The 25 Absolute Worst Songs of the Century
This list covers the worst songs since the start of the 21st century. It includes artists I utterly despise (Nickelback, Fall Out Boy, Daughtry) as well as artists I love (Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Arcade Fire). It includes mainstream rock, indie rock, pop, even a little R&B. Get out your best grimace and try not to hurl…
1. Sugar We’re Going Down- Fall Out Boy
The pilfered intro leads to forced, disgusting vocals that sound like the product of months of focal group deliberating. The song climaxes (of all the sarcastic uses of this word this may be the most blatant) at one of the most awful, aggravating choruses ever done. When I hear this song on the radio I frantically drop whatever I’m doing (even if I’m driving) and make a mad dash to change the channel.
2. Pain- Three Days Grace
Their 2003 release was a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. Thank god in 2006 the band came out with One-X, an album so utterly corporate and awful that it put the nail in the coffin on any ambivalence I had towards the band. This was the centerpiece of the shit-show. Need more proof about how bad this song is? It spent 13 weeks as #1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart.
If I didn’t love Blue Album so much I might have stuck this disaster at number one on this list. In 2005, this song confirmed fans’ worst fears. Rumor had it that Weezer was preparing to sell out hard; however nothing could’ve prepared any of us for “Beverly Hills.” I mean, Weezer at the playboy mansion playing to guitar riffs that seemingly were composed by 8 year olds? Sacrilegious. Really, what has the world come to?
4. It’s Not Over- Daughtry
This song manages to squash any remaining belief in two forms of media- TV (American Idol is crap) and radio (this song is crap). What can you say about a guy whose inspiration comes from bands like Nickelback, Finger Eleven, Shinedown, and Fuel. This may be the most watered down song of all time, beating a ton of contenders this decade. Daughtry isn’t even good enough to be called post grunge… grunge-lite should suffice.
5. Because I got High- Afroman
I know it’s just meant to be a novelty song, but it even fails wildly at that. To be a novelty it needs to be liked or even tolerated for at least a little while. I hated this song from the very first time I heard that disgusting snicker that it starts with. Does anyone want to bet that it’s not even written by people who smoke pot? From my experience it is a favorite among rich teens who have never even tried weed but like to pretend they’re badasses.
6. Photograph- Nickelback
Beating out countless, worthy contenders like “Rockstar”, “Side of a Bullet,” and just about every song off The Long Road album, “Photograph” perfectly represents everything we hate about Nickelback. It lacks any originality, Chad Kroeger sounds like a constipated bear trying to force out a turd, they use the most boring, overcooked guitar chords, etc. I could write a 10 page dissertation about why Nickelback is the worst band ever.
7. Lying Is The Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes off- Panic! At the Disco
I loathe any song whose title takes up nearly two lines of a word document. Instead of writing out why this song is dregs, I will just include its lyrics, which speak for themselves “Let's get these teen hearts beating. Faster, faster So testosterone boys and harlequin girls, Will you dance to this beat, and hold a lover close?” I am truly embarrassed to admit that I’ve heard this atrocity live in concert at Virgin Fest. We all make mistakes.
8. Death from Above- Smashing Pumpkins
I had to have a song from the abysmal Zeitgeist. This song is nowhere near as bad as songs 1-7, however the Pumpkins are put to higher standards than the rest of the shitty bands I’ve mentioned so far. This song exemplifies the album quite nicely- overblown, indulgent, and corny. Resembling a poor man’s version of Muse’s “Knights of Cydonia,” lyrically it’s just garbage, a far cry from Corgan’s masterpieces of the 90s.
9. Kid A- Radiohead
I berated the Smashing Pumpkins, and now to turn to another beloved band- Radiohead. First of all I thought 70% of Kid A was utterly atrocious. As can be expected from a band that plunges into such radical experimentation, there will be times that you will fail hardily. "Kid A" is one such example of the band striking out, and it is nearly impossible to like unless you are either and alien or judging a record purely on the fact that it sounds unique.
10. Best of you- Foo Fighters
The Foo Fighters have always been a band I really wanted to love. I mean the band includes the last relevant Nirvana member. Generally they make fairly solid songs, albeit a tad perdictable and similar. However I hated this abomination from the moment I heard it on the radio. Dave Grohl’s growl has never sounded as forced or corporate as in this song. Not you too Dave!?
11. Lose My Breath- Destiny’s Child
I really hate clubbing. I hate dancing, I hate horny alpha male guys, I hate being crammed like a sardine with nasty, stoned strangers and, perhaps most of all, I hate club music. Perhaps my hatred for this song is magnified by the fact that it’s an exemplar of about 90% of club music- pathetic lyrics, recycled beats, and the propensity to get unbelievably annoying after the first listen. Or maybe it’s just that bad.
12. Swing Swing- All American Rejects
If there was any doubt that emo was the dagger in the heart of rock, this song certainly confirmed it. Emo, along with corprock are the two worst things to happen to a fragile genre which just survived a sickening barrage of nu-metal that nearly made it completely irrelevant. This song cannot subtlety convey emotion so it resorts to overtly cramming it down our throats, it’s utterly revolting.
