Home / Greatest Hits and Go to Hell: The (Reluctant) Best and (Not So Reluctant) Worst of 2006

Greatest Hits and Go to Hell: The (Reluctant) Best and (Not So Reluctant) Worst of 2006

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I’m the retro music chick, which means, by definition, I don’t subscribe to the modern music scene. But sadly, I also have to go to the grocery store (the retro music chick makes a mean lentil soup) so I am often subjected to the radio. And occasionally, I like what I hear, so I’ve compiled my list of the top four songs of 2006 — these songs have the substance of something old, with the freshness of something new — and in #2’s case, as always, something inherently blue.

1. “Starlight” – Muse. Black Holes and Revelations wasn’t as good as Absolution, (despite what my friend Mike says) but this track inspires what the other songs lack — a sublime sense of purpose and an intricate sort of love. This is the kind of music Muse is meant to make. (Black Holes and Revelations)

2. “You Have Killed Me” – Morrissey. Mozzer and I have an abusive relationship — he will always crank out neo-angsty crap, and I will continue to listen to it. Ringleader of the Tormenters is the wankerific follow-up to 2004’s You Are the Quarry, which manages to boast two great singles while still being one of the worst albums I’ve ever heard. “You Have Killed Me,” however, captures the delicate balance of the greatest Smiths songs — the overly happy Marr-esq guitar melody interwoven with lyrics which totter playfully on the edge of emo. Sure, it’s just “These Things Take Time,” but that’s a great song — why not make a sequel? (Ringleader of the Tormenters)

3. “Breathe” – Anna Nalick. There is no end to female pop stars plucking out vaguely emotional lyrics over synthesized guitar chords (Kelly Clarkson, anyone?) Since Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton disappeared from the scene, radio ladies have lacked any semblance of depth. Until now. Simple, a little dippy and not the least bit innovative, “Breathe” still remains a strong pop hit. I grit my teeth, but listen over and over again.

4. “Learning the Hard Way” – Gin Blossoms. I’ll confess, I have a weakness for cheesy early '90s pop-alt bands, and the Gin Blossoms are the best of the bunch. Infectious and charming, this song works melancholy sheepishness like oil paints to create a portrait of youthful restlessness. (Major Lodge Victory)

I’d also like to point out that frontman Robin Wilson kissed my eager, pale cheeks several times when I saw him at Magic City Music Hall in October 2004, the very same venue where Andy of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy plopped a sweet little pucker on my pretty little head and Dirk Schumaker let me leave his hat on.

Of course, I also have to do my part to warn people of terrible, terrible music, so I’ve included my bottom four as well. These are songs so ungodly, I don’t like seeing their name in print. Stay strong.

1. “Bad Day” – Daniel Powter. If I was on a date with Tom Waits and this song were to come on, my day would instantly be ruined. Trite lyrics sung like he’s being strained through a tube sock filled with lime Jello make this tune ultra-cringeworthy. I would also like to give a shout-out to every tow-headed dirtbag with a guitar — stop it. Stop writing songs designed for middle school dances. Stop writing fake-pretty songs designed to get chicks into bed. Dave Matthews started it and now I’m going to end it, starting with…

2. “You’re Beautiful” – James Blunt. I do not know a single person who likes this song — granted, that’s because all of my friends are over 15, but that doesn’t detract from my point. This song is awful. Awful, awful, awful. And it might not be so bad if not for his banshee wail screeching the tepid chorus obviously written for some obnoxious pre-pubescent mallrat in response to the eight hundredth time she’s looked at her size negative four body in the mirror at Abercrombie and Fitch and bemoaned in an equally abrasive voice, "I’m so fat!" while hoping she’ll be so overtaken with your words of unshakable devotion to her plastic anorexia that she’ll conceive your child in the parking lot of The f***ing Gap.

I’m okay. Really. In fact, I’m so okay that I wish that I could go back in time and attend James Blunt’s high school, just so I could know him better as a person. And beat the living daylights out of him.

3. “Don’tcha” – The Pussycat Dolls. These girls managed to take the pettiness of a high school locker room and bring it to the dance floor. “Don’tcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” No, but I’m sure glad she’s not a skanky bitch like you. And while we’re on the subject of dancing…

4. “Sexyback” – Justin Timberlake. Anyone who reads the Mix Tape Blog already knows how much I hate this song — so much, I’ve put a hit out on the former N’Sync fuckstick (or was that Lance? I’ve got this condition, I get boy-bands confused). This song contains what is known as an “earworm,” that is, an annoying melody that crawls in your ear like a spider and before you know it, your head explodes when her eggs (in this case, the backbeat) hatch. If Justin Timberlake were to, say, get eaten by a werewolf, I can’t imagine myself shedding a single tear.

