Remember the time when they were promoting The Click Five on TV? Like this pop-rock (boy)band with emo haircuts and play their own instruments is probably the next big thing? I don’t really remember in what year that was, but I had the impression then they we’re trying to make this band go big mainly for their boyband/rockstar looks more than the hooks in their songs — if there were any to begin with. Based on their Wiki page, the band faded into obscurity within two years and after the release of their second album. Too bad, fans in Southeast Asia were just catching up to the pop rock “goodness” their second album offered (via hits “Jenny” and “Happy Birthday”), around the same time band was already processing their impending breakup.
What all this has to do with songs that I hate? Well, both “Jenny” and “Happy Birthday” aren’t really my idea of good pop/rock songs. They’re kind of OK-ish, I guess. But they’re pretty much close to the type of songs that I usually hate. They’re the kind of bland, generic, looks-over-hooks type of songs, not to mention hooks that reveals themselves only after you hear them for the tenth time. Which usually works for any decent song actually; just play it over and over and listeners will get hooked to it. That’s what the DJs get paid for. The reason I did not include them on the list is because they weren’t overplayed enough, at least as far as my listening experience is concerned.
Now, here’s the top 10 songs that I hate, ranked from worse to worst.
What Makes You Beautiful, One Direction. I never really hated this song. I think it came out at the time when I was already able to somehow avoid music that I don’t like. At the same time boybands were already passe at this point, like these boys were in a “boyband”, but not same as it was in the ’90s (Backstreet Boys, N’Sync) and the ’00s (Westlife). And that, they’re probably aware of. Which is probably why their music videos are a tinny bit more tolerable than anything by the Backstreet Boys. No shirtless chest-thumping choruses with funny facial expressions — just them goofing around in front of camera. And I only discovered this when I watched the MV last night. And they also made a cover of Blondie’s “One Way Or Another”, which for a boyband, I’d admit, is actually kind of a cool.
Okay, so why include it in the list then? Because like “Jenny”, it’s bland, generic, looks over hooks kind of thing. And you know what? The chorus is so hummable — not — not until you hear it for the tenth time. And that opening line isn’t really the most melodic thing you’d ever hear. “You’re insecure, duh duh duh duh.” Oh, man, I swear Dunkirk would have been a masterpiece if Christopher Nolan had to balls to kill Harry in the movie. Yeah, BSB music videos may be cringe, but some of their songs sing! Unlike this first ever “hit” from One Direction.
I’m Yours, Jason Mraz. Again, I didn’t really hate this song. It’s a simple reggae-ish acoustic love song that almost everyone can sing and relate to. But I hated that it was the most covered song of the century. Imagine if we had TikTok back then. It could’ve been worse. Try, I mean just try, typing the words “jason mraz i’m yours” on Google and I’m sure “ukulele” would come up in the suggestions. Every time I hear this song and people started singing along, I was like, “Hey, haven’t you guys heard better songs? Haven’t you guys heard “You and I Both” or “The Remedy”?” This song has like four chords and structured verse-chorus-verse, it’s very predictable. I wonder how people could listen to it on repeat without getting tired one bit. Don’t most people appreciate Jason Mraz’s weird phrasing in “You and I Both” or they just don’t like it because like me, they couldn’t hit the high notes in the chorus? Well, Mraz must have hated “I’m Yours” as well at some point, as usually the case is for artists who always have to play that one big hit in every occasion.
High, The Speaks. Let me start with the name. The Speaks?! What kind of ridiculous name is that?! I’m thinking, The Shouts would have been less aggravating. And The Yells may have sounded a little bit cool. But The Speaks? The Speaks?! C’mon! Sorry, if you’re a fan of this Fil-Californian “grunge” band. But this song is like warmed-over “grunge” material sung with all the faux earnestness of every post grunge band of this era (i.e., Creed, Staind). Not even the version featuring Barbie Almalbis could salvage this song. Grunge bands from the ’90s were never really this obvious. Never downright silly in their earnestness. By the way, this is from an album called Life’s a Joke. And I think they mean that seriously. Maybe some sort of philosophical statement or something. I mean, just look at these lyrics, these guys definitely mean business, they’re dead serious: Will it ever be? I’ve tried so hard to find sweet serenity. Are you still afraid? Just close your eyes and dream, and fear will fade away. Sweet serenity? I suppose it takes an awful lot of strength to sing this song and keep a straight face at the same time.
