The Ten Most Beloved Songs I Hate [Part 2]

[Read Part 1 | Illustration by Jen May]

5. Cher Lloyd – “Want U Back”

Are people stupid? Are people getting stupider? Is that a real thing that’s happening? Is the Internet ruining our brains? Do babies have iPhones? What is the world like? Is Cher Lloyd because of climate change?

Cher Lloyd is very thin and very young. She was born when I was eight. Whenever I hear of a celebrity being born in the early nineties I imagine my child self cradling said celebrity as a newborn baby in my child arms, and then I resent them for making more money than I do.

“Want U Back” is upsetting. It begins with Cher expelling a guttural monkey sound: she’s MAD. Oh my god she’s so mad. She wants him back so bad!!!!! But then she giggles moments later. She’s confused. She doesn’t know how she feels! The narrative begins with Cher breaking up with a dude because he didn’t “have much game,” but then he starts dating another girl, she sees them “walking all over town,” eating at “restaurants,” and now she’s jealous- she wants him back. She’s irrationally convincing herself that his relationship with the other girl is all a ploy to get her attention, but I don’t really think that’s true about him. Cher is crazy; she’s vindictive. She’s saying that the new girl wears ugly jeans. Now a rapper named Astro who appears to be eight years old is backing up her stupid point in a rap. Both Astro and Cher Lloyd, I’ve learned, were contestants on the TV show The X Factor. The song ends with Cher making a bzzzzzz noise with her lips and breaking the fourth wall, asking her audience, “Do I sound like a helicopter?”

Bzzzzzzzzz. Do we live in a Dystopia?

4. Fun. – “Some Nights”

God, I’m feeling so nostalgic for “Pontoon.” For Phillip Phillips, even! “Some Nights” by Fun with a period after it (you have to write it like that or else Microsoft Word auto-capitalizes the word you type after it and it’s annoying) is insane. On some perverse level, I kind of respect it: for being so wildly over the top, for its Revolutionary War-themed video, because the lead singer looks like an emaciated Matt Damon. I detect a slight Queen influence.

Emaciated Matt Damon doesn’t know what he stands for anymore, apparently. The drums are a “Power” by Kanye rip-off. “This is it, Boys! This is war!” preaches Emaciated Matt Damon, and then he says some sentences about breaking the rules and people “jacking” his style. I think Fun. are anti-establishment. He just asked, “Who the fuck wants to die alone?”- sassy.

Here’s a cool sentence about Fun(.) I just read on Fun.’s Wikipedia entry: “[Emaciated Matt Damon] is currently dating the sister of bandmate Jack Antonoff, Rachel. When not on tour, the three of them live together in New Jersey with Antonoff’s parents,” so that’s incredibly depressing.

Fun. aren’t terrible, though. I bet if they collaborated with “Pontoon”-people (I forget the “Pontoon” band’s name now), I’d like it.

3. Katy Perry – “Wide Awake”

This all is reminding me of a time my father and I were trying to think of the name of the guy who sang “The Israelites.” We found ”The Israelites’” Wikipedia entry, and learned that if a song was ever a #1 hit record in the US or UK (“The Israelites” hit #1 in the UK the week of April 16th, 1969), Wikipedia does this cool timeline thing where it tells you which songs were #1 right after and before it. “The Israelites” was preceded by “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, and succeeded by “Get Back” by the Beatles. I told my dad: “I CAN’T BELIEVE THERE WAS EVER A TIME WHEN THE MOST POPULAR MUSIC IN THE WORLD WAS THAT GOOD! NO, NOT GOOD- AMAZING. AND YOU GOT TO LIVE THROUGH IT! YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND HOW LUCKY YOU ARE!” (The guy who sang “The Israelites” is named Desmond Dekker, by the way.)

I feel this harder than ever right now. I wish it was April of 1969. I don’t understand how Katy Perry is okay with herself, inflicting this garbage upon the world. Katy Perry should listen to “The Israelites,” or at very least cover it. That’s my new stance on Katy Perry, if anyone ever asks: “Uh, I dunno. I guess she’d be okay if she covered “The Israelites.’” Although I guess it would be extremely politically fucked up of Katy Perry to release a song including the lyric “Aah, poor me, the Israelite.” Maybe she shouldn’t do that.

