Across the world this weekend, living rooms will be filled with classic love songs by artists like Stevie Wonder, Al Green and Marvin Gaye as Valentine’s Day approaches. While there are always a ton of lists that come out around most holidays — Valentine’s Day included — for the perfect playlists to celebrate the season, but what are some of the worst songs to observe the day dedicated to love?
There are bad songs out there, but love songs seem to be the catchall category of bad songs. Sometimes, they become incredibly popular once they hit the radio, then pretty much die out and become an object of public derision for much longer than they’re on the top of the charts. It’s always nice to be able to look back at the songs we may have once enjoyed, and then wonder why on Earth we would have ever paid money to listen to them again and again. Here are some of the worst love songs of all time for your Valentine’s Day needs.
14) James Blunt – “You’re Beautiful” (2005)
This is sort of an easy hit, but it still belongs on the list of worst love songs — James Blunt himself even said it was annoying. It may not be heard much on the radio today, but in 2005, this song couldn’t get out of our heads. James Blunt’s Twitter account is far more entertaining than what he sings.
13) John Mayer – “Your Body Is a Wonderland” (2002)
John Mayer has gotten better since his 2002 single, but then again it’s pretty easy to go up from being straight awful. A John Mayer album is like the Gap khakis of the music world — boring, shapeless and something you buy for your uncle because you don’t know what to get him at Christmas.
12) Lionel Richie and Diana Ross – “Endless Love” (1981)
Even though she was one of the greatest Motown singers of all time, Diana Ross fell far from grace with this song, one of history’s sappiest songs. It’s the kind of song your aunt and uncle sing at a family wedding, and even though they might think it’s cute, you just hope someone decides to cut the cord.
11) Bonnie Tyler – “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (1983)
Speaking of cheesy 80s pop songs, behold the reigning queen of cheese, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” It’s basically five minutes of word vomit with some heavy synth in the background for “dramatic effect.” The strangeness of the music video — replete with slow-motion doves, ninjas and a preppies — outweighs the badness of the song. The literal interpretation of the music video is something you should watch if you want to hear the melody, but couldn’t care less about the actual words.
10) Eric Clapton – “Wonderful Tonight” (1977)
The reason this music legend and former Cream guitarist makes it so high on the list is because it’s such a big disappointment. This man is one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and he gives us a song that apparently ends with a man getting drunk at a party and having is “wonderful” partner help him to bed.
9) Enrique Iglesias – “Hero” (2001)
Would you cry if you saw Enrique Iglesias crying? Well if so, then you might be the woman for him, at least according to his 2001 hit. Once again, the music video is probably better than the actual song.
8) Emerson, Lake and Palmer – “Taste of My Love” (1978)
Number nine on the list goes to the three reigning kings of overblown, excessively long 70s progressive rock, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. It’s not just bad, it’s creepy, as well. Read the lyrics at your own risk.
7) Pearl Jam – “Last Kiss” (1999)
Note, that this is the Pearl Jam version, not the earlier 1960s recording from the group J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers. That version was good, but there’s something about Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder’s voice that just makes the song fall flat.
6) Extreme – “More Than Words” (1991)
This is one of those songs that one kid on your freshman year dorm floor tries to teach himself on a guitar he bought himself just before college to appear “deep.” That kid wasn’t very deep, and neither is this song.
5) Foreigner – “ Want To Know What Love Is” (1984)
Because, who writes the lyrics, “Now this mountain I must climb/Feels like a world upon my shoulders,” and thinks “yeah, that makes sense, we’ve got a hit on our hands”?
4) Billy Joel – “Just the Way You Are” (1977)
This one is both flat and sort of condescending. The lyrics that go, “I don’t want clever conversation/I never want to work that hard,” can translate to, “don’t worry about being an idiot, I’ll still talk to you.”
3) Bryan Adams – “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” (1991)
Bryan Adams CDs are pretty much relegated to the glove compartment of your mom’s minivan in modern days, but this one seems to stick around. This song is like every cheesy 80s love ballad all rolled into one. The parody from “Family Guy” is much more entertaining than the song itself.
2) LFO – “Summer Girls” (1999)
The only reason this song didn’t make it to number one on this list is because LFO — that stands for Lyte Funkie Ones, in case you were wondering — is so culturally irrelevant, placing them at number one somehow makes them more legitimate. The lyrics almost seem to be written with the intent of being bad, rife with strange non-sequiturs. Some of the most awful include, “You’re the best girl that I ever did see/the great Larry Bird Jersey 33,” and, “when you take a sip, you buzz like a hornet/Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets.”
1. Nickelback – “Far Away” (2006)
Nickelback is frequently targeted as one of the most hated bands on the face of the Earth. The fervent hate many feel toward them has gone so far as to inspire some who don’t like certain presidential candidates to hold up signs saying that said presidential candidate likes Nickelback. People love to hate Nickelback, and one example of why that hate is not completely unfounded is their 2006 song “Far Away.” This is one of those songs you most likely slow-danced to at a middle school dance before asking your crush if you wanted to be boyfriend-girlfriend. Sometimes, we can look back at those songs and like them maybe a little bit again out of nostalgia. “Far Away” is not one of these songs, nor is any other song by Nickelback.