4 Lead Singers That Sound Shockingly Bad Without the Band

#2. Everyone from the B-52s Singing "Rock Lobster"

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty

In its original state, "Rock Lobster" by the B-52s seems to be a 1960s B-horror movie and 1960s beach party movie mashed together and remolded into music. Tweak it a little by removing the kitschy surf rock-inspired instrumental and you get what sounds an awful lot like a demonically possessed See 'N Say toy.

"The cow says: 'bloooooooood.'"

The vocal track is pretty much what you'd expect it to be for most of the song. But for the final minute of the track, the band decided to forgo their antipsychotics so they could realistically portray what it would be like if there were such a thing as a haunted insane asylum for fish.

First off, B-52s, I'm not sure those animals make any sounds at all. They live in the water. They go "bloop" and make me go "Mmm" when I eat them and "Grrr" when I poop them. Secondly, without music, "Rock Lobster" goes from an odd but fun pop tune to the reason lithium was invented. It's fucking bonkers. It becomes the kind of thing a children's band would sing if they dropped acid before performing at a birthday party at the aquarium. Thankfully, it's only really with this one B-52s song. The vocal track for "Love Shack" -- which is probably their biggest hit (I guess. I don't know. I know nothing about the B-52s. No one does) -- might actually be better than the original.

That's a party filled with people too cool for Pandora. They're having a ball. I want to be at that party. I want to clap when the B-52s spontaneously sing at gatherings and flee from them when they proclaim that squids make the same sound as a butthole during a seizure.

#1. David Lee Roth from Van Halen Singing "Running With the Devil"

Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Finally, we have the gold standard of laughably bad isolated vocal tracks: David Lee Roth singing "Running With the Devil." David Lee Roth makes so many crazy-as-shit sounds that I never really paid attention to in the full song that it's hard to know where to start. So let's do it chronologically, starting with seconds one through five of this isolated vocal track:

When I was a kid, I played the X-Men arcade game a lot. My favorite character to play as was Colossus, a mutant who could turn his skin into metal and, only in the game, release some kind of energy blast as a power move. I'm 100 percent certain David Lee Roth's "Oooh yes!" at the beginning of that video was the basis for Colossus' scream when he does his power move. I made this video to prove it:

Point proven.

After that, things go smoothly for a bit ... until David Lee Roth breaks open the crazy with what might be the greatest mashed jumble of words ever committed to tape, which is bookended by two patented David Lee Roth howls.

There are a lot of things I don't understand about the world. Chief among them is: Why aren't we all wearing T-shirts with "GoddamnitbabyyouknowIain'tlyin'toyaI'monlygon'tellyouonetimeAhhhyaaaa!" on them? Why isn't "GoddamnitbabyyouknowIain'tlyin'toyaI'monlygon'tellyouonetimeAhhhyaaaa!" a phrase so ubiquitous in modern speech that we had to boil it down to G.D.I.B.Y.K.I.A.L.T.Y.I.O.G.T.Y. O.T.A.Y. so we can quickly text it when someone doesn't believe what you're saying? Why isn't it the default sound on all alarm clocks? And why the fuck haven't I used this as my outgoing voice mail message followed by me saying "... to leave a message" in a monotone voice? All of those questions are mysteries to me. Same goes for what David Lee Roth was thinking when he incorporates some kind of kazoo thing into his performance about 30 seconds later.

You can hear the kazoo thing at the 2:04 mark of the original song, but when it's not being greatly overshadowed by the iconic guitar riff in the chorus, it's like a goddamn circus has broken out in the recording booth. This makes me rethink every Van Halen song I've ever heard. What other silly instruments has David Lee Roth sneaked into songs? Is there a moonshine jug blowing on "Jump"? Is there a didgeridoo on "Hot for Teacher"?

All of these tracks are terrible, but thankfully, no one was stupid enough to combine a couple of them into one turbo-awful track.


Luis Prada sounds better when backed by "Yakety Sax." Follow him on Twitter and Tumblr.

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