Pagdating ng Panahon, Aiza Seguerra. I didn’t really care if Aiza wrote her songs or not but I was slightly surprised when I learned that the people behind this song were the same people responsible for most of The Company’s tepid “hits.” Wait, never heard of The Company? Well, I’m not really surprised (but I kind of have a soft spot for “Muntik Na Kitang Minahal,” maybe you know that song). The fact that it was Aiza who sang it, and not some group who sound like some random church choir on regular Sunday mass, probably spelled the difference. I wouldn’t really hate this song if it was just a minor hit. But it WAS NOT. Those jologs FM radio DJs couldn’t seem to get enough of it. And they played it almost every hour, everyday, opens and closes their radio programs with it. And then play it again during the weekly countdowns. Gaad! I am not even considering the AM stations yet. TV? Oh, fuck nooooo!
Rainbow, South Border. I remember when I used to listen to this radio program where they play songs from local rock bands. And then in between Slapshock and Parokya Ni Edgar, the DJ would play this song. And I hated it for that. And I would’ve probably smashed my old radio there and then if I had the money and resources to buy a new one. But I didn’t have. So what I’d do is just switch to the other stations or wait in agony for the song to end. “Rainbow” is one of those songs that didn’t really sound like a hit. I mean, I understand why R.Kelly’s “Ignition”, Brian McKnight’s “Back At One” and Freestyle’s “So Slow” and “This Time” were hits, huge hits, but not this one.
Lips of An Angel, Hinder. Again, I didn’t really hate this song, until… I saw the music video. And it’s like the most cringe thing I ever saw up to that point. It was as if the band’s singer was trying SO HARD to out-Steven Tyler Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. Only he ended up like a worse, less manly version of Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger. Well, just look at the singer’s mouth. It’s so big he could probably hide a microphone in there (by the way, Tyler’s bigger but, well, he’s a legend so). And he looks like he’s gonna have a nervous breakdown any minute throughout the song. And the band, man, the band. They looked like they came out from Hot Tub Time Machine straight from the ’80s. What is this, some kind of pussy metal band?
I actually felt bad that Emmanuelle Chriqui was in this music video. To think that both Liv Tyler and Alicia Silverstone starred in one or two Aerosmith music videos back in the ’90s. And those songs were actually good. This — this sounds like a bad imitation of those songs. Maybe you’re wondering why Hinder is here but not Nickelback. Well, I only truly know one Nickelback song, it’s “How You Remind Me” and I don’t think it’s actually bad. Probably the only decent song by them. And I can’t hate on Nickelback, there’s already plenty of that in the webspace. Also, only virgins hate on Nickelback, and that is according to Chad Kroeger.
Wherever You Will Go, The Calling. This song hasn’t reached the notoriety of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” yet, and I don’t want to be the one to start that kind of “trend.” Well, I don’t have a gun nor do I carry a knife whenever I go to fiestas, birthdays or any occasion with videoke sessions, but please, just please, people, stop singing this song. ‘Cause only time can tell when that plastic knife used to slice the birthday cake becomes handy. I remember one DJ back then saying something like, The Calling was to Pearl Jam as Puddle of Mudd was to Nirvana. I’d probably smashed the radio then if I had money to buy a new one. That DJ, he was so wrong, very wrong. I don’t know how’s that DJ nowadays. Sana, masarap palagi ulam n’ya.
