Top 10 worst Minnesota songs
For all of the impressive songsmiths penning grand lyrics and melodies inspired by our fair Minnesota, there are nearly as many embarrassing clunkers doing our state no justice whatsoever. Maybe Michelle Bachmann likes 'em, but we sure don't. Here are the ten most atrocious songs ever concocted about Minnesota. --Reed Fischer
10. "Wasting Time" - Kid Rock
This rap-country nightmare unfolding to the tune of (no joke) Guns 'N Roses' "Paradise City" is more disturbing than a Dario Argento film. The lyrics here -- like most of his songs, really -- paint Kid Rock to be a drunken, drug-addled pimp who's leading a life of supposed leisure, sleeping in dumpsters and getting high with kings, or something like that. At one point, Mr. Rock proclaims "But I got more time than Morris Day" -- a ham-fisted reference to one of the hardest-working men to ever grace a stage. Everyone has the same 24 hours to work with, dude. A better use of Rock's extra time on his hands would've been to improve this song far beyond the gargantuan suckfest that it is. --Pat O'Brien
9. "It Can't Happen Here" - The Mothers of Invention
Otherwise known as, "The Muppets Do Free Jazz," this song from Frank Zappa's debut album sounds just a little more than dated, now 45 years removed from its release. Of course, the reference to our fair state -- "Who could imagine that they would freak out in Minnesota?" -- clearly singles us out for the perceived mundanity of the Midwest. This is perhaps understandable given all of our deeply suppressed murderous tendencies. (Then again, the Manson murders happened just a few years after "It Can't Happen Here" was released, so there's that too.) But what's worst about this song is that its artiness comes off like a '50s B-movie, an ample reminder of who Zappa's core constituency has always been, "Joe's Garage" and all: jam band fans who know they really ought to like Captain Beefheart, but can't commit. --Jeff Gage
8. "The Fans" - Alabama
When bands start to wane, many of them enter an incessant pandering phase and essentially rewrite the same song ad nauseum in an attempt to keep the life support from getting unplugged. For the most part, Alabama can be commended for not doing that. Until "The Fans." The comical disconnect between the lyrics about places they've visited over the years and the crawling tempo, ideal for making out with your better half, is jarring at best, creepily unsettling at worst. "Played the fair in Minnesota, I wish we could have played one more, " sings Randy Owen. Odd, since it seems like they play the Grandstand every year. With material this bad, we're not sure anyone cares if they just roll on through our state without so much as tapping the brakes. --Pat O'Brien
7. "Outta Town Shit" - Ghostface Killah
Ghostface Killah is one of the greatest storytellers in hip-hop history. From the tear-jerker childhood poverty recollections of "All That I Got Is You" to the post-traumatic shellshock of "Walk Around." So it's not his fault that More Fish standout "Outta Town Shit" takes a turn for the goofy at the end. In fact, his verse about a run of dice-game good luck interrupted by guns-drawn mayhem is another example of his "did you just see that" intensity pulling you collar-first into the story with him. But then the tacked-on fake newscast at the end shoves you right back out: Ghost placed that verse in the general confines of Minnesota, but the anchor helpfully clarifies exactly where the confrontation happened: downtown Minnesota. Oh yeah, that neighborhood -- one of the toughest in the entire state of Minneapolis. --Nate Patrin
6. "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota" - Weird Al Yankovic
Even comedic treasures like Weird Al Yankovic screw up sometimes. Though we know he has an affinity for our state and its many landmarks, Al didn't need to devote nearly seven dreary minutes to a song about voyaging to see a twine ball in Darwin, Minnesota. Set to mimic an equally annoying song by Harry "Cats in the Cradle" Chapin called "30,000 Pounds of Bananas," this is a bore of a tale -- with some suspiciously long vowels -- that weighs down an otherwise stellar soundtrack to his feature film, UHF. Stupid! You're so stupid! --Reed Fischer
5. "Baking Soda in Minnesota" - Andre Nickatina
There are so many things wrong with "Baking Soda In Minnesota," but, for the purposes of this list, let's just focus on the weak, out-of-rhythm chorus repeated throughout this tepid track. "We got baking soda, all the way down in Minnesota. We got baking soda, down in Minnesota" is bad enough to prompt a little Arm & Hammer-style beatdown. But for an MC out of San Francisco, how exactly is Minnesota down from where he's at? Geography obviously isn't Andre Nickatina's thing, but neither is rhyming, which is a crucial mistake for any MC -- which explains why he hasn't made any major waves in the rap game. Rhyming soda with 'Sota is about as cool as chillin' on the 12th floor of a Marriott, Andre. --Erik Thompson
4. "The Replacements" - Art Brut
The Replacements picked up a little deserved cred around this time last year with the release of the documentary Color Me Impressed. More than anything else, it demonstrated how Minneapolis' dearest rock 'n' roll band captured the hearts of fans -- oftentimes on a first impression.
