If you’ve read our previous article about earworms and annoying pop songs, you’d know that they have been around for many decades. Just in case you need a little reminder of more songs you just love to hate, we’ve put together another list of things you wish had never hit the radio.
“Somebody That I Used to Know”
The year was 2011 or maybe 2012 — it's hard to tell. Everybody knew this song, everybody was humming it, but nobody seemed to actually like it. Soft, murmured vocals and a xylophone riff of all things got caught in the ears, and the memorable music video made for some memorable memes.
But Before too long this one-hit-wonder fell back under the waves. Playing a song for weeks on end on every station tends to get people sick of it.
Foster the People
“Pumped Up Kicks”
Thanks to the cheerful, poppy sound, this song got tons of play over the airwaves, but the subject of the song is anything but cheerful. Of course, it's a pop song, so people weren't really listening to the lyrics — meaning people heard it ad nauseam if they listened to the radio at the time.
If you were a fan of the music, you could ignore the lyrics for a while, but if you disliked it — as many did — there was no stopping the ire that would flow forth.
Mark it: this song, in particular, is going to be relegated to guilty pleasure status at best, “how did I ever like this track” status at worst.
With vocals that sound like they've been strained through a pasta press and a chorus that tops out at five whole words repeated in several ways, this song jumped to the top of the charts. Somehow. People are starting to come around to the fact that the band is overproduced and artistically lacking. The song “Thunder” features the word thunder almost seventy-five times.
“Party All the Time”
We got this song thanks to a $100,000 bet between Murphy and Richard Pryor about whether or not Murphy had singing talent. As the lead single for Murphy's one and only musical album “How Could It Be,” this song managed to chart off the Murphy name alone.
One reviewer called it “Gumbo goes disco.” Murphy has proved he can be funny in almost any capacity, but a singer he is not. Combining funk with synth-pop had a brief moment of popularity, but then people realized it just didn't work out.
The Hues Corporation
“Rock the Boat”
This disco ditty originally got very little airplay, and there are lots of people that would have preferred it stayed that way. It wasn't until it started getting played in New York disco clubs that it made its way to the radio for all to hear.
A lot of people can point to it and say it got the disco ball rolling. So we have them to thank. If you aren't a fan of the anemic disco sound — and there are few these days who are — you won't even be giving this song the time of day.
Steve Miller Band
So goofy and laughable it could be a novelty song, this legendary track by Steve Miller and his band makes people roll their eyes even if they do end up singing along.
It uses a wolf whistle and a slide guitar, for Pete's sake. And if anybody ever says to you “really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree,” you should legally be allowed to give them a wedgie. This song might speak of the pompatus of love, but that doesn't mean anybody wants to hear it.
“Don't Worry, Be Happy”
No doubt you've hummed this song to yourself during a day out in the sun. Or, maybe you were trying to cheer yourself up. It's not a bad tune, but there are lots of people out there who aren't interested in hearing it ever again.
The appalling and surface-level lyrics have been attacked, as well as the meandering music that never really goes anywhere other than the main refrain. People have called it the worst song of all time. Harsh. But fair.
USA for Africa
“We Are the World”
Is it fair putting a charity single on this list? If you've heard it, then yes. Raising tens of millions of dollars for Africa is laudable, but it's not like the song does anything special other than collecting oodles of celebrities.
Anyway, the song itself sounds like a Pepsi jingle. Some reviewers called it self-indulgent — most of these people were singing about people they will never encounter.
Depending on your age, you might not be familiar with this one. If you ask someone who does know about it, they're probably going to bury their face in their hands. Check out the video for this one — it shouldn't be missed.
We're not going to ask you to watch it more than once, because you wouldn't anyway. Would you believe this song came out in 1989? Novelty songs might not have a long shelf life, but this song was voted to be the worst song OF ALL TIME by music writers and experts in 2003.
“You Raise Me Up”
What could have come straight from the depths of the driest, most boring contemporary Christian music scene, “You Raise Me Up” was schmaltzy from the very first piano note. Throw in what sounds like bagpipes, a gospel choir, and plenty of smoldering looks from the band, and you have a song that is going to be derided.
Despite the song's “uplifting” message, that's exactly what happened. Even by the time you get to the end of this song, you're going to be rolling your eyes.
He just wants to know if you’ll be his girl! He wants to know so badly that it’s just about the only thing he can ask.
The beat has just enough intricacies, including a little bit of south-of-the-border flair, that it’s listenable, but hear it more than once and you’ll start to wonder if the only thing DJ Otzi can say with any kind of conviction is “Can you be my girl?” Well, if you know, you know. And we all know that we’re sick of this repetitive song.
