Best song by the worst band
April 14, 2007 6:33 AM   Subscribe

What is the best song by the worst band?

Not looking for one hit wonders. But really, really good songs by established bands that are either out of their element in penning a tune that dwarfed all of their other material, or else wrote a pretty serviceasble tune despite being in the canon of bad bands as agreed by audiophile snobs (Journey, Styx, Foreigner, Four Non Blondes, etc.).

I was doing some searching on this to answer a friend's question, I pretty much came up dry. The only thing I found was this, which wasn't at all helpful.

I know, obviously that your least favorite band is great, but I'm curious to see the range or responses. I'm still pretty stumped.
posted by Tommy Gnosis to Society & Culture (146 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Linger," by the Cranberries comes to mind. I recently paid 25 cents for the cassette tape of this album just to have a copy of this song and couldn't really get through the rest of it.
posted by escabeche at 6:43 AM on April 14, 2007


"Spin the Black Circle" is a tight little rocker penned by a band (Pearl Jam) with an otherwise ponderous, bloated and self-important catalogue of songs. YMMV.
posted by psmealey at 6:48 AM on April 14, 2007


"Beth" by Kiss. It was a love song out of character for a group famous for make-up and firebreathing. Wiki says it was their highest charting single, even though it started as a B side.
posted by Osmanthus at 6:52 AM on April 14, 2007


Airport, by the Motors.
posted by unSane at 6:57 AM on April 14, 2007


Awesome video of The Motors doing Airport. What a great song. Also, surely the ugliest lead singer of all time. From the days when ordinary blokes could be pop stars (see also: Steve Harley).
posted by unSane at 7:04 AM on April 14, 2007


I always thought that if you listen to a lot of Blue Oyster Cult, "Don't Fear the Reaper" and "Burnin' For You" are so good they almost sound like they are by another band.
posted by 4ster at 7:10 AM on April 14, 2007


Faith No More's cover of "Easy" by the Commodores is pretty surprising.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:21 AM on April 14, 2007


Journey had "Don't Stop Believing" and "Wheel In The Sky"
Poison had "Fallen Angel" and "Every Rose Has It's Thorn"
Motley Crue had the whole Dr. Feelgood album.
Twisted Sister (I think they're a great band but I know others differ) had "You Can't Stop Rock and Roll" and "Under The Blade"
Ted Nugent had 'Cat Scratch fever' and 'Free For All'
posted by jonmc at 7:53 AM on April 14, 2007


jonmc:

I doubt that if you disliked any of those bands you would like those songs.

It's a little obscure, but listening to anything by the Stranglers except "Peaches" is murder to me. But "Peaches" is a great song.
posted by argybarg at 8:01 AM on April 14, 2007


Hey, Journey, Styx, and Foreigner had some great songs. For Styx, there's "Renegade," which is just a damn cool song no matter who you are. Foreigner managed to put the rockin' "Juke Box Hero" on their fourth album despite that album also containing their first wussy pop hit "Waiting for a Girl Like You." For Journey... well, in the '80s I was admittedly too big a fan of theirs to really be objective, and I realize now that most of their best-known songs are total cheese, but maybe "Lights"? A nice ballad with no gimmicky synth parts.
posted by kindall at 8:01 AM on April 14, 2007


and of course Foreigner had 'Urgent,' (Lou Gramm did have a good set of pipes and having Junior Walker sit in was an insired touch).
posted by jonmc at 8:01 AM on April 14, 2007


Oh, yeah. I love this question.

'More than Words', by Extreme.

When I worked at MOR Music TV back in the 90s, I so wanted us to do our own album of this kind of stuff-particularly the ballads from rock and metal bands...
posted by baylink at 8:02 AM on April 14, 2007


Once you get past the iconic voice and stop laughing at the very concept, the rap album "Be A Man" by Macho Man Randy Savage (seriously) is better than it should be.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:03 AM on April 14, 2007


I doubt that if you disliked any of those bands you would like those songs.

actually I've seen and heard reports to the contrary argybarg. "Wheel In The Sky" is pretty consistently named by non-fans as Journey's best song. and Thurston Moore of all people is on record as digging Feelgood era Crue. And 'Under The Blade" features much sharper playing and tighter construction than most Sister songs.
posted by jonmc at 8:04 AM on April 14, 2007


