10 Great Songs by the Worst Bands of All Time (Part 2)
If last week's column taught me anything, it's that no one is reading this. So, without further ado, here is the sequel to last week's column. Enjoy it.
Ace of Base -- "Cruel Summer"
With a band like Ace of Base, it's tempting to just list one of their shit-pop radio staples like "The Sign" or "All That She Wants" as their best song ever and call it good. But here's the problem -- if those are the only songs anyone knows and Ace of Base is routinely spotted on lists of awful bands, doesn't that by default make the songs that got them there also kind of awful?
It sure does. To call sifting through the rubble that is the back catalog of Ace of Base "grueling" would be a massive understatement (except to people with real jobs). I did it, though, and here's what I came up with:
Granted, that's still a horrible song, but at least it's a cover of a relatively decent song:
Again, this is a really shitty version of that relatively decent song, but still, at least it's built upon a foundation of good.
Justin Bieber -- "Somebody to Love"
Me and the Biebs go way back on Cracked, starting in 2010, when I wrote this fantastic article about living five days undercover as a Justin Bieber fan. Since then, I've written about him for various reasons, my favorite being that he and his ex-girlfriend look exactly alike.
How do you decide which one to jerk off to first?
So I'm plenty familiar with his horrible music, and to me, one song in particular stands out as the undisputed best. This one:
You know how Prince gave away "Nothing Compares 2 U" and then got all bitter when someone else made it a massive hit instead of him? I think that might be the case with this song as well. It was originally recorded for Usher's sixth album, but when that project got delayed, the song ended up on Team Bieber.
Usher must have realized the mistake pretty quickly because, as released on Justin Bieber's album, "Somebody to Love" only features Usher on background vocals. By the time the video came out (which you can see above), Usher had promoted himself from background vocalist to featured guest. A shrewd move, considering the video is currently sitting at over 260 million views.
He wasn't done reclaiming his song, though. On Usher's seventh album, you'll find a re-recorded version, this time with him in the starring role and Justin Bieber as the featured guest:
In short, Usher did not let "Somebody to Love" go quietly. All of that evidence leads me to believe that, without a doubt, this is Justin Bieber's best song. I really don't know any other way to determine it. They all sound terrible to me.
One Direction -- "Best Song Ever"
I'm a big fan of audacity, both as a trait and as a free audio mixing program.
It's the only one I can afford.
It's the former (that means the first!) of those two that I want to talk about here, though, because there's a whole lot of it present in this video:
Is the music any good? Of course not! But you have to admire the moxie of a young band that not only feels important enough to make people wait through a four-minute Les Grossman skit just to get to their terrible song ...
The way to a tween's heart is through a Tropic Thunder reference.
... but also has the balls to call that terrible song "Best Song Ever." I may not enjoy the music, but damn if you shouldn't appreciate their misplaced confidence. It will serve them well when they're working the sales floor at an upscale retail outlet someday.
Britney Spears -- "Toxic"
Well, this one is easy. While I'll admit that she's lacking a few qualities that normally make a performer great, like discernible musical ability, for example, I still don't entirely hate the songs of Britney Spears. In fact, I mentioned my choice here ("Toxic") in another recent column, where I state that I do indeed think this is a good song.
Here's hoping every choice is this easy going forward!
Insane Clown Posse -- "Leck Mich Im Arsch"
Looks like they won't be! If I'm being completely honest, before I started writing this I'd listened to maybe two ICP songs in my entire life, and I couldn't tell you the name of either of them (I think one was an educational thing about how magnets work). As luck would have it, I didn't really need to, because while researching their catalog of timeless hits, I remembered that this happened once:
That's Insane Clown Posse covering Mozart with Jack White.
I don't care if it's an awful song (it is), just being able to type the sentence before this one made listening to it worth all the torment.
Dave Matthews Band -- "American Baby"
Dave Matthews Band is another whose shittiness seems kind of exaggerated to me. Plenty of people like Dave Matthews Band, and they've got plenty of decent songs. Still, I can't control what the public feels, so here they are on this list. It will probably be an unpopular choice, and so will my choice for the best Dave Matthews song. It's this:
The reason is simple. It's Dave Matthews' voice that really gets under the skin of the people who despise him the most, and that part of the arsenal is held way in check on this song. In fact, until you reach the chorus, it's hard to even tell that it's Dave Matthews singing. More of that, please!
