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Bad Songs & the Politics of Dating

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Nothing gets the attention of both the press and the public quite like lists. That’s because the medium has such a long, gloried history. God gave us the granddaddy of all lists with the Ten Commandments. We all know how helpful they are for chores.

So it is that Blender magazine’s 50-item-long list of the “Worst Songs Ever” was garnered all the attention of a gruesome car wreck we can’t resist glaring at. Too bad Blender’s list is too easy. Of course Starship’s “We Built This City” is execrable beyond belief. And poor Billy Ray Cyrus will never get credit for the fact that U.S. forces used “Achy Breaky Heart” to drive Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega out of his compound back in 1990. Fact! The U.S. Army also played Noriega other tunes, including Martha and the Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run” and Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good.” But those are considerably better songs, no?

But why beat up on all the usual suspects like Billy Joel when you can make your own list of melodies from hell. Here for the moment, but not for posterity, is this column’s top-10 list. You don’t want to play it again:

10. “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John: Nothing makes an aging rock star cry quite like corpses of royalty and movie stars.

9. “Englishman in New York” by Sting: Only people who take themselves very seriously write solipsistic drivel of this sort. They also write really bad memoirs disguised as “books,” and tend to break into yoga poses without warning.

8. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder: Just as Boy Scouts help the elderly cross the street, somewhere people are kind enough to prevent a soul legend from ruining a career.

7. “Time After Time” by Miles Davis: Ditto for Davis, a jazz legend who should know better than to co-opt any tune by a white woman with rainbow-colored hair.

6. “Drive She Said” by Stan Ridgway: Former Ball of Doodoo—oops, Wall of Voodoo—frontman makes a song so pedestrian you walk away from it.

5. “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco: How could one of the greatest composers of all time inspire this pounding mass of nonsense? Easy.

4. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard: If you’ve got to shout the melody it must be crap. Oh, but they had that one-armed drummer!

3. “All Out of Love” by Air Supply: Dude, choose life!

2. “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz: Po-faced Hendrix imitation that should have remained an air-guitar exercise. Now you know why Cobain committed suicide.

1. “Long Haired Lover From Liverpool” by Jimmy Osmond: Can’t leave out the locals. The grating child’s voice. The insipid lyrics. Why Liverpool? Why long-haired? Why, period? Starship, you have stolen your title, and you must give it back.

& ull; Politics is for lovers: Christened only two months ago by New Yorker Bryan Carlin, www.loveinwar.com is the one-stop website for all your churlish, well-cooked needs in the realm of political discourse. Now, with a brand new personals section, the site has its own dating service. “Love in War has created an environment where people can be sexy, playful, and sassy while at the same time expressing themselves politically,” the press kit reads. Right they are. Just ask Bill Clinton, and the ghosts of JFK, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

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