"Sister Golden Hair" by America
posted by gfrobe at 8:05 AM on April 14, 2007


also, Foghat's "Fool For The City" way poppier and less numbingly bloozy than their other material.
posted by jonmc at 8:05 AM on April 14, 2007


also seconding kindall on "Juke Box Hero." exemplary bar-band song, that is.
posted by jonmc at 8:06 AM on April 14, 2007


aand Janet Jackson of all people is a huge fan of Dr. Feelgood, mainly since it's the only Crue album where the rhythm section shows some flexibility. (for the record even though I'm a hard rock/metal fan i never liked the Crue with the exception of a few songs)
posted by jonmc at 8:08 AM on April 14, 2007


also: Night Ranger's "Don't Tell Me You Love Me."
posted by jonmc at 8:14 AM on April 14, 2007


and the Hooters' "Karla With A K"
posted by jonmc at 8:15 AM on April 14, 2007


We can agree to disagree about Mötley Crüe, but for my money "Too Fast for Love" is a fucking kick-ass song by an otherwise so-so (but wayyy overhyped) band.
posted by psmealey at 8:20 AM on April 14, 2007


Bryan Adams "Take Me Back"
Bon Jovi "I'll Be There For You"
Cher "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves"
Soul Asylum "Cartoon"
Def Leppard "High & Dry (Saturday Night)"
ELO "Telephone Line"
Elton John "Amoreena"
Faster Pussycat "Bathroom Wall"
Mountain "Theme From An Imaginary Western"

(note: I don't consider these bands 'bad' necessarily, myself, but I am aware that many would put them in the 'Bad Band Canon. and I think all these songs are examples of an artist or groupo thrancending their limitations for a song')
posted by jonmc at 8:28 AM on April 14, 2007


and Grand Funk Railroad "We're An American Band" may be the best example of a group of limited talent creating a moment where they rise above those limits.
posted by jonmc at 8:33 AM on April 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Interesting question, thing is that what the worst band is, of course, subject to debate.

I can't abide the Doors, they're ponderous and pretentous. I guess you had to be there, but "Touch me' is irresistable.

Cheap Trick were ordinary rockers who then verged on sappy, but "Surrender" is still great, as well as being witty.

For the example bands that the Original Poster referenced, I was always partial to Styx's "Too much time on my hands" perhaps because that was a time in my teen-aged life when I had too much time on my hands.

"Cold as ice" by Foreigner is genuinely great, as well as funny.
posted by xetere at 8:33 AM on April 14, 2007


Seconding "Beth" even though it's a song about being a rock star.
posted by planetkyoto at 8:34 AM on April 14, 2007


More Than Words by Extreme
posted by dawdle at 8:34 AM on April 14, 2007


I can't abide the Doors, they're ponderous and pretentous. I guess you had to be there, but "Touch me' is irresistable.

agreed on the Doors but I'd go with "My Eyes Have Seen You."
posted by jonmc at 8:36 AM on April 14, 2007


"Jailbreak" by Thin Lizzy
posted by psmealey at 8:36 AM on April 14, 2007


and, yes... even "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I grew up around new england greasers who inexplicably worshipped these guys... but credit where it is due. This is a good song.
posted by psmealey at 8:38 AM on April 14, 2007


"More Than Words" is a great choice, although I secretly like all of Extreme's stuff. "Hole Hearted," anyone? No?

Although this band isn't exactly unpopular, I've always despised the Counting Crows, but I do think "Anna Begins" is a fantastic song.
posted by emd3737 at 8:39 AM on April 14, 2007


i think planetkoyoto is right on with the doors: touch me is a vastly different then the rest of their sound. as a doors fan, i hate it.

my example would be bruce springsteen. couldn't stand him until i heard tunnel of love.
posted by lester at 8:40 AM on April 14, 2007


Thomas Dolby, "I Love You Goodbye"
posted by vers at 8:41 AM on April 14, 2007


and Grand Funk Railroad "We're An American Band" may be the best example of a group of limited talent creating a moment where they rise above those limits.

Yeah, even Todd Rundgren could only do so much with those guys. (Oddly enough, Rundgren has produced a number of fairly obscure albums which ended up with exactly one great song on them.)
posted by kindall at 8:41 AM on April 14, 2007


Nthing "More Than Words," that's a great pick. I'll toss in a great song off a terrible album by Bone Thugs n Harmony called "First of the Month," which, in my opinion, is likely the very best song ever written about the joy that runs through a community on the day the welfare checks are delivered.

I realize I'm going out on a limb with that assertion, but I stand by my words.
posted by peacecorn at 8:45 AM on April 14, 2007


kindall, Grand Funk, to me, were always servicable boogie rock except for that song (and yes a lot of credit is due to Todd Rundren for that) which is an excellent boy's-night-out anthem, for two reasons, they tightened up the song structure, and it was actually spontaneously inspired by an argument the band's drummer got into with Humble Pie about American vs. British rock.
posted by jonmc at 8:46 AM on April 14, 2007


No one else will agree but this is a flat out easy question to answer for me: Thinking About You by Radiohead.
posted by dobbs at 8:48 AM on April 14, 2007


also seconding kindall on "Juke Box Hero."

What I like about that song is the dynamics. Soft, loud!... soft.... LOUD for a while! Soft again. LOUD LOUD LOUD!!! And they don't do the predictable bit of making the verse soft and the chorus loud... instead, they hit it in the middle of the verse.