This song, as well any other hit from this faux rock band who calls himself/themselves The Calling, is probably the epitome of everything bad about post-grunge during the ’00s (e.g., 3Doors Down’s “Here Without You”, Hoobastank’s “The Reason”). Well, not all of them were bad i.e., some of Lifehouse’s materials have actually aged well (“You and Me”). Wait, I haven’t mentioned about the song’s music video yet. Well, it’s really awful. Like, Backstreet Boys-music videos-are still better than this-awful. See for yourself.
Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran. Before you start typing that hundred-word Ed Sheeran defense that when summed up, only says one thing — that I’m a hater — hear me out, I think the chorus of “Photographs” is actually good. And I actually approved of “Perfect” just recently. Well, my friends were about to get hitched, and asked me if “Perfect” would be good as their wedding song. And since I couldn’t say “No” because they are my friends and I don’t want to delay their wedding any further, so that they could finally share that sweet first night together, I said, “That? Oh, that’s a great song. It’s perfect!” Then afterwards, I secretly opened my phone and searched for the song on YouTube. And you know what, not that bad. At least it’s better than “Thinking Out Loud.” But I didn’t like it. Maybe I would’ve suggested that Moira song instead, if they weren’t my friends. But knowing that they both really liked “Perfect”, I gave it my half-hearted thumbs up.
Going back to “Thinking Out Loud,” it’s not really a bad song, but for a No.1 hit, it is truly underwhelming. Lyrically, it’s actually bad. Quite bad. And I’m not going to tell you how and why, because somebody already did. Dissected the lyrics and extracted the untruthfulness in it. Is it melodic? Is it something that sticks to your head? No and no. It’s just outrageously bland through and through. But why was it such a big hit? Maybe the generation of fans who liked this song just needed something “sweet”, some sort of a serenade that they never got from the other stuff they were into at the time, whether it was EDM or whatever fad.
I think that is the key, that fans of this song “needed” it (like that Anne Murray song), and it came to them at the right time. And it’s only a matter time and a matter of listening to more songs, better songs, until they realize that this song wasn’t all that great. Of course, it would be different if one has already attached many things to the song — things like first crush, first love, first communion, first wedding, first divorce, first deflowering, first cigarette puff, first date, first movie experience since the pandemic, first time to get really drunk, etc. If that’s the case, then it would be different.
Pump Up Kicks, Foster the People. At least this song is actually about something, about that quiet kid with a gun. Well, I used to have trouble trying to figure out what to do with my life. You could say I was confused as fuck as a teenager. But I was never more confused my whole life than the time I found out that this was the No. 1 song on the MYX chart. I was like, what the fuck? This is the current best song, the best indie-pop song , the cream of crap? But this is just so BLAND. That if you get Ed Sheeran really drunk and have him join the boys of One Direction and they had an orgy, this would have been their baby. Its mildly catchy mildly generic chorus and mildly boring, even more generic verses. And the instrumentation, minimal as fuck. That’s it, I’m quitting radio, TV, MTV and all. I’ll just download the songs that I want from internet. I cannot live with whatever is popular anymore. And then I stormed off the house and sold my sister’s TV to the second-hand shop. And we never watched MYX or MTV after that ever again. Then, my sister bought a new flatscreen TV. But we only used it for watching movies on DVD.
Billionaire, Travie McCoy feat. Bruno Mars. Yes, one of the worst one-hit wonders ever. I don’t know if it’s the thought of wanting to be a billionaire that made me hate this or it’s because the song is just this super generic pop-rap-reggae mash-up. Maybe both. And I was even more disgusted that it became one of the biggest hit at the time. It was played on the radio, in parties, on TV — fuck, it was almost inescapable. The next thing you know everyone I know in the office were joining multi-level marketing and singing this song at parties. The thought that it’s OK to become filthy rich, to want to “become a billionaire, so freakin’ bad” and that my friends are actually cool with it, made me hate this song even more. Okay, those things about my friends, I only made them up, but I still hate this song to no end.
Okay, enough with the hate. Here’s something better than pump up kicks!