“I Will Always Love You”
No, we aren’t saying this song isn’t great. It is! For the most part. Thing is, there are lots of songs on this list that are actually great, but if the most wonderful sound in existence plays on radios too much, people will still get sick of them.
Such is the case with “I Will Always Love You” by the irreplaceable Whitney Houston. There are plenty of people out there who, despite loving it, would be happy if they didn’t hear it for a while.
“Take My Breath Away”
Written for the 1986 blockbuster hit “Top Gun,” “Take My Breath Away” is a schmaltzy ballad that made its way to the top of the charts thanks to the power of the movie. Buoyed by that airplay, it won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Globe for the same, both in 1986.
The song is undeniably catchy, but when you sit down and think about them, the lyrics just don’t make any sense. Brace yourself for the film's reboot if you’re sick of this song.
Earworms might get much playtime, but they usually aren't all that beloved. Nevertheless, when a one-time real estate agent named Peter Andre hired a Jamaican rapper to help with the song “Mysterious Girl,” they knew they had a real hit on their hands.
The sounds conjured up beaches and palm trees, but critics found the song somewhat derivative. It got plenty of play and people liked it, but the reggae sound was left behind as tastes changed. Good luck hearing it on the radio nowadays.
“Mr. Lonely” was the first international hit for Senegalese-American singer and rapper Akon. It was popular in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and France.
Lots of people loved it, but some thought it would get dear, departed Bob Marley spinning in his grave. The lyrics are syrupy, the voice modulation is tacky, and the accent that Akon uses doesn't sound all that natural. There were many that thought this was an unexpected Chipmunks song until Akon started singing for real.
Truth be told, this song could very well be a parody of vapid, lifeless pop music. It has a trap beat playing while people talk about selfies.
The band themselves even admitted that it was a joke and wasn't really supposed to be released...then how was it released? You don't just accidentally hit a button and the song is out there. It has to be produced! Mixed! Mastered! Sounds like saving face to us. It's barely even a song.
“Tubthumping” is a bit of an odd duck when it comes to the history of the band that produced it. Chumbawamba was a heavy, political band that wrote songs about deep, angry topics. Most of the time. This time, they wanted to make something fun to attract more listeners. It worked, but only for a while.
Punk fans hated them “Selling out” while non-punks didn't like any of their other songs. The hooligan quality of the song made it fun to party to, but not much else.
“Mambo No. 5”
Yes, we're all wondering when “Mambo No. 6” drops, because we're pretty sick of 5 by now. It wasn't even Lou Bega who originated this tune — that was Cuban artist Dámaso Pérez Prado in 1949.
Bega, a German, grabbed it and made it his own, giving us all something fun to dance to. Of course, just listing all the great girls in his life ended up being grating to many listeners, and people started to turn away from the mambo to look for something else.
TV shows want to be memorable, even if they're sometimes for the wrong reason. Like soundtracks from “Barney The Dinosaur” or “The Teletubbies,” have some real strange songs. And also like the UK TV show “Noel's House Party,” which has “Mr. Blobby.” It's almost too weird to describe.
The song got to number one in November of 1993. Somehow. But hearing this song more than once seems liable to drive many mad. A mix of classical bombast, house beats, and kiddie singing was one of a kind. Thankfully. It even throws in a little Christmas music.
“Scatting” in music is when you're singing random syllables to the beat and tune, and no one was more naturally gifted at it than Scatman John. Dealing with a bad stutter his whole life, John found his true calling with this song.
The prominent scatting is remarkable, but the song itself isn't anything special. It still got John international acclaim before his death in 1999. His greatest success was in Japan, of all places. Still, if you aren't a fan of scatting, this song brings nothing to the table when you listen.
“C'est La Vie”
With a fun upbeat sound and innuendos that parents got but kids couldn't, “C'est la Vie” was a song that appealed to the masses.
However, cracks began to show in the song's quality the more play it got, with people disliking the poor fiddling, the painfully happy lyrics, and even the quality of the singing. B*Witched was on its way to girl group stardom, but even the songs that helped get them there weren't perfect.
Critics of the alternative rock genre herald “Zombie” as a masterpiece, which means most people won't enjoy it.
The musical elements are all over the place. Perhaps the weirdest part is lead singer Dolores O'Riordan's yodeling. Some critics attempted to give artistic meaning to the unusual singing, but before long listeners were sick of it all. It reached the top of the charts and then started to fall at the same pace.
