I’m off for our traditional “Weekend-After-Labor-Day-When-the-Hotels-Are-Cheaper” Beach weekend. Before I go, I’m leaving behind what is perhaps the most controversial opinion I would state in a public forum; more controversial and out of alignment with acceptable thought that my opposition to state-marriage or my refusal to support Donald Trump (or anyone else this year) for president.
And here it is: “We Built This City” by Starship is, contrary to all accepted opinion, not the worst song ever recorded.
I’ll stipulate that the song is wretched, its lyrics are stupid, its production is bombastic, and its a blatantly commercial sellout by a band who fancied themselves part of the hippie anti-establishment counterculture. As James Lileks put it in response to my original Ricochet post on the subject:
I take malicious pleasure in WBTC, because it’s one of the finest examples of tiresome, overrated hippies being as hypocritical as possible: a corporate-rock song condemning corporate rock. It takes gall by the gallon to sing “who cares they’re always changing / corporation names” when you’ve changed the name of your own group three times. And having worked at a bar whose jukebox played that got-dammed “Go Ask Alice” – the Stoner’s Bolero – at least twice a night, I had a deep loathing for Grace Slick, and seeing her overact in the video while having to sell lines like Marconi plays the Mambo was so, so satisfying.
Anyway, back to my thesis. To demonstrate that WBTC is not the worst song ever recorded, it is only necessary to identify one song that is worse or as-bad. I can easily name forty+:
The worst song of the eighties — bar none — was “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight,” by the Cutting Crew. Did you forget about that? Good for you, because it was just…. so much worse. So, maybe one could argue that WBTC is only the Second Worst song of the eighties, but that would be a disservice to the decade that gave us “The Final Countdown,” “More Than Words,” “Heart Attack,” “What About Love,” “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” and “Mr Roboto.” So, it’s probably, like the eighth worst song of the eighties. Throw “We Are the World” in there, and we’re at ninth. Oh, yeah “I’ve Never Been to Me,” “There’s Something Going On,” and ”Take the L out of Lover and It’s Over” also came out in the eighties. So, it’s possible WBTC doesn’t even make the bottom ten.
For WBTC to be “The Worst Song of All Time,” it also has to compete with: “I Am I Said,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, (I Got Love in My Tummy),” “Me and You (and A Dog Named Boo),” “MacArthur Park,” “Surfin’ Bird,” “In the Year 2525,” “I am Woman (Hear Me Roar),” “Billy, Don’t Be Hero,” “Muskrat Love,” “Wildfire,” “You’re Having My Baby,” “Feelings,” “Sometimes, When We Touch,” “Have You Never Been Mellow,” “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y, Night!,” “You Light Up My Life,” “Ice, Ice, Baby,” “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “She Bangs,” “What’s Up“, “Who Let the Dogs Out,” “SuperModel (You Better Work),” “Barbie Girl,” “My Humps,” “Blurred Lines,” Maybe its worse than some of those songs, but it sure ain’t worse than all of them.
You can honestly debate if WBTC is worse or just as bad as “Walking in Memphis,” a song that poses the existential question, “Do I really feel the way I feel?” I think “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” is also a very close call. (I will argue that WBTC is, in fact, worse than “Party All the Time.”)
And have you listened to the crap that’s spewed out of the record companies in the past few years? I mean, like seriously, songs the make WBTC seem like a masterpiece of composition and lyrical insight by comparison. “Marconi plays with Mambas” versus “You a stupid hoe” repeated over and over again? No contest which song is worse. But, seriously, “What Does the Fox Say,” has 615 Million views? Good Lord, our civilization needs to perish. Immediately.
Worst song of all time? Nope, maybe not even in the Top (Bottom?) 40. And I’m not even touching the novelty songs like “Disco Duck” and “I Wanna Be a Cowboy.”
Anyway, how many albums has Yoko Ono put out? That alone should disqualify WBTC from being the worst song of all time.
And the worst song of all time is actually, “Stupid Hoe” by Nicki Minaj.