It also helps that it's of those songs that has a verse that is musically as interesting and memorable as its chorus. And the ending is pleasingly abrupt: one last "Stars is his eyes" and then eight quick no-bullshit notes and we're outta here. No wimpy fade-out so the DJ can talk over it. The sudden silence is as much a part of the song as the rest of it.
posted by kindall at 8:49 AM on April 14, 2007


Thomas Dolby, "I Love You Goodbye"

That is an absolutely great song, maybe even his best (though there are other songs on that same album that I might nominate solely on the strengths of their bridges), but I would disagree that he is in any way "the worst band." The only part of "the worst band" that might be true is "the."
posted by kindall at 8:52 AM on April 14, 2007


Can we get some pop-non-schlock in here?

"Toxic" by Britney Spears
"Crazy in Love" by Beyonce
"Ojos Asi" by Shakira (thanks to EatTheWeak)
"Like a Prayer" by Madonna
"Again" by Janet Jackson
"Can't Let Go" by Mariah Carey
posted by Methylviolet at 8:53 AM on April 14, 2007


I can't stand the Doobie Brothers, but add Michael McDonald and I'll force my girlfriend to listen to me sing along to "What a Fool Believes."

the canon of bad bands as agreed by audiophile snobs
Please don't confuse music snobs (like me) with audiophile snobs. Not the same thing at all.

posted by hydrophonic at 8:55 AM on April 14, 2007


"Like a Prayer" by Madonna

Agreed on that. Good song, but I didn't realize it until, as a joke, I started to work on it for a solo acoustic gig I was prepping for. It's surprisingly harmonically rich with some interesting chord changes and voicings going on.
posted by psmealey at 8:56 AM on April 14, 2007


A lot of people think Aerosmith is lame, but "Mama Kin" seriously rocks.
posted by emd3737 at 8:57 AM on April 14, 2007


More pop: Avril Lavigne - Mobile is not bad.
posted by ALongDecember at 8:58 AM on April 14, 2007


"Since U Been Gone"?
posted by tmcw at 8:59 AM on April 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Big Machine" by Goo Goo Dolls, three minutes of perfect rock out pop.
posted by gsh at 9:02 AM on April 14, 2007


Peter Frampton "Show Me The Way"
Madonna "Beautiful Stranger"
posted by jonmc at 9:03 AM on April 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't stand the Doobie Brothers, but add Michael McDonald and I'll force my girlfriend to listen to me sing along to "What a Fool Believes."

*cough* "Black Water" *cough* (I like "What A Fool Believes" too, but there were really two different versions of the Doobies, with Johnston they were a boggie bar band, with McDonald, more blue-eyed soul (and he does have a fine voice).
posted by jonmc at 9:07 AM on April 14, 2007


Lemon, by U2.
posted by juiceCake at 9:07 AM on April 14, 2007


Agreeing on Springsteen -- I think he's an okay songwriter but I hate, hate, hate his performances, his voice, his band, his sound -- except I love his performance of "Pink Cadillac."

And agreeing on Madonna, but for me I hated everything she ever did except "Ray of Light." Imagine my sadness when I realized that a central bass theme of the song is based on a section of "Autobahn" by Kraftwerk. So I guess it wasn't a Madonna song that I was liking after all.
posted by ROTFL at 9:08 AM on April 14, 2007


Gonna go out on a limb here... "Sunshine of Your Love" by Cream. Seriously, that band sounds like every other 60s schlock poprock band, and then there's this one song that just rocks.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:10 AM on April 14, 2007


Greg Kihn "The Break-Up Song" (everything else he did I can do without, but this is a near-perfect piece of jukebox pop-rock)
posted by jonmc at 9:13 AM on April 14, 2007


Girls, Girls, Girls or Dr. Feelgood by the Crue.
posted by sneakin at 9:16 AM on April 14, 2007


also (and I can't believe nobody's mentioned this yet), Hall & Oates "Rich Girl." (and believe it or not Daryl Hall's "Dreamtime" from his solo album is a fine song, too)
posted by jonmc at 9:17 AM on April 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Sonic Reducer," by the Dead Boys. Seriously, if there was ever a band of short-bus riding retards, the Dead Boys were it.

The guitar solo midway through "Ain't Nothin' to Do" is likewise fantastic, in an 80s power metal kind of way.
posted by nasreddin at 9:23 AM on April 14, 2007


"Creep" by Radiohead.
Other than that song, they are the worst band ever.
posted by greasepig at 9:26 AM on April 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Eagles "Take It To The Limit" (Best. Fake. Elton John. Ever)
posted by jonmc at 9:30 AM on April 14, 2007


Phil Collins - "In the Air Tonight"
posted by fuzz at 9:34 AM on April 14, 2007


I'd actually go with "Heartbreaker" when it comes to Grand Funk Railroad.

