Anything worth talking about, is worth blogging about

Best and Worst Songs

Over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars there is a long comment thread about the Worst Song Ever Made.

Now, there is much music I don’t like. I don’t like country, and don’t really care for opera, which you would probably find surprising if you knew which songs in school band I liked the best. With a few exceptions, I really, really dislike rap and hip–hop.

The songs I listed at Dispatches, plus some additions (in no particular order and not an exhaustive list):

  • “Drift Away” by Uncle Kracker: This is cover, but I’ve never heard any other version, so I can’t comment on them. However, it would be hard to be worse than this version.
  • “Big Yellow Taxi”, especially the Counting Crows f. Vanessa Carlton version: I know I’ll probably be attacked for picking this one, but I won’t back down. Does a cover of an awful song qualify as being one of the worst covers or not?
  • “Who Will Save Your Soul” by Jewel: Isn’t it amazing that the author of one of the best love songs ever also wrote this appalling drivel?
  • “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes: I used to really like this song. It made me think of someone climbing a mountain, with the climax of this song coming on as soon as they reach their destination. Since then, this song has gone downhill with me.
  • “I Want Your Sex” by George Michael: The title says enough about this.
  • “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera: Pure, unadulterated gimmickry.

Besides the above, I really can’t stand Mariah Carey’s recent (post–Daydream) stuff. Her old school music is like a million, million times better than her newer songs. The old and the new Mariah Carey might as well be different people. I miss the old Mariah Carey.

At the Dispatches thread, “Foster Disbelief” mentioned “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette. Now, I have a copy of Jagged Little Pill, and while not the best song on the album (that award is a toss–up between “All I Really Want” and “Head Over Feet”), it is nowhere near the worst song. And to quibble, a song you expect to be ironic, but isn’t, clearly is the opposite of what you expect;)

As for the best popular music–type songs (some of my picks), those are after the jump.

In no particular order, chosen because I’m allowed to embed the video:

  • “Always Be My Baby” by (the old) Mariah Carey: This is one of the best love songs ever.
  • “Surrounded” by Chantal Kreviazuk: Chantal Kreviazuk is one of my favourite singers. Being Canadian, she does not get much attention in the states. My American readers, you just don’t know what you’re missing.
  • “All I Wanted” by Michelle Branch: Another really really good song.

My (tiny number of) readers, you can consider this an open thread.


Comments on: "Best and Worst Songs" (11)

  1. Well, after your last post, I suspected you were a bigot. Now, I’m sure.

    Now, I’m not going to write a novel explaining how your article is bigoted. I’ve already written two articles of my own. Yeah. I wrote one a long time ago, and then forgot I had proven my point, and made it again with a new article a few months ago.

    Posted last December:

    Posted last June:

    Now, I don’t expect you to even read those articles, let alone admit you’re wrong. Bigots never do.

  2. In addition, there are various traits or characteristics that are typical of particular genre of music. Some examples:

    In rock music, there is a backbeat done by the rhythm section. The melody usually has syncopations, and power chords are common. The voicing and inversions (if any) of the harmony may be freely chosen by the performer.

    In classical music, the instrumentation is of those typically found in an orchestra, plus piano, harpsichord, and organ. Chord progression usually follow special rules, key changes are common (and even required). There is almost always no improvisation (especially since the start of the classical music era) and instead a focus on written music. Most forms involve a section that repeats or reappears (possibly varied), alternating with one or more contrasting sections.

    You can come up with similar lists for other musical genres.

    If the characteristics of a certain genre of music don’t appeal to you, it is entirely permissible to go from disliking the characteristics of that genre to disliking that genre.

  3. Someone didn’t read the articles I linked.

  4. Here’s what I hear:

    “In addition, there are various traits or characteristics that are typical of particular race of person. Some examples:

    In black people, there is a common problem of high crime rates. The class usually is poor, and grammar issues are common.

    In hispanic people, the occupation is of those typically found in a Mexican restaurant, lawn care job, or home cleaning. (continued bigoted diatribe).

    You can come up with similar lists for other races of people.

    If the characteristics of a certain genre of music don’t appeal to you, it is entirely permissible to go from disliking the characteristics of that race to disliking that race.”

