Everybody wants to be that guy at the party. You all know him – he’s the guy who, without a hint of self-awareness, can go up to the jukebox, plug in his ipod, and instantly, instinctively choose a song to get the party going. He’s a born DJ, raised on only the finest music has to offer. His mp3 player has a spotless history of containing top tunes. He has nothing to be ashamed of.
I wish I was that guy. But in this life I have two eternal rules:
1) Never order a pizza from a Turkish takeaway
2) Never hook my ipod up to the music system at a party and press “shuffle”.
That’s not to say my music taste is terrible. Subjectively, you might not share my taste (idiot), but I think that objectively there are some things we can find in common. The Beatles, perhaps. Jimi Hendrix. Metallica. Rage Against The Machine. These are good. I have no need to be embarrassed here. But where I might like The Beatles, I prefer The Velvet Underground. After Grunge happened my music tastes veered wildly away from rock and metal into industrial, electronic and dubstep. I’m not ashamed of this. These are things we might differ on, and rightly so – music is a personal experience, and everybody enjoys different things.
But some things cannot be forgiven. I own nearly thirty gigabytes of music, and I keep my ipod regularly refreshed. Yet somehow, year on year, the same songs cling on, hiding in the electronic woodwork, and only appear when I pop the dreaded shuffle widget. I don’t choose these songs. I don’t know why they continue to infect my life.I am not responsible for their continued existence. As hard as I try to weed out these embarrassing relics of a musical past I’d rather forget, they persist. That’s why I can never be the DJ at the party. And that’s why I will have to commit Hara Kiri if my phone falls into enemy hands (the other being my search history)
Let’s take a look at the top six.
The Chobits Theme Tune
Chobits was a Japanese comic book series you had to read backwards to make sense of (and not even then) about a lonely virgin who finds a dead teen girl robot in a dumpster and brings her back to life by molesting her, and when she comes back to life she’s totally without personality or emotional complexity. Over the course of several books he repeatedly tried to have sex with her, only stopped by the fact this was supposedly a kids book and a love story and he’s a japanese teenager who suffers from crippling self doubt.
It’s sort of the Japanese equivalent of Romeo & Juliet, and I am ashamed to say I bought some of these books. I don’t know, shut up, I was fourteen and the idea of a simple, unemotional girl (who took her clothes off at the most slender of pretexts) was mysteriously appealing. I think I thought they were a fun read, too, but as the series progressed it jumped the shark on a page-by-page basis, eventually becoming so bizarre (read : stereotypically Japanese) that I gave up and moved on to grown-up comics about men in spandex who punch criminals in the face.
I’ve done a lot of growing up since Chobits.
This song sums up what I hate about Japanese stuff. I like a lot of the traditional junk – Zen, sushi, badass samurai dudes. Modern Japanese culture is unique for being a) a mishmash of the best bits of every culture on earth and b) somehow worse than all of them. Japanese culture is like if Disney’s TRON was run by Jesuits. Japanese pop, as you can hear, is a sort of post-Bjork happy-happy bubblegum pop, but with the addition of Japanese lyrics. Nobody seems to have the heart to say this, so I feel it falls to me: Japan, your language sucks. You have twenty bajillion phonemes and none of them rhyme with each other. Stop trying to shoehorn bad lyrics into western songs. In fact, stop hijacking our stuff and doing terrible things with it. Be proud of your heritage. Invent a new genre that suits your language, AND STOP MESSING WITH OUR FOOD.
Wasabi-flavoured Kitkats? GOD DAMMIT JAPAN
Sail Away – Enya
Enya is an example of something I added to my ipod to annoy my Dad. Years and years ago (according to some) my mother had a tape of Enya she played repeatedly on the tapedeck of my Dad’s Ford Capri (it was the eighties), until in despair he sabotaged the player. Actually, my Ma just denied this story, but I find it weirdly believable. Because Enya is nightmarish.