How about "Feel" by Robbie Williams?

psmealey, John Wesley Harding did a nice acoustic cover of "Like a Prayer."
posted by staggernation at 9:35 AM on April 14, 2007


Heart "Dreamboat Annie" and "What About Love"
posted by jonmc at 9:36 AM on April 14, 2007


Sammy Hagar "Give To Live"
posted by jonmc at 9:43 AM on April 14, 2007


Maggie May by Rod Stewart. You may laugh, but at one time he was a credible artist... then he decided that disco and easy listening were the way to go... *shudder
posted by telseth at 9:48 AM on April 14, 2007


Oasis "Wonderwall"
posted by jontyjago at 9:48 AM on April 14, 2007


Ooh, enthusiastically seconding Britney Spears' "Toxic." The rest of her catalogue is unlistenable, but that song is just so good.
posted by twoporedomain at 9:48 AM on April 14, 2007


Outliers by performers it's fashionable to not like--

Def Leppard--"Hysteria"
Billy Idol--"Eyes Without a Face"
'80s-era (or "sellout-era") David Bowie--just about every song on the soundtrack album for Labyrinth, as well as the song "Absolute Beginners"
Madonna--all the stuff that Stephen Sondheim wrote for her to sing on the Dick Tracy soundtrack
Gerry Rafferty--"Baker Street"
Hall and Oates--"Say It Isn't So"
posted by Prospero at 9:49 AM on April 14, 2007


John Wesley Harding did a nice acoustic cover of "Like a Prayer."

And here I thought I was being original, by covering on the century's biggest hits ;-)... it was a long time ago. I know who Harding is, but I'm not familiar with his catalogue (other than that Live Aid song he wrote that we used to sing on road trips), I'll have to look for it.
posted by psmealey at 9:55 AM on April 14, 2007


The Stranglers, "Always the Sun"

Best. Fake. Elton John. Ever

"Drops of Jupiter" by Train
posted by kirkaracha at 9:59 AM on April 14, 2007


Christina Aguilera's "Candyman" is actually a really good homage to "Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B."
posted by WCityMike at 10:26 AM on April 14, 2007


"Drops of Jupiter" by Train

I thought this was the Black Crowes for the longest time.

I vote "Fall to Pieces" for Avril Lavigne, personally.

Thomas Dolby is inconsistent, but The Golden Age of Wireless has better songwriting than virtually any other so-called "synthpop" album I could name. And I could name a whole lot.

...and I don't know what ELO is doing on this list!
posted by mykescipark at 10:32 AM on April 14, 2007


"Caroline" by Status Quo.
posted by essexjan at 10:33 AM on April 14, 2007


You thought Train was the Black Crowes? You must mean Counting Crows.
posted by ALongDecember at 10:36 AM on April 14, 2007


Interesting question - I've been trying to think of bands that almost everyone would say are terrible, bands that are almost universally considered a joke. The two that keep coming to mind are Loverboy and the Spice Girls ... but I can't think of any great songs by either of them.

However, there once was a band that was reviled as an utter joke, manufactured pop at its very worst - and that band later released some truly excellent, world-class pop/rock. The Monkees.
posted by jbickers at 10:39 AM on April 14, 2007


The two that keep coming to mind are Loverboy and the Spice Girls ... but I can't think of any great songs by either of them.

Loverboy's "Lovin' Every Minute Of It" is not bad at all.
posted by jonmc at 10:41 AM on April 14, 2007


You thought Train was the Black Crowes? You must mean Counting Crows.

No, I really thought it was some sappy new comeback single with Chris Robinson and co.

It's been about as long since I've listened to either band. I give Adam Duritz props for sporting an Ordinaires T-shirt in one of their videos, though.
posted by mykescipark at 10:54 AM on April 14, 2007


"I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys.
posted by vronsky at 11:08 AM on April 14, 2007


.38 Special - Second Chance
posted by vronsky at 11:16 AM on April 14, 2007


Actually if "Wanted: Dead or Alive" is done by anyone other than Bon Jovi, it's actually a pretty good song. But the fact that it's them kind of diminishes it somehow.

Otherwise, how about "Hold the Line" by Toto? Or, is that just the best song from a truly terrible band?
posted by Flem Snopes at 11:16 AM on April 14, 2007


Not sure how Heart falls in to the worst band category Jon. And Mountain? wtf?

And second mykescipark on wondering what ELO is doing on this list.

I'm sure some dummy will be along shortly to include the Bee Gees.
posted by vronsky at 11:27 AM on April 14, 2007


"Heartbreaker" - Mariah Carey (I can't stand 99.9% of her music, but I do love this song!)
"If You Let Me Stay" - Terence Trent D'Arby (the rest of his stuff was okay, but I loooved this song.)
"Maneater" - Nelly Furtado
posted by SisterHavana at 11:31 AM on April 14, 2007


And second mykescipark on wondering what ELO is doing on this list.