    Yeah. How is that NOT bigoted?

  5. An epic FAIL on your part. Last time I checked, people have free will. Music genres don’t.

  6. In addition the characteristics (really stereotypes) you mentioned are mutable. If you say, cease to be a lawn carer, you would change careers, but you would not change races/ethnicity/etc. However, if you changed the characteristics of a piece of music (say, the first set of those I listed into the second set), you would have the same melody, but in a different genre.

    Also, I did read your. For example, if you combine improvisation with chance music considering each (say) diatonic pitch class individually you could well end up with a musician randomly stringing notes together. And it would be music, but without a pattern (since the notes are chosen randomly).

  7. The “characteristics” you mentioned are really stereotypes. That was my point. I was converting your words into equal terms of race to show you how bigoted you were being. And, as I expected, you didn’t miss a beat. You proved the old MAD Magazine comic, “You Can’t Win With A Bigot” true. You made excuses and shifted the goalposts. Just because music doesn’t have feelings doesn’t mean you can’t be prejudiced against it. You’re a genrist. Admit it to yourself, and you can overcome it. But, you never will, will you? Of course not. Bigots never do.

    You may be wondering why Ankh never showed up. Well, when I told him you were being a bigot again, he too said he didn’t like country music. So, I sent him a country song he liked, and he called it rock and roll. That’s what a bigot does. They make it up in their mind that they don’t like a group and, when they get proven wrong, they figure out an exception for the example. Well, it was country as defined by the artist, but he redefined it in his mind to conform to his existing prejudices. Then he justified it by saying genre is defined by the listener. Well, let’s just say he’s right for the sake of argument. Then there are only TWO genres. Good music and bad music.

    Let’s say I didn’t like black people. Let’s say I met Barack Obama and liked him. Then, I said, “Well, he’s not really a black guy. He’s white with a few black influences.” Well, that’s the same shit Ankh pulled.

    Genre has been proven, time and time again, to be a bullshit concept that serves no benefit to the music world, yet genrists still keep it around to discriminate against music.

  8. How is music divided into genres? Basically, works in the same genre share critical similarities and share critical differences against works not in said genre. In other words, the more alike stylistically two works are, the more likely they are to be in the same musical genre.

    One cannot claim that genres don’t exist while still recognizing that some musical works share critical features with others and critical differences from others. To do so is to implicitly divide music into genres while at the same time being in denial about what you’re doing. Hence, the only way to reject the existence of musical genres is to consider every musical work equally similar to and equally different from every other musical work.

    Listen to this song, this song, this song, and lastly this Mozart overture. Consider the first three given examples. Clearly, “A Thousand Miles” and “Time” are more similar to each other than either is to “Don’t Let It Go To Your Head”. And almost everyone would say that the first three are more alike than the Mozart overture. But since you deny the existence of musical genres, you obviously think that all four works are equally alike and equally different.

    I’d like to ask you to abandon your ridiculous position that me accepting the existence of musical genres makes one a bigot. If you don’t apologize for calling me a bigot and disown your previous comments where you called me a bigot because I accept the existence of musical genres, then I will bring the hammer down and ban you (all avatars). You have three days or your next comment on this thread, whichever comes first. And yes, I am serious.

  9. Once I read this, “the more alike stylistically two works are, the more likely they are to be in the same musical genre,” I realised I didn’t have to read further because I have already repeatedly and conclusively proven this statement to be false.

    Oh, and I just saw your last statement. It reminds me of those politicians who don’t like being called a bigot for hating gays. And believe me, THEY don’t think they’re bigots either. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to apologise for calling you what you are. If you want to ban me because you can’t handle your prejudices being shoved in your face, that proves nothing more than your own immaturity.

    Being someone who has experienced the downsides of prejudice, you should know better than to have it yourself. So, ban me if it lets you live in your own little world. You’re only hurting yourself.

  10. I’m overdue saying this, but still, it’s goodbye to you until you apologize and disown as indicated above.

  11. […] not really going to revise my list of worst songs. Earlier this year, I remember thinking that one of the biggest recent songs, “All About That […]

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