The King of Pop knows how to write a tune. Some of his songs remain famous even to this day, more than a decade after his passing. “Earth Song” isn't one of them.
It was well-received by virtue of being a Michael Jackson song, but it sounds like a billionaire musing about the environment from his private yacht. Have we lost the trust of the elephants? Who cares?
The draw of pop music is usually the music itself, with feel-good chord structure and hummable tunes. The lyrics are sometimes critical, often an afterthought, but it seems like Dido barely even tried, writing lines like “I missed the bus” and “Push the door I'm home at last!”
It might be a nice song to put you to sleep, but that's not what most pop songs aim for. It was still Dido's biggest hit in the United States.
“The A Team”
For this song, Sheeran got his first single on the Billboard Hot 100, his first Grammy Award nomination, and his first nomination for Best British Single at the 2012 Brit Awards.
It's a man and his guitar, which is bound to pick up some notice, but a lot of people felt like the song was preachy and sophomoric, despite the dark subject matter. Still, lots of people loved it, which is why it got played so much...which is why lots of people started to dislike it. One person said it was like being lectured by a college student.
At first, released as a parody of football chants for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, this song became a chant in its own right, which tells us something about football.
If you're into the footy, you might have some appreciation for this tune, but otherwise, we doubt you're interested. There are even some that suspected the band (this was their first single) of bringing back controversy in order to drum up interest. One way or another, this hooligan anthem is enjoyed by one group only: hooligans.
No, not THAT Cher. This English singer had the chance to rival the greats when she began her career in 2010 with “Swagger Jagger,” but as the largely negative reviews show, she had a few missteps.
It copied the chorus from “Oh My Darling Clementine,” the beat sounds like something that not even the Black Eyed Peas would use, and one reviewer even compared it to the Christmas carol “Little Donkey.” Weird. After all that, though, “The Guardian” chose it as the best number-one single of 2011.
“Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)”
If you turned Radio Disney on any time during the last twenty years, you probably heard this song a few times. Written in C major with a four-four beat and classic chord progression, it was tailor-made for pop success as well as a recession once people moved on.
Fans like it, and while critics knew it would be a hit, the musical qualities were nothing special. The easy-listening aspect proved a little too easy, and it started slipping through the cracks as people found songs that had something more to offer.
“Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)”
Nu-metal finally, finally, finally squeezed its way into the mainstream with “Rollin,'” but its time in the limelight was limited. The song peaked at number 65 on the US Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for seventeen weeks.
The problem is, nu-metal just couldn't maintain their foothold, despite everything Limp Bizkit was doing. The genre as a whole, Limp as a band, and the song itself faded before too long, though it's still remembered by fans as a winner.
“Party Rock Anthem”
This dance duo wanted to make sure nobody missed the message. They like to party. They like to rock. They want to write a song about how much they liked to do both.
It's hard not to dance to this banger, but eventually dancing gets old and. So did the music that they chose to put on this track. A simple beat, a simple dance, and a simple song. It was undeniably catchy, but so is the common cold. Also, the dance they do during the instrumental part links up to the Mos Eisley Cantina song from Star Wars.
Despite being Flo Rida's second number-one single, “Right Round” didn't really do anything special. Featuring consummate guest star Ke$ha, the song collected a number of negative reviews, stating that it was misogynistic and, worse, kitschy.
It heavily takes from Dead or Alive's “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” in the hook. Reviews called it empty, with Mr. Rida wanting to come off like a thug despite his music leaning toward cleaner styles. The mixup kept the song from becoming a classic, despite the initial success.
“Crush On You”
British dubstep trio Nero came up with this song. Dubstep had its time in the sun, but that time has passed – it's now seen as an artifact of bygone times.
“Crush On You” peaked at number 32 on the UK Singles Chart, and that was even when dubstep was at the height of its power. The bizarre music video of a quartet of girls haunting or stalking a single boy might have gotten people talking, but once the genre of music receded, this song went with it.
“Please Don't Let Me Go”
We may never know why Olly Murs's debut single was a reggae-inspired pop song. The British singer, who came second in the sixth series of “The X Factor” in 2009, had the chance to get big and this was what he did.
Still, the song was popular for a little while it was playing. It's pleasant, fun, inoffensive, and, due to those elements, somewhat forgettable. The mellow summer sound got it on the charts, but it didn't have any staying power. Most people nowadays don't even know the Olly Murs' name.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Suck My Kiss”
With a title like that, you know you're getting something poetic. RHCP has produced plenty of well-deserving hits that stand the test of time (as long as you're into that kind of music), but this ode to...something...ended up a little too bizarre for the listening public at large.
