“But Dave,” you say, “mankind celebrated a new year more than two weeks ago.” Yes, mankind, I am well aware of that. I’m just a little bit slow on the uptake.
A new year brings us boundless hope, for we are able to gather up all the junk that our culture accumulated in the past twelve months and cram it forcefully into the raw and quivering annals of history. Before we file away the musical flotsam, it is important to properly categorize it according to its artistic worth, so that our children can one day look back and see that even though we were listening to Nickelback, we weren’t enjoying it. I would be falsely modest if I tried to pretend that the World’s Greatest Dad Awards weren’t the single most important step in this process.
For the past two years, the World’s Greatest Dad Awards have eased your transition into the New Year by reminding you how horrible the previous year was and how delighted you’d be to leave it behind. Sure, this year will probably be even worse, but we can at least afford ourselves a few cheap laughs at 2005’s expense before the real horror begins. So, as we plunge headlong into the pitch-black well of despair that is 2006, let us once again pause to reflect:
Worst ComebackGary Glitter
Fucking kids again, Gary? After being shamed out of the UK and deported from Cambodia, glam-rock pioneer Gary Glitter was arrested in Vietnam for allegedly raping some young girls. And the age of consent is sixteen there, so I mean young. He avoided the death penalty charges of child rape by paying off the victims of the families; conveniently, they dropped the charges.
Christ, kid-fucking comebacks are even worse than new-album comebacks. Unless you’re counting Michael Jackson’s Invincible.
Runner-up: Michael Jackson, I guess. Or maybe Oasis, who didn’t fuck any kids, but they may as well have; it wouldn’t change my opinion of them.
Worst Pop-Rock SingleNickelback – PhotographDef Leppard's "Photograph" was way better.I can almost give Green Day the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they didn’t know that “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” would become the foremost and paramount graduation/goodbye/I miss high school/series finale track. Perhaps they just sort of stumbled onto it by writing a catchy, semi-morose song about leaving something or someone behind. Boyz II Men probably knew that “It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” had universal appeal, but it was released within the context of an unabashedly commercial record, so it’s no great sin. Plus, it had some kick-ass harmonies, right?
Canadian mega-morons Nickelback do not get the same leniency of judgment from me. “Photograph,” from their new album Who the Fuck Cares What the New Nickelback Album is Called, is a completely transparent rock and roll money-grub from start to finish. It’s a paint-by-numbers going-away song designed to appeal to every high school graduate in America and Canada and wherever else people are stupid enough to buy Nickelback records. As with all Nickelback songs, the track employs The Nickelback Tune®, complete with The Nickelback Harmonies® and The Nickelback Bridge®. Basically, it fits right in with the “write the same song as many times as possible until people stop buying our records” formula. The lyrics are like a horoscope: they’re written by a cynical con-artist to apply to everyone while making all the gullible numbskulls in the audience feel like they’re specific to them.
Here’s a rundown: “I am looking at my old photographs. Boy, my friends and I sure had some good times! I’ll miss this old house! Now it’s time to leave, and I’m sad. It’s hard to say goodbye.” Yeah, no shit, Chad? You’re only 48 fucking years old, or whatever, I’m sure that’s really fresh in your mind.
One could defend Nickelback, I suppose, by saying “who cares what their commercial motivations may be? They’re writing songs of uncomplicated universal appeal that really speak to their broad base of listeners.” No, fuck that. They’re making a mockery of rock and roll, they’re dumbing down the public perception of art, and Chad Kroeger has a really stupid haircut. Not forgiven.
Runner-up: Weezer’s “Beverly Hills,” the ignominious culmination of a long and steady decline.
