You know you’re getting old when you’re disgusted by modern popular music, but let’s be fair here: the 00s had some of the most obnoxious, worthless music ever made rattling around. From brian-dead celebutantes to rhymeless rappers to ringtones turned singles, we sure did buy a whole lot of garbage this decade. The list that follows is the 10 songs that made me want to murder over the last ten years, along with video so you can rage out yourself.
10. Black Eyed Peas – “My Humps” – The fall of the Black Eyed Peas is one of the saddest musical stories of the decade – after starting out as a progressive, conscious hip-hop group in the mid-90s, leader Will.i.am changed course and recast the group as a craven hit machine, pumping out idiotic jams for the frat set. This trend started with 2004’s “Let’s Get Retarded” but reached its nadir with “My Humps,” a feature for new female member and pants-pisser Fergie where she proudly sings about how much bling her tits and ass have got her in rhymes that would make Mother Goose wince.
9. Paris Hilton – “Stars Are Blind” – The 00s were the decade of the celebutantes, those rich girls who were famous just because they were rich, and nobody epitomizes them like Paris Hilton. Heiress to a massive hotel chain, Paris partied like it was a religion, and turned getting photographed making stupid faces into a full-fledged career. After her reality TV success, she dipped her toes into the music world with this absolutely irredeemable 2006 single, which melded the most washed-out ska beats with Hilton’s whiny, characterless voice singing some of the dumbest lyrics imaginable.
8 Soulja Boy Tell’Em – “Crank Dat” – If there’s one consistent element in hip-hop, it’s old heads talking about how the new blood is killing the art form. Well, if they’re talking about Soulja Boy Tell’Em, they’re probably right. Boiling rap down to a reducto an absurdium of two repeated lines, FruityLoops beats and a pair of huge sunglasses, this somehow sold millions of copies and inspired a legion of other teenagers like Hurricane Chris to release equally obnoxious tracks.
7 Fall Out Boy – “Sugar, We’re Going Down” – Pete Wentz seems like a pretty funny dude and an OK guy but boy, does his band suck ass. The Wilmette, Ohio-born foursome makes grating, incomprehensible pop-punk with literally no redeeming content, and their first hit single blazed a path that hundreds of horrible bands followed throughout the decade. Literally, 90% of American rock music sounded like this for the last ten years and it was really annoying.
6. Darryl Worley – “Have You Forgotten” – I was going to put Toby Keith’s “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)” in this spot, but if you can imagine it, this “let’s kill all the Muslims” song is even worse. So you’re weirded out about the war in Iraq and wonder what we’re doing there? SHUT UP, ASSHOLE, 9/11 HAPPENED! The grand climax of the chorus is “And they said we shouldn’t worry about Bin Laden / have you forgotten?” Well, I think George Bush forgot about him. Can’t wait
5. Crazy Frog – “Axel F.” – I like technology. But sometimes it goes to far. Case in point: ringtones. Sure, I can see you need a personal sound to differentiate your phone from everybody else’s. But your phone is not a boom box and you shouldn’t put a ringtone on that you want to listen to all the time. That’s what makes things like “Axel F” happen. A remix of Harold Faltemeyer’s theme for Beverly Hills Cop, featuring annoying noises made by some Swedish dudes, not only dominated phone lines but also the UK single charts. And this song was everywhere, like a cheese grater to your ears. The only redeeming thing to come of it was the above video.
4. Fred Durst All-Star Tribute – “What’s Goin’ On” – It may seem somewhat callous to single out a group of musicians performing a benefit song for 9/11 survivors and families as one of the worst songs of the decade, but this is like “We Are The World” from Bizarro World. This album, originally intended to benefit AIDS relief, was quickly repurposed to cash in on the hot new tragedy, but the damage was already done. Marvin Gaye’s classic song is filtered through most of the worst musicians of the decade, from Limp Bizkit’s Durst to Scott Weiland, Perry Farrell, and more. Add in completely obnoxious rap-rock production and you’ve got a real disaster.
3. Creed –”My Sacrifice” – The last gasp of grunge rock, that former breath of fresh air, came from the Tallahassee, Florida-based Creed, led by horrendous wailer Scott Stapp. Their single “Higher” just barely made the cutoff for this list, as it was probably the worst song recorded in between 1961 and 1999, but their career stretched well into the 00s with the release of “My Sacrifice,” an unlistenable power ballad that featured Stapp’s sub-Eddie Vedder pipes to full effect. The tune was then used to soundtrack hilarious promotional videos for steroid-filled WWE wrestlers.
2 BrokenCYDE – “Freaxxx” – New genres of music made themselves known in the last decade, and two of the most annoying were scream (a mall punk variant with incoherent, yowled vocals) and electroclash (hipster 80s revivalism mixed with cheap hip-hop). So imagine the wonders that resulted when a band had the bright idea to meld the two genres. Enter Albuquerque, New Mexico’s BrokenCYDE. With cheap techno backing tracks and fifth-rate booty babes, vocalists Se7en and Mikl have transcended mere bad music to create something truly unique.
1. James Blunt – “Beautiful” – This song is not only horrible, it was inescapable for a sizable chunk of the decade. English songwriter James Blunt was snatched up by former 4 Non Blonde and current purveyor of can’t miss material for pop tarts Linda Perry and her instinct for radio earworms paid off with “You’re Beautiful,” a song so treacly and retarded it made panty pudding in every low-IQ American woman under 55 from 2005 to 2008. Not only is Blunt’s voice cringe-inducing, but the lyrics are insipid tripe and the video, with a gamine Blunt stripping off in the snow, perfectly captures the worst of the decade in one three-minute span. Thank god that’s over.