Shit Songs

Richard Marx photographed in 1987.  © Bernhard Kuhmstedt / Retna Ltd.I’m organizing my class at Centennial College on songwriting and was busy organizing examples of great songs when I realized I was making a mistake. It’s way more interesting to look at shit songs first and agree upon what’s horrible and why. Any suggestions?

VANILLA ICE

11 thoughts on “Shit Songs

    1. Bob Wiseman Post author

      This video (song) is truly horrible but it has verses and choruses. I’m searching more for songs that lack structure. You got any ideas in that direction? The midi trumpet is awesome.

      Reply
  1. Alex

    falco – Rock me amadeus.
    very few songs make me want to immediately change a station if I come across it.

    Hearing a vocal treated by autotune also drives me to change the channel too. it comes across as so fake to me, that i often don’t bother giving the lyrics a chance.

    But your question also makes wonder.. what are we evaluating,.. shit songs by whose criteria, bad lyrics? wrong voice, commercialized, in a style the listener does not like. A song that you might like/ love might say nothing to me. and vice versa.

    I listen more and more to CBC’s under the covers.. giving a chance to a second listen to a song I would have otherwise passed on, or not listened to in the first place. One example that made me stop and take note of might even be an interesting exercise to refer to:
    Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” slowed down from a 45 to 33rpm (from her 1973 album of the same name)
    and here why, if you are not already familliar
    http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/slowed-down-dolly-parton

    cheers,
    @

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  2. Christian Fletcher

    No worries…I just thought given the “tribute” to Jim Morrison nature of the song that made almost very little sense (in Bundock’s defense, they were a French-Canadian band who primarily sang in French so there’s a possible “lost in translation” factor at foot), but I see what you’re saying…will definitely have to do some more digging! (btw awesome that you’re teaching at Centennial, since I graduated from there!)

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  3. Ron Evans

    Elvis Presley’s “Song Of The Shrimp” – painful to hear as a child; 40 years later, the movie soundtrack is still buried in the basement.

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  4. Fat Charlie

    most songs by Alanis Morissette – generally no attention payed to the architecture of the language, emphasizing wrong syllables of words just to cram them into a melody. Like she is reading straight from her diary to a prerecorded track.

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  5. Alex

    This gets into some seriously subjective taste, especially re: what exactly is shit. I grew up on much delta blues inspired rock, but at the same time when i was a pre-teen I was absolutely enamored with Dr. Demento; who is considered to be a purveyor of some of the finest shit music around. Then there was always the late night dulcet tones of Zamfir or Kenny G as they flogged off their latest instrumental set of LPs, but were they any shittier than the played out super groups of the 70s, or the New Wave inspired sounds of the 80s, or the ever present generic pop sound since the 90s?

    I am curious what the “definition” of shit music is, as what is shit to you may be gold to another listener. Is this another build up to say that commercially successful songs are better/worse, or that there is a definite one way that music can be expressed with regards to song structure. Atonal or minimal styles come to mind here, are they shit, and by whose definition?

    I am going to focus on the most vapid of pop, that I can remember:
    Boney M – Daddy Cool
    http://youtu.be/QtxlCsVKkvY

    Milli Vanilli – Baby, Don’t You Forget My Number
    http://youtu.be/ReklDIQS-n8
    Both “groups” had one thing in common, remember what it was?

    Aqua – Barbie Girl
    http://youtu.be/ZyhrYis509A

    Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
    http://youtu.be/DNyKDI9pn0Q

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  6. Jen

    I’m braced for the push back, but Toto, Africa. The song makes little to no sense. My favorite nonsensical bit being “Kilamanjaro rises like Olympus over the Serengeti”. I’m sorry, are they trying to create a similie of a mountain rising like…another mountain?

    Reply

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