Freshman year in college, the albatrosses living next door would squawk into the wee hours of the night over their latest conquests or sorority happenings. And while, being night owls, we normally wouldn't take issue with the noise, every so often the ladies would play a song so loud that its bass line would thrash and shamble through our thin dorm room walls and thinner mental concentration. We can only imagine that it was some sort of dreary, tragic mating ritual or that the song, whose thudding offense sampled Zapp and Roger's "Doo Wa Ditty (Blow That Thing)" was, in its own way, a lamenting swan song.
Living in a city like Los Angeles, tightly-packed with mixed tastes, doesn't provide any more freedom from neighboring annoyances. So, in the spirit of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," here are our Top 10 Songs to Annoy Your Neighbor:
10. Yes- "Owner of a Lonely Heart"
Decades ago, disc jockeys would play songs by Yes when they needed long enough breaks to relieve themselves before flipping tracks. Any band whose music is tied to a Pavlovian-releasing of bowels can't possibly produce songs worth an actual listen. This one is particularly excremental.
9. The Exciters- "Tell Him"
This song's frenzied viols and what must be the world's only known recorded use of pop-glockenspiel rests a little too close to Bernard Herrmann's score for Psycho. Despite those odds, the track enjoyed a resurgence in the mid-'90s with the rise of Julie Roberts' rom-coms. Listening to this song is like breathing a fistful of glitter.
8. The Darkness- "I Believe In a Thing Called Love"
The Darkness came out with dirty Brit before it married Katy Perry. While we admit to initially enjoying the band's meta-theatrical winks and nods to bad '80s rock, it eventually became the very thing it set out to mock and honor--trash. Still, everyone knows the song and its chorus--especially howling drunks--and so playing it repeatedly will surely piss off the folks next door.
7. UB40- "Red, Red Wine"
There's a reason UB40 had two hits.
6. Nas Feat. The Bravehearts- "Oochie Wally"
Forgiving the blatant sexual overtones (and exaggerations in lyrical content--let's be honest), the song is nothing but hip-hop's half-attempt to speak to different cultural audiences. Its chorus features a shrill woman whining about her sexual escapades to the nauseating drone of an Asian-inspired electro-whistle. He really, really, really turned me out. We really, really, really turned it up.
5. Gipsy Kings- "Medley"
Medley? What medley? The medley that features Bamboleo, Volaré, Djobi,Djoba, Pida Me La, and Baila Me. You know, the one that Latin-fusion restaurants play in their restrooms at least five times a day. The one every little girl taking a salsa class learns choreography to--yes, THAT medley.
4. Kenny Loggins- "Danger Zone"
Dear Top Gun fans, this song is horrible. The only reason you tolerate it is because it represents the frivolity, over-compensation, and boyish ignorance embraced by the film itself. The song is underscored with so much sexual innuendo that it makes Goose's death a metaphor for the pull-out method. Tack on the film's endless stream of homoerotic jet-propulsion: Mission Accomplished.
3. Belinda Carlisle- "Heaven Is A Place on Earth"
Belinda Carlisle isn't the first vocalist to capitalize on goaty-throat singing (yes, you, Stevie Nicks), but she's certainly one who enjoys countless spins at an '80s-themed party. Here, Carlisle, known for other bubble-gum atrocities during her reign at the helm of The Go-Go's, forces an overly- simplistic, annoyingly idyllic ditty that leaves nothing up for discussion: Conform, conform, conform. Repeated play for your neighbors certainly laces the song with poetic irony.
2. Daniel Powter- "Had a Bad Day"
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If you truly had a bad day, listening to this song makes you lurch in frustration. If you had a good day, listening to this song makes your day a bad day. Double whammy and therefore a perfect #2.
And the number one song to annoy your neighbor is ...
1. Neil Diamond- "Cracklin' Rosie"
Neil Diamond is the father of contemptible, contemporary "rock" (insomuch as he was validated by an induction this year into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame). His music's sudden fashion, with marms and malarkey alike, is so detestable that it's almost chic enough for Los Feliz--give it a year.