Also Rod Stewart. Yeah, he sucked ass in the late 70s and continues to do so today, but his work with Jeff Beck and the Faces still qualifies him for unimpeachable rock god status.
posted by psmealey at 11:32 AM on April 14, 2007


"Personal Jesus' by Depeche Mode.

Not because I dislike them (I liked them pretty well BITD), but because I know a lot of 80s rockers that absolutely loathed them, but for whatever reason, liked that song.
posted by psmealey at 11:34 AM on April 14, 2007


I've been trying to think of bands that almost everyone would say are terrible, bands that are almost universally considered a joke. The two that keep coming to mind are Loverboy and the Spice Girls ... but I can't think of any great songs by either of them.

Hello? "Working for the Weekend"? Actually, I don't even know why you'd consider Loverboy a joke; maybe I was just a kid in the 80s, but they're really awesome in a cheesetastic sort of way. Case in point.

I don't have as good a suggestion for the Spice Girls. Part of the problem is they didn't have anything truly memorable besides "Wannabe," and half the people who remember it wish they didn't, so that doesn't count. The only other options that come to mind are "Stop" and "2 Becomes 1."

And that's me putting way too much thought into the Spice Girls' back catalogue.
posted by chrominance at 11:35 AM on April 14, 2007


what about golden earring? radar love ?
posted by lester at 11:36 AM on April 14, 2007


I would just like to point out that your favorite band sucks, but they did a good song.
posted by found missing at 11:38 AM on April 14, 2007


(er, I mean maybe it's because I was just a kid...)
posted by chrominance at 11:40 AM on April 14, 2007


Radar Love sucks. Twilight Zone, however...
posted by Floydd at 11:47 AM on April 14, 2007


Yes! "Caroline"! My name is Caroline, so it is especially dear to me.
I was rockin' out to that song just last night.
posted by Methylviolet at 11:54 AM on April 14, 2007


Yet more:

Also, I can't really stand Coldplay. I think they are pretentious, over-reaching, but ultimately really bland, suburban and boring. But I do think "Yellow" is also a pretty good song with a great hook.

The Carpenters were unforgivably schmaltzy, but "Rainy Days and Mondays" is a quiet masterpiece. Cracker did a pretty cool VU/no wave style version of this tune.

If covers count, the otherwise abysmal Crash Test Dummies did a serviceable job in updating XTC's "Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead".
posted by psmealey at 11:57 AM on April 14, 2007


"Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot
posted by travosaurus at 11:59 AM on April 14, 2007


Not sure how Heart falls in to the worst band category Jon. And Mountain? wtf?

And second mykescipark on wondering what ELO is doing on this list.


Dude, I personally like all 3 bands a lot, but they're not generally considered 'cool.'
posted by jonmc at 12:01 PM on April 14, 2007


You thought Train was the Black Crowes? You must mean Counting Crows.
posted by ALongDecember at 6:36 PM on April 14 [+] [!]


My answer is contained in the quoted post.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:21 PM on April 14, 2007


Toad the Wet Sprocket's "All I Want" is a fairly decent pop song from a pretty terrible band...but that might be one-hit-wonder territory.

"Dust in the Wind" by Kansas is an evocative song from an otherwise forgettable band.

I like some 80's Madonna as pure pop, but "Like a Prayer" does transcend her catalog.
posted by maxwelton at 12:24 PM on April 14, 2007


If "Best Song by Worst Band" is the criterion, the Non Plus Ultra is Wesley Willis. Hands down.

Loved Like a Milkshake (A WW tribute album.)

Rock over London, Rock onChicago.
posted by isopraxis at 12:38 PM on April 14, 2007


Dude, I personally like all 3 bands a lot, but they're not generally considered 'cool.'

I like to think there's some distance between being merely 'uncool' and being the 'worst band.'
posted by mykescipark at 12:44 PM on April 14, 2007


I like to think there's some distance between being merely 'uncool' and being the 'worst band.'

I agree. I would hesitate to put Rush and Yes on this list for that reason.
posted by psmealey at 12:47 PM on April 14, 2007


"Sign of the Cross" by Skafish
"Moya" by The Southern Death Cult
"Boys of Summer" by Don Henley

(I long wondered how Don Henley managed to pen such an amazing song when the Eagles are the most offensively bland act of all time. The answer is that it was actually written by a guy who usually writes for Tom Petty.)
posted by bunnytricks at 12:50 PM on April 14, 2007


and Grand Funk Railroad "We're An American Band" may be the best example of a group of limited talent creating a moment where they rise above those limits.