Or maybe she should, because that way everyone would start hating her for being racially insensitive, and then we’d banish her from our collective consciousness and I’d never have to overhear her stupid music playing at Sephora or the grocery store or in the back of a taxicab ever again and it’d be heavenly. Yes. I want that. That’s what I want.

I don’t know. This song seems like it relates to her failed marriage to Russell Brand. It’s got the same phony-anthemic quality as every other Katy Perry song. Why is she always trying to teach me a lesson about something?

2. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe”

Oh cool! I’m so happy I get to write about Carly Rae Jepsen some more. Carly “Raw” Jepsen.

I wish I could go back in time and play this song to White Album-era John Lennon. I wonder if it would blow his mind because it was so unlike anything he’d ever heard before, or if he’d be able to recognize that it was a regression. I want to nestle my head into the crook of White Album-era John Lennon’s neck and cry about how terrible music ended up being. I wonder what would happen if I went back in time and played White Album-era John Lennon London Calling by the Clash. I wish I could play him rap.

The first time I ever heard “Call Me Maybe” was at my friend Erin’s apartment in February or March of this year. We watched that video of Justin Bieber and all his friends lip-synching it, and I wrote “Call Me Maybe” on a piece of paper, and Erin stuck it to her fridge. It’s still on her fridge; I saw it yesterday. So, mostly when I hear “Call Me Maybe” I think of that piece of paper, my own handwriting.

The other thing I think of when I hear “Call Me Maybe” is a “CRJ” quote I read in an issue of Flare magazine while waiting for some chick to finish getting a manicure so I could get my eyebrows waxed, where she said she wrote the line “Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad” about her boyfriend, but now I just found out that Carly Rae Jepsen didn’t even write “Call Me Maybe.” So either she was lying or I’m remembering the quote wrong, but I’m hoping she was lying. I hope I’m exposing that feral wolf-child to the world as being the liar that she is.

I understand why “Call Me Maybe” is popular. I can hear it. But I do believe that if I went back in time and played it for White Album-era John Lennon, he’d look at me with terror in his eyes.

1. Flo Rida – “Whistle”

Lately Flo Rida has been coming up a lot in my life, and now I understand why: because he’s one of the most popular recording artists in the world. People seem to get a real kick out of saying his name. It’s a cute pun.

Oh, you see- it’s called “Whistle,” and there’s whistling in it. I just wanted to clear that up, for everybody who thought maybe there wasn’t whistling in “Whistle.” There is.

Oh no! I get it now! Oh my God, it’s so much worse than whistling- it’s blow jobs! You see: his whistle is his penis. He asks, “Can you blow my whistle? Baby, let me know,” and then he says, “Girl, I’m gonna show you how to do it and we start real slow.” He tells her, “You put your lips together and you come real close,” and then he asks her if she can blow his whistle again. The answer is an implicit yes.

I listen to music from the 1960s because I am nostalgic for a world I never got to live in; a world wherein John Lennon and Paul McCartney singing “I’d love to turn you on” begat a revolution, when naming a record Sticky Fingers was about as risque as it got. I remember being a very little kid and singing “Let’s Talk About Sex” by Salt-n-Pepa while dancing on a play structure in a schoolyard, understanding that I was being bad by saying sex but having no idea why. I’m nostalgic for a world I once lived in; a world wherein children could absently sing along to “Lick him like a lollipop should be licked” without considering anything more than how much they’d like to be eating a lollipop at that moment.

Existing as an artist in 2012, I feel floored by my own having to face up to the challenge of “Everything’s been said, everything’s been done,” but what scares me most is that the only things that haven’t been done are basically just the dirtiest, nastiest sex shit. I dig kicking back with an episode of Girls as much as the next girl, but it bums me out to think that the revolution has progressed/regressed to a point where its staggering originality derives mostly from its willingness to depict awkward and depressing sexual realities including but not limited to: a woman telling a man who reminds most women of every dude she’s ever dated that he’s worthless while he masturbates in front of her. Later, he pees on her in the shower as a joke. Where is “Because the world is round, it turns me on?” Why can’t we just let it be beautiful?!?

