Some time back, I did an article on the five best songs of the 80’s. Off the back of that, I had two common requests come my way. One was for me to do a best 100 songs of the 80’s. While that would be fun, I really don’t have that kind of time on my hands at present. The other, which is more doable, is to talk about the worst five songs ever. So let’s.
I’ll do it in reverse order, so least bad first, building towards the worst song ever recorded.
5. “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” – Crash Test Dummies
No worst songs ever list would be complete without this little number. There is so much to dislike in this song – it is like a smorgasbord of shit. We’ll start with the lyrics. I’ll just quote them to either remind you, or to unfortunately bring them into your life:
“Once there was this kid who
Got into an accident and couldn’t come to school
But when he finally came back
His hair had turned from black into bright white
He said that it was from when
The car had him smashed so hard”
And bringing us conveniently to the next thing that makes this one of the worst records of all time, the above words sung in Brad Roberts’ unbelievably annoying baritone are so much worse than they read on the screen, if you can believe.
4. “Nothing Gonna Change My Love For You” – Glen Medeiros
I have ranted about this elsewhere, so I’ll give you the abridged version here: what cocaine would sound like if you could make it into a song. Maybe you think that would be a good thing. For the record, I do not.
3. “When the Children Cry” – White Lion
White Lion were a fifth-rank hair metal band in the 80’s. Everything you need to know about how bad hair metal ballads were, you need look no further than here. I won’t blame you if you can’t make it past the second chorus.
2. “Return to Innocence” – Enigma
I know this is a list of what I consider to be the worst songs ever made, and so what I’m about to type will come across as highly redundant to some. But I need to get it out of my system: I really, really, really, fucking hate this record. Passionately.
This is like an advert for the politically right-wing. Imagine if you will, putting a lifelong socialist into a room for an hour, with “Return to Innocence” blaring at head crushing volume, over and over again in a loop for the duration. He would come out asking how he could go about getting a membership for the Conservative Party. It is like self-parody this song, everything that the Left gets made of fun of for. Except you know it’s all being done earnestly because it’s so bloody po-faced.
The lyrics are New Age gobbledygook, but what makes you fully understand the song’s “Noble Savage” outlook is the fact that the chorus is a word-free, Native American chant. And just in case you though it was in any way a culturally correct artefact, the Native man ends the chorus with a hair metal worthy, “oh-oh-YEAH!”
It is remains one of the worst things ever produced by humankind. And in 1994, it was fucking everywhere; you couldn’t escape this piece of drivel without locking yourself in your flat 24/7.
1. “Seasons in the Sun” – Westlife
Nothing, in my opinion, comes close to touching this record’s orbit of terribleness – even “Return to Innocence” is nowhere near. This is the worst recording of all time by miles and miles.
It is a cover version of a song with a reputation as one of the worst tunes of the entire 1970’s (wrap your head around that for a second). Yet Westlife’s version makes the Terry Jacks 1973 version sound like the Beatles by comparison. At least Jacks version featured a solo vocal (the only way the lyrics make any sense at all, by the way) and was done in a straightforward manner suiting the very simple melody. Jacks also had a sort of childlike voice, which matched the material (while being terribly cloying at the same time, but you got the idea that that was sort of the point).
Westlife’s version has the five of them involved in a sort of singing battle, each one trying to oversing the song more horrifically than his fellow bandmates. The original had a bassline that, while calling it cool would be quite the overstatement, the synth-pad mush on this version will make you pine for it. The whole effect is almost metabolism changing in its repulsiveness.