GFR had some fine moments. "We're An American Band" was good but AOR has made it very hard to appreciate it. I love their cover of the Stone's Gimme Shelter.
posted by chillmost at 1:05 PM on April 14, 2007


Funny ELO is getting such a mention as that was one of the first bands that popped into my head. They have at least 3 great singles but the albums are more or less unlistenable and its not easy to find an ELO fan nowdays. I'm afraid that bands that have a strongly distinctive sound or a huge pop- following are usually hated by non-fans. Rush also comes to mind. So:

ELO: "Cant Get it Out of My Head"
Rush: "Working Man"

Non-Grateful Dead fans probably like "Touch of Grey" too.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:10 PM on April 14, 2007


Also, Im not sure if I'm groking the question. A terrible band with a good single (or two) is pretty much a one-hit wonder. The main reason they are a one hit wonder is because they're just not any good. If we just care about "audiophile snobs" then which one? I dont think these guys have as much as a unified front as you would assume, and as you can tell from this thread there's no shortage of contrarians.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:16 PM on April 14, 2007


An audiophile snob is someone who loves fancy speakers and turns up their nose at mp3s and ipod earbuds. This is not the same thing as a music snob.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:29 PM on April 14, 2007


.38 Special - Second Chance

Say what? I alwys considered that their worst song. "Caught Up In You" would be their best, with "What If I'd Been The One" close behind.
posted by jonmc at 1:31 PM on April 14, 2007


Ballroom Blitz by Sweet
posted by supercrayon at 1:35 PM on April 14, 2007


This is not the same thing as a music snob.

Yeah, thank you. You are only the third person to set me straight on that in this thread.

Damn dirty ape, whether you groked it or not, it seems quite a few others did (look behind you). This is exactly what I was looking for.

Thanks all for the contributions! Definite a treasure trove to choose from. I think you've all inspired me to have a bad rock 'n' roll party in which the songs selected for the mix need to satisfy this criteria. Good songs by "bad" bands (i.e.: famous, huge successful, but ultimately fail criteria for tastefulness and inventiveness set by indie and college rock radio snobs).
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 1:40 PM on April 14, 2007


Yeah, thank you. You are only the third person to set me straight on that in this thread.

Well excuse me for missing the small text of the one other person who said so in your 100 comment thread.

Good songs by "bad" bands (i.e.: famous, huge successful, but ultimately fail criteria for tastefulness and inventiveness set by indie and college rock radio snobs).

I think the simplest way to put it would be bands that sell a lot of records but get panned by music critics.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:56 PM on April 14, 2007


Sorry, ludwig_van. Apologies for my snippiness, it was unwarranted.

sell a lot of records but get panned by music critics

I think that's a different genre entirely. Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin were two bands that were mercilessly panned by critics and their day, and I think it would be hard to find anyone today who considers either of those bands to be "bad".

On the other hand, I recall bands like the Knack that were received very warmly by the critics ("Get the Knack" always scores highly), but didn't really amount to much in the grand scheme.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 2:05 PM on April 14, 2007


"Kiss Me Deadly" - Lita Ford. Best song by far on Lita.
posted by SisterHavana at 2:06 PM on April 14, 2007


The Beatles were an established band that was definitely out of their element in penning Yellow Submarine--or maybe Savoy Truffle--tunes that dwarfed all of their other material.
posted by found missing at 2:57 PM on April 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Doors are boring except for "L.A. Woman." ELO's Eldorado is still an exceptional album--wondering when Jeff Lynne will be in the Hall of Fame along with the rest of the Traveling Wilburys. Ted Nugent's demise was "Cat Scratch Fever"--Ted Nugent's self-titled album may be the best of the '70s. "Stranglehold" is incredible.
posted by SMP at 3:06 PM on April 14, 2007


Well excuse me for missing the small text of the one other person who said so

Next time I will post my nit-pickery in bold caps. FOR THE EDIFICATION OF ALL!

Fleetwood Mac - Tusk
Okay, plenty of people love this band, but I hate them, except for this song. But besides that, it's an example of an established band that's out of their element.

Richard Thompson maintains that "Oops I Did It Again" is a great song. I've heard his cover of it. I like him, but I think he's wrong. But maybe you'll take his vote over mine.

The only Nugent I like is "Journey to the Center of the Mind" by The Amboy Dukes.
posted by hydrophonic at 3:17 PM on April 14, 2007


Hey jonmc, I almost forgot. THANK YOU for the Holmes Brothers tracks you posted in mecha. I have been playing the shit out of them. Ordered the cd. Seriously, thank you.
posted by vronsky at 3:17 PM on April 14, 2007


George Michael - Father Figure
posted by vronsky at 3:21 PM on April 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Limp Bizkit's cover of "Faith"
Pat Benetar, "We Belong"
posted by equalpants at 3:30 PM on April 14, 2007


Perfect example for this question is, I think, Aqua, who put out a hell of a lot of music (and sold a shedload) that seemed to be specifically written to annoy the living f**k out of me personally.

