For every "Blowin' In the Wind"and "The Times They Are A-Changin'" there's a "We Didn't Start the Fire" and "Muskrat Love." There's never a shortage of lists out there of good and bad pop lyrics. And who among us hasn't compiled his or her own? Former NME writer Johnny Sharp, however, has taken a really hilarious stab at dissecting, in his estimation, the cream of the cringe-worthy in the newly-published Crap Lyrics: A Celebration Of The Very Worst Pop Lyrics Of All Time...Ever! (Anova Books). And he's clearly the man for job: you really can't go wrong with a guy who calls Toto "giant bepermend love panthers."
Sharp, who cheekily admits he's jealous and is a failed musician, obviously, includes songs that are both knowingly horrendous and oft-praised, and arranges them according to themes, including the overly lewd; overly cerebral; scientifically, mathematically and humanly implausible; and just plain nonsensical. Poetry schmoetry. He leaves no artist--or "rhyminal"--untouched, from Zeppelin to Neil Young to the Clash, even including the Beatles' "Don't Pass Me By" ("I'm sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair. You were in a car crash, and you lost your hair," sings Ringo).
While Sharp's book concentrates on mostly British bands, he gives the distinction of worst lyrics to "My Humps" by L.A.'s very own Black Eyed Peas (don't make us write the words). We at West Coast Sound, however, have taken a different approach to Sharp's selections and listed the top ten (okay, 12) that made us laugh while sitting on the sofa across from Mom, who asked to know what was so funny. Even though she probably would not understand what "let me cut your cake with my knife" means, there's still some things you just shouldn't share with your mother.
So, bring your copy of Crap Lyrics to McArthur Park, sit near the place where someone left a cake out in the rain, and prepare to chuckle like a regular Laughing Gnome (ha ha ha, hee hee hee) to our curated Top 10 or 12 List:
12. "Champagne Supernova," Oasis: "Slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball." Well, which is it?
11. "Pink,"Aerosmith: "Pink--when I turn out the light. Pink--it's like red but not quite." Though it's clear Steven Tyler can tell the difference between red and pink, we still think he's colorblind. [Ed's note: "Pink--it's like red but not quite" is actually pretty genius.]
10. "Whenever, Wherever," Shakira: "Lucky that my breasts are small and humble so you don't confuse them with mountains." No one's ever tried to scale Dolly Parton so this couldn't possibly be the case with Shakira.
9. "You Are the Everything," REM: "Late spring and you're drifting off to sleep, with your teeth in your mouth." Unless they're dentures and were left on the nightstand.
8. "Hong Kong Garden," Siouxsie and the Banshees: "Slanted eyes meet a new sunrise, a race of bodies small in size." Oh, the '70s.
7. "Every Picture Tells A Story," Rod Stewart: "I fell in love with a slit-eyed lady, by the light of an eastern moon." See above.
6. "Little Things," Bush: "I touch your mouth, my willy is food." Gwen Stefani bore Gavin Rossdale two children.
5. "Burn Bitch Burn," KISS: "Wanna put my log in your fireplace." Gene Simmons also has two children, including a daughter.
4. "Sister," Prince: "My sister was 32, lovely and loose. She don't wear no underwear, she says it only gets in her hair. And it's got a funny way of stoppin' the juice." No surprise Prince is a three-time offender in this book.
3. "Pieces of You," Jewel: "You say he's a Jew, does it mean that he's tight? You say he's a Jew, do you want to hurt his kids tonight?" Alaska has had a long history of anti-semitism.
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And (drumroll, please) our tie for the worst:
2. "Being Around," The Lemonheads: "If I was a booger, would you blow your nose? Where would you keep it? Would you eat it? I'm just tryin' to give myself a reason, for being around." Not-so-deep thoughts by Evan Dando.
1. "Indian Girl (An Adult Story)," Slick Rick: "He wanted to see the vagina face to face. He opened it up, with his bare two thumbs. He seen crabs with spears and Indian drums! They's going heya hiya heya hey, hey!" Another apology owed to Native Americans. Brought to you by the same man who wrote "Treat Her Like a Prostitute."