13. Who Says you can’t go Home- Bon Jovi
Just when you thought Bon Jovi couldn’t get any more annoying. The formulaic rockers add country charts success to their pitiful repertoire. They should’ve just added hip hop beats and tried to knock three birds out with one stone (three charts at one time!!??). I guess contrived country music is the natural progression for these overrated rockers who are way past any mediocre prime that they once reached.
14. Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse- Of Montreal
I realize you have to take Of Montreal with a grain of salt, but I was just in shock at how often I saw this song on year end best lists. Sure Of Montreal has never been the type of band that you could listen to whenever, but songs like “Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games” and “Disconnect the Dots” are damn near masterpieces. This song, however, makes you want to rip off your $200 headphones and put them in a blender.
15. Sexy Back- Justin Timberlake
It’s songs like this that make you realize that it’s no lie that anyone can make millions in America. This atrocity spent 7 weeks as #1 on the billboards chart! I mean surely anyone with two (or even one) working ears should hate this terrible song. My high school elected literally the most unpopular, unattractive kid as homecoming king one year as a massive joke. I like to believe that a similar situation happened with this song.
16. St. Anger- Metallica
For everyone’s sake, I hope that this song officially marked the low point of Metallica’s increasingly pathetic career. Then again I thought that it couldn’t get any worse than the intro to “Fuel” in 1997. With 2003’s St. Anger, Metallica proved that they still had some selling out left to do. I mean “St Anger” sounds like a cross between Godsmack and Avenged Sevenfold, not a distinction you would EVER want.
17. Juicy- Better Than Ezra
Ew, did I honestly like this band in the 90s? I had my suspicions about this song right when I saw the dreadful title. But boy, this song is as close to a career killer as it gets. I mean are these really the same guys that wrote all time favorites like “Good,” “Desperately Wanting,” and “Lifetime?” This song is truly an embarrassment for a generally talented, stellar alternative rock band.
18. Wake me up when September Ends- Green Day
It’s strange, because this is really the only bad song on an otherwise great album which I totally bought into. There’s just something about this song which feels so different from the rest of the album. It feels forced, sappy, and artificial. It’s like the record company had a ballad quota that mandated another ballad to complement the stellar “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”
19. Fix You- Coldplay
Coldplay’s repertoire consists of about 5-6 good songs, and about 30 imitations of these good songs. It’s basically a simple math problem: “Fix You”=“Clocks”+“Yellow.” You’ve gotta think that if they don’t step out of the box a little in their upcoming release that people will finally get tired? Then again, Coldplay have become millionaires because of people’s short mindedness and simplicity.
20. Walk Away- Franz Ferdinand
I was generally disappointed by Franz Ferdinand sophomore release (not the first time a 2nd album has underperformed). This track however was a real bummer, bringing to mind some of Paul McCartney’s poorest solo material. It just left me wondering about how/why it didn’t get left off of the final release. It is literally devoid of the intense melody or hooks that made Franz’s first release legendary.
21. L.O.V.E.- Ashlee Simpson
Ok so I admit to liking “I Didn’t Steal your Boyfriend” a little (ok, a lot). It doesn’t change the fact that Ashlee is possibly one of the worst things to happen to music this decade. I mean her whole persona revolves around being the less attractive, less talented, fake punk-chick sister of Jessica. The annoying faux-British vocals are really the icing on the cake (if you can call it that) that propel this song into oblivion.
22. One Step Closer- Linkin Park
Some people said that Linkin Park sold out after Hybrid Theory. If so, good work guys! Surely an album that bad deserved repudiation. Meteora and Minutes to Midnight are the type of albums that you try hard to hate, but have moments that are simply too catchy. “One Step Closer,” however, is abrasive, directionless, rage rock meant for mindless frat guys and headbangers.
23. Hey Baby- No Doubt
I think that No Doubt and Gwen Stefani as a whole really suck. It’s no secret that I am not a fan of the ska/reggae genre, and No Doubt represents the genre’s most annoying band. While still being quite shitty, her solo albums were actually less annoying than her material in No Doubt. I find her voice and personality extremely irritating and this merely marks their most unappealing moment of the decade.
24. Neon Bible- Arcade Fire
This one really might be a bit harsh, but what is a good ‘worst of’ list without a bit of controversy. I really mentioned this song because I think it’s so far beneath the material on this stellar album. It manages to feel too long, even at only 2:10 and totally lacks any depth. On one of the biggest grower albums in recent years, it’s the only song that I actually liked more on the first listen than I do now.
25. Rain- Breaking Benjamin
Continuing a pattern on this list, this song makes it on this list by feeling contrived, formulaic, and corny. As far as corporate rock goes, I actually think that Breaking Benjamin is one of the better bands. Yet, this song is just the definition of a sappy corporate ballad, complete with the overdone rain sound effects and the solid lyrical foundation of a children’s rhyme.
New List: 03/27/11
- Top 100 Female Sung Songs of the 90s (100-76)
- Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1
- Top 100 Grunge Songs (100-76)
- Top 10 Rap/Hip-Hop Songs of December 2012
- Top 100 Pop-Punk Songs of Modern Rock (100-76)
- Top 20 90s Alternative Rock Bands
- Top 100 Female Sung Songs of the 90s (25-1)
- Top 100 Female Sung Songs of the 90s (75-51)