Naturally, the album of the year is Tom Waits' Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards. Because Tom Waits is a genius. Because Tom Waits is the man of my dreams. Because he’s Tom Fuckin’ Waits!

Songs for New Years:

  1. “A New Year” – Death Cab for Cutie
  2. “Baba O Reilly” – The Who
  3. “This’ll Be My Year” – Semisonic
  4. “The Times They are A-Changin’” – Bob Dylan
  5. “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” – Wang Chung
  6. “New Year’s Day” – U2
  7. “Forever Young” – Alphaville
  8. “What a Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong
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About Retro Music Chick

  • It’s an unfortunate lapse of judgment that you would pick one of the very best songs of 2005 – James Blunt’s career-making hit “You’re Beautiful” – as one of the worst of 2006. However, your Gap rant was beautiful itself.

  • IgnatiusReilly

    It’s a complete lack of judgement to pick James Blunt’s career-making hit “You’re Beautiful” as a best song of any year. Writers of Hallmark Cards thought the lyrics lacked depth.

  • gblover

    Gin Blossoms rule 🙂

  • Thank GOD someone else recognized “You’re Beautiful” as the caterwauling pity-party that it is! Now, to make sure that my wife never reads this comment.

  • Now that I think about it, “You’re Beautiful” might be the worst song ever written. Even worst than my previous Worst Song Ever, which was “Christmas Shoes” by Newsong.

  • Tom

    Album of the year indeed! I had been waiting for the release for months and it is even better than I expected – great blog – keep it up.


  • I can’t say enough about Tom Waits. My boyfriend bought me “Blood Money” on vinyl for Christmas and it’s better than any diamond.

    Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out the daily version

  • “You’re Beautiful” comes close, but I still think the worst song ever written– scientifically proven, I believe– is “Sometimes When We Touch (The Honesty’s Too Much)” by Dan Hill.

    I agree about with the Tom Waits accolade,too.

  • duane

    That is a bad one, Gordon. I’m also aware of the scientific tests to which you refer, and there’s something you might not know about them (I have connections).

    Late one night, as the tests were continuing in an underground laboratory in New Jersey, 20 music experts were all hooked up with electrodes to obtain measurements of their physiological responses to 50 songs that were nominated as the worst ever.

    The group had just finished up “Hangin’ Tough” by New Kids on the Block, and Number 16 on the list was “I Love the Nightlife” by Alicia Bridges. Less than 30 seconds into the song, 12 of the experts had ripped off their electrodes and run from the building, 4 had passed out, one went into what seemed to be some kind of epileptic seizure, one began screaming that she had been possessed by Pazuzu, and two died of unspecified causes. The physiograms were incomplete, and, therefore, deemed inconclusive. The song was stricken from the list and replaced by Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.”

    So, there it is. I claim that “I Love the Nightlife” is the worst song ever recorded.

  • Facts are facts, so I stand corrected. I am also reminded of SCTV’s parody of “I Love the Nightlife” as sung by a be-sweatered Perry Como, portrayed by Eugene Levy in an especially comatose state(“I love the nightlife, I love to BOGIE..”).

    Oh gawd, now I have that song running through my head…

  • I may have to do a whole column on the worst songs ever! I wrote a final paper on such atrocities in college, but it might be time to update.

    Gordon, Dave Barry wrote that when Dan Hill sings “Sometimes when we touch,” it sounds like he’s having his prostate examined by Captain Hook.

    Speaking of awful mellowness, check out my commentary on the worst album ever made over at the Mix Tape Blog:

    You’ve said what I felt for awhile now about the 4 songs that you labeled as worst of 2006. But, Hey what do I know…I’m only a Metalhead:)

    To quote a Guiness commercial, “Is that a spoon in your eye? Brilliant! Brilliant!”
    I would have to say that’s how I would feel if Justin Timberlake was being eaten by a Werewolf.
    “Is that a Werewolf eating you? Brilliant! Brilliant!”

  • Horrible as all the songs mentioned in these comments are, they can’t be the worst song ever…they are all hit songs to some degree or other. Which doesn’t mean they’re not awful, it’s just that I have personally isolated the worst hit song of all time here.

    And since all these are hit songs and are not the worst hit song, they are thereby excluded from being Worst Song Ever.

  • Hit songs ARE the worst–because they’re EVERYWHERE. Some cruddy local band doesn’t have NEARLY the power to torment as say, Justin Timberlake.


  • You have a good case, Michael, for “Once You Understand,” and I suspect things won’t get a little easier upon repeat playing.