The Jonas Brothers -- "Paranoid"
Real talk: I don't know shit about the Jonas Brothers. Even more than Justin Bieber, they've always struck me as kids' stuff, and goddamn do kids have awful taste in entertainment. Furthermore, at this late stage in researching this article, there's no way my stomach will stay settled long enough to listen to dozens of Jonas Brothers songs. So, I choose this one, for two reasons:
First, it doesn't seem too far removed from that lame song Arcade Fire performed on SNL recently ...
... and it took 75 people to pull that off. There are only three Jonas Brothers, so this at least has to be up there with their best stuff. Beyond that, I just like the idea of the Jonas Brothers having legitimate mental and emotional problems, exactly as the title of this song promises.
Creed -- "Marlins Will Soar"
The best Creed song? Sorry, there isn't one, although I am partial to this bit of unintentional hilarity:
That's a promotional single Creed frontman Scott Stapp recorded for Major League Baseball's Florida Marlins. It doubles as the cheesiest shit ever. For maximum enjoyment, listen to it while watching the absurd display the Marlins set off in the outfield whenever they hit a home run:
Two bad tastes that taste just as bad together!
Limp Bizkit -- "N 2 Gether Now"
We've hit that spot in the list where picking a "best" song becomes incredibly difficult. That probably holds true for this entry more than any other. Limp Bizkit "lead singer" Fred Durst is the kind of guy who makes everything around him awful by association. I don't know if it's true that Christina Aguilera blew him, like Eminem claimed, but if I ever get confirmation, I'm never watching The Voice again.
Until then, can someone please make sure Blake doesn't win again this year?
That's what makes it so hard to pick a "best" Limp Bizkit song. It's like watching your team's two bitterest rivals playing each other in the postseason. You know it's not possible, but you kind of wish everyone could lose.
It's with similar emotions weighing on my heart that I say, reluctantly, that this is the best Limp Bizkit song ever:
It's stupidly titled "N 2 Gether Now," because spelling like Prince is gangster as hell, and it gets the nod for "best" Limp Bizkit song because it's barely a Limp Bizkit song. Yes, Fred Durst raps on it, and listening to the song in those moments can become unbearable. But if you can somehow muscle past that, the rest of it is a pretty solid Method Man song.
You may know him as Cheese Wagstaff.
Even better, the music is provided by rap legend DJ Premier.
Coincidence alert! He also produced half a Christina Aguilera album once!
So the rest of the band probably wasn't even in the room when it happened. If you have to say you enjoy a Limp Bizkit song, at least make it one that the "purists" probably hate the most. The more distance you can place between yourself and that fan base, the better.
Nickelback -- "Leader of Men"
Here's a dirty little secret no one wants to admit to ... I owned a Nickelback CD once. In my defense, it was kind of an accident. I was a member of one of those Columbia House CD Club scams at the time and, for one of my "selections of the month," they sent Nickelback's debut album, The State. It was my fault for not sending back that card with the box checked to indicate that I don't want them to send me terrible music, but the fact remained that I owned a Nickelback CD.
Because I'd never heard of them, it took me a while to even bother listening to the album, but I finally did after hearing this song on the radio:
While it certainly wasn't my favorite song at the time, it also didn't include any blatant warnings that Nickelback was a band on the fast track to becoming the undisputed title holder of shittiest band of all time (as decided by the people, not me). So, I gave it a listen. What I heard was a band that really seemed like it wanted to be Bush, and damn if that isn't a weird band to want to emulate.
That was enough to confirm that the songs of Nickelback were not for me.
Naturally, they went on to become one of the best-selling rock bands and the second best-selling foreign act (they're from Canada) of the last decade. In case you're wondering about the latter of those two stats (that means the second!), the only band that outsold them was the Beatles.
Does that make Nickelback the Rolling Stones of the 2000s? Nope, it just means Americans have terrible taste in music.