It's been rated as the fifth-best Red Hot Chili Peppers song by fans, but it still had a hard time getting any chart success. The best it did was in New Zealand, where it reached third, and it didn't even make it onto the billboard hot 100.
There are plenty of pop songs about the industry, from writing and recording to producing or just “being a pop star,” but “These Words” are one of the few to be about writer's block and the pressure to create another hit.
The singing mimics Alanis, but the writing tends to float around the industry a little too much, and while the song was catchy, it just became one pop song among others as time went on. There were just better options when it came to soulful singers of her kind.
Scouting for Girls
“She's So Lovely”
Combining that song title with that band name makes a lot of people give pause. But that's beside the point – the catchy tune and popular idea of thinking a girl is pretty and wanting to get to know her captured hearts.
Tons of commercials and TV shows started using it. Tons. You couldn't flip through the channels without hearing snippets of it during its heyday, and we all know what happens when we have to hear a song over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.
“Moves Like Jagger”
Disco might not be as hated as it once was, but any song that uses that genre's elements has to be careful, and Maroon 5 is anything but careful. The band is the pinnacle of produced pop – plenty of their songs have reached the top of the charts only for people to get sick of the manufactured sound.
They disappear as fast as they arrive. “Moves Like Jagger” had the hearts and minds of the world for a little while, at least. And it gave Christina Aguilera a little bit of a comeback, too.
The years just prior to the turn of the millennium were a bit of a dark time for pop music lyrics. Take for instance the poetry of Des'ree's song “Life,” which includes lines like “I don't want to see a ghost / I'd rather have a piece of toast.” No, the lyrics aren't really the important part when it comes to pop songs, but they still matter.
Once the beat started to get dry, people turned to the lyrics and decided to stop listening to “Life.” Simply put, there were better options out there.
Alvin & The Chipmunks
“I Like To Move It”
This one should come as no surprise. Anything that comes from the Chipmunks brand appeals to kids and kids only, with songwriting and musical choices that will drive everyone else up the wall.
Take a repetitive-if-catchy song and speed it up until it sounds like it's being sung by rodents, and you have a recipe for a song toddlers will love but parents will loathe. Nobody over the age of ten is interested in this tune, and for perfectly good reason.
Florence & The Machine
“You've Got The Love”
That title is like what a computer would title a pop song. Pretty much as soon as “You've Got the Love” dropped their cover of this song in 2009, people were hearing it everywhere, from movie trailers to sports highlights.
The original song was a winner in the dance-pop charts, but Flo + the Machine moved it from dance to classic pop, with singer Florence Welch doing the heavy lifting. Overplay killed this song, as within a few months people were sick of hearing it everywhere they went.
“The Lazy Song”
This lyrical anthem to laziness received mixed reviews as it started to get radio play, but most people could only say that until they got to the second verse. It featured a number of adult themes that, even compared to how pop songs have leaned in recent years, were too explicit and gross to want to think about.
It wasn't the best start to Mars's career, but he's been able to prove he has the chops. Comparisons were made to Jason Mraz, which is never good.
This song didn't become popular until a certain Youtube video used the song to make a meme. You're probably familiar with it. The meme helped drag the song into the limelight, but nobody was really there for the songwriting skills of DJ and producer Baauer.
Nevertheless, the song became a huge hit, going double platinum in the states. Unfortunately, most people can't bear to hear the opening lines because they're afraid something ridiculous is about to happen.
“I Should Be So Lucky”
It might be surprising to see the mighty Minogue on this list, but even our favorite soap opera actress-turned-singer isn't free from criticism. “I Should Be So Lucky” landed only a few days before the end of 1987, and despite shooting up the charts, the song had many listeners who said once was enough.
Despite this, it reached (or at least reached toward) number one in numerous countries outside of Australia, including the United States. It has even been added to Australia's Sounds of Australia registry.
Webster had all eyes on her when she appeared at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics at the age of thirteen, performing in the opening ceremony. She quickly capitalized on the fame with “Strawberry Kisses” which, despite a fresh, bright sound, quickly proved to be an earworm that most people would have preferred not to hear.
Webster's singing was still good, but the musical nature of the song soured even as it climbed the Australian charts. Though certified platinum in Australia, the song never charted in the States.
“We Like to Party (The Vengabus)”
Dutch Eurodance group Vengaboys thought they had hit it big with their party anthem, but most people who heard it more than once outside their native Netherlands wished they had kept it on the bus.
