"Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen is a legend. Born to Run, Thunder Road, and even later songs like Streets of Philadelphia truly speak to the Boss's overt talent and secure his place in the history of great folk and rock singer/songwriters. He's actually a pretty good guitarist too and, of course, a legendary performer.
And while it's true that during junior high school a bunch of Springsteen fans called me a "fag" for liking Davie Bowie, this is not a petty attempt to have my revenge. Glory Days off 1984's Born in the USA album is quite simply proof that the plastic mentality and musical wasteland of the 1980s can even tarnish a legend. That's the only way to explain the steaming turd that is Glory Days.
I'm not sure how they got that idea about me...
It doesn't even sound like Springsteen. That horrendous blaring cheesy 8 note keyboard riff is more fitting for a J. Geil's Band song than the heir apparent to Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. It's probably no more simplistically ridiculous than Born in the USA, but that song carries some lyrical weight that spoke to the mindset of the decade. Glory Days is about a dude who used to pitch baseballs pretty well.
"Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day
First some housekeeping. Again, the premise of these columns is dumping on songs that have been perennial favorites on classic rock radio and don't deserve that status. Whether you call Green Day punk (if you like being wrong and don't understand punk) or whether you call them cheesy guitar-based pop (if you want to be right) the simple fact is since their debut in the 90s until today, Green Day has always been played on classic rock radio.
I'll admit it. Unlike the other four bands on this list, I generally dislike this band, and, hey, that's my opinion right. And you'll give your opposite opinion in the comments and tell me not to give my opinion because allegedly people aren't suppose to give opinions on Cracked, and then we'll both fall to our death and die on your M.C. Escher staircase of faulty logic.
But Green Day basically always got on my nerves for writing pure pop songs and claiming to be punk. Stepping on a distortion pedal and affecting a ridiculous pseudo sex pistols accent doesn't make you a punk band. I was content to just say, "Oh, Green Day. You're inoffensive. You write pleasant little power pop songs," but they really held to that "we're punk" thing in the 90s and yeah , it bugged me. And I couldn't even vent this anger by writing semi-literate growling comments on the blog posts of anyone who praised them as a punk band, because we didn't really have the Internet in '94 when they broke big so y'know I had to like just talk to people in real life. GRRRRRR.
Which brings us to their most famous song. Time of Your Life. How to prove it's awful? Well, sure it's a simple G/C/D construction like a million other songs or every Indigo Girls song ever written, but that in and of itself is not fatal. I mean, Don McLean's American Pie is simple and still classic. So I need a better reason that that. How about the fact that 14 year old girls all over the world love this song and want to put it on iMovie video collages about those crazy times at sleepaway? That's pretty damning, right? No? How about that I can't hear this song without starting to sing Punk Rock Girl by The Dead Milkmen? Well, I can't prove it to you. I know that. And right now you're either screaming Amen! Or screaming for my death. I can accept that. It's fine with me. Either way it's hard to hear you over the screams of your mother (who I may or may not be having sex with right now).