However, they won't be up against the wall when the revolution comes (at least, not at first) because they also did "Turn Back Time" from the Sliding Doors soundtrack, which I think is excellent.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 3:39 PM on April 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hair of the Dog by Nazareth

Seconding:

Rich Girl by Hall & Oates
In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins
Hold the Line by Toto
Radar Love by Golden Earring
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:50 PM on April 14, 2007


I think that's a different genre entirely. Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin were two bands that were mercilessly panned by critics and their day, and I think it would be hard to find anyone today who considers either of those bands to be "bad".

And I don't think many music critics today would call them bad either, so the fact that they weren't well-received at the time is somewhat immaterial. Most of the bands in this thread aren't contemporary. You're looking for good songs from bands that aren't a part of the critical canon.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:05 PM on April 14, 2007


November Rain by Guns and Roses.
posted by wackybrit at 4:09 PM on April 14, 2007


"Mississippi Queen" - Mountain
posted by cadastral at 4:39 PM on April 14, 2007


Billy Squier - "Everybody Wants You"
The Black Crowes - "She Talks To Angels"
Kiss - "Heaven's On Fire"
Spin Doctors - "Jimmy Olsen's Blues (Pocketful of Kryptonite)"
Bon Jovi - "Lay Your Hands on Me"

I'll cop to liking more than one Motley Crue song, including "Kickstart My Heart," "She Goes Down," and "Dancing On Glass." But it seems a shame not to include them on the list; they're the epitome of the phenomenon you describe.
posted by Clay201 at 5:02 PM on April 14, 2007


Oh, crap, how could I forget:
Poison, "Talk Dirty to Me"
Counting Crows, "Mr. Jones"
Everclear, "Santa Monica"
Roxette, "Fading Like a Flower"
posted by equalpants at 5:21 PM on April 14, 2007


This is an amazing thread. I am astounded at all the comments that say "[renowned, famously seminal band] was lame, but [said band's weakest song] rocked!"

Partial list of awesome bands someone had no use for:
- The Doors - "boring" and "ponderous and pretentous" but they did Touch Me and L.A. Woman, which are great! - Actually, those two songs are the clearest markers of when and why the Doors ceased to matter. Compared to the first two Doors albums, they're boring and repetitive noise.

- The Beatles - "out of their element in penning Yellow Submarine--or maybe Savoy Truffle--tunes that dwarfed all of their other material" - Because those songs were written for a children's cartoon and about a box of chocolates? Seriously - out of the dozens of often-covered major songs the band released, those are the only ones you like?

- Cream - "like every other 60s schlock poprock band." - There was no one making music like that before they did it, and all those bands they were "like" were weak imitations that came after. Sunshine of Your Love is a great song, but it's not the only great song Cream produced, by any means.

You guys are either new on this planet, or you're attempting humor, badly.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:04 PM on April 14, 2007


"Can't Get Enough" - Bad Company
posted by psmealey at 6:07 PM on April 14, 2007


Kirth:

De gustibus non est disputandum.
posted by nasreddin at 6:09 PM on April 14, 2007


Hey jonmc, I almost forgot. THANK YOU for the Holmes Brothers tracks you posted in mecha.

Glad you liked 'em (I put another one up the other day, from a different album, and it's heartbreakingly gorgeous)
posted by jonmc at 6:58 PM on April 14, 2007


If Hall & Oates belongs on a "worst bands" list, in my opinion "Rich Girl" would be one of the reasons. Now, "She's Gone"—that's a great song.

I despised Toto (and Kansas, and Foreigner, etc.) back in the day, but I've got to admit that I kind of dig "Africa" now.

Also: Boston's "More than a Feeling" has an astronomical song to band ratio.
posted by macrone at 7:41 PM on April 14, 2007


Stone Temple Pilots - "Sour Girl"
posted by furiousthought at 8:15 PM on April 14, 2007


Words can't describe how sad I was to learn that "Jukebox Hero" was NOT in fact found on the Guitar Hero game (version I or II). Such a great song!

If you're including KISS as a "bad band," their best song is Detroit Rock City.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 8:25 PM on April 14, 2007


"Wheel In The Sky" is pretty consistently named by non-fans as Journey's best song.

Yeah, that beats my mention of "Lights."
posted by kindall at 9:27 PM on April 14, 2007


If you're including KISS as a "bad band," their best song is Detroit Rock City Deuce Strutter Hotter than Hell Cold Gin Black Diamond Rock n Roll All Nite Makin' Love Love Gun Rocket Ride Rock Bottom Beth.

Wow... turns out they weren't so bad after all.

posted by psmealey at 9:56 PM on April 14, 2007


"Once you get past the iconic voice and stop laughing at the very concept, the rap album "Be A Man" by Macho Man Randy Savage (seriously) is better than it should be."