It's fast-paced and energetic, with a bouncy synth track, but it's the kind of song that really burrows in and will never get out, no matter how much you want it to stop playing in your head. Some have even referred to it as the low point of pop.
“The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)”
Las Ketchup wanted to do something for the world, and the something was “The Ketchup Song.” This was a gift, according to them, to the socially awkward.
You could do almost anything during the song, and it would fit the beat, which was almost the entire point — you didn't have to have much of a rhythm to enjoy the song. But constant radio play and the song's nonsense lyrics quickly got people sick of it. Still, it reached number one in at least twenty European countries.
Holly Valance was a big soap opera star, but she wanted to break into music. She didn't have a good start, releasing “Kiss Kiss,” a cover of a Turkish song, in 2002.
It became popular for the catchy tune, and the music video did well thanks to the focus on Valance's sterling physical attributes, but her singing chops just won't weren't up to snuff. After two more singles (which, along with this song, got pretty high on the charts though weren't much-loved overall) she went back to acting, and we're all thankful.
Daphne and Celeste
When they first hit the radio, most pop songs at least get to be just that — popular. “U.G.L.Y.” might be one of the few exceptions. As soon as this tune came out there were people who wanted to stop hearing it as soon as possible.
It got mixed reviews, with some people calling it inappropriate and ridiculous as Daphne and Celeste snapped back at people who called them ugly. They were booed off the stage during a concert because of the song. Weirdly, it did quite well in New Zealand.
‘It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time’
“It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time” should be banned everywhere. It’s sheer cacophony. The song is dissonant, jarring, and harsh on the ears. In general, insipid songs like this have a melody that attracts us to them.
Not this one. It is like clanging trash can lids with someone screaming nonsense in the background. Sorry Buckwheat Boyz, maybe next time.
‘Jam (Turn It Up)’
Having been married to music icon Kanye, Kim Kardashian figured, why not give it a shot? Her solo single “Jam (Turn It Up)” is a heavily produced conglomeration of electronic beats and the artist’s vocals. It was a success, but the celeb was not that impressed.
“Thirty years from now, I can be like, ‘Yeah, I did it...” Some artists struggle just to make it. For Kardashian, trying out a solo career was like trying on a designer evening gown.
Glee covered this song. Say no more. “Marry You” is a 2011 single by Bruno Mars from his debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans. (An artist should be eternally exiled for publishing a title like that).
Apparently, many men have used it as a proposal song. Come on, guys, use some creativity and not an overused pop song!
Here is another song with a red flag warning right in the title. “Happy” celebrates being happy. There is no irony or complexity, “Clap along if you know what happiness is to you.”
Nothing can bring Pharrell Williams down. Tell him the planet is melting and the economy is in a downward spiral; he’s still happy.
‘All About That Bass”
She’s all about repeating herself. She’s all about having a voluptuous booty. She is all about being really proud of that rear end. Meghan Trainor has been in the business for a long time but the 2014 song “All About That Bass” is her first to chart.
It's kind of a positive message, at least at first. It's fair to say that 30 seconds into the song we really do get the message. It's crystal clear, but Meghan seems to think we're a little slow on the uptake.
‘Do My Thang’
Daughter of “Achy Breaky” Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus is unapologetically independent in this song. “Do My Thang” gets a little too down-and-dirty for parents looking for that cute little Hannah Montana Disney star who sang sweet songs.
We get it, she's trying to establish herself as a grown woman, but do we have to all hear her do it? Unfortunately, thanks to all radio stations everywhere, the answer is yes.
‘I’m a Gummy Bear’
“I’m a Gummy Bear” is a kid song from Germany, the land of the gummy bears. Do you remember when you first learned gummy bears hail from Deutschland? We don't either, but apparently, it's a thing.
This high-pitched and continuous "song" is engineered for children’s ears and rather torturous for adult ones. Out of the bad selection of kids' music, this one probably ranks highest in most annoying songs.
Carly Rae Jepsen
‘Call Me Maybe’
We, as music listeners, were treated to “Call Me Maybe” in 2012. It was a big sensation, so we heard it everywhere. Some wish we never had. The song has no depth. It is the same thing over and over.
We're also so sorry about Carly Rae Jepsen's approach to being called. Does she want it? Does she think it's crazy? We don't know! Maybe?
‘I Love You’
This is another inane song that parents all over the world have been subjected to. When Barney’s show was big in 1992, this song was like an untreatable contagion that spread from the pink dinosaur on the TV to toddlers everywhere.
