The Clueless Wings of Poesy: BBC6’s worst pop song lyrics ever

5 05 2007

BBC6 has been polling it’s listeners on the worst song lyrics in popular music. The top 5 are:

  1. Des’ree – Life
    I don’t want to see a ghost,
    It’s the sight that I fear most,
    I’d rather have a piece of toast,
    Watch the evening news.
  2. Snap – Rhythm Is A Dancer
    I’m as serious as cancer,
    When I say Rhythm is a Dancer.
  3. Razorlight – Somewhere Else
    And I met a girl,
    she asked me my name,
    I told her what it was.
  4. ABC – That Was Then But This Is Now
    More Sacrifices than an Aztec priest,
    Standing here straining at that leash,
    All fall down,
    Can’t complain, mustn’t grumble,
    Help yourself to another piece of apple crumble
  5. U2 – Elevation
    I’ve got no self control,
    Been living like a mole now,
    Going down, excavation,
    High and high in the sky,
    You make me feel like I can fly,
    So high,
    Elevation

Other songs containing some (in the opinion of BBC6 listeners) atrocious lyrics to make the top ten include Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova”(#7), Toto’s “Africa”(#6) and Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” (#10):

Certainly these lyrics are pretty bad, but are they really the worst out there? Surely there must be a Bulwer-Lytton or Eye of Argon out there that tops BBC6’s candidates for crimes against poesy?

What would I choose? It’s actually more difficult than it seems, partly because the criteria is limited to hit singles (and I don’t really pay attention to the kind of music that gets played on Video Hits or Nova), and partly because a lot of silly lyrics are probably deliberately so. Take this nonsequitous example from Beck’s 1996 hit “Where It’s At:”

Bottles and cans and just clap your hands/and just clap your hands.

Or these lines from Eskimo Joe’s “Ruby Wednesday:”

I met a girl who would travel the world for free/She told me her phone number, told me to call her at 3/She had a Gran who she liked to call Nan sometimes/That was a lie but I sung it because it rhymes

Maybe it only counts once a band starts taking itself seriously. “Ruby Wednesday” dates from a time when the only successful Perth band was Jebediah. Now that Eskimo Joe are as dominant in the contemporary Australian popular music scene as INXS were in 80s, they’re opening singles with lyrics like this:

Sarah/Won’t you tell me your name?

Um . . . what would be the point of that? I’ve always thought the following lyrics from Silverchair’s “Tomorrow” to be fairly terrible:

Won’t you come with me to a place in a little town/The only way to get there is to go straight down/There’s no bathroom and there is no sink/The water out of the tap is very hard to drink/Very hard to drink

Then again, who doesn’t write bad poetry at age 15?

If you like bizarre lyrics, Smashing Pumpkins albums never fail to satisfy. Adore‘s “Annie Dog” contains the lyrics: “She wants clean sheets/And fresh flowers/And dental shots/And the Hong Kong glue.” What. The. Fuck? Of their hit singles, however, you can’t go past the following from “Thirty Three:”

The Earth laughs beneath my heavy feet/At the blasphemy in my old jangly walk

Could Billy Corgan be the Jim Theis of popular music?

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