A more auspicious tribute came two years earlier on the third album by British pop punk group Art Brut. "The Replacements" celebrates the discovery of our favorite band, but it's a little unclear whether the 'Mats are being mocked or not.
"I hope I've finally found a band that's not going to let me down," sings Eddie Argos, who must have not discovered Don't Tell a Soul yet. One thing that's for sure is that he'd already discovered Falco before he heard the Replacements.
The Replacements have always been a band you had to work your ass off to love. Their records are hard to find, and magnificently unpredictable. The irony of "The Replacements" is that a band that chose to call itself Art Brut's tribute to the all-to-memorable 'Mats is a piece of rote, packaged garbage. --Dave Hoenack
3. "God Bless the USA" - Lee Greenwood
While the nation needed plenty of help healing after the horrific events of 9/11, the saccharine, over-the-top flag-waving of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" seemed to go a bit too far in forever linking itself with that fateful day. While the sentiments are a clear rallying cry to a country deep in mourning, with enough time and distance, the lyrics themselves now sound as jingoistic and impetuous as "Mission Accomplished." And having to sit through this song during countless baseball games in the year following the tragedy was a bit much. Give us our sterling National Anthem or "God Bless America," and save this overly sentimental number (with its unoriginal "From the lakes of Minnesota" line) for the honky-tonk bars and karaoke clubs. --Erik Thompson
2. "Twin Cities" - Everything But the Girl
Stray dogs? Local farmers? Where the fuck were they staying? My dog and I have been given a ticket for playing fetch off leash in our local park, and the closest I come to a farmer on a weekday is the family that drops off CSA boxes at the café next door. And what touring band stays somewhere that they run into stray dogs and local farmers? It's nice that pop duo Everything But the Girl found the experience inspirational, but their booking agent must hate them. Maybe this is why they never toured again. Still, there's a sweet sentiment at the center of "Twin Cities," even if it makes no specific geographic reference, except to prove they learned the names. After all, you know somebody didn't spend a lot of time here when they describe our hometown as "pretty as an ocean in the night" and you know that anybody who sees the Twin Cities as a symbol of humanity's potential harmony didn't ask a Minneapolitan for directions to anywhere within the borders of our neighbor to the east. --Dave Hoenack
1. "Outshined" - Soundgarden
No doubt, grunge alums everywhere will be up in arms over the inclusion of this song. But seriously, we all know why this song is here. After all, what the hell is "I'm looking California, but feeling Minnesota" even supposed to mean? Actually, we'll tell you what it means: it means two decades of dealing with a serious inferiority complex and a lifetime of Kevin Garnett jokes -- not to mention a movie that no one would ever admit to seeing without an ulterior motive. Of course, this is also Soundgarden, which means some hilariously sludgy riffing and oh-so-parody-worthy vocals from one of grunge's true masters of mush-mouthed hysterics, Chris Cornell. So yeah, take that, jerks! --Jeff Gage
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