Worst Hard Rock SingleSystem of a Down – BYOB
Those who read my column regularly will know where I stand on System of a Down. I wrote an article insinuating that their music sucks (concrete, empirical truth) and that their fans are idiots (that was mostly speculation). However, no sooner had I clicked the “submit” button then did I begin to receive a glorious barrage of indisputable proof that System of a Down fans really are idiots (most of them, anyway). Not only are they mostly idiots, but they are all kinds of idiots: there are pretentious idiots, self-righteous idiots, run-of-the-mill low-IQ idiots, politically confused idiots, foreign idiots, violent idiots, script-kiddie hacker idiots, bashful, apologetic idiots, young idiots, old idiots, angst-riddled idiots, manic idiots and depressive idiots. It was a glorious rainbow of idiots unlike I’d ever seen before. Most of the bands I’ve reviewed drew responses from single, specific varieties of idiots: Mars Volta fans tended to be pretentious idiots, Tool fans tended to be faux-intellectual idiots, and Insane Clown Posse tended to be obnoxious idiots. It was amazing to see every kind of idiot, cretin, dimwit and moron imaginable unite under the same banner: their shared love of System of a Down.
At this point, I can barely even recall what BYOB sounds like (lucky me). Even despite that fact, it is an honor and a privilege to name System of a Down as the winners of the World’s Greatest Dad award for worst hard rock single. If it makes just one idiot tremble with red-faced hatred— if even one single droplet of spittle escapes his quivering lip— I will have done my job.
Runner-up: Mars Volta – The Widow: Yeah, it’s not exactly “hard rock,” but I just felt like throwing the Mars Volta a bone since their fans treated me so well this year.
Worst Rap SingleTie: 50 Cent and Scott Storch – Just a Lil Bit / Candy ShopScott and 50: Gorgeous together!50 Cent sophomore-slumped into 2005 with The Massacre, an album so unencumbered by quality that it managed to sell a whole bunch of copies despite being total shit. Two of the singles, “Candy Shop” and “Just a Lil Bit,” were such stand-out lumps of compacted garbage that they tied for the World’s Greatest Dad Award for worst rap single of the year.
Casual rap listeners might subliminally remember Scott Storch as the guy who did the gigantic, chiming keyboard riff for Dr. Dre’s single “Still D.R.E.” Any credibility Storch earned from that small triumph (and from the billion hit singles he had his hand in recently) is instantly wiped away by his production of “Just a Lil Bit” and “Candy Shop,” which are not only sleazy, terribly-written, and extremely disappointing even by 50 Cent standards, but which happen to have nearly identical beats. Storch and 50 are equally to blame for this pair of travesties, which boast some of the ugliest production and laziest rhymes I’ve ever heard in mainstream rap. Both are based on grating, chintzy Persian keyboard lines and juvenile, dull-eyed, uncharismatic innuendo.
This awful pair of singles makes me yearn for the halcyon days of 2004, when the worst rap single of the year was The Diplomats/Juelz Santana’s “S.A.N.T.A.N.A” (jeez, is that title ever a pain in the ass to type), which at least had the decency to be as unintentionally hilarious as it was terrible. To add insult to injury, the half-retarded squire Juelz released the single “Mic Check” in 2005, which somehow managed to be a better track both in rhymes and production than anything on 50 Cent’s new album. Ouch.
Runner-up: Juelz Santana – There it Go (The Whistle Song): but what kind of a year would it be without a fantastically awful Santana song? Even Juelz will have to make a real effort to compete with the aggressive mediocrity of 50’s new material.
Most Inescapable BandGreen Day
Seriously, will these assholes not get the hell off of my radio for ten fucking minutes? I thought I was done with them ten years ago, but they keep popping up again like one of those inflatable clowns with a concrete base. In 2005 they seemed to be omnipresent; I heard them on MTV, on MTV2, on the pop station, on the modern rock station, and I swear I even heard them on the classic rock station. How could a band so fucking insignificant take up so much space? It’s like when your cat manages to find a way to sleep so that it takes up 90% of the bed’s surface area, and you wake up with the cat in the exact geometric center of the bed and you’re all splayed like you’ve just been thrown off a horse.
Runner-up: Fall Out Boy, who were similarly positioned.
Stupidest Song of the YearThe Black Eyed Peas – My HumpsFergie's enthusiasm spills forth?Ordinarily, this category would be nigh unto impossible to judge. One could argue it a hundred ways: does the song with the stupidest lyrics win, or the song with the stupidest musical content? Shall I give it to the song enjoyed by the stupidest people, or to the song written by the stupidest person? And anyway, “stupid” is subjective, so one person’s opinion of stupidity may be another person’s idea of biting satire. So, for all these reasons, I would never dare attempt a “Stupidest Song” category. Ordinarily.