While the sentiment is very sweet, the tune can be annoying for anyone over five years old. Let's keep this one strictly on kids' TV.
‘Baby Shark Dance’
This is a kid song, so it is naturally irritating. But just because it is an anthem for children, this does not mean it needs to be quite this annoying. It’s huge too and is sang in kindergartens all around the world.
The K-pop-inspired ditty is well known by every parent of young children as countless kids come back from kindergartens singing it non-stop.
‘I Whip My Hair’
In the real world, this song would not pass go. A refrain like, “I whip my hair back and forth” is so frivolous and inane that the only possible way one could ever get it recorded would be by knowing someone in the business.
Unfortunately for our ears, that someone is Will Smith, the father of Willow Smith. The movie and music star definitely pulled all kinds of strings to allow this to happen.
‘Honey, I’m Good’
This song leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Sugar-pop, sloppy topic. The singer, belting this 2014 song out with a peppy and fervent zeal, thinks that he has achieved some sort of moral high ground for not cheating on his wife or girlfriend.
Not just that, but he thinks he is God's gift to women. Instead, he is repulsive. With that in mind, this song is not an easy listen.
The song title alerts one immediately. And, yes, it is true, “Yakety Yak” is a truly irritating song. The rockabilly ditty about a kid not wanting to do household chores and his parent's warning “Don’t talk back” was a success.
The song became one hit in 1958 and became an indispensable song in the classic rock genre. Nevertheless, it's pretty much unlistenable these days.
‘Bread and Butter’
In 1964, “Bread and Butter” hit number two on the US charts. With the success, the band got to join the Rolling Stones on a world tour.
The monotonous and annoying song turned out to be a hit. They had two other hits, called "Everything's Alright" & "Run Baby Run (Back Into My Arms)," But soon after that, they fell into obscurity.
How does one compose a super compelling song and then sabotage it with a single word? Is it a Jose Cuervo jingle? He could have chosen any word. It’s a mystery.
All we know is that the sax player who composed it used the refrain to cover up holes in the melody. Also, as a B-side released in 1958, the tequila aficionado saxophonist didn’t expect a hit.
Why is summer the repertory of inane songs? “Cheerleader” came out in the summer of 2012. The song by Jamaican musical artist Omi first caught on in Hawaii.
Its mix of trumpet, piano, and conga made it a major dance hit. It may be danceable, but it rubs serious music listeners the wrong way.
This song is nonsensical and silly. Because, of course, it is. It’s the Muppets. There is not a single word in any language. It is vocalized by puppets who sing, “Mahna Mahna” and “Doo doo doo doo doo,” in a battle of the chorus; it's meant to be meaningless.
When it comes to melodies made for kids, folks tend to keep it simple, and simple can sometimes mean repetitive, and that almost always means annoying.
‘I Want Candy’
This 1965 tune by The Strangeloves is festive, upbeat, and snappy with loads of island beats. It is a great song for a party, but it is very repetitive.
As it goes with most it songs, it starts to get into every bit of culture. From movies to TV shows, supermarkets, and any random event that you can think of.
“Blurred Lines” (2013) is not on this list for no reason. It has some horrible innuendos that should not be in the public music sphere.
This one-hit-wonder was clouded with additional controversy when a judge ruled that the song ripped off Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up." How did they turn such a classic into such an annoying song?
‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’
Jitterbug. George Michael would take off to the stars with a solo career, but first, he hit it big with Wham! Roundly parodied for his over-the-top joyous, playful pop style, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” epitomized the band. It was released in 1984.
For an 80s song, it tried to echo the Beach Boys' type of style a little too much, only with over-stylized puffy hair and lip gloss. One gets over the song about halfway through.
This song is generally summed up by one line, “Tell me what you want, what you really, really want.” The Spice Girls were hot. Posh, Scary, Sporty, and Baby Spice were mega pop stars.
“Wannabe” sold 23 million copies worldwide. They even made a movie that took in $100 million at the box office. Well, we know what we want. And no more of this song, please.
Los Del Rio
Not only was this song played everywhere in the 90s, but people did the Macarena. At pro baseball games, for instance, when the song played between innings, fans stood up and danced the Macarena. True sensation.
To be fair, it's been a while since the world was taken with such a hit song, combined with its very own dance. Of course, the hype and overplaying ultimately killed it.
Billy Ray Cyrus
‘Achy Breaky Heart’
This 1992 pop music sensation is what contemporary country music is all about. Perfect for the popular square dance craze. Billy Ray sporting a mullet into the 90s. That’s something.
