Soulja Boy, Limp Bizkit top our list of five worst songs of the 00s
The process of drawing up this list made me nostalgic for the carefree, go-go 1990s, a time when you couldn't flip innocently through the FM pre-sets in your pimped-out Acura Legend without stumbling upon two or three horrible songs. Remember "Detachable Penis"? Remember "Steal My Sunshine"? Remember how Geggy Tah had that one -- just the one -- song about wanting thank a stranger for allowing the singer to change lanes, when he was driving in his car? Remember Snow, aka the Informer? Shabba Ranks? Fatboy Slim? White Town? I'd ask if you remembered Whale, LFO, or 311, but if you had to live through their respective reigns of terror, chances are you're still trying to forget.
In any event, that was then, and this is now: the end of a decade where flat-out dumb-fun pop songs were in very short supply. Maybe terrorism was the culprit; maybe the economy was to blame. Best to leave the "why" to future cultural historians, and get on with the business of singling out the past decade's least defensible, most insufferable tunes. By-and-large, I avoided easy targets, so the likes of Britney Spears, K-Fed, the Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Shakira, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Lil Jon all get a pass -- this time.
1. Soulja Boy "Crank Dat"
I don't even know where to begin with this one. The largely mush mouthed "rapping"? (Don't give me any "you don't understand, it's Southern rap" claptrap either, okay? Because you know what? Gucci Mane is way easier to grok than Soulja Boy is -- which is saying something.) The fact that the massive popularity of this song helped to catapult the colloquialism "Superman that hoe" into the public lexicon? That "Crank Dat" was part of a wave of rap hits that came shrinkwrapped with gimmicky snap dances? (Don't believe me? Go to Youtube. There are 56,900 results for "Crank Dat" alone.) The insipid chorus? The incessant interior self-branding? The sense that you lost a few hundred brain cells each time you heard it?
2. Daniel Powter "Bad Day"
Did you ever see that series of Snicker commercials where someone would be alone, unwrapping a Snickers bar, and then this friendly square with an acoustic guitar in a cheap suit would appear out of nowhere, and he'd say "Would you mind if I helped you enjoy that Snickers?" Then the Snickers eater would acquiese, and then the interloper would sit down and play this incredibly awkward song about what comprises a Snickers bar, and how satisfying it tastes, and so on, while the eater nodded along. And you, sitting at home, would turn to whoever was sitting with you and scrunch up your face, and say "That was really weird." In case you were living in a cave or boycotting American Idol while Daniel Powter was enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame, "Bad Day" was about a thousand times worse and infinitely less fun, a manipulatively melancholic office-schlub empowerment anthem that should've been repurposed as a Gitmo torture device.
Behold, the dark side of the celebutantes-run-rampant culture the past decade enabled and greedily fed upon: sometimes, spectators escalate into stalkers, and stalkers graduate to kidnapping, and worse. Okay, okay: quantitatively, "Eat You Alive" and its video treatment are really more disturbing than actually outright terrible, but mainstream rock didn't get much creepier this decade.
4. Lil Wayne "Prom Queen"
The conventional wisdom concerning Weezy's eternally delayed Rebirth is that it will brick, brick hard, and brick deservedly, that a Lil Wayne rock album is an inherently dumb idea that's doomed to failure. While I respectfully disagree with the masses - call me a hopeless optimist - "Prom Queen" blows. Not because of the grinding guitars. Not because there's a choir at the end. What sinks "Prom Queen" for me, what helps usher it into the dubious club of dumber-than-dumb would-be hits, is that it isn't even remotely based in fact: it's Lil Wayne ganking the emo/punk loser-wins scenario - the tried-and-true popular-girl-didn't-want-me-but-now-I'm-famous-and-she's-nothing story - and importing it into the rap sphere wholesale, appropriating a narrative trope that's older than dirt. Also: Lil Wayne dropped out of school at the age of 14, so he could become a Hot Boy. So it's likely that nothing in this song is even remotely true, which, for reasons I'm still figuring out, bothers me more than all those rappers who brag about importing and distributing mass quantities of coke even though they're supposedly famous now and getting dome/brain/head from lovely dames in late model sedans no-one in the audience will ever be able to afford.
5. Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mýa, and Pink "Lady Marmalade"
Heaven help us all.
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