The worst rock/pop lyrics of all time: 20-11
Join us as we go further down the rabbit hole of cringe-worthy rock lyrics, making our way through an underselling David Lee Roth, a culture war waged by Avril Lavigne, a melodramatic suicide note from Blink 182, some lumpy Black Eyed Peas and Chinese food that makes LFO sick, while Bob Dylan and the Newsboys battle it out for shittiest Christian Rock one liners. So lower your bars of expectation, the Bee Gees are about to find out how deep your love is, and it's going to be a bumpy ride.
20. Van Halen - "Jump"
"I ain't the worst that you've seen/Oh can't you see what I mean/Might as well jump/Jump!/Might as well jump"
Oh, Diamond Dave, why is it that you can sell yourself as the sexiest narcissist on the planet when you hump the camera lens and perform slow motion jump-kicks during the video for this song, and yet the best pitch you have for the girl of your fancy is: "I ain't the worst that you've seen." And you follow this up with the thrilling recommendation that she "jump!" Sounds more like a Samuel Beckett play than a coke-rocking-orgy. Come on, you're David Lee FUCKING Roth. Shouldn't you insist that she have her clothes ripped off by rabid monkeys while wearing a gas mask and chained to the brick-wall of your sound-proof love dungeon while you sing show-tunes and swing an enema bag over your head?
19. Avril Lavigne - "Complicated"
"You see you're making me laugh out/When you strike your pose/Take off all your preppy clothes/You know you're not fooling anyone"
There's nothing worse than a Hot Topic suburban-goth calling another kid inauthentic. This mall-punk tribute to dressing one way and not another embodies everything that is horrible about being a teenager. The poor kid she's singing to could've just as easily been a conformist, sporting green-hair, in Dickies shorts with a chain wallet, while macking on Avril Lavigne at Orange Julius, and now that he shops at American Eagle and publicly hates NOFX, he's actually being himself.
18. Kansas - "Dust In The Wind"
"I close my eyes/Only for a moment/And the moment's gone/All my dreams pass before my eyes/A curiosity/Dust in the wind/All they are is dust in the wind"
First off, I think this video qualifies as the ultimate ambassador of the 1970s. The lyrics are also a pretty legit example of what happens when you combine too much coke and too little creative integrity. Unless you've got a blood and blow smeared nose while rocking out on a waterbed below a disco ball, this song doesn't come close to sounding as epic as it intends to be.
17. Blink 182 - "Adam's Song"
"I took my time/I hurried up/The choice was mine/I didn't think enough/I'm too depressed to go on/You'll be sorry when I'm gone"
These lines could've been plucked out of the diary of pretty much any teenager growing up in the '90s, for more reasons than just the Nirvana plagiarism. This song was intended to be the thoughtful, more prescient side of Blink 182 -- but it's probably the most juvenile set of lyrics the band has ever composed, sounding more like a whiny threat shouted at your mother when she wont let you go to the Dashboard Confessional show on a school night.
16. Black Eyed Peas - "My Humps"
I'ma get, get, get, get, you drunk/Get you love drunk off my hump/My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump/My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps"
Describing your body as covered in "lumps" does not get me love drunk -- it makes me want to get you a mammogram. Why don't you just tell me your ass is filled with spoiled gravy and your breasts are made of voodoo shrunken heads?
15. LFO - "Summer Girls"
"New Kids On The Block had a bunch of hits/Chinese food makes me sick/And I think it's fly when girls stop by/For the summer, for the summer/I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch"
During the peak years of the Vans Warped Tour, being able to write clever dick and fart jokes with pop-culture references was an enviable talent. But LFO skipped right over the clever part and went straight for mainstream silliness. With it's synthetically chilled out vibe and surreal one-liners, this song was an unwelcome guest on the record player of my mind back in 1999, trying desperately trying to fit in with the genuine punk songs that rotated in there, but always getting it's ass kicked.
14. Newsboys - "Breakfast"
"When the toast is burned/And all the milk has turned/And Captain Crunch is waving farewell/When the big one finds you/May this song remind you/That they don't serve breakfast in Hell"
Oh Jesus, what can be said of this? An evangelical message of salvation vs. damnation couched inside a grocery store consumerism -- I didn't think it was possible, but this 1996 Christian rock hit lowered the bar on the genre's ability to produce unique and worthwhile songs.
13. Color Me Badd - "I Wanna Sex You Up"
"Girl you make me feel real good/We can do it 'til we both wake up . . . I wanna sex you up/All night/You make me feel real good/I wanna rub you down"
Believe it or not, about 2.5 million people bought this single in 1991, defying logic in suggesting that the pickup line "I wanna sex you up" could actually be arousing, instead of inducing the need for a shower. But this is '90s white-boy R&B at its zenith, and where would we be without it? That's right, we wouldn't have "Dick In A Box."
12.Bob Dylan - "You Gotta Serve Somebody"
"You may be an ambassador to England or France . . . But you're gonna have to serve somebody/Yes indeed/You're gonna have to serve somebody/Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord/But you're gonna have to serve somebody"
To be honest, I never thought of being the ambassador to England or France as the last word in demigod celebrity. But that's not the point. This is the quintessential Born-Again-Bob song, his rapture believing, scripture quoting, spookily sad and tranquil era -- a clear distancing from his former identity as a independent minstrel. This is the same guy who, while being awarded by the Civil Liberties Committee, got blind drunk and gave a speech saying he related to Lee Harvey Oswald -- three weeks after JFK was shot. Dylan practically inspired a generation of kids to drop out of school, smoke dope, listen to records and "draw conclusions on the wall." And then suddenly he's cultish ghoul telling us to serve a man in the sky.
11.Bee Gees - "How Deep Is Your Love"
"I believe in you/You know the door to my very soul . . . How deep is your love/How deep is your love/I really need to learn . . . We belong to you and me"
I'm sorry, but if you are English, you should know how to speak it. Not only is this one of the most embarrassing songs of the '70s, but it sounds like a humorous attempt at learning a second language. Is Barry Gibb saying this girl "knows" the actual "door" to his soul? Not the location of the door, or the key to it, or even his soul itself, just the door. Forget about how deep her love is, one thing you "really need to learn" is how to write a metaphor.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.