Ever since Fred Allen started reading the lyrics of fifties rock songs as if they were poetry, there has been one immutable truth: most lyrics to pop music are stupid. But some, alas, are far, far stupider than others, and here are the ten we think define the bottom of the barrel…
10) Van Halen, Why Can’t This Be Love?
While Van Halen was never noted for its subtle poetry or clever wordplay, bar the careful tertza rima cantos of “Hot for Teacher”, they had some pretty stupid lyrics even by ’80s rock standards. Still, nothing can quite top “Why Can’t This Be Love?” with the classic line:
“Only time will tell if we stand the test of time.”
Also, tonight, Van Halen will rock you tonight.
9) Tom Jones, Thunderball
Bond themes can occasionally be amazing, like the surprisingly sweeping orchestral version of You Only Live Twice, but more often, they’re pretty much pre-packaged singles to tie into the movie. But Thunderball takes the crown as the quickest rush job, with this gem of a lyric, dragged out for quite a while:
“His fight goes on, and on, and on”
We’re sure it does, Tom. We’re sure it does. And each lyric ends with:
“And he STRIKES! Like Thunderball!”
It’s really a credit to Jones that he can sell this as well as he can. Seriously. His voice is so amazing you don’t notice how stupid the lyrics are until you hear it the second time.
8) Nazareth, Love Hurts
You’ve got to feel bad for Nazareth, because they had one huge hit, Love Hurts, and it’s retarded. No, seriously. It’s idiotic. How idiotic?
“Love is like a flame/it burns you when it’s hot”
For the record, they aren’t to blame for this; this was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, and has been making singers ranging from the Everly Brothers to Emmylou Harris look stupid since 1960. Still, nobody looked at that?
7) Sonny and Cher, The Beat Goes On
Again, we’re not talking about towering intellectual titans here, but there are moments where you wonder if you’re hearing this correctly:
“The grocery stores, the super mart, uh huh/ Little girls still break their hearts, uh huh’ And men still keep on marching off to war/ Electrically they keep a baseball score”
Right…OK…two out of four lines make sense. We think.
6) Hinder, Better Than Me
OK, so far we’ve had two stupid love analogies, lyrics that are utterly random, and blatant padding. Let’s bring the creepy, with Hinder and that classic romantic line:
“I love the way your innocence tastes.”
We hear Chris Matthews is a fan.
5) Billy Squier, The Stroke
Granted, expecting lyrics of grace and class from a guy who wrote a song with the chorus “Stroke me, stroke me!” backed up by a bunch of guys yelling “Stroke!”, which we’re sure was absolutely not supposed to evoke a gay orgy, but kinda does anyway, is pointless. But figure this one.
“Spread your ear pollution, both far and wide.”
What is this? Cockney rhyming slang?
4) Sade, Smooth Operator
We know what you’re thinking: there are no lyrics to Smooth Operator, just “Smooth Operator” repeated over and over again. We were as surprised as you to learn that there are, in fact, other lyrics to the song. Then again, with lines like:
“Coast to coast
LA to Chicago”
You can’t really blame yourself for forgetting they existed.
3) Kiss, Burn Bitch Burn
OK, so we’ve had some bad love song analogies, and some Uncle Creepy lyrics, and now it’s time to combine the two. Ladies and gentlemen, Paul Stanley:
“I want to put my log in your fireplace.”
This might be his roundabout way of admitting that the burning sensation Kiss groupies feel would be his fault. But somehow, we suspect he was sincere. Well, at least he has his art. No, seriously. He’s an artist, and it’s almost as good as his lyrics work.
2) Eminem, Ass Like That
“I ain’t never seen
An ass like that
The way you move it
You make my pee-pee go
Did you know that rap lyrics are written by Indonesian children in sweatshops? It’s true! You don’t think a respected rapper actually wrote a song about his pee-pee, do you?
1) LFO, Summer Girls
OK, so picking on a boy band for retarded lyrics is a bit like picking on Prince for being insane. It’s not their fault, they genuinely can’t help it. Still, we’ve got to wonder why this song was ever a hit, because this is the chorus:
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,
I’d take her if I had one wish,
But she’s been gone since that summer..
Since that summer
We’re still trying to figure out what the hell the first two lines have to do, and what’s utterly baffling is the song is full of non-sequiturs like this. Lines like “Hip hop marmalade spic and span”, “the great Larry Bird jersey 33″, “Call me Willy Whistle ’cause I can’t speak baby”, “Macaulay Culkin wasn’t Home Alone” are all over this song. In fact, all of those are from one verse. In fact, they’re all from the first verse!
Congratulations, LFO: you sang the worst lyrics of all time. Kill your songwriter in celebration. Please.
Any we missed? Tell us in the comments!