No, this is exactly wrong— the only way that Be A Man qualifies on any level as decent is that it's unintentionally hilarious, especially the tune "Perfect Friend," which is possibly the gayest song ever from an "artist" who spends the rest of the album gaybashing (including an odd fixation on Hulk Hogan, because Hulk once wore a tutu).
You'd do better with an album from the Hulkster, or even George "The Animal" Steele.
posted by klangklangston at 10:10 PM on April 14, 2007


As far as I know, "Tainted Love" is Soft Cell's only good song, but it is a good song indeed. Great, even.

"Take on Me", also brilliant, is, I feel pretty safe saying, A-Ha's only good song.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 10:14 PM on April 14, 2007


"Take on Me", also brilliant, is, I feel pretty safe saying, A-Ha's only good song.

"Weight of the Wind" is also pretty kick-ass, but never got any airplay.
posted by kindall at 10:56 PM on April 14, 2007


"Every Morning" by Sugar Ray.
posted by zardoz at 11:18 PM on April 14, 2007


"Tainted Love" is a cover of a soul song; a great cover, but a cover nonetheless, which would explain why it is so much better than the rest of Soft Cell's "oeuvre."

I would like to third (or whatever) "Like A Prayer" and "Toxic."

Also (and I will lose a bunch of cool points for this) "Remind Me" by Nickelback is not a bad song by an otherwise unredeemable band.
posted by SoftRain at 11:26 PM on April 14, 2007


ABBA - "Dancing Queen"
Commodores - "Brick House"
Tommy James & the Shondells - "Crystal Blue Persuasion" or "MONY, MONY"
Sam the Sham & the Pharohs - "Wooly Bully"
The Kingsmen - "Louie, Louie"
Looking Glass - "Brandy"
Air Supply - "Without You"
Crowded House - "Don't Dream It's Over"
Spandau Ballet - "True"
posted by paulsc at 12:02 AM on April 15, 2007


I can't abide the Doors, they're ponderous and pretentous. I guess you had to be there, but "Touch me' is irresistable.

People who love The Doors hate this song. People who hate The Doors love this song.

I am one of the former.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:36 AM on April 15, 2007


Also, my list :

Heart - Barracuda
The Cranberries - Dreams
Skid Row - I Remember You
Aerosmith - Sweet Emotion
posted by Afroblanco at 12:52 AM on April 15, 2007


I Melt with You, Modern English.
posted by juiceCake at 6:57 AM on April 15, 2007


"When You Were Young", by the Killers (can't get into anything else they've done, but I'll listen to this song 3 times a day).
posted by Gortuk at 2:47 PM on April 15, 2007


If 2 whole albums of great tunes isn't stretching the brief for this question, then the first two UB40 albums are both absolutely superb (Present Arms and Signing Off). Everything afterwards is, of course, unlistenable tosh.
posted by bifter at 1:36 AM on April 16, 2007


Soft Cell's best song is Say Hello, Goodbye.
posted by Mocata at 3:12 AM on April 16, 2007


MmmBop - Hanson. I heard it the other day, and I'd forgotten how good it actually was.

Also All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey is pretty impressive.
posted by cholly at 4:34 AM on April 16, 2007


Crowded House - "Don't Dream It's Over"

Lots of stuff here that's debatable, and your favorite band sucks and all that, but I have to take an issue with this. I don't worship at the altar of Neil Finn like some people do, and DDIO is a very good pop song, but that's not even the best song on that album ("World Where you Live"). If you are stopping there with this band, you are doing yourself a great disservice. Both "Woodface" and "Temple of Low Men" are very good albums (if a bit off the pace set by their debut), and contain some of the most gorgeous pop ever recorded ("Weather With You", "Fall at Your Feet", "Better Be Home Soon", "When you Come", etc.).
posted by psmealey at 6:20 AM on April 16, 2007


Eminem, "Stan"
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:52 AM on April 16, 2007


If 2 whole albums of great tunes isn't stretching the brief for this question, then the first two UB40 albums are both absolutely superb (Present Arms and Signing Off). Everything afterwards is, of course, unlistenable tosh.

The same is quite true for weezer.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:56 AM on April 16, 2007


my winner is Limp Bizkit's cover of "Faith", equalpants is right. There's no other band whose music is so universally reviled by anyone with eardrums, but for me this cover was actually kinda fun and even maybe better than the original (although I was in diapers when it came out)
posted by Chris4d at 12:43 PM on April 16, 2007


Maybe this doesn't count since it's not a band per se, but I'd definitely throw a couple votes for "American Pie" by Don McLean
posted by shokod at 6:26 PM on April 16, 2007


"Cold Hard Bitch" - Jet

yeah, Jet's songs mostly sound like that one, but that one especially nails what they seem to be striving for, and the rest of them sort of miss the mark for me.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 9:09 AM on April 19, 2007


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