The song is so bad; it's often used as a way to parody country songs. That must feel pretty rotten. At least his daughter had more success.
A song as hedonistic as “Friday” is rare to come by. A refrain as vacuous as “Partying, partying, fun, fun, fun, fun” does not happen, save for a show like Barney and Friends.
In 2011, the song went viral. Ms. Black had to take it down because her YouTube was inundated with two million “dislikes.” Plus, the OC teen was receiving threats.
To fully appreciate how annoying this song is, you would’ve had to have lived in 1983 when it played ceaselessly. “Karma, Karma, Karma Karma, Karma, Karma chameleon,” over and over and over.
What does it even mean? It’s like relentless nonsense. We wish we could say that Boy George moved on to better things, but we don't want to lie.
Unapologetically crass. When asked about what inspires such a song, Sisqo told The Ringer in 2021, “To be completely honest, I was young.” The song came out in 2000. It is a song about a scanty garment.
He went on to say, “but the fact of the matter is if you know you’re into somebody and they put that thong on and they spent the time to look good in it, it could still get anything you want from anybody.”
‘My Heart Will Go On’
Celine Dion is one of the greatest solo artists in the world. Still, there must be at least one song by any major act that grates on our nerves. “My Heart Will Go On” is the one.
It was ubiquitous in 1997 as the theme song of "Titanic." Way more overplayed than most songs. Kate Winslet, one of the stars in Titanic, has claimed that she feels like throwing up when she hears the song now. We hear you!
‘Ice Ice Baby’
Wow. This 1989 song was huge. No one even knew or cared that the bumping bass riff was a blatant rip-off of “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Queen.
Freddie Mercury would have laughed of he were alive; he would have thought it was his! In the end, “Ice Ice Baby” brought new ears to Queen and annoyed a lot of people.
The Four Seasons
Typical of 60s music, “Sherry” harks back to a special place in American culture, an era alien to the 2020s. An unimaginable place in time where frisky innuendos were forbidden and banned.
Though the bigger problem with this 60s ditty is the shrill high pitches that may cause irreversible cochlear damage.
The Black Eyed Peas
If you can make it through “My Humps” in its entirety, you know why it was voted ‘worst lyrics in dance music’ in a 2012 poll. Slate called it “veering toward evil” and “horrifically bad.” Enough said.
The cheap innuendos don't help. Thankfully, it hasn't aged well, and unsurprisingly, this dance track hasn't stuck around on dance floors around the world. In fact, it faded pretty quickly.
‘Livin' La Vida Loca’
The crazy and fun Latin pop dance song by former boy band heartthrob Ricky Martin was a major hit in 1999. Billboard awards and Grammy nods acclaimed the song.
Never-ending radio rotation ensured it was stuck in everyone’s head. People loved it. Certified double-platinum, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” had just enough Spanish to draw in Latino audiences and little enough to hold the attention of Americans.
‘De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da’
“De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” is the most annoying song by The Police. It has not only a pedestrian chorus but also a repetitive riff. Since it’s The Police, it is a great riff, but it’s too much of a good thing.
On top of that, “De do do do, de da da da is all I want to say to you,” cycles on repeat. All I want to say is, “Stop!” Yet, if one stops to hear the lyrical genius of Sting in the lines between, it’s impossible not to admire the song.
‘We Built This City’
First, there was Jefferson Airplane; then there was Jefferson Starship. By 1984, “Starship” was the only identifying feature remaining of the original 60s band. One member survived.
The song was written by Elton John’s songwriter Bernie Taupin. It’s hard to know how the refrain could be so tiresome when it isn’t actually repeated that much.
Is it a commercial or a real song? It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t compute. Mattel would never approve of “Barbie Girl’s” suggestive lyrics. The company, in fact, sued.
Not so. The insipid Euro-pop dance song was a number one hit in the UK for four solid weeks.
Another kid that everyone but his peer group seems to malign is the Bieb. With “Baby,” Justin Bieber is like a little kid singing sugary love songs. He doesn’t look old enough.
It’s irksome to adults. Of course, by now, born in 1994, he’s legal and everything. Not that he's any less annoying as a grown man.
Monster 90s hit “MMMBop” is now more than 25 years old. Perhaps this otherwise decent song is so maligned widely because the Hansons were a bunch of kids? How dare they encroach on the consequential genre of real rock music. One thing is sure; they are no longer kids!
They also proved that you don't really need to sing lyrics to make an annoying song. You can just have made-up sounds and reach the same goal.