Enya is an example of an odd time in British music when it because fashionable to sing faux-folk ballads over a mix. I don’t know why this happened. It was a dark time for our country – Thatcher had gone, leaving behind John Major who bumbled his way through two terms. The boom of the eighties was over. People were looking with fear towards the millennium. Actually, no, none of these things explains Enya. There is no justification for singing this bad. Dylan Moran once said that if a vagina could sing it would sound like Enya. Yeah, but vaginas are at least original in their output (ewwww!). Say the name out loud. En-Ya. E-N-Y-A. It sounds like a proprietary brand of hand soap. It’s your least favourite type of sandwich spread. It’s nothing.
Oh hey Enya, it doesn’t matter if your lyrics are genius; if you only sing the vowels it makes no difference. You’re just an owl having an orgasm.
Sentimental Heart- She & Him
Like most would-be hipsters I have a soft spot for Zooey Deschanel because she looks like the cute girl who works in the local coffee shop, and like most men I assume that a girl who acts innocent and ditsy is a demon in bed. So when I bought this single I was anticipating seeing into the dark heart of Zooey Deschanel, and maybe hoping she would reveal what gets hipster girls hot so I could use it to my advantage.
Instead I got a depressing, cheerless and manufactured indie song about crying or something, I dunno. Zooey Deschanel turned out to be a cardboard cut-out without any particular depth, aping cultural affectations in the hope of discovering something original about herself. Bizarrely, this is true of every hipster girl I’ve ever spoken to. When I was younger they always referred to themselves as “random”, “kooky” or “ditzy”. Here’s a fun fact – if somebody refers to themselves as “random”, replace that word with “soul-crushingly pedestrian”. Replace “kooky” with “emotionally inconsistent”. Replace “ditzy” with “clumsy and attention-seeking”.
“Oh EM Gee I’m so random!”
In short, hipster girls are tragic, especially when they “travel” (read: bum around) to “discover themselves” (without looking in the most obvious place – up their own backsides). And Zooey Deschanel broke my heart by being dumber than Katy Perry, the Zooey from an alternate universe who was outsmarted by Elmo.
Black Metal – Cradle of Filth
I flirted with the Goth subculture very briefly and this is the only song I remember from then. If Fax Machines could channel the spirit of John Wayne Gacy they’d sound like Cradle of Filth, a band so determinedly dark they miss the target completely and veer into parody territory. I’ve never been able to work out if Cradle of Filth are knowingly tongue-in-cheek or really serious about all the make-up and black velvet wank that goes with Goth stuff. With album titles like “Nymphetamine” (haha, see, it’s a portmanteau of the word “nymph”, meaning a spirit that lures men to their doom, and “amphetamine”, the psychotropic accelerant, and the two words together mean…nothing), “Thornography” (another clever portmanteau), or “Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder” (which sounds like a medieval name for piles).
Haha, I just read those back, definitely a parody.
I’ve forgotten what I was saying. Here’s the lead singer, Dani Filth, looking like the BeeGee that lived.
No Bravery – James Blunt
You’re trapped in a decompression chamber by a madman and forced to write a poignant song about the Bosnia-Herzegovina conflict and sing it through a tube as your air runs out. That’s No Bravery by James Blunt. A song self-consciously poignant yet panicking for something to say, sung at a pitch that causes glass to have a nervous breakdown by a breathless posho with a face like Jack Nicolson playing the Joker without makeup.
Even more tragic than the song is the comments it inspires.
Is it? Or is the real shame the fact you felt the need to communicate that?
Go See The Doctor – Kool Moe Dee
“Yo dog I’ma write a rap song about Herpes.”
“Shit dog you crazy.”
Fuck you, rap culture.
BONUS TRACK: ONE I ACTUALLY LIKE
Roman’s Revenge – Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj is what it would look like if Strawberry Shortcake puked in an ice tray and flung it at Missy Elliot. I try really hard to dislike her but I just can’t do it – partly because Eminem is in this song and he can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned, but mainly because at least 50% of the lyrics in this song are genius, even if the other half are bilge. Ii don’t know who Roman is or what his revenge might consist of, but I feel he deserves retribution for whatever wrong he suffered. I hope he finds peace and Nicki Minaj makes more songs like this. I will not apologise for liking this track, even if the rest on this list make me wish my life had a do-over button.