking around believing Taylor Swift is Kathleen Hanna.

 

7. Collective Soul, "Shine" Nirvana was great and all, but don't you know that Cobain kid lost a lot of people a lot of money when he put that barrel in his mouth (or did he...)? Wouldn't it be easier if we didn't have to deal with "artist types" and all their "integrity"?

It just takes a couple of drops of dechlorinator to clear all that danger out of the fishbowl that is mainstream radio and just coast on crunchy grooves and good vibes, man. You can still use the distortion pedal, but why the neg' 'tude? This spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock charts. Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" peaked at No. 5.

6. LMFAO, "Party Rock Anthem" Congratulations. This is the No. 3 longest-charting single of all time. For more than a year, people were actually paying to download this song through scannable channels. It is the "Yeah, baby!" of music.

5. Barenaked Ladies, "One Week" Being the poor man's They Might Be Giants was a tough gig. I mean, these guys were out there in dorky lounge shirts and terrible facial hair, and could only get Canada to care. But then one day in 1998 ska all but ended, sending the kids who longed to dance to music with horns crashing and burning into the short-lived swing craze.

The kids who were more authentic zaniness aficionados became briefly intrigued by these white guys rapping in the kooky video. They looked like they could almost be Reel Big Fish... maybe? While it only had "one week" at No. 1, to this day knowledge of these lyrics still might get that guy who wanders the dorms some boob from a girl who studies with her door open.

 

4. Maroon 5, "Moves Like Jagger" Of all the co-opting bullshit infecting modern music, this might be the worst offender (almost). I listened to this in its entirety for the first and only time to write this, and that's it.

Immediately, I'm furious that someone as uncharismatic as Adam Levine would be comparing himself in any way to the BEST front man of all time. But then that fucking whistle comes along like a hot poker searing into my brain.

Finally, I'm forcing myself to pay attention, and he's singing something about "control" that seems more than a little date-rapey. Also, Levine looks like a cross between a go-go boy at JR's and Hansel at the end of Hedwig and the Angry Inch in the video.

3. Gavin DeGraw "I Don't Want To Be" This is why no one likes white people.

2. Santana feat. Rob Thomas, "Smooth" I get it, Carlos, it was the height of the Latin Explosion -- but Rob Thomas? Really? That dude always looks like he's had way too much coffee.

But I guess it worked, even with his weird pseudo-grunge vocals playing out over those Latin rhythms. You did stay in the Top 10 for 30 weeks; you barely hit No. 4 with "Black Magic Woman." And now we all have something to listen to in our co-workers' cars on the way to Cafe Express for lunch.

What? There's no parking? We're going to TGI Friday's?

 

1. Three Doors Down, "Here Without You" This post-grunge mega-ballad hit No. 1 on the adult-contemporary charts in 2003, just as the wives and girlfriends at home were feeling the collective wear and loneliness of a nation at war.

As dutiful patriots, DJ's across the country pumped it over the airwaves. It's touchy-feely grunge-lite, slick and manicured from the crispy gelled hair to the Paul Reed Smith guitars. It's music for the people.

It's an HVAC technician repeatedly bumping a dental hygienist's pool cue, believing that's an effective flirting strategy. It's Marlboro Lights. It's got a hold of me. It's America, fuck yeah!



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