There's a reason why Nickleback earned the title as our era's worst band in the world, and “Photograph” is probably what launched them into that status. As such, the gruff lyrics accompanying the requisite electric guitars and drums make it a common one.
A lot of people like the song, but it’s hard to listen past lead singer Chad Kroeger’s growling vocal style.
Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots
Rick Dees, the Top 40 radio DJ countdown guy, put this parody song out in 1976. As a local Memphis DJ, he thought it would be funny for his morning show. People liked it.
At least for an entire week, the length of time the disco ditty held the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100. Apparently, that’s all listeners could take of Daffy Duck quacking along. “Disco Duck” was big enough to make it on the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack.
This song is about a man in conflict. He loves a beautiful woman, but she is taken. “You’re Beautiful” ends on a dramatic note. He can’t be with her, so, in the music video, he resolves it by jumping into the ocean. This somewhat redeems the sappy 2005 love song.
Weirdly, in addition to it being annoying, the premise of the song is a little far-fetched. According to Blunt, it’s about a guy on a subway stalking someone else’s girlfriend. Not exactly the romance we thought.
‘Who Let the Dogs Out'
“Who Let the Dogs Out” was a massive hit. It’s energetic and fun, a summertime resort vacation anthem. The track is sprinkled with rap and some lyrics, but by the end of it, you forget you heard anything else besides “Who let the dogs out?”
Somehow, the song won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording. We suppose it did make us hit the dancefloors, but the repetition of “woof, woof, woof, woof" can get on one's nerves.
Italian sync pop band Eiffel 65 made the charts with this song in 1998. “Blue” is a catchy dance tune with senseless lyrics. The peppy electro sound is what draws people to it.
Marvel Studios thought so. “Blue” is on the soundtrack of "Iron Man 3." We're glad it went to good use in the blockbuster, as it's not really lyrically rich with lines like “da ba dee da ba dye.”
“Believe” was quite a production. It took six years to record. The tune is catchy and clean and makes you want to sing along. Not to mention, it was the biggest selling single in 1999.
But it is monotonous. There is at least one line that is particularly trying: “I really don’t think you’re strong enough.” By round five, it’s overkill.
‘What’s New Pussycat’
This song is offensive, and that’s how Tom Jones likes it. And for those who don’t like those types of lyrics, it is quite unpleasant to hear Tom Jones repeatedly ask this seemingly significant question, ‘What’s New Pussycat?’
This 1965 hit song originated with the movie "What’s New Pussycat." The film was nominated for an Oscar. We sure do hope it's not because of the song.
‘Cotton Eye Joe’
“Cotton-Eyed Joe” was a folk song and a nursery rhyme going back to 1865. It originated in the Deep South as a plantation work song. Before Rednex recorded it, a 1925 version was a popular hit song.
And now it’s a meme too. It’s very twangy and repetitive; if you don’t mind that and you like folk songs, you’re bound to love it.
Copacabana is one of those catchy cabaret songs that the 70s could not do without. It tells an interesting story, but all we remember is the chorus repeats. It’s a great refrain, for a minute.
While he is undeniably popular, Barry Manilow's shmaltzy quality can be pretty grating, and this song is certainly proof of that.
This band nails the 80s big hair look. They’ve also managed to dial in the synth sound of the era as well. The highly charged tune relies on one riff played over and over and over. But it’s a powerful one that makes it a perfect workout song.
They mention that it's the final countdown 13 times, just in case you forgot what you're listening to. This repetitive and annoying song will definitely have you counting down until the song is over.
Starland Vocal Band
The only thing more grating than listening to “Afternoon Delight” is watching it. A close-up shot of the singer’s mug is a creepy introduction to the 1976 music video. The tune itself seesaws monotonously back and forth, swaying with a sing-song pitch.
Possibly the best version of the song is the one sung in "Anchorman." It really gets the comic twist it needed, making it much less annoying while at the same time showing just how cheesy it is.
Axel Foley was a Detroit police officer reassigned to the posh 90210 districts of LA. Eddie Murphy’s portrayal of the character in "Beverly Hills Cops" was legendary. And so naturally, the original '80s theme song became a hit too.
But then along came this inexplicable remake decades later, accompanied by a bizarre animated music video of an actual frog made by Swedish CGI artists and "musicians." It was huge, and we don't know why.
‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’
This peppy tune is annoying because it is repetitive. But it also gets on your nerves because it is repetitive while being peppy. It’s too happy. In the US, it was a one-hit-wonder.
In the UK, the Scottish band did well. There was even a movie called "Sunshine on Leith" made based on the band’s album "Sunshine on Leith."