We’d all like to pretend that our music collections only contain albums from truly great performers like David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix. But we’re only human, and most of us find it difficult to resist a catchy hook, even when it comes wrapped in bubblegum pop. This article is a salute to those guilty pleasures, the songs that are so bad they’re good.
Image via Flickr by smilelarissa
“MMMbop” – Hanson
“MMMbop” shot Hanson to the top of the charts around the world and into the hearts of tweens and teens everywhere in 1997. The chorus might be gibberish and the verses overly earnest, but it also says some pretty big things about appreciating the ones who love you and living your best life. The Hanson brothers wrote the song themselves and played their own instruments, which puts them above your average boy band. They harmonize beautifully, adding a little extra something to a tune that’s pure poppy fun.
“Afternoon Delight” – Starland Vocal Group
Lyricist Bill Dannoff insists this song isn’t about sex at all, but it’s hard not to hear a whole lot of double entendre in this ’70s smash hit. There’s nothing wrong with sexually suggestive lyrics, but we prefer ours with a lot less cheese. It’d be easy to agree with the people who regularly list this song as one of the worst of all time if it didn’t feature some of the most sublime vocal harmonies ever laid down in a studio.
“Never Gonna Give You Up” – Rick Astley
Image via Flickr by m-alo
At first listen, “Never Gonna Give You Up” sounds like just another song to fall off the Stock, Aitken, and Waterman production line. But every song from this British hit machine was expertly produced, irresistibly catchy, and fronted by a good-looking young thing. Why after decades did this one come back to the mainstream in the form of Rickrolling?
Because despite its shortcomings, it’s actually a great song. Astley himself admitted it doesn’t have any real weight, but its ’70s-style disco hook and ’80s synthesizers marry beautifully with his smooth baritone voice. Something so ridiculously catchy also shouldn’t be dismissed as just another piece of pop fluff.
“Don’t Worry Be Happy” – Bobby McFerrin
It’s ironic that a song with such a positive message can inspire such wrath from music snobs. And it’s true that there’s a lot about this song for them to get angry about. The lyrics which suggest simply not worrying about being loveless, penniless, or homeless will lead to happiness are ludicrous. And the put-on Jamaican accent of Brooklyn native McFerrin is vaguely racist. But “Don’t Worry Be Happy” has its heart in the right place. Its entirely a capella production, with the Bobby McFerrin’s vocal “instruments” cleverly joining his words, is also underrated.
With the right melody and music production, even a song with obvious flaws like these can be brilliant. If you can take care of the former, at Carriage House Studios we’ll get the production right. Call us on (203) 358 – 0065 to find out more about our facilities and production expertise.