You can go ahead and throw all that shit out the window this year, because the Black Eyed Peas have crafted what is without a doubt the dumbest, most obnoxious song ever to disgrace the airwaves. Previously, we knew the Black Eyed Peas as a formerly socially-conscious rap outfit which mutated into an ignominious, money-hungry cross-cultural minstrel show that shucked and jived its way into the mainstream with its retarded songs about getting retarded. Little did we know how retarded the Peas were capable of getting: “My Humps” is a profoundly retarded product from what has become a terminally retarded band.
The track concerns the humps of Fergie, their garish backup singer. For all the bragging she does about the loveliness of her lady-lumps, she still looks like a washed-up former porn star who took one too many massive insertions into her annals of history (eew, don’t get any ideas, I’m just saying she looks old). Over the course of what seems like about fifteen minutes, Fergie and her reprehensible sellout cohorts expound the virtues of her leathery lizard-flesh to such a maddening degree that the listener will vow never to look at another woman again.
I won’t bother reprinting any sample lyrics here. If you’ve heard the song, you don’t need reminding, and if you haven’t heard it, you wouldn’t believe that I wasn’t making them up. If you did manage to suspend your disbelief, you’d quickly come to the conclusion that the song must be a joke. In fact, while the song certainly isn’t serious, it’s far from a joke. It’s the worst kind of false-humor; it’s a jokey song written by people with no concept of irony and intended for consumption both by people who will take it at face value and by people who will smirk at it. It’s like one of those terrible bargain-bin straight-to-video horror flicks about a killer urinal: it can never be the “cult classic” that the cynical halfwit filmmakers intend it to be because it’s in on its own joke. Something can’t be “so-bad-it’s-good” if it tries really hard to be “so-bad-it’s-good.” Instead, it’s merely false, artless, pathetic, and loved by idiots.
Here’s a little science experiment: go park your car next to the transmitter tower of your local pop radio station. If “My Humps” isn’t already being played, wait about fifteen minutes. When “My Humps” comes on, look at the tower. You’ll notice that the transmitter will be emitting comical green “stink lines.” I swear to god, it’s true.
Fuck, I’m tired of writing about this song.
Runner-up: Nothing else can compete, although, in a better world, “Hollaback Girl” would be the stupidest song imaginable.
That about wraps it up for the worst of the worst of the year of 2005. Congratulations if you managed to follow that sentence.
This year, I was thinking of doing something special to let the readers voice their opinions on the worst crap of the year. Most year-end awards have a “reader’s choice” section, wherein the readers fill in some shitty little poll and pick out the best album from three choices. I want to do something much more fun: you come up with your own categories, winners, and write-ups, much like I’ve done. Naturally, you’re not as funny as me, but I still like to afford my readers a chance to speak once in a while. Here are the guidelines:
Send me an e-mail with the subject: “WGD: [Name of Award].” For example, “WGD: Worst Album by an Athlete” or “WGD: Best Musician Death.” In the body of the e-mail, write the winner of the award and a write-up of why you’ve chosen them as the winner.
Not too long, not too short! I’d like a minimum of 150 words, a maximum of 350. I’m not totally strict about these limits, but from all the hate-mail I get, I know that my readers have a tendency toward being a little long-winded.
Not too obscure! I’ll be highly unlikely to print a summary of the worst Peruvian death-metal song about Hobbits. Unless it’s hilarious.
Tell me your name, jackass! I don’t want to credit these to “JAWAGUY2035” so, you know, put “Ben Eggers” or “Debra Kraber” or “Dave and Colleen” or whatever your stupid name is at the end!
If I get enough good responses, I’ll run the thing! If not, oh well, I tried!
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According to Dr. David Thorpe and "Your Band Sucks," the music you hold dear is actually unimportant, dull, and staggeringly awful. Everything from folk music to terrorcore-techstep is absolute garbage that has somehow fallen off the trash heap of modern music and found its way into your CD player.