I would be very proud of myself if I wrote 10,000 words describing the most intensely beautiful blow job I ever gave, but I still wouldn’t want a little kid to read it. Children don’t need to know about blow jobs, and teenage girls don’t need to know about masochism. It breaks my heart to think of all the little kids who’ve heard “Whistle” by Flo Rida, wondered what he was talking about, Googled it, and found out. I wonder what it feels like to be seven years old, walking around the world and knowing that. I wonder what it feels like to be fourteen, walking around the world, having known that for seven years.

I wish I could go back in time and tell White Album-era John Lennon absolutely fucking nothing about Flo Rida. I wish I could sail away on a pontoon.

[Laura Jane Faulds is a Knox Road contributor and editor of the music blog Strawberry Fields Whatever.]

  • Tom Wu

    I find it painful, a sympathetic pinch of pity for someone I don’t know and never will, that you believe the music that was made before you were born is better than anything made since. I don’t know how that happens. I feel like you were cheated and that you actively collude in it. Not going to change your mind, butit’s how I feel.

    [Reply]

    Baramos x Reply:

    It is more that the good music has been actively winnowed out from the chaff over the past 40 years–in 40 years the good music of today (which doesn’t include any of the songs she mentioned, unfortunately) will have been winnowed out, and young people will once again wax nostalgic for the ’90s and ’00s (but only the music that has withstood the test of time…I’m doubtful much of the “top of the pops” will be popular with them).

    On the other hand, if your point was that any of these songs were even half-decent, I would just have to say I think you are wrong.

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  • Carl Scott

    Wu, use yer ears. And notice the target is not music today in general, but some of the most popular songs. A righteous rant indeed. Those in sympathy should search out my Carl’s Rock Songbook posts on Postmodern Conservative, which, along with Martha Bayles’ great book Hole in Our Soul, really can explain why pop went sour.

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  • Foster

    I agree that most of the songs suck, but you are incredibly annoying.

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  • Baramos x

    I don’t know that you need to live in the bubble of the past.

    I think it’s more that the music that was good in the past has been winnowed out from the chaff–in 30 years, hopefully, people will be nostalgic for the good old days of Porcupine Tree and Adrian Younge. (Note: Younge with an ‘e’. There is another one without an ‘e’ and I am not a fan of that Adrian), ignoring all the crap of now (none of these songs, or at least 9 out of 10 of them, undoubtedly, that you mentioned will be popular in 30 years, but the Beatles will be eternal) and eschew the crap of their era.

    In John Lennon’s time there were numerous terrible bands, and many of the best were not necessarily successful at the time.

    In any case, you said you didn’t listen to much music past 1982. I’d recommend Robert Fripp/King Crimson. Very consistent even up until now at pushing aural boundaries. I was sad when he said was thinking (or had already decided) about retiring.

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  • vladdy1

    Couldn’t agree more, although I’ve never heard any of those songs or people. I’ve never even heard OF most of them. Why did all the good bands start with B? Besides Beatles Bolan Bowie, there’s Badfinger Byrds Beachboys, Bay City Rollers. Big Star Bowling For Soup….you get the idea.
    My advice to you. Hit something like Pandora or Emusic and investigate the indie bands. There are whole genres like “sunshine pop” that remind you of nothing so much as all the best B bands you ever heard. Yes! They exist! You can buy their CDs and download them!
    Finally, although he doesn’t start with a B and does put out a lot of shit, Jack White is a genius. And props to you for liking the country song the best (alt-country is much better). Yes, it was glorious to be 15 in 1965 and hear your AM radio playing “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Tambourine Man” and “Ticket to Ride.” Thanks God we didn’t have fool thugs making millions and getting invited to the White House for singing about b***** rand blow jobs (Too not so nice B words) And as a bonus, we never